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  1. Slotte, Tanja (Ed.)
    Abstract Euphorbia peplus (petty spurge) is a small, fast-growing plant that is native to Eurasia and has become a naturalized weed in North America and Australia. E. peplus is not only medicinally valuable, serving as a source for the skin cancer drug ingenol mebutate, but also has great potential as a model for latex production owing to its small size, ease of manipulation in the laboratory, and rapid reproductive cycle. To help establish E. peplus as a new model, we generated a 267.2 Mb Hi-C-anchored PacBio HiFi nuclear genome assembly with an BUSCO score of 98.5%, a genome annotation based on RNA-seq data from six organs, and publicly accessible tools including a genome browser and an interactive organ-specific expression atlas. Chromosome number is highly variable across Euphorbia species. Using a comparative analysis of our newly sequenced E. peplus genome with other Euphorbiaceae genomes, we show that variation in Euphorbia chromosome number between E. peplus and E. lathyris is likely due to fragmentation and rearrangement rather than chromosomal duplication followed by diploidization of the duplicated sequence. Moreover, we found that the E. peplus genome is relatively compact compared to related members of the genus in part due to restricted expansion of the Ty3 transposon family. Finally, we identify a large gene cluster that contains many previously identified enzymes in the putative ingenol mebutate biosynthesis pathway, along with additional gene candidates for this biosynthetic pathway. The genomic resources we have created for E. peplus will help advance research on latex production and ingenol mebutate biosynthesis in the commercially important Euphorbiaceae family. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 9, 2024
  2. Abstract Grafting has been adopted for a wide range of crops to enhance productivity and resilience; for example, grafting of Solanaceous crops couples disease-resistant rootstocks with scions that produce high-quality fruit. However, incompatibility severely limits the application of grafting and graft incompatibility remains poorly understood. In grafts, immediate incompatibility results in rapid death, but delayed incompatibility can take months or even years to manifest, creating a significant economic burden for perennial crop production. To gain insight into the genetic mechanisms underlying this phenomenon, we developed a model system using heterografting of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and pepper (Capsicum annuum). These grafted plants express signs of anatomical junction failure within the first week of grafting. By generating a detailed timeline for junction formation, we were able to pinpoint the cellular basis for this delayed incompatibility. Furthermore, we inferred gene regulatory networks for compatible self-grafts and incompatible heterografts based on these key anatomical events, which predict core regulators for grafting. Finally, we examined the role of vascular development in graft formation and uncovered SlWOX4 as a potential regulator of graft compatibility. Following this predicted regulator up with functional analysis, we show that Slwox4 homografts fail to form xylem bridges across the junction, demonstrating that indeed, SlWOX4 is essential for vascular reconnection during grafting, and may function as an early indicator of graft failure. 
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  3. Abstract The Solanaceae or “nightshade” family is an economically important group with remarkable diversity. To gain a better understanding of how the unique biology of the Solanaceae relates to the family’s small RNA (sRNA) genomic landscape, we downloaded over 255 publicly available sRNA data sets that comprise over 2.6 billion reads of sequence data. We applied a suite of computational tools to predict and annotate two major sRNA classes: (1) microRNAs (miRNAs), typically 20- to 22-nucleotide (nt) RNAs generated from a hairpin precursor and functioning in gene silencing and (2) short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), including 24-nt heterochromatic siRNAs typically functioning to repress repetitive regions of the genome via RNA-directed DNA methylation, as well as secondary phased siRNAs and trans-acting siRNAs generated via miRNA-directed cleavage of a polymerase II-derived RNA precursor. Our analyses described thousands of sRNA loci, including poorly understood clusters of 22-nt siRNAs that accumulate during viral infection. The birth, death, expansion, and contraction of these sRNA loci are dynamic evolutionary processes that characterize the Solanaceae family. These analyses indicate that individuals within the same genus share similar sRNA landscapes, whereas comparisons between distinct genera within the Solanaceae reveal relatively few commonalities. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
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  6. Premise

    As a leaf expands, its shape dynamically changes. Previously, we documented an allometric relationship between vein and blade area in grapevine leaves. Larger leaves have a smaller ratio of primary and secondary vein area relative to blade area compared to smaller leaves. We sought to use allometry as an indicator of leaf size and plasticity.


    We measured the ratio of vein‐to‐blade area from the same 208 vines across four growing seasons (2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017). Matching leaves by vine and node, we analyzed the correlation between the size and shape of grapevine leaves as repeated measures with climate variables across years.


    The proportion of leaf area occupied by vein and blade exponentially decreased and increased, respectively, during leaf expansion making their ratio a stronger indicator of leaf size than area itself. Total precipitation and leaf wetness hours of the previous year but not the current showed strong negative correlations with vein‐to‐blade ratio, whereas maximum air temperature from the previous year was positively correlated.


    Our results demonstrate that vein‐to‐blade ratio is a strong allometric indicator of leaf size and plasticity in grapevines measured across years. Grapevine leaf primordia are initiated in buds the year before they emerge, and we found that total precipitation and maximum air temperature of the previous growing season exerted the largest statistically significant effects on leaf morphology. Vein‐to‐blade ratio is a promising allometric indicator of relationships between leaf morphology and climate, the robustness of which should be explored further.

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  7. Abstract

    The Plant Cell Atlas (PCA) community hosted a virtual symposium on December 9 and 10, 2021 on single cell and spatial omics technologies. The conference gathered almost 500 academic, industry, and government leaders to identify the needs and directions of the PCA community and to explore how establishing a data synthesis center would address these needs and accelerate progress. This report details the presentations and discussions focused on the possibility of a data synthesis center for a PCA and the expected impacts of such a center on advancing science and technology globally. Community discussions focused on topics such as data analysis tools and annotation standards; computational expertise and cyber‐infrastructure; modes of community organization and engagement; methods for ensuring a broad reach in the PCA community; recruitment, training, and nurturing of new talent; and the overall impact of the PCA initiative. These targeted discussions facilitated dialogue among the participants to gauge whether PCA might be a vehicle for formulating a data synthesis center. The conversations also explored how online tools can be leveraged to help broaden the reach of the PCA (i.e., online contests, virtual networking, and social media stakeholder engagement) and decrease costs of conducting research (e.g., virtual REU opportunities). Major recommendations for the future of the PCA included establishing standards, creating dashboards for easy and intuitive access to data, and engaging with a broad community of stakeholders. The discussions also identified the following as being essential to the PCA's success: identifying homologous cell‐type markers and their biocuration, publishing datasets and computational pipelines, utilizing online tools for communication (such as Slack), and user‐friendly data visualization and data sharing. In conclusion, the development of a data synthesis center will help the PCA community achieve these goals by providing a centralized repository for existing and new data, a platform for sharing tools, and new analytical approaches through collaborative, multidisciplinary efforts. A data synthesis center will help the PCA reach milestones, such as community‐supported data evaluation metrics, accelerating plant research necessary for human and environmental health.

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