Plant Science


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0 Q&A 569 Views Jul 5, 2024

In recent years, the increase in genome sequencing across diverse plant species has provided a significant advantage for phylogenomics studies, allowing the analysis of one of the most diverse gene families in plants: nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat receptors (NLRs). However, due to the sequence diversity of the NLR gene family, identifying key molecular features and functionally conserved sequence patterns is challenging through multiple sequence alignment. Here, we present a step-by-step protocol for a computational pipeline designed to identify evolutionarily conserved motifs in plant NLR proteins. In this protocol, we use a large-scale NLR dataset, including 1,862 NLR genes annotated from monocot and dicot species, to predict conserved sequence motifs, such as the MADA and EDVID motifs, within the coiled-coil (CC)-NLR subfamily. Our pipeline can be applied to identify molecular signatures that have remained conserved in the gene family over evolutionary time across plant species.

0 Q&A 270 Views Jul 5, 2024

CRISPR-Cas9 technology has become an essential tool for plant genome editing. Recent advancements have significantly improved the ability to target multiple genes simultaneously within the same genetic background through various strategies. Additionally, there has been significant progress in developing methods for inducible or tissue-specific editing. These advancements offer numerous possibilities for tailored genome modifications. Building upon existing research, we have developed an optimized and modular strategy allowing the targeting of several genes simultaneously in combination with the synchronized expression of the Cas9 endonuclease in the egg cell. This system allows significant editing efficiency while avoiding mosaicism. In addition, the versatile system we propose allows adaptation to inducible and/or tissue-specific edition according to the promoter chosen to drive the expression of the Cas9 gene. Here, we describe a step-by-step protocol for generating the binary vector necessary for establishing Arabidopsis edited lines using a versatile cloning strategy that combines Gateway® and Golden Gate technologies. We describe a versatile system that allows the cloning of as many guides as needed to target DNA, which can be multiplexed into a polycistronic gene and combined in the same construct with sequences for the expression of the Cas9 endonuclease. The expression of Cas9 is controlled by selecting from among a collection of promoters, including constitutive, inducible, ubiquitous, or tissue-specific promoters. Only one vector containing the polycistronic gene (tRNA-sgRNA) needs to be constructed. For that, sgRNA (composed of protospacers chosen to target the gene of interest and sgRNA scaffold) is cloned in tandem with the pre-tRNA sequence. Then, a single recombination reaction is required to assemble the promoter, the zCas9 coding sequence, and the tRNA-gRNA polycistronic gene. Each element is cloned in an entry vector and finally assembled according to the Multisite Gateway® Technology. Here, we detail the process to express zCas9 under the control of egg cell promoter fused to enhancer sequence (EC1.2en-EC1.1p) and to simultaneously target two multiple C2 domains and transmembrane region protein genes (MCTP3 and MCTP4, respectively at3g57880 and at1g51570), using one or two sgRNA per gene.

0 Q&A 740 Views Jun 5, 2024

Gene editing technologies have revolutionized plant molecular biology, providing powerful tools for precise gene manipulation for understanding function and enhancing or modifying agronomically relevant traits. Among these technologies, the CRISPR-Cas9 system has emerged as a versatile and widely accepted strategy for targeted gene manipulation. This protocol provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for implementing CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in tomato plants, with a specific focus in generating knockout lines for a target gene. For that, the guide RNA should preferentially be designed within the first exon downstream and closer to the start codon. The edited plants obtained are free of transgene cassette for expression of the CRISPR-Cas9 machinery.

