• Xiaofen Sun

      Articles written in Journal of Biosciences

    • Isolation and characterization of a new mannose-binding lectin gene fromTaxus media

      Guoyin Kai Lingxia Zhao Jingui Zheng Lei Zhang Zhiqi Miao Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      In this paper, we report the cloning and characterization of the first mannose-binding lectin gene from a gymnosperm plant species,Taxus media. The full-length cDNA ofT. media agglutinin (TMA) consisted of 676 bp and contained a 432 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a 144 amino acid protein. Comparative analysis showed that TMA had high homology with many previously reported plant mannose-binding lectins and thattma encoded a precursor lectin with a 26-aa signal peptide. Molecular modelling revealed that TMA was a new mannosebinding lectin with three typical mannose-binding boxes like lectins from species of angiosperms. Tissue expression pattern analyses revealed thattma is expressed in a tissue-specific manner in leaves and stems, but not in fruits and roots. Phylogenetic tree analyses showed that TMA belonged to the structurally and evolutionarily closely related monocot mannose-binding lectin superfamily. This study provides useful information to understand the molecular evolution of plant lectins.

    • cDNA cloning and characterization of a mannose-binding lectin fromZingiber officinaleRoscoe (ginger) rhizomes

      Zhonghai Chen Guoyin Kai Xiaojun Liu Juan Lin Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      Using RNA extracted fromZingiber officinale rhizomes and primers designed according to the conservative regions of monocot mannose-binding lectins, the full-length cDNA ofZ. officinale agglutinin (ZOA) was cloned by rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE). The full-length cDNA ofzoa was 746 bp and contained a 510 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a lectin precursor of 169 amino acids with a signal peptide. ZOA was a mannose-binding lectin with three typical mannose-binding sites (QDNY). Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed thatzoa expressed in all the tested tissues ofZ. officinale including leaf, root and rhizome, suggesting it to be a constitutively expressing form. ZOA protein was successfully expressed inEscherichia coli with the molecular weight expected. To our knowledge, this is the first mannose-binding lectin cDNA cloned from the family Zingiberaceae. Our results demonstrate that monocot mannose-binding lectins also occur within the family Zingiberaceae

    • Enhancement of resistance to aphids by introducing the snowdrop lectin genegna into maize plants

      Zhaoyu Wang Kewei Zhang Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang Juren Zhang

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      In order to enhance the resistance to pests, transgenic maize (Zea mays L.) plants from elite inbred lines containing the gene encoding snowdrop lectin (Galanthus nivalis L. agglutinin; GNA) under control of a phloem-specific promoter were generated through theAgrobacterium tumefaciens- mediated method. The toxicity of GNA-expressing plants to aphids has also been studied. The independently derived plants were subjected to molecular analyses. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Southern blot analyses confirmed that thegna gene was integrated into maize genome and inherited to the following generations. The typical Mendelian patterns of inheritance occurred in most cases. The level of GNA expression at 0.13%-0.28% of total soluble protein was observed in different transgenic plants. The progeny of nine GNA-expressing independent transformants that were derived separately from the elite inbred lines DH4866, DH9942, and 8902, were selected for examination of resistance to aphids. These plants synthesized GNA at levels above 0.22% total soluble protein, and enhanced resistance to aphids was demonstrated by exposing the plants to corn leaf aphid (Rhopalosiphum maidis Fitch) under greenhouse conditions. The nymph production was significantly reduced by 46.9% on GNA-expressing plants. Field evaluation of the transgenic plants supported the results from the inoculation trial. After a series of artificial self-crosses, some homozygous transgenic maize lines expressing GNA were obtained. In the present study, we have obtained new insect-resistant maize material for further breeding work.

    • Overexpression ofGbERF confers alteration of ethylene-responsive gene expression and enhanced resistance toPseudomonas syringae in transgenic tobacco

      Jie Qin Kaijing Zuo Jingya Zhao Hua Ling Youfang Cao Chengxiang Qiu Fupeng Li Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      GbERF belongs to the ERF (ethylene responsive factor) family of transcription factors and regulates the GCC-box containing pathogen-related (PR) genes in the ethylene signal transduction pathway. To study the function of GbERF in the process of biotic stress, transgenic tobacco plants expressingGbERF were generated. Overexpression ofGbERF did not change transgenic plant’s phenotype and endogenous ethylene level. However, the expression profile of some ethylene-inducible GCC-box and non-GCC-box containing genes was altered, such asPR1b, PR2, PR3, PR4,Osmotin, CHN50, ACC oxidase and ACC synthase genes. These data indicate that the cotton GbERF could act as a transcriptional activator or repressor to regulate the differential expression of ethylene-inducible genes via GCC and non-GCCcis-elements. Moreover, the constitutive expression ofGbERF in transgenic tobacco enhanced the plant’s resistance toPseudomonas syringae pvtabaci infection. In conclusion,GbERF mediates the expression of a wide array ofPR and ethylene-responsive genes and plays an important role in the plant’s response to biotic stress.

