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Plants care dracaena marginata is known to repress senescence process in Trichogonium (Chinese script: 鲜節, pinyin: 乾隆, Origin in English), a kind of fleshy stem plant. Comparing with wild type (WT), with only less than 25% of gene loci are mutated, the plants are almost have no senescence process. The plant shows high germination rate, high seed set, high number of pods and even flower set, etc. The transgenic plant (GM) was grown in the field, seed-set could reach 4 and 10 times the wild type. The young leaves of the GM plant are similar to those of the WT. While the GM plant senesces early, and some leaves wither and dry before senescence. At maturity, the GM plant shows no visible difference in overall growth compared with the WT plant. The yield and germination rate of the transgenic plants are higher than the WT plants. These results confirmed that the senescence pathway is genetically regulated. However, the mechanism is not yet clear.
Our research is dedicated to the isolation, cloning and sequence analysis of key genes involved in age-dependent senescence of plants.
According to our knowledge, a region in chromosome 5 was identified and verified to be the expression site of gene BmDLO2 in homologous recombination of the Arabidopsis gene, AtDLO2. BmDLO2 is closely linked to the “Y” gene, and BmDLO2 is homologous to AtDLO2. BmDLO2 is highly homologous to AtDLO2 and AtPDL-2, this group of proteins may regulate the metabolism of chlorophyll and phytoalexin, which is important to the senescence of plants.
Cultivation of plants is the basis for food production and is of key significance to agriculture, aquaculture and forestry. In recent years, traditional farming has been replaced by modern farming, and with increasing emphasis on consumer preference of fresh and clean products, the demand for healthy, strong and rich food is also increased. With our continuous efforts and improvements, we have been devoted to research and development of traditional Chinese medicine and its medicines for over 35 years, and have worked on the breeding and cultivation of Chinese medicinal plants. And in this project, we plan to cultivate plants for human health and vitality, to study their basic physiological and biochemical features, and to realize high-quality plants through genetic breeding.
Sophisticated analysis of gene expression profile of senescent plants indicates that a network of hundreds of genes in combination with a cell cycle/programmed cell death (PCD) element mediates growth cessation in plants. We discovered in Petunia that the “SDG” gene can be “turned on” by any of the three plant hormones gibberellic acid, cytokinin or abscisic acid to promote the senescence-like program. The SDG protein appears to be a transcription factor that is required for triggering senescence-related gene expression. Two pathogen-response genes, SAI1 and RIP3, were identified as target genes of SDG that are induced as part of a senescence-like program. AtSAI1 is induced in leaves, and AtRIP3 is induced in roots of infected tobacco plants. AtSAI1 and AtRIP3 induce gene expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins in tobacco and tomato. We showed that the tobacco PR-1b and the tomato Solanum lycopersicum thaumatin-like protein I (SlTLPI) are two disease-response proteins of Arabidopsis thaliana that are induced by AtSAI1 and AtRIP3. The findings of the model experiment in Petunia and Arabidopsis will be translated to a better understanding of plant development and plant responses to pathogens. The results in our study have helped to resolve the puzzle of a “sweet spot” in senescence-associated gene expression that serves as a control switch to initiate the senescence-like program in Petunia and Arabidopsis.
Q: Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to scientific writing?
A: (Shirely) Given that I have just left academia after ten years, this may not be a fair question. I have no problem with the way science is communicated to the public. However, I do think that researchers who really care about their work should