0 Q&A 652 Views Apr 5, 2024

Camelina sativa, a Brassicaceae family crop, is used for fodder, human food, and biofuels. Its relatively high resistance to abiotic and biotic stresses, as well as being a climate-resilient oilseed crop, has contributed to its popularity. Camelina's seed yield and oil contents have been improved using various technologies like RNAi and CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing. A stable transformation system for protein localization and other cell autonomous investigations, on the other hand, is tedious and time consuming. This study describes a transient gene expression protocol for Camelina sativa cultivar DH55 leaves using Agrobacterium strain C58C1. The method is suitable for subcellular protein localization and colocalization studies and can be used with both constitutive and chemically induced genes. We report the subcellular localization of the N-terminal ER membrane signal anchor region (1–32 aa) of the At3G28580 gene-encoded protein from Arabidopsis in intact leaves and the expression and localization of other known organelle markers. This method offers a fast and convenient way to study proteins in the commercially important Camelina crop system.


Key features

• This method is based on the approach of Zhang et al. [1] and has been optimized for bioenergy crop Camelina species.

• A constitutive and inducible transient gene expression in the hexaploid species Camelina sativa cultivar DH55.

• Requires only 16–18 days to complete with high efficacy.


Graphical overview




Agrobacterium-mediated transient gene expression optimized for Camelina sativa

0 Q&A 382 Views Apr 5, 2024

Citrus fruits encompass a diverse family, including oranges, mandarins, grapefruits, limes, kumquats, lemons, and others. In citrus, Agrobacterium tumefaciens–mediated genetic transformation of Hongkong kumquat (Fortunella hindsii Swingle) has been widely employed for gene function analysis. However, the perennial nature of woody plants results in the generation of transgenic fruits taking several years. Here, we show the procedures of Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation and live-cell imaging in kumquat (F. crassifolia Swingle) fruit, using the actin filament marker GFP-Lifeact as an example. Fluorescence detection, western blot analysis, and live-cell imaging with confocal microscopy demonstrate the high transformation efficiency and an extended expression window of this system. Overall, Agrobacterium-mediated transient transformation of kumquat fruits provides a rapid and effective method for studying gene function in fruit, enabling the effective observation of diverse cellular processes in fruit biology.

0 Q&A 492 Views Sep 20, 2023

Here, we present an approach combining fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunolabeling for localization of pri-miRNAs in isolated nuclei of A. thaliana. The presented method utilizes specific DNA oligonucleotide probes, modified by addition of digoxigenin-labeled deoxynucleotides to its 3′ hydroxyl terminus by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT). The probes are then detected by immunolabeling of digoxigenin (DIG) using specific fluorescent-labeled antibodies to visualize hybridized probes. Recently, we have applied this method to localize pri-miRNA156a, pri-miRNA163, pri-miRNA393a, and pri-miRNA414 in the nuclei isolated from leaves of 4-week-old A. thaliana. The present approach can be easily implemented to analyze nuclear distribution of diverse RNA classes, including mRNAs and pri-miRNAs in isolated fixed cells or nuclei from plant.

0 Q&A 628 Views Sep 5, 2023

Studies on chromosomal status are a fundamental aspect of plant cytogenetics and breeding because changes in number, size, and shape of chromosomes determine plant physiology/performance. Despite its significance, the classical cytogenetic study is now frequently avoided because of its tedious job. In general, root meristems are used to study the mitotic chromosome number, even though the use of root tips was restricted because of sample availability, processing, and lack of standard protocols. Moreover, to date, a protocol using shoot tips to estimate chromosome number has not yet been achieved for tree species’ germplasm with a large number of accessions, like mulberry (Morus spp.). Here, we provide a step-by-step, economically feasible protocol for the pretreatment, fixation, enzymatic treatment, staining, and squashing of meristematic shoot tips. The protocol is validated with worldwide collections of 200 core set accessions with a higher level of ploidy variation, namely diploid (2n = 2x = 28), triploid (2n = 3x = 42), tetraploid (2n = 4x = 56), hexaploid (2n = 6x = 84), and decosaploid (2n = 22x = 308) belonging to nine species of Morus spp. Furthermore, accession from each ploidy group was subjected to flow cytometry (FCM) analysis for confirmation. The present protocol will help to optimize metaphase plate preparation and estimation of chromosome number using meristematic shoot tips of tree species regardless of their sex, location, and/or resources.

1 Q&A 844 Views Aug 20, 2023

Yield losses attributed to plant pathogens pose a serious threat to plant productivity and food security. Botrytis cinerea is one of the most devastating plant pathogens, infecting a wide array of plant species; it has also been established as a model organism to study plant–pathogen interactions. In this context, development of different assays to follow the relative success of B. cinerea infections is required. Here, we describe two methods to quantify B. cinerea development in Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes through measurements of lesion development and quantification of fungal genomic DNA in infected tissues. This provides two independent techniques that are useful in assessing the susceptibility or tolerance of different Arabidopsis genotypes to B. cinerea.


Key features

• Protocol for the propagation of the necrotrophic plant pathogen fungus Botrytis cinerea and spore production.

• Two methods of Arabidopsis thaliana infection with the pathogen using droplet and spray inoculation.

• Two readouts, either by measuring lesion size or by the quantification of fungal DNA using quantitative PCR.

• The two methods are applicable across plant species susceptible the B. cinerea.


Graphical overview



A simplified overview of the droplet and spray infection methods used for the determination of B. cinerea growth in different Arabidopsis genotypes

0 Q&A 390 Views Aug 5, 2023

The study of genes and their products is an essential prerequisite for fundamental research. Characterization can be achieved by analyzing mutants or overexpression lines or by studying the localization and substrate specificities of the resulting proteins. However, functional analysis of specific proteins in complex eukaryotic organisms can be challenging. To overcome this, the use of heterologous systems to express genes and analyze the resulting proteins can save time and effort. Yeast is a preferred heterologous model organism: it is easy to transform, and tools for genomics, engineering, and metabolomics are already available. Here, we describe a well-established and simple method to analyze the activity of plant monosaccharide transporters in the baker’s yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, using a simple growth complementation assay. We used the famous hexose-transport-deficient yeast strain EBY.VW4000 to express candidate plant monosaccharide transporters and analyzed their transport activity. This assay does not require any radioactive labeling of substrates and can be easily extended for quantitative analysis using growth curves or by analyzing the transport rates of fluorescent substrates like the glucose analog 2-NBDG. Finally, to further simplify the cloning of potential candidate transporters, we provide level 0 modular cloning (MoClo) modules for efficient and simple Golden Gate cloning. This approach provides a convenient tool for the functional analysis of plant monosaccharide transporters in yeast.


Key features

• Comprehensive, simple protocol for analysis of plant monosaccharide transporters in yeast

• Includes optional MoClo parts for cloning with Golden Gate method

• Includes protocol for the production and transformation of competent yeast cells

Does not require hazardous solutions, radiolabeled substrates, or specialized equipment

0 Q&A 474 Views Jul 20, 2023

Virus-mediated transient gene overexpression and gene expression silencing can be used to screen gene functions in plants. Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) is a positive strand RNA virus in the Potyviridae family that has been modified to be used as vector to infect monocots, including maize (Zea mays), for transient gene overexpression and gene expression silencing. Relative to stable transformation, SCMV-mediated transient expression in maize has the advantages of being faster and less expensive. Here, we describe a protocol for cloning constructs into the plasmid vector pSCMV-CS3. After maize seedlings are transformed with pSCMV-CS3 constructs by particle bombardment, the virus replicates and spreads systemically in the plants. Subsequent infections of maize seedlings can be accomplished by rub inoculation with sap from SCMV-infested plants. As an example of a practical application of the method, we also describe virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) gene expression. Transgenic viruses are created by cloning a segment of the fall armyworm target gene into pSCMV-CS3 prior to maize transformation. Caterpillars are fed on the virus-infected maize plants, which make dsRNA to silence the expression of the fall armyworm target gene after ingestion. This use of SCMV for plant-mediated VIGS in insects allows rapid screening of gene functions when caterpillars are feeding on their host plants.


Graphical overview





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