Abstract MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are essential nonprotein-coding genes. In a range of organisms, miRNAs has been reported to play an essential role in regulating gene expressions at post-transcriptional level. They participate in most of the stress responsive processes in plants. Drought is an ultimate abiotic stress that affects the crop production. Therefore understanding drought stress responses are essential to improve the production of agricultural crops. Throughout evolution, plants have developed their own defense systems to cope with the adversities of environmental stresses. Among defensive mechanisms include the regulations of gene expression by miRNAs. Drought stress regulates the expression of some of the functionally conserved miRNAs in different plants. The given properties of miRNAs provide an insight to genetic alterations and enhancing drought resistance in cereal crops. The current review gives a summary to regulatory mechanisms in plants as well as miRNAs response to drought stresses in cereal crops. Some possible approaches and guidelines for the exploitation of drought stress miRNA responses to improve cereal crops are also described.
The caleosin (CLO) protein family displays calcium-binding properties and plays an important role in the abiotic stress response. Here, a total of 107 CLO genes were identified in 15 plant species, while no CLO genes were detected in two green algal species. Evolutionary analysis revealed that the CLO gene family may have evolved mainly in terrestrial plants and that biological functional differentiation between species and functional expansion within species have occurred. Of these, 56 CLO genes were identified in four cotton species. Collinearity analysis showed that CLO gene family expansion mainly occurred through segmental duplication and whole-genome duplication in cotton. Sequence alignment and phylogenetic analysis showed that the CLO proteins of the four cotton species were mainly divided into two types: H-caleosins (class I) and L-caleosins (class II). Cis-acting element analysis and quantitative RT–PCR (qRT–PCR) suggested that GhCLOs might be regulated by abscisic acid (ABA) and methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Moreover, transcriptome data and qRT–PCR results revealed that GhCLO genes responded to salt and drought stresses. Under salt stress, gene-silenced plants (TRV: GhCLO06) showed obvious yellowing and wilting, higher malondialdehyde (MDA) content accumulation, and significantly lower activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD), indicating that GhCLO06 plays a positive regulatory role in cotton salt tolerance. In gene-silenced plants (TRV: GhCLO06), ABA-related genes (GhABF2, GhABI5, and GhNAC4) were significantly upregulated after salt stress, suggesting that the regulation of salt tolerance may be related to the ABA signaling pathway. This research provides an important reference for further understanding and analyzing the molecular regulatory mechanism of CLOs for salt tolerance.
Inter-organ communication and the heat stress (HS; 45°C, 6 h) responses of organs exposed and not directly exposed to HS were evaluated in rice (Oryza sativa) by comparing the impact of HS applied either to whole plants, or only to shoots or roots. Whole-plant HS reduced photosynthetic activity (Fv/Fm and QY_Lss), but this effect was alleviated by prior acclimation (37°C, 2 h). Dynamics of HSFA2d, HSP90.2, HSP90.3, and SIG5 expression revealed high protection of crowns and roots. Additionally, HSP26.2 was strongly expressed in leaves. Whole-plant HS increased levels of jasmonic acid (JA) and cytokinin cis-zeatin in leaves, while up-regulating auxin indole-3-acetic acid and down-regulating trans-zeatin in leaves and crowns. Ascorbate peroxidase activity and expression of alternative oxidases (AOX) increased in leaves and crowns. HS targeted to leaves elevated levels of JA in roots, cis-zeatin in crowns, and ascorbate peroxidase activity in crowns and roots. HS targeted to roots increased levels of abscisic acid and auxin in leaves and crowns, cis-zeatin in leaves, and JA in crowns, while reducing trans-zeatin levels. The weaker protection of leaves reflects the growth strategy of rice. HS treatment of individual organs induced changes in phytohormone levels and antioxidant enzyme activity in non-exposed organs, in order to enhance plant stress tolerance.
Alternative oxidase (AOX) is an important component of the plant respiratory pathway, enabling a route for electrons that bypasses the energy-conserving, ROS-producing complexes of the mitochondrial electron transport chain. Plants contain numerous isoforms of AOX, classified as either AOX1 or AOX2. AOX1 isoforms have received the most attention due to their importance in stress responses across a wide range of species. However, the propensity for at least one isoform of AOX2 to accumulate to very high levels in photosynthetic tissues of all legumes studied to date, suggests that this isoform has specialized roles, but we know little of its properties. Previous studies with sub-mitochondrial particles of soybean cotyledons and roots indicated that differential expression of GmAOX1, GmAOX2A, and GmAOX2D across tissues might confer different activation kinetics with pyruvate. We have investigated this using recombinantly expressed isoforms of soybean AOX in a previously described bacterial system (Selinski et al., 2016, Physiologia Plantarum 157, 264-279). Pyruvate activation kinetics were similar between the two GmAOX2 isoforms but differed substantially from those of GmAOX1, suggesting that selective expression of AOX1 and 2 could determine the level of AOX activity. However, this alone cannot completely explain the differences seen in sub-mitochondrial particles isolated from different legume tissues and possible reasons for this are discussed.
