School of BioSciences - Research Publications
Now showing items 1-12 of 2301
Opportunities for Improving Waterlogging Tolerance in Cereal Crops-Physiological Traits and Genetic Mechanisms
Waterlogging occurs when soil is saturated with water, leading to anaerobic conditions in the root zone of plants. Climate change is increasing the frequency of waterlogging events, resulting in considerable crop losses. Plants respond to waterlogging stress by adventitious root growth, aerenchyma formation, energy metabolism, and phytohormone signalling. Genotypes differ in biomass reduction, photosynthesis rate, adventitious roots development, and aerenchyma formation in response to waterlogging. We reviewed the detrimental effects of waterlogging on physiological and genetic mechanisms in four major cereal crops (rice, maize, wheat, and barley). The review covers current knowledge on waterlogging tolerance mechanism, genes, and quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with waterlogging tolerance-related traits, the conventional and modern breeding methods used in developing waterlogging tolerant germplasm. Lastly, we describe candidate genes controlling waterlogging tolerance identified in model plants Arabidopsis and rice to identify homologous genes in the less waterlogging-tolerant maize, wheat, and barley.
Spider Mites Singly Infected With Either Wolbachia or Spiroplasma Have Reduced Thermal Tolerance
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-07-07)
Heritable symbionts play an essential role in many aspects of host ecology in a temperature-dependent manner. However, how temperature impacts the host and their interaction with endosymbionts remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the impact of moderate (20°C) and high (30 and 35°C) temperatures on symbioses between the spider mite Tetranychus truncatus and two maternally inherited endosymbionts (Wolbachia and Spiroplasma). We found that the thermal tolerance of mites (as measured by survival after heat exposure) was lower for mites that were singly infected with either Wolbachia or Spiroplasma than it was for co-infected or uninfected mites. Although a relatively high temperature (30°C) is thought to promote bacterial replication, rearing at high temperature (35°C) resulted in losses of Wolbachia and particularly Spiroplasma. Exposing the mites to 20°C reduced the density and transmission of Spiroplasma but not Wolbachia. The four spider mite strains tested differed in the numbers of heat shock genes (Hsps) induced under moderate or high temperature exposure. In thermal preference (Tp) assays, the two Wolbachia-infected spider mite strains preferred a lower temperature than strains without Wolbachia. Our results show that endosymbiont-mediated spider mite responses to temperature stress are complex, involving a combination of changing endosymbiont infection patterns, altered thermoregulatory behavior, and transcription responses.
Comparative genome and transcriptome analyses reveal innate differences in response to host plants by two color forms of the two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae
BACKGROUND: The two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, is a major agricultural pest with a cosmopolitan distribution, and its polyphagous habits provide a model for investigating herbivore-plant interactions. There are two body color forms of T. urticae with a different host preference. Comparative genomics and transcriptomics are used here to investigate differences in responses of the forms to host plants at the molecular level. Biological responses of the two forms sourced from multiple populations are also presented. RESULTS: We carried out principal component analysis of transcription changes in three red and three green T. urticae populations feeding on their original host (common bean), and three hosts to which they were transferred: cotton, cucumber and eggplant. There were differences among the forms in gene expression regardless of their host plant. In addition, different changes in gene expression were evident in the two forms when responding to the same host transfer. We further compared biological performance among populations of the two forms after feeding on each of the four hosts. Fecundity of 2-day-old adult females showed a consistent difference between the forms after feeding on bean. We produced a 90.1-Mb genome of the red form of T. urticae with scaffold N50 of 12.78 Mb. Transcriptional profiles of genes associated with saliva, digestion and detoxification showed form-dependent responses to the same host and these genes also showed host-specific expression effects. CONCLUSIONS: Our research revealed that forms of T. urticae differ in host-determined transcription responses and that there is form-dependent plasticity in the transcriptomic responses. These differences may facilitate the extreme polyphagy shown by spider mites, although fitness differences on hosts are also influenced by population differences unrelated to color form.
