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From Valerian Dolja and colleagues:

Myosins VIII and XI Play Distinct Roles in Reproduction and Transport of Tobacco Mosaic Virus


Viruses are parasites that require the host cell machinery for their propagation within and between cells. Myosins are molecular motors involved in the trafficking of cargos along actin filaments. Plant viruses have evolved to borrow this transport mechanism to aid their infection and spread within the plant. However, little is known about which of the many plant myosins are essential and at which specific steps they act to support virus infection. Here we investigated the role of different N. benthamiana myosins during the infection by Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV). Our results show that class XI myosins play specific roles in the reproduction and intracellular movement of TMV in association with the dynamic endoplasmic reticulum network, whereas class VIII myosins support the specific targeting of the viral movement protein to plasmodesmata and thus the cell-to-cell movement of the virus. Together these results indicate that TMV interacts with distinct myosins during specific infection steps.


Myosins XI modulate host cellular responses and penetration resistance to fungal pathogens


The rapid reorganization and polarization of actin filaments (AFs) toward the pathogen penetration site is one of the earliest cellular responses, yet the regulatory mechanism of AF dynamics is poorly understood. Using live-cell imaging in Arabidopsis, we show that polarization coupled with AF bundling involves precise spatiotemporal control at the site of attempted penetration by the nonadapted barley powdery mildew fungus, Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh). We further show that the Bgh-triggered AF mobility and organelle aggregation are predominately driven by the myosin motor proteins. Inactivation of myosins by pharmacological inhibitors prevents bulk aggregation of organelles and blocks recruitment of lignin-like compounds to the penetration site and deposition of callose and defensive protein, PENETRATION 1 (PEN1) into the apoplastic papillae, resulting in attenuation of penetration resistance. Using gene knockout analysis, we demonstrate that highly expressed myosins XI, especially myosin XI-K, are the primary contributors to cell wall-mediated penetration resistance. Moreover, the quadruple myosin knockout mutant xi-1 xi-2 xi-i xi-k displays impaired trafficking pathway responsible for the accumulation of PEN1 at the cell periphery. Strikingly, this mutant shows not only increased penetration rate but also enhanced overall disease susceptibility to both adapted and nonadapted fungal pathogens. Our findings establish myosins XI as key regulators of plant antifungal immunity.

From John Fowler and colleagues:

Developmentally distinct activities of the exocyst enable rapid cell elongation and determine meristem size during primary root growth in Arabidopsis

Abstract (provisional)

BackgroundExocytosis is integral to root growth: trafficking components of systems that control growth (e.g., PIN auxin transport proteins) to the plasma membrane, and secreting materials that expand the cell wall to the apoplast. Spatiotemporal regulation of exocytosis in eukaryotes often involves the exocyst, an octameric complex that tethers selected secretory vesicles to specific sites on the plasma membrane and facilitates their exocytosis. We evaluated Arabidopsis lines with mutations in four exocyst components (SEC5, SEC8, EXO70A1 and EXO84B) to explore exocyst function in primary root growth.ResultsThe mutants have root growth rates that are 82% to 11% of wild-type. Even in lines with the most severe defects, the organization of the quiescent center and tissue layers at the root tips appears similar to wild-type, although meristematic, transition, and elongation zones are shorter. Reduced cell production rates in the mutants are due to the shorter meristems, but not to lengthened cell cycles. Additionally, mutants demonstrate reduced anisotropic cell expansion in the elongation zone, but not the meristematic zone, resulting in shorter mature cells that are similar in shape to wild-type. As expected, hypersensitivity to brefeldin A links the mutant root growth defect to altered vesicular trafficking. Several experimental approaches (e.g., dose?response measurements, localization of signaling components) failed to identify aberrant auxin or brassinosteroid signaling as a primary driver for reduced root growth in exocyst mutants.ConclusionsThe exocyst participates in two spatially distinct developmental processes, apparently by mechanisms not directly linked to auxin or brassinosteroid signaling pathways, to help establish root meristem size, and to facilitate rapid cell expansion in the elongation zone.

From Aaron Liston and colleagues (photo credit)

Evolutionary Origins and Dynamics of Octoploid Strawberry Subgenomes Revealed by Dense Targeted Capture Linkage Maps


Whole-genome duplications are radical evolutionary events that have driven speciation and adaptation in many taxa. Higher-order polyploids have complex histories often including interspecific hybridization and dynamic genomic changes. This chromosomal reshuffling is poorly understood for most polyploid species, despite their evolutionary and agricultural importance, due to the challenge of distinguishing homologous sequences from each other. Here, we use dense linkage maps generated with targeted sequence capture to improve the diploid strawberry (Fragaria vesca) reference genome and to disentangle the subgenomes of the wild octoploid progenitors of cultivated strawberry, Fragaria virginiana and Fragaria chiloensis. Our novel approach, POLiMAPS (Phylogenetics Of Linkage-Map-Anchored Polyploid Subgenomes), leverages sequence reads to associate informative interhomeolog phylogenetic markers with linkage groups and reference genome positions. In contrast to a widely accepted model, we find that one of the four subgenomes originates with the diploid cytoplasm donor F. vesca, one with the diploid Fragaria iinumae, and two with an unknown ancestor close to F. iinumae. Extensive unidirectional introgression has converted F. iinumae-like subgenomes to be more F. vesca-like, but never the reverse, due either to homoploid hybridization in the F. iinumae-like diploid ancestors or else strong selection spreading F. vesca-like sequence among subgenomes through homeologous exchange. In addition, divergence between homeologous chromosomes has been substantially augmented by interchromosomal rearrangements. Our phylogenetic approach reveals novel aspects of the complicated web of genetic exchanges that occur during polyploid evolution and suggests a path forward for unraveling other agriculturally and ecologically important polyploid genomes.

From Sushma Naithani and colleagues:

VitisCyc: a metabolic pathway knowledgebase for grapevine (Vitis vinifera)


We have developed VitisCyc, a grapevine-specific metabolic pathway database that allows researchers to (i) search and browse the database for its various components such as metabolic pathways, reactions, compounds, genes and proteins, (ii) compare grapevine metabolic networks with other publicly available plant metabolic networks, and (iii) upload, visualize and analyze high-throughput data such as transcriptomes, proteomes, metabolomes etc. using OMICs-Viewer tool. VitisCyc is based on the genome sequence of the nearly homozygous genotype PN40024 of Vitis vinifera “Pinot Noir” cultivar with 12X v1 annotations and was built on BioCyc platform using Pathway Tools software and MetaCyc reference database. Furthermore, VitisCyc was enriched for plant-specific pathways and grape-specific metabolites, reactions and pathways. Currently VitisCyc harbors 68 super pathways, 362 biosynthesis pathways, 118 catabolic pathways, 5 detoxification pathways, 36 energy related pathways and 6 transport pathways, 10,908 enzymes, 2912 enzymatic reactions, 31 transport reactions and 2024 compounds. VitisCyc, as a community resource, can aid in the discovery of candidate genes and pathways that are regulated during plant growth and development, and in response to biotic and abiotic stress signals generated from a plant's immediate environment. VitisCyc version 3.18 is available online at http://pathways.cgrb.oregonstate.edu/pgdb/vitiscyc.shtml