Current Genomics (v.17, #4)

Rice is one of the most important food crops, feeding about half population in the world. Rice pathogens cause enormous damage to rice production worldwide. In plant immunity research, considerable progress has recently been made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP)-triggered immunity. Using genome sequencing and molecular techniques, a number of new MAMPs and their receptors have been identified in the past two decades. Notably, the mechanisms for chitin perception via the lysine motif (LysM) domain-containing receptor OsCERK1, as well as the mechanisms for bacterial MAMP (e.g. flg22, elf18) perception via the leucine-rich repeat (LRR) domain-containing receptors FLS2 and EFR, have been clarified in rice and Arabidopsis, respectively. In chitin signaling in rice, two direct substrates of OsCERK1, Rac/ROP GTPase guanine nucleotide exchange factor OsRacGEF1 and receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase OsRLCK185, have been identified as components of the OsCERK1 complex and are rapidly phosphorylated by OsCERK1 in response to chitin. Interestingly, OsCERK1 also participates in symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in rice and plays a role in the recognition of short-chitin molecules (CO4/5), which are symbiotic signatures included in AMF germinated spore exudates and induced by synthetic strigolactone. Thus, OsCERK1 contributes to both immunity and symbiotic responses. In this review, we describe recent studies on pathways involved in rice immunity and symbiotic signaling triggered by interactions with microorganisms. In addition, we describe recent advances in genetic engineering by using plant immune receptors and symbiotic microorganisms to enhance disease resistance of rice.

Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and development. Inorganic phosphate (Pi) is the major form of P taken up from the soil by plant roots. It is well established that under Pi deficiency condition, plant roots undergo striking morphological changes; mainly a reduction in primary root length while increase in lateral root length as well as root hair length and density. This typical phenotypic change reflects complex interactions with other nutrients such as iron, and involves the activity of a large spectrum of plant hormones. Although, several key proteins involved in the regulation of root growth under Pi-deficiency have been identified in Arabidopsis, how plants adapt roots system architecture in response to Pi availability remains an open question. In the current post-genomic era, state of the art technologies like high-throughput phenotyping and sequencing platforms,“omics” methods, together with the widespread use of system biology and genome-wide association studies will help to elucidate the genetic architectures of root growth on different Pi regimes. It is clear that the large-scale characterization of molecular systems will improve our understanding of nutrient stress phenotype and biology. Herein, we summarize the recent advances and future directions towards a better understanding of Arabidopsis root developmental programs functional under Pi deficiency. Such a progress is necessary to devise strategies to improve the Pi use efficiency in plants that is an important issue for agriculture.

Role of Cyclic Nucleotide Gated Channels in Stress Management in Plants by Saroj K. Jha, Manisha Sharma, Girdhar K. Pandey (315-329).
Tolerance of plants to a number of biotic and abiotic stresses such as pathogen and herbivore attack, drought, salinity, cold and nutritional limitations is ensued by complex multimodule signaling pathways. The outcome of this complex signaling pathways results in adaptive responses by restoring the cellular homeostasis and thus promoting survival. Functions of many plant cation transporter and channel protein families such as glutamate receptor homologs (GLRs), cyclic nucleotidegated ion channel (CNGC) have been implicated in providing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Ion homeostasis regulated by several transporters and channels is one of the crucial parameters for the optimal growth, development and survival of all living organisms. The CNGC family members are known to be involved in the uptake of cations such as Na+, K+ and Ca2+ and regulate plant growth and development. Detail functional genomics approaches have given an emerging picture of CNGCs wherein these protein are believed to play crucial role in pathways related to cellular ion homeostasis, development and as a 'guard' in defense against biotic and abiotic challenges. Here, we discuss the current knowledge of role of CNGCs in mediating stress management and how they aid plants in survival under adverse conditions.

