skip to main content


Title: Lipophilic signals lead to organ‐specific gene expression changes in Arabidopsis seedlings
Abstract

In plants,N‐acylethanolamines (NAEs) are most abundant in desiccated seeds and their levels decline during germination and early seedling establishment. However, endogenous NAE levels rise in seedlings when ABA or environmental stress is applied, and this results in an inhibition of further seedling development. When the most abundant, polyunsaturated NAEs of linoleic acid (18:2) and linolenic acid (18:3) were exogenously applied, seedling development was affected in an organ‐specific manner. NAE 18:2 primarily affected primary root elongation and NAE 18:3 primarily affected cotyledon greening and expansion and overall seedling growth. The molecular components and signaling mechanisms involved in this pathway are not well understood. In addition, the bifurcating nature of this pathway provides a unique system in which to study the spatial aspects and interaction of these lipid‐specific and organ‐targeted signaling pathways. Using whole transcriptome sequencing (RNA‐seq) and differential expression analysis, we identified early (1–3 hr) transcriptional changes induced by the exogenous treatment of NAE 18:2 and NAE 18:3 in cotyledons, roots, and seedlings. These two treatments led to a significant enrichment in ABA‐response and chitin‐response genes in organs where the treatments led to changes in development. InArabidopsisseedlings, NAE 18:2 treatment led to the repression of genes involved in cell wall biogenesis and organization in roots and seedlings. In addition, cotyledons, roots, and seedlings treated with NAE 18:3 also showed a decrease in transcripts that encode proteins involved in growth processes. NAE 18:3 also led to changes in the abundance of transcripts involved in the modulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis and catabolism in cotyledons. Overall, NAE 18:2 and NAE 18:3 treatment led to lipid‐type and organ‐specific gene expression changes that include overlapping and non‐overlapping gene sets. These data will provide future, rich opportunities to examine the genetic pathways involved in transducing early signals into downstream physiological changes in seedling growth.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10171921
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Plant Direct
Volume:
4
Issue:
7
ISSN:
2475-4455
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Introduction

    Seed vigor is largely a product of sound seed development, maturation processes, genetics, and storage conditions. It is a crucial factor impacting plant growth and crop yield and is negatively affected by unfavorable environmental conditions, which can include drought and heat as well as cold wet conditions. The latter leads to slow germination and increased seedling susceptibility to pathogens. Prior research has shown that a class of plant growth regulators called substituted tertiary amines (STAs) can enhance seed germination, seedling growth, and crop productivity. However, inconsistent benefits have limited STA adoption on a commercial scale

    Methods

    We developed a novel seed treatment protocol to evaluate the efficacy of 2-(N-methyl benzyl aminoethyl)-3-methyl butanoate (BMVE), which has shown promise as a crop seed treatment in field trials. Transcriptomic analysis of rice seedlings 24 h after BMVE treatment was done to identify the molecular basis for the improved seedling growth. The impact of BMVE on seed development was also evaluated by spraying rice panicles shortly after flower fertilization and subsequently monitoring the impact on seed traits.

    Results

    BMVE treatment of seeds 24 h after imbibition consistently improved wheat and rice seedling shoot and root growth in lab conditions. Treated wheat seedlings grown to maturity in a greenhouse also resulted in higher biomass than controls, though only under drought conditions. Treated seedlings had increased levels of transcripts involved in reactive oxygen species scavenging and auxin and gibberellic acid signaling. Conversely, several genes associated with increased reactive oxygen species/ROS load, abiotic stress responses, and germination hindering processes were reduced. BMVE spray increased both fresh and mature seed weights relative to the control for plants exposed to 96 h of heat stress. BMVE treatment during seed development also benefited germination and seedling growth in the next generation, under both ambient and heat stress conditions.

    Discussion

    The optimized experimental conditions we developed provide convincing evidence that BMVE does indeed have efficacy in plant growth enhancement. The results advance our understanding of how STAs work at the molecular level and provide insights for their practical application to improve crop growth.