Diagnostic Potential of the Plasma Lipidome in Infectious Disease: Application to Acute SARS-CoV-2 Infection
Improved methods are required for investigating the systemic metabolic effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection and patient stratification for precision treatment. We aimed to develop an effective method using lipid profiles for discriminating between SARS-CoV-2 infection, healthy controls, and non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory infections. Targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry lipid profiling was performed on discovery (20 SARS-CoV-2-positive; 37 healthy controls; 22 COVID-19 symptoms but SARS-CoV-2negative) and validation (312 SARS-CoV-2-positive; 100 healthy controls) cohorts. Orthogonal projection to latent structure-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) and Kruskal-Wallis tests were applied to establish discriminant lipids, significance, and effect size, followed by logistic regression to evaluate classification performance. OPLS-DA reported separation of SARS-CoV-2 infection from healthy controls in the discovery cohort, with an area under the curve (AUC) of 1.000. A refined panel of discriminant features consisted of six lipids from different subclasses (PE, PC, LPC, HCER, CER, and DCER). Logistic regression in the discovery cohort returned a training ROC AUC of 1.000 (sensitivity = 1.000, specificity = 1.000) and a test ROC AUC of 1.000. The validation cohort produced a training ROC AUC of 0.977 (sensitivity = 0.855, specificity = 0.948) and a test ROC AUC of 0.978 (sensitivity = 0.948, specificity = 0.922). The lipid panel was also able to differentiate SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals from SARS-CoV-2-negative individuals with COVID-19-like symptoms (specificity = 0.818). Lipid profiling and multivariate modelling revealed a signature offering mechanistic insights into SARS-CoV-2, with strong predictive power, and the potential to facilitate effective diagnosis and clinical management.
Cell surface carbohydrates of symbiotic dinoflagellates and their role in the establishment of cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis
Symbiodiniaceae algae are often photosymbionts of reef-building corals. The establishment of their symbiosis resembles a microbial infection where eukaryotic pattern recognition receptors (e.g. lectins) are thought to recognize a specific range of taxon-specific microbial-associated molecular patterns (e.g. glycans). The present study used the sea anemone, Exaiptasia diaphana and three species of Symbiodiniaceae (the homologous Breviolum minutum, the heterologous-compatible Cladocopium goreaui and the heterologous-incompatible Fugacium kawagutii) to compare the surface glycomes of three symbionts and explore the role of glycan-lectin interactions in host-symbiont recognition and establishment of symbiosis. We identified the nucleotide sugars of the algal cells, then examined glycans on the cell wall of the three symbiont species with monosaccharide analysis, lectin array technology and fluorescence microscopy of the algal cell decorated with fluorescently tagged lectins. Armed with this inventory of possible glycan moieties, we then assayed the ability of the three Symbiodiniaceae to colonize aposymbiotic E. diaphana after modifying the surface of one of the two partners. The Symbiodiniaceae cell-surface glycome varies among algal species. Trypsin treatment of the alga changed the rate of B. minutum and C. goreaui uptake, suggesting that a protein-based moiety is an essential part of compatible symbiont recognition. Our data strongly support the importance of D-galactose (in particular β-D-galactose) residues in the establishment of the cnidarian-dinoflagellate symbiosis, and we propose a potential involvement of L-fucose, D-xylose and D-galacturonic acid in the early steps of this mutualism.
Correlation between Organelle Genetic Variation and RNA Editing in Dinoflagellates Associated with the Coral Acropora digitifera.
(Oxford University Press (OUP), 2020-03-01)
In order to develop successful strategies for coral reef preservation, it is critical that the biology of both host corals and symbiotic algae are investigated. In the Ryukyu Archipelago, which encompasses many islands spread over ∼500 km of the Pacific Ocean, four major populations of the coral Acropora digitifera have been studied using whole-genome shotgun (WGS) sequence analysis (Shinzato C, Mungpakdee S, Arakaki N, Satoh N. 2015. Genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) analysis explains coral diversity and recovery in the Ryukyu Archipelago. Sci Rep. 5:18211.). In contrast, the diversity of the symbiotic dinoflagellates associated with these A. digitifera populations is unknown. It is therefore unclear if these two core components of the coral holobiont share a common evolutionary history. This issue can be addressed for the symbiotic algal populations by studying the organelle genomes of their mitochondria and plastids. Here, we analyzed WGS data from ∼150 adult A. digitifera, and by mapping reads to the available reference genome sequences, we extracted 2,250 sequences representing 15 organelle genes of Symbiodiniaceae. Molecular phylogenetic analyses of these mitochondrial and plastid gene sets revealed that A. digitifera from the southern Yaeyama islands harbor a different Symbiodiniaceae population than the islands of Okinawa and Kerama in the north, indicating that the distribution of symbiont populations partially matches that of the four host populations. Interestingly, we found that numerous SNPs correspond to known RNA-edited sites in 14 of the Symbiodiniaceae organelle genes, with mitochondrial genes showing a stronger correspondence than plastid genes. These results suggest a possible correlation between RNA editing and SNPs in the two organelle genomes of symbiotic dinoflagellates.
