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Publikation

Serra, P.; Carbonell, A.; Navarro, B.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Li, S.; Di Serio, F.; Flores, R. Symptomatic plant viroid infections in phytopathogenic fungi: A request for a critical reassessment Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 117, 10126-10128, (2020) DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1922249117

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Publikation

Gago-Zachert, S.; Schuck, J.; Weinholdt, C.; Knoblich, M.; Pantaleo, V.