Contamination with exogenous DNA is a constant hazard to ancient DNA studies, since their validity greatly depend on the ancient origin of the retrieved sequences. Since contamination occurs sporadically, it is fundamental to show positive evidence for the authenticity of ancient DNA sequences even when preventive measures to avoid contamination are implemented. Recently the presence of wheat in the United Kingdom 8000 years before the present has been reported based on an analysis of sedimentary ancient DNA (Smith et al. 2015). Smith et al. did not present any positive evidence for the authenticity of their results due to the small number of sequencing reads that were confidently assigned to wheat. We developed a computational method that compares postmortem damage patterns of a test dataset with bona fide ancient and modern DNA. We applied this test to the putative wheat DNA and find that these reads are most likely not of ancient origin.
To secure their access to water, light, and nutrients, many plant species have developed allelopathic strategies to suppress competitors. To this end, they release into the rhizosphere phytotoxic substances that inhibit the germination and growth of neighbors. Despite the importance of allelopathy in shaping natural plant communities and for agricultural production, the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we report that allelochemicals derived from the common class of cyclic hydroxamic acid root exudates directly affect the chromatin-modifying machinery in Arabidopsis thaliana. These allelochemicals inhibit histone deacetylases both in vitro and in vivo and exert their activity through locus-specific alterations of histone acetylation and associated gene expression. Our multilevel analysis collectively shows how plant-plant interactions interfere with a fundamental cellular process, histone acetylation, by targeting an evolutionarily highly conserved class of enzymes.
Distinct molecular mechanisms integrate changes in ambient temperature into the genetic pathways that govern flowering time in Arabidopsis thaliana. Temperature-dependent eviction of the histone variant H2A.Z from nucleosomes has been suggested to facilitate the expression of FT by PIF4 at elevated ambient temperatures. Here we show that, in addition to PIF4, PIF3 and PIF5, but not PIF1 and PIF6, can promote flowering when expressed specifically in phloem companion cells (PCC), where they can induce FT and its close paralog, TSF. However, despite their strong potential to promote flowering, genetic analyses suggest that the PIF genes seem to have only a minor role in adjusting flowering in response to photoperiod or high ambient temperature. In addition, loss of PIF function only partially suppressed the early flowering phenotype and FT expression of the arp6 mutant, which is defective in H2A.Z deposition. In contrast, the chemical inhibition of gibberellic acid (GA) biosynthesis resulted in a strong attenuation of early flowering and FT expression in arp6. Furthermore, GA was able to induce flowering at low temperature (15 degrees C) independently of FT, TSF, and the PIF genes, probably directly at the shoot apical meristem. Together, our results suggest that the timing of the floral transition in response to ambient temperature is more complex than previously thought and that GA signaling might play a crucial role in this process. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
The biogenesis of microRNAs (miRNAs), which regulate mRNA abundance through posttranscriptional silencing, comprises multiple well-orchestrated processing steps. We have identified the Arabidopsis thaliana K homology (KH) domain protein REGULATOR OF CBF GENE EXPRESSION 3 (RCF3) as a cofactor affecting miRNA biogenesis in specific plant tissues. MiRNA and miRNA-target levels were reduced in apex-enriched samples of rcf3 mutants, but not in other tissues. Mechanistically, RCF3 affects miRNA biogenesis through nuclear interactions with the phosphatases C-TERMINAL DOMAIN PHOSPHATASE-LIKE1 and 2 (CPL1 and CPL2). These interactions are essential to regulate the phosphorylation status, and thus the activity, of the double-stranded RNA binding protein and DICER-LIKE1 (DCL1) cofactor HYPONASTIC LEAVES1 (HYL1)
Picture of Markus with Ove Nilsson (left), also former Weigelworld postdoc and now director of the Umeå Plant Science Centre.
December 7, 4:15 pm
Lecture hall N10, Auf der Morgenstelle 3
Tuesday, December 8
SLU Uppsala, Sweden
"Something to remember? How biotic and abiotic stress affects chromatin in A. thaliana"
Friday, December 11
University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Claude speaking about 'Studying variation of DNA methylation in plants using Next-Generation Sequencing'