Global patterns in genomic diversity underpinning the evolution of insecticide resistance in the aphid crop pest Myzus persicae.
(Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2021-07-07)
The aphid Myzus persicae is a destructive agricultural pest that displays an exceptional ability to develop resistance to both natural and synthetic insecticides. To investigate the evolution of resistance in this species we generated a chromosome-scale genome assembly and living panel of >110 fully sequenced globally sampled clonal lines. Our analyses reveal a remarkable diversity of resistance mutations segregating in global populations of M. persicae. We show that the emergence and spread of these mechanisms is influenced by host-plant associations, uncovering the widespread co-option of a host-plant adaptation that also offers resistance against synthetic insecticides. We identify both the repeated evolution of independent resistance mutations at the same locus, and multiple instances of the evolution of novel resistance mechanisms against key insecticides. Our findings provide fundamental insights into the genomic responses of global insect populations to strong selective forces, and hold practical relevance for the control of pests and parasites.
Development of a free radical scavenging bacterial consortium to mitigate oxidative stress in cnidarians
Corals are colonized by symbiotic microorganisms that profoundly influence the animal's health. One noted symbiont is a single-celled alga (in the dinoflagellate family Symbiodiniaceae), which provides the coral with most of its fixed carbon. Thermal stress increases the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) by Symbiodiniaceae during photosynthesis. ROS can both damage the algal symbiont's photosynthetic machinery and inhibit its repair, causing a positive feedback loop for the toxic accumulation of ROS. If not scavenged by the antioxidant network, excess ROS may trigger a signaling cascade ending with the coral host and algal symbiont disassociating in a process known as bleaching. We use Exaiptasia diaphana as a model for corals and constructed a consortium comprised of E. diaphana-associated bacteria capable of neutralizing ROS. We identified six strains with high free radical scavenging (FRS) ability belonging to the families Alteromonadaceae, Rhodobacteraceae, Flavobacteriaceae and Micrococcaceae. In parallel, we established a consortium of low FRS isolates consisting of genetically related strains. Bacterial whole genome sequences were used to identify key pathways that are known to influence ROS.
Microbial Phosphorus Mobilization Strategies Across a Natural Nutrient Limitation Gradient and Evidence for Linkage With Iron Solubilization Traits.
(Frontiers Media SA, 2021)
Microorganisms have evolved several mechanisms to mobilize and mineralize occluded and insoluble phosphorus (P), thereby promoting plant growth in terrestrial ecosystems. However, the linkages between microbial P-solubilization traits and the preponderance of insoluble P in natural ecosystems are not well known. We tested the P solubilization traits of hundreds of culturable bacteria representative of the rhizosphere from a natural gradient where P concentration and bioavailability decline as soil becomes progressively more weathered. Aluminum, iron phosphate and organic P (phytate) were expected to dominate in more weathered soils. A defined cultivation medium with these chemical forms of P was used for isolation. A combination of soil chemical, spectroscopic analyses and 16S rRNA gene sequencing were used to understand the in situ ability for solubilization of these predominant forms of P. Locations with more occluded and organic P harbored the greatest abundance of P-mobilizing microorganisms, especially Burkholderiaceae (Caballeronia and Paraburkholderia spp.). Nearly all bacteria utilized aluminum phosphate, however fewer could subsist on iron phosphate (FePO4) or phytate. Microorganisms isolated from phytic acid were also most effective at solubilizing FePO4, suggesting that phytate solubilization may be linked to the ability to solubilize Fe. Significantly, we observed Fe to be co-located with P in organic patches in soil. Siderophore addition in lab experiments reinstated phytase mediated P-solubilization from Fe-phytate complexes. Taken together, these results indicate that metal-organic-P complex formation may limit enzymatic P solubilization from phytate in soil. Additionally, the linked traits of phytase and siderophore production were mostly restricted to specific clades within the Burkholderiaceae. We propose that Fe complexation of organic P (e.g., phytate) represents a major constraint on P turnover and availability in acidic soils, as only a limited subset of bacteria appear to possess the traits required to access this persistent pool of soil P.
