• Suwen Zhu

      Articles written in Journal of Genetics

    • Application of RNA interference methodology to investigate and develop SCMV resistance in maize

      Defang Gan Fei Ding Dan Zhuang Haiyang Jiang Tong Jiang Suwen Zhu Beijiu Cheng

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      Specific fragments of the sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV) coat protein gene (cp) were amplified by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and used to construct a marker free small interfering RNA complex expression vector against SCMV. In planta transformation was performed on maize (Zea mays) inbred line 8112 mediated by Agrobacterium tumefaciens. PCR and Southern blot analyses demonstrated successful integration of the cp segment into the 8112 genome. The in planta transformation frequency was 0.1%, and the cotransformed frequency with the cp and bar genes was 0.034%. Realtime quantitative PCR of samples from different transgenic plant organs showed that the expression of the cp gene fragment in transgenic plants was variable and that the highest expression level occurred in the tassels and leaves and the lowest expression occurred in the roots. Real-time quantitative PCR was also used to measure how gene expression in transgenic T2 generation plants inoculated with SCMV changes over time. The results showed that the hairpin RNA structure transcribed from the cp gene interfered with SCMV infection and transgenic maize lines were not equally effective in preventing SCMV infection. Our findings provide a valuable tool for controlling plant viruses using RNA interference and the posttranslational gene silencing approach.

    • Identification and characterization of the RCI2 gene family in maize (Zea mays)

      Yang Zhao Haiqing Tong Ronghao Cai Xiaojian Peng Xiaoyu Li Defang Gan Suwen Zhu

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      Rare-cold-inducible (RCI2) genes are structurally conserved members that encode small, highly hydrophobic proteins involved in response to various abiotic stresses. Phylogenetic and functional analyses of these genes have been conducted in Arabidopsis, but an extensive investigation of the RCI2 gene family has not yet been carried out in maize. In the present study, 10 RCI2 genes were identified in a fully sequenced maize genome. Structural characterization and expression pattern analysis of 10 ZmRCI2s (Zea mays RCI2 genes) were subsequently determined. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses indicated that ZmRCI2s are highly conserved, and most of them could be grouped with their orthologues from other organisms. Chromosomal location analysis indicated that ZmRCI2s were distributed unevenly on seven chromosomes with two segmental duplication events, suggesting that maize RCI2 gene family is an evolutionarily conserved family. Putative stress-responsive cis-elements were detected in the 2-kb promoter regions of the 10 ZmRCI2s. In addition, the 10 ZmRCI2s showed different expression patterns in maize development based on transcriptome analysis. Further, microarray and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that each maize RCI2 genes were responsive to drought stress, suggesting their important roles in drought stress response. The results of this work provide a basis for future cloning and application studies of maize RCI2 genes.

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