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Overexpression of the poplar NF-YB7 transcription factor confers drought tolerance and improves water-use efficiency in Arabidopsis

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      Abstract

      Water deficit is a serious environmental factor limiting the growth and productivity of plants worldwide. Improvement of drought tolerance and efficient water use are significant strategies to overcome this dilemma. In this study, a drought-responsive transcription factor, NUCLEAR FACTOR Y subunit B 7 ( PdNF-YB7), induced by osmotic stress (PEG6000) and abscisic acid, was isolated from fast-growing poplar clone NE-19 [ Populus nigra × ( Populus deltoides × Populus nigra)]. Ectopic overexpression of PdNF-YB7 ( oxPdB7) in Arabidopsis enhanced drought tolerance and whole-plant and instantaneous leaf water-use efficiency (WUE, the ratio of biomass produced to water consumed). Overexpressing lines had an increase in germination rate and root length and decrease in water loss and displayed higher photosynthetic rate, instantaneous leaf WUE, and leaf water potential to exhibit enhanced drought tolerance under water scarcity. Additionally, overexpression of PdNF-YB7 in Arabidopsis improved whole-plant WUE by increasing carbon assimilation and reducing transpiration with water abundance. These drought-tolerant, higher WUE transgenic Arabidopsis had earlier seedling establishment and higher biomass than controls under normal and drought conditions. In contrast, Arabidopsis mutant nf-yb3 was more sensitive to drought stress with lower WUE. However, complementation analysis indicated that complementary lines ( nf-yb3/PdB7) had almost the same drought response and WUE as wild-type Col-0. Taken together, these results suggest that PdNF-YB7 positively confers drought tolerance and improves WUE in Arabidopsis; thus it could potentially be used in breeding drought-tolerant plants with increased production even under water deficiency.

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      Phylogeny.fr: robust phylogenetic analysis for the non-specialist

      Phylogenetic analyses are central to many research areas in biology and typically involve the identification of homologous sequences, their multiple alignment, the phylogenetic reconstruction and the graphical representation of the inferred tree. The Phylogeny.fr platform transparently chains programs to automatically perform these tasks. It is primarily designed for biologists with no experience in phylogeny, but can also meet the needs of specialists; the first ones will find up-to-date tools chained in a phylogeny pipeline to analyze their data in a simple and robust way, while the specialists will be able to easily build and run sophisticated analyses. Phylogeny.fr offers three main modes. The ‘One Click’ mode targets non-specialists and provides a ready-to-use pipeline chaining programs with recognized accuracy and speed: MUSCLE for multiple alignment, PhyML for tree building, and TreeDyn for tree rendering. All parameters are set up to suit most studies, and users only have to provide their input sequences to obtain a ready-to-print tree. The ‘Advanced’ mode uses the same pipeline but allows the parameters of each program to be customized by users. The ‘A la Carte’ mode offers more flexibility and sophistication, as users can build their own pipeline by selecting and setting up the required steps from a large choice of tools to suit their specific needs. Prior to phylogenetic analysis, users can also collect neighbors of a query sequence by running BLAST on general or specialized databases. A guide tree then helps to select neighbor sequences to be used as input for the phylogeny pipeline. Phylogeny.fr is available at: http://www.phylogeny.fr/
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        Regulatory network of gene expression in the drought and cold stress responses.

        Molecular and genomic studies have shown that several genes with various functions are induced by drought and cold stresses, and that various transcription factors are involved in the regulation of stress-inducible genes. The products of stress-inducible genes function not only in stress tolerance but also in stress response. Genetic studies have identified many factors that modify the regulation of stress responses. Recent progress has been made in analyzing the complex cascades of gene expression in drought and cold stress responses, especially in identifying specificity and crosstalk in stress signaling.
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          Methods and concepts in quantifying resistance to drought, salt and freezing, abiotic stresses that affect plant water status.

          The abiotic stresses of drought, salinity and freezing are linked by the fact that they all decrease the availability of water to plant cells. This decreased availability of water is quantified as a decrease in water potential. Plants resist low water potential and related stresses by modifying water uptake and loss to avoid low water potential, accumulating solutes and modifying the properties of cell walls to avoid the dehydration induced by low water potential and using protective proteins and mechanisms to tolerate reduced water content by preventing or repairing cell damage. Salt stress also alters plant ion homeostasis, and under many conditions this may be the predominant factor affecting plant performance. Our emphasis is on experiments that quantify resistance to realistic and reproducible low water potential (drought), salt and freezing stresses while being suitable for genetic studies where a large number of lines must be analyzed. Detailed protocols for the use of polyethylene glycol-infused agar plates to impose low water potential stress, assay of salt tolerance based on root elongation, quantification of freezing tolerance and the use of electrolyte leakage experiments to quantify cellular damage induced by freezing and low water potential are also presented.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Nation Engineering Laboratory for Tree Breeding, College of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology, Beijing Forestry University , No. 35 Tsinghua East Road, Beijing, PR China
            Author notes
            * These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
            To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: xiaxl@ 123456bjfu.edu.cn and yinwl@ 123456bjfu.edu.cn
            Journal
            J Exp Bot
            J. Exp. Bot
            jexbot
            jexbot
            Journal of Experimental Botany
            Oxford University Press (UK )
            0022-0957
            1460-2431
            November 2013
            4 September 2013
            4 September 2013
            : 64
            : 14
            : 4589-4601
            24006421
            3808328
            10.1093/jxb/ert262
            © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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            Pages: 13
            Categories
            Research Paper

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