Postnatal development in a marsupial model, the fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata; Dasyuromorphia: Dasyuridae)
(NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2021-09-02)
Marsupials exhibit unique biological features that provide fascinating insights into many aspects of mammalian development. These include their distinctive mode of reproduction, altricial stage at birth, and the associated heterochrony that is required for their crawl to the pouch and teat attachment. Marsupials are also an invaluable resource for mammalian comparative biology, forming a distinct lineage from the extant placental and egg-laying monotreme mammals. Despite their unique biology, marsupial resources are lagging behind those available for placentals. The fat-tailed dunnart (Sminthopsis crassicaudata) is a laboratory based marsupial model, with simple and robust husbandry requirements and a short reproductive cycle making it amenable to experimental manipulations. Here we present a detailed staging series for the fat-tailed dunnart, focusing on their accelerated development of the forelimbs and jaws. This study provides the first skeletal developmental series on S. crassicaudata and provides a fundamental resource for future studies exploring mammalian diversification, development and evolution.
Motion: enhancing signals and concealing cues
(COMPANY BIOLOGISTS LTD, 2021-08-01)
Animal colour patterns remain a lively focus of evolutionary and behavioural ecology, despite the considerable conceptual and technical developments over the last four decades. Nevertheless, our current understanding of the function and efficacy of animal colour patterns remains largely shaped by a focus on stationary animals, typically in a static background. Yet, this rarely reflects the natural world: most animals are mobile in their search for food and mates, and their surrounding environment is usually dynamic. Thus, visual signalling involves not only animal colour patterns, but also the patterns of animal motion and behaviour, often in the context of a potentially dynamic background. While motion can reveal information about the signaller by attracting attention or revealing signaller attributes, motion can also be a means of concealing cues, by reducing the likelihood of detection (motion camouflage, motion masquerade and flicker-fusion effect) or the likelihood of capture following detection (motion dazzle and confusion effect). The interaction between the colour patterns of the animal and its local environment is further affected by the behaviour of the individual. Our review details how motion is intricately linked to signalling and suggests some avenues for future research. This Review has an associated Future Leader to Watch interview with the first author.
A Simulation Study of the Use of Vaccination to Control Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreaks Across Australia
(FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2021-08-11)
This study examines the potential for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control strategies that incorporate vaccination to manage FMD spread for a range of incursion scenarios across Australia. Stakeholder consultation was used to formulate control strategies and incursion scenarios to ensure relevance to the diverse range of Australian livestock production regions and management systems. The Australian Animal Disease Spread model (AADIS) was used to compare nine control strategies for 13 incursion scenarios, including seven control strategies incorporating vaccination. The control strategies with vaccination differed in terms of their approaches for targeting areas and species. These strategies are compared with two benchmark strategies based on stamping out only. Outbreak size and duration were compared in terms of the total number of infected premises, the duration of the control stage of an FMD outbreak, and the number of vaccinated animals. The three key findings from this analysis are as follows: (1) smaller outbreaks can be effectively managed by stamping out without vaccination, (2) the size and duration of larger outbreaks can be significantly reduced when vaccination is used, and (3) different vaccination strategies produced similar reductions in the size and duration of an outbreak, but the number of animals vaccinated varied. Under current international standards for regaining FMD-free status, vaccinated animals need to be removed from the population at the end of the outbreak to minimize trade impacts. We have shown that selective, targeted vaccination strategies could achieve effective FMD control while significantly reducing the number of animals vaccinated.