Sugar metabolism not only determines fruit sweetness and quality but also acts as signaling molecules to substantially connect with other primary metabolic processes and, therefore, modulates plant growth and development, fruit ripening, and stress response. The basic region/leucine zipper motif (bZIP) transcription factor family is ubiquitous in eukaryotes and plays a diverse array of biological functions in plants. Among the bZIP family members, the smallest bZIP subgroup, S1-bZIP, is a unique one, due to the conserved upstream open reading frames (uORFs) in the 5′ leader region of their mRNA. The translated small peptides from these uORFs are suggested to mediate Sucrose-Induced Repression of Translation (SIRT), an important mechanism to maintain sucrose homeostasis in plants. Here, we review recent research on the evolution, sequence features, and biological functions of this bZIP subgroup. S1-bZIPs play important roles in fruit quality, abiotic and biotic stress responses, plant growth and development, and other metabolite biosynthesis by acting as signaling hubs through dimerization with the subgroup C-bZIPs and other cofactors like SnRK1 to coordinate the expression of downstream genes. Direction for further research and genetic engineering of S1-bZIPs in plants is suggested for the improvement of quality and safety traits of fruit.
The poor outcome of the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, is associated with systemic hyperinflammatory response and immunopathology. Although inflammasome and oxidative stress have independently been implicated in COVID-19, it is poorly understood whether these two pathways cooperatively contribute to disease severity. Herein, we found an enrichment of CD14highCD16− monocytes displaying inflammasome activation evidenced by caspase-1/ASC-speck formation in severe COVID-19 patients when compared to mild ones and healthy controls, respectively. Those cells also showed aberrant levels of mitochondrial superoxide and lipid peroxidation, both hallmarks of the oxidative stress response, which strongly correlated with caspase-1 activity. In addition, we found that NLRP3 inflammasome-derived IL-1β secretion by SARS-CoV-2-exposed monocytes in vitro was partially dependent on lipid peroxidation. Importantly, altered inflammasome and stress responses persisted after short-term patient recovery. Collectively, our findings suggest oxidative stress/NLRP3 signaling pathway as a potential target for host-directed therapy to mitigate early COVID-19 hyperinflammation and also its long-term outcomes.
Clinopodium pulegium (Rochel) Bräuchler (Lamiaceae) is an endangered species endemic to the Southern Carpathians. It is characterized by the production of high amounts of essential oils, which emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that have an essential role in biotic and abiotic stress responses and in plant–plant and plant–insect interactions. The present study was initiated to phytochemically examine the influence of different carbon sources in the nutrition medium on VOC emissions of micropropagated C. pulegium plants, using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis of headspace VOCs. The volatile profiles were subjected to multivariate analysis with respect to the presence, concentration and type of carbon source in the nutrient medium. In addition, the effect of different carbohydrates on the density and size of the leaf glandular trichomes, the main structures involved in the emission of VOCs, was determined. A total of 19 VOCs, primarily belonging to mono- and sesquiterpenes previously described in plants, were tentatively identified. Six VOCs were produced at levels higher than 2% of the total VOC emission, dominated by pulegone, ß-pinene and menthone. Inclusion of the carbohydrates in the culture media affected the production of the main leaf trichome-associated volatile allelochemicals although the qualitative composition of the volatiles changed only slightly. Multivariate analysis showed that the concentration, rather than the carbohydrate type, influenced the VOC profile.
‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (Las) is an emergent bacterial pathogen that is associated with the devastating citrus huanglongbing (HLB). Vectored by the Asian citrus psyllid, Las colonizes the phloem tissue of citrus, causing severe damage to infected trees. So far, cultivating pure Las culture in axenic media has not been successful, and dual-transcriptome analyses aiming to profile gene expression in both Las and its hosts have a low coverage of the Las genome because of the low abundance of bacterial RNA in total RNA extracts from infected tissues. Therefore, a lack of understanding of the Las transcriptome remains a significant knowledge gap. Here, we used a bacterial cell enrichment procedure and confidently determined the expression profiles of approximately 84% of the Las genes. Genes that exhibited high expression in citrus include transporters, ferritin, outer membrane porins, specific pilins, and genes involved in phage-related functions, cell wall modification, and stress responses. We also found 106 genes to be differentially expressed in citrus versus Asian citrus psyllids. Genes related to transcription or translation and resilience to host defense response were upregulated in citrus, whereas genes involved in energy generation and the flagella system were expressed to higher levels in psyllids. Finally, we determined the relative expression levels of potential Sec-dependent effectors, which are considered as key virulence factors of Las. This work advances our understanding of HLB biology and offers novel insight into the interactions of Las with its plant host and insect vector.
Drought and salinity are major important factors that restrain growth and productivity of rice. In plants, many really interesting new gene (RING) finger proteins have been reported to enhance drought and salt tolerance. However, their mode of action and interacting substrates are largely unknown. Here, we identified a new small RING-H2 type E3 ligase OsRF1, which is involved in the ABA and stress responses of rice. OsRF1 transcripts were highly induced by ABA, salt, or drought treatment. Upregulation of OsRF1 in transgenic rice conferred drought and salt tolerance and increased endogenous ABA levels. Consistent with this, faster transcriptional activation of key ABA biosynthetic genes, ZEP, NCED3, and ABA4, was observed in OsRF1-OE plants compared with wild type in response to drought stress. Yeast two-hybrid assay, BiFC, and co-immunoprecipitation analysis identified clade A PP2C proteins as direct interacting partners with OsRF1. In vitro ubiquitination assay indicated that OsRF1 exhibited E3 ligase activity, and that it targeted OsPP2C09 protein for ubiquitination and degradation. Cell-free degradation assay further showed that the OsPP2C09 protein is more rapidly degraded by ABA in the OsRF1-OE rice than in the wild type. The combined results suggested that OsRF1 is a positive player of stress responses by modulating protein stability of clade A PP2C proteins, negative regulators of ABA signaling.