     
    more » « less
  2. Plants have been recognized as key components of bioregenerative life support systems for space exploration, and many experiments have been carried out to evaluate their adaptability to spaceflight. Unfortunately, few of these experiments have involved monocot plants, which constitute most of the crops used on Earth as sources of food, feed, and fiber. To better understand the ability of monocot plants to adapt to spaceflight, we germinated and grew Brachypodium distachyon seedlings of the Bd21, Bd21-3, and Gaz8 accessions in a customized growth unit on the International Space Station, along with 1-g ground controls. At the end of a 4-day growth period, seedling organ’s growth and morphologies were quantified, and root and shoot transcriptomic profiles were investigated using RNA-seq. The roots of all three accessions grew more slowly and displayed longer root hairs under microgravity conditions relative to ground control. On the other hand, the shoots of Bd21-3 and Gaz-8 grew at similar rates between conditions, whereas those of Bd21 grew more slowly under microgravity. The three Brachypodium accessions displayed dramatically different transcriptomic responses to microgravity relative to ground controls, with the largest numbers of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) found in Gaz8 (4527), followed by Bd21 (1353) and Bd21-3 (570). Only 47 and six DEGs were shared between accessions for shoots and roots, respectively, including DEGs encoding wall-associated proteins and photosynthesis-related DEGs. Furthermore, DEGs associated with the “Oxidative Stress Response” GO group were up-regulated in the shoots and down-regulated in the roots of Bd21 and Gaz8, indicating that Brachypodium roots and shoots deploy distinct biological strategies to adapt to the microgravity environment. A comparative analysis of the Brachypodium oxidative-stress response DEGs with the Arabidopsis ROS wheel suggests a connection between retrograde signaling, light response, and decreased expression of photosynthesis-related genes in microgravity-exposed shoots. In Gaz8, DEGs were also found to preferentially associate with the “Plant Hormonal Signaling” and “MAP Kinase Signaling” KEGG pathways. Overall, these data indicate that Brachypodium distachyon seedlings exposed to the microgravity environment of ISS display accession- and organ-specific responses that involve oxidative stress response, wall remodeling, photosynthesis inhibition, expression regulation, ribosome biogenesis, and post-translational modifications. The general characteristics of these responses are similar to those displayed by microgravity-exposed Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. However, organ- and accession-specific components of the response dramatically differ both within and between species. These results suggest a need to directly evaluate candidate-crop responses to microgravity to better understand their specific adaptability to this novel environment and develop cultivation strategies allowing them to strive during spaceflight. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    In etiolated seedlings, red light (R) activates phytochrome and initiates signals that generate major changes at molecular and physiological levels. These changes include inhibition of hypocotyl growth and promotion of the growth of primary roots, apical hooks, and cotyledons. An earlier report showed that the sharp decrease in hypocotyl growth rapidly induced by R was accompanied by an equally rapid decrease in the transcript and protein levels of two closely related apyrases (APYs; nucleoside triphosphate-diphosphohydrolases) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), APY1 and APY2, enzymes whose expression alters auxin transport and growth in seedlings. Here, we report that single knockouts of either APY inhibit R-induced promotion of the growth of primary roots, apical hooks, and cotyledons, and RNAi-induced suppression of APY1 expression in the background of apy2 inhibits R-induced apical hook opening. When R-irradiated primary roots and apical hook-cotyledons began to show a gradual increase in their growth relative to dark controls, they concurrently showed increased levels of APY protein, but in hook-cotyledon tissue, this occurred without parallel increases in their transcripts. In wild-type seedlings whose root growth is suppressed by the photosynthesis inhibitor 3-(3,4-dichlorophenyl)-1,1-dimethylurea, the R-induced increased APY expression in roots was also inhibited. In unirradiated plants, the constitutive expression of APY2 promoted both hook opening and changes in the transcript abundance of Small Auxin Upregulated RNA (SAUR), SAUR17 and SAUR50 that help mediate de-etiolation. These results provide evidence that the expression of APY1/APY2 is regulated by R and that APY1/APY2 participate in the signaling pathway by which phytochrome induces differential growth changes in different tissues of etiolated seedlings.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is a conserved amidase that is known to modulate the levels of endogenousN‐acylethanolamines (NAEs) in both plants and animals. The activity of FAAH is enhancedin vitroby synthetic phenoxyacylethanolamides resulting in greater hydrolysis of NAEs. Previously, 3‐n‐pentadecylphenolethanolamide (PDP‐EA) was shown to exert positive effects on the development of Arabidopsis seedlings by enhancing Arabidopsis FAAH (AtFAAH) activity. However, there is little information regarding FAAH activity and the impact of PDP‐EA in the development of seedlings of other plant species. Here, we examined the effects of PDP‐EA on growth of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutumL. cv Coker 312) seedlings including two lines of transgenic seedlings overexpressingAtFAAH. Independent transgenic events showed accelerated true‐leaf emergence compared with non‐transgenic controls. Exogenous applications of PDP‐EA led to increases in overall seedling growth in AtFAAH transgenic lines. These enhanced‐growth phenotypes coincided with elevated FAAH activities toward NAEs and NAE oxylipins. Conversely, the endogenous contents of NAEs and NAE‐oxylipin species, especially linoleoylethanolamide and 9‐hydroxy linoleoylethanolamide, were lower in PDP‐EA treated seedlings than in controls. Further, transcripts for endogenous cottonFAAHgenes were increased following PDP‐EA exposure. Collectively, our data corroborate that the enhancement of FAAH enzyme activity by PDP‐EA stimulates NAE‐hydrolysis and that this results in enhanced growth in seedlings of a perennial crop species, extending the role of NAE metabolism in seedling development beyond the model annual plant species,Arabidopsis thaliana.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Polyunsaturated N-acylethanolamines (NAEs) can be hydrolyzed by fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) or oxidized by lipoxygenase (LOX). In Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), the 9-LOX product of linoleoylethanolamide, namely, 9-hydroxy linoleoylethanolamide (9-NAE-HOD), is reported to negatively regulate seedling development during secondary dormancy. In upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), six putative FAAH genes (from two diverged groups) and six potential 9-LOX genes are present; however, their involvement in 9-NAE-HOD metabolism and its regulation of seedling development remain unexplored. Here, we report that in cotton plants, two specific FAAH isoforms (GhFAAH Ib and GhFAAH IIb) are needed for hydrolysis of certain endogenous NAEs. Virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) of either or both FAAHs led to reduced seedling growth and this coincided with reduced amidohydrolase activities and elevated quantities of endogenous 9-NAE-HOD. Transcripts of GhLOX21 were consistently elevated in FAAH-silenced tissues, and co-silencing of GhLOX21 and GhFAAH (Ib and/or IIb) led to reversal of seedling growth to normal levels (comparable with no silencing). This was concomitant with reductions in the levels of 9-NAE-HOD, but not of 13-NAE-HOD. Pharmacological experiments corroborated the genetic and biochemical evidence, demonstrating that direct application of 9-NAE-HOD, but not 13-NAE-HOD or their corresponding free fatty acid oxylipins, inhibited the growth of cotton seedlings. Additionally, VIGS of GhLOX21 in cotton lines overexpressing AtFAAH exhibited enhanced growth and no detectable 9-NAE-HOD. Altogether, we conclude that the growth of cotton seedlings involves fine-tuning of 9-NAE-HOD levels via FAAH-mediated hydrolysis and LOX-mediated production, expanding the mechanistic understanding of plant growth modulation by NAE oxylipins to a perennial crop species.

     
    more » « less