Genome-assisted Breeding For Drought Resistance by Awais Khan, Valpuri Sovero, Dorcus Gemenet (330-342).
Drought stress caused by unpredictable precipitation poses a major threat to food production worldwide, and its impact is only expected to increase with the further onset of climate change. Understanding the effect of drought stress on crops and plants' response is critical for developing improved varieties with stable high yield to fill a growing food gap from an increasing population depending on decreasing land and water resources. When a plant encounters drought stress, it may use multiple response types, depending on environmental conditions, drought stress intensity and duration, and the physiological stage of the plant. Drought stress responses can be divided into four broad types: drought escape, drought avoidance, drought tolerance, and drought recovery, each characterized by interacting mechanisms, which may together be referred to as drought resistance mechanisms. The complex nature of drought resistance requires a multi-pronged approach to breed new varieties with stable and enhanced yield under drought stress conditions. High throughput genomics and phenomics allow marker-assisted selection (MAS) and genomic selection (GS), which offer rapid and targeted improvement of populations and identification of parents for rapid genetic gains and improved drought-resistant varieties. Using these approaches together with appropriate genetic diversity, databases, analytical tools, and well-characterized drought stress scenarios, weather and soil data, new varieties with improved drought resistance corresponding to grower preferences can be introduced into target regions rapidly.

Genomics Approaches For Improving Salinity Stress Tolerance in Crop Plants by Ramsong Chantre Nongpiur, Sneh Lata Singla-Pareek, Ashwani Pareek (343-357).
Salinity is one of the major factors which reduces crop production worldwide. Plant responses to salinity are highly complex and involve a plethora of genes. Due to its multigenicity, it has been difficult to attain a complete understanding of how plants respond to salinity. Genomics has progressed tremendously over the past decade and has played a crucial role towards providing necessary knowledge for crop improvement. Through genomics, we have been able to identify and characterize the genes involved in salinity stress response, map out signaling pathways and ultimately utilize this information for improving the salinity tolerance of existing crops. The use of new tools, such as gene pyramiding, in genetic engineering and marker assisted breeding has tremendously enhanced our ability to generate stress tolerant crops. Genome editing technologies such as Zinc finger nucleases, TALENs and CRISPR/Cas9 also provide newer and faster avenues for plant biologists to generate precisely engineered crops.

Food security has emerged as an urgent concern because of the rising world population. To meet the food demands of the near future, it is required to improve the productivity of various crops, not just of staple food crops. The genetic diversity among plant populations in a given species allows the plants to adapt to various environmental conditions. Such diversity could therefore yield valuable traits that could overcome the food-security challenges. To explore genetic diversity comprehensively and to rapidly identify useful genes and/or allele, advanced high-throughput sequencing techniques, also called nextgeneration sequencing (NGS) technologies, have been developed. These provide practical solutions to the challenges in crop genomics. Here, we review various sources of genetic diversity in plants, newly developed genetic diversity-mining tools synergized with NGS techniques, and related genetic approaches such as quantitative trait locus analysis and genome- wide association study.

Bioinformatics Approach in Plant Genomic Research by Quang Ong, Phuc Nguyen, Nguyen Phuong Thao, Ly Le (368-378).
The advance in genomics technology leads to the dramatic change in plant biology research. Plant biologists now easily access to enormous genomic data to deeply study plant highdensity genetic variation at molecular level. Therefore, fully understanding and well manipulating bioinformatics tools to manage and analyze these data are essential in current plant genome research. Many plant genome databases have been established and continued expanding recently. Meanwhile, analytical methods based on bioinformatics are also well developed in many aspects of plant genomic research including comparative genomic analysis, phylogenomics and evolutionary analysis, and genome-wide association study. However, constantly upgrading in computational infrastructures, such as high capacity data storage and high performing analysis software, is the real challenge for plant genome research. This review paper focuses on challenges and opportunities which knowledge and skills in bioinformatics can bring to plant scientists in present plant genomics era as well as future aspects in critical need for effective tools to facilitate the translation of knowledge from new sequencing data to enhancement of plant productivity.

Applications of DNA Technologies in Agriculture by Jinggui Fang, Xudong Zhu, Chen Wang, Lingfei Shangguan (379-386).
With the development of molecular biology, some DNA-based technologies have showed great potentiality in promoting the efficiency of crop breeding program, protecting germplasm resources, improving the quality and outputs of agricultural products, and protecting the ecoenvironment etc., making their roles in modern agriculture more and more important. To better understand the application of DNA technologies in agriculture, and achieve the goals to promote their utilities in modern agriculture, this paper describes, in some different way, the applications of molecular markers, transgenic engineering and gene's information in agriculture. Some corresponding anticipations for their development prospects are also made.