    • cDNA cloning and expression analysis of a mannose-binding lectin from Pinellia pedatisecta

      Juan Lin Xuanwei Zhou Shi Gao Xiaojun Liu Weisheng Wu Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      Pinellia pedatisecta agglutinin (PPA) is a very basic protein that accumulates in the tuber of P. pedatisecta. PPA is a hetero-tetramer protein of 40 kDa, composed of two polypeptide chains A (about 12 kDa) and two polypeptides chains B (about 12 kDa). The full-length cDNA of PPA was cloned from P. pedatisecta using SMART RACE-PCR technology; it was 1146 bp and contained a 771 bp open reading frame (ORF) encoding a lectin precursor of 256 amino acid residues with a 24 amino acid signal peptide. The PPA precursor contained 3 mannose-binding sites (QXDXNXVXY) and two conserved domains of 43% identity, PPA-DOM1 (polypeptides A) and PPA-DOM2 (polypeptides B). PPA shared varying identities, ranging from 40% to 85%, with mannose-binding lectins from other species of plant families such as Araceae, Alliaceae, Iridaceae, Liliaceae, Amaryllidaceae and Bromeliaceae. Southern blot analysis indicated that ppa belonged to a multi-copy gene family. Expression pattern analysis revealed that ppa expressed in most tested tissues, with high expression being found in spadix, spathe and tuber. Cloning of the ppa gene not only provides a basis for further investigation of its structure, expression and regulatory mechanism, but also enables us to test its potential role in controlling pests and fungal diseases by transferring the gene into plants in the future.

    • Generation of tobacco lines with widely different reduction in nicotine levels via RNA silencing approaches

      Peng Wang Zhifeng Liang Jia Zeng Wenchao Wenchao Li Xiaofen Sun Zhiqi Miao Kexuan Tang

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      Issues related to the nicotine content of tobacco have been public concerns. Several reports have described decreasing nicotine levels by silencing the putrescine N-methyltransferase (PMT) genes, but the reported variations of nicotine levels among transgenic lines are relatively low in general. Here we describe the generation in tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) lines with widely different, reduced nicotine levels using three kinds of RNA-silencing approaches. The relative efficacies of suppression were compared among the three approaches regarding the aspect of nicotine level in tobacco leaves. By suppressing expression of the PMT genes, over 200 transgenic lines were obtained with nicotine levels reduced by 9.1–96.7%. RNA interference (RNAi) was the most efficient method of reducing the levels of nicotine, whereas cosuppression and antisense methods were less effective. This report gives clues to the efficient generation of plants with a variety of metabolite levels, and the results demonstrate the relative efficiencies of various RNA-silencing methods.

    • Identification and expression profile of GbAGL2, a C-class gene from Gossypium barbadense

      Xiang Liu Kaijing Zuo Fei Zhang Ying Li Jieting Xu Lida Zhang Xiaofen Sun Kexuan Tang

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      An AGAMOUS (AG)-like gene, GbAGL2, was isolated from Gossypium barbadense and characterized. Alignment and phylogenetic analysis indicated that GbAGL2 shared high homology with AG-subfamily genes and belonged to a C-class gene family. DNA gel blot analysis showed that GbAGL2 belonged to a low-copy gene family. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) revealed that GbAGL2 was highly expressed in reproductive tissues including ovules and carpels, but barely expressed in vegetative tissues. In addition, GbAGL2 expression in a cotton cultivar XuZhou142 (wt) (XZ142, G. hirsutum L.) and its fibreless mutant XZ142 (fl) was examined. RNA in situ hybridization analysis indicated that GbAGL2 transcripts were preferentially restricted to outer ovule integuments, carpels and fibres. These expression patterns implied that GbAGL2 might participate in the development of the carpel and ovule. Furthermore, Arabidopsis transformation was performed and modifications occurred in flowers, and the silique length of transgenic plants also increased slightly, suggesting that the GbAGL2 gene may have a positive effect on the development of the ovary or ovule. Our findings suggest that GbAGL2 might not only specify the identity of floral organs but also play a potential key role in ovary or fibre development in cotton.

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