bims-plasge Biomed News
on Plastid genes
Issue of 2021‒05‒09
two papers selected by
Vera S. Bogdanova
Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  1. Genetics. 2019 Sep 01. 213(1): 143-160
      Xue et al. describe a phenomenon in maize and its nearest wild relative, teosinte, by which backcross progeny of a specific teosinte and maize exhibit a sickly whole-plant phenotype involving changes in morphology, vigor, and viability... In the course of generating populations of maize with teosinte chromosomal introgressions, an unusual sickly plant phenotype was noted in individuals from crosses with two teosinte accessions collected near Valle de Bravo, Mexico. The plants of these Bravo teosinte accessions appear phenotypically normal themselves and the F1 plants appear similar to typical maize × teosinte F1s. However, upon backcrossing to maize, the BC1 and subsequent generations display a number of detrimental characteristics including shorter stature, reduced seed set, and abnormal floral structures. This phenomenon is observed in all BC individuals and there is no chromosomal segment linked to the sickly plant phenotype in advanced backcross generations. Once the sickly phenotype appears in a lineage, normal plants are never again recovered by continued backcrossing to the normal maize parent. Whole-genome shotgun sequencing reveals a small number of genomic sequences, some with homology to transposable elements, that have increased in copy number in the backcross populations. Transcriptome analysis of seedlings, which do not have striking phenotypic abnormalities, identified segments of 18 maize genes that exhibit increased expression in sickly plants. A de novo assembly of transcripts present in plants exhibiting the sickly phenotype identified a set of 59 upregulated novel transcripts. These transcripts include some examples with sequence similarity to transposable elements and other sequences present in the recurrent maize parent (W22) genome as well as novel sequences not present in the W22 genome. Genome-wide profiles of gene expression, DNA methylation, and small RNAs are similar between sickly plants and normal controls, although a few upregulated transcripts and transposable elements are associated with altered small RNA or methylation profiles. This study documents hybrid incompatibility and genome instability triggered by the backcrossing of Bravo teosinte with maize. We name this phenomenon "hybrid decay" and present ideas on the mechanism that may underlie it.
    Keywords:   Zea mays ; CNVs; epigenetic; maize; sRNAs; teosinte; transposable element (TE)
  2. Plant Cell. 2021 May 05. 33(3): 457-474
      Communication between cellular compartments is vital for development and environmental adaptation. Signals emanating from organelles, so-called retrograde signals, coordinate nuclear gene expression with the developmental stage and/or the functional status of the organelle. Plastids (best known in their green photosynthesizing differentiated form, the chloroplasts) are the primary energy-producing compartment of plant cells, and the site for the biosynthesis of many metabolites, including fatty acids, amino acids, nucleotides, isoprenoids, tetrapyrroles, vitamins, and phytohormone precursors. Signals derived from plastids regulate the accumulation of a large set of nucleus-encoded proteins, many of which localize to plastids. A set of mutants defective in retrograde signaling (genomes uncoupled, or gun) was isolated over 25 years ago. While most GUN genes act in tetrapyrrole biosynthesis, resolving the molecular function of GUN1, the proposed integrator of multiple retrograde signals, has turned out to be particularly challenging. Based on its amino acid sequence, GUN1 was initially predicted to be a plastid-localized nucleic acid-binding protein. Only recently, mechanistic information on the function of GUN1 has been obtained, pointing to a role in plastid protein homeostasis. This review article summarizes our current understanding of GUN-related retrograde signaling and provides a critical appraisal of the various proposed roles for GUNs and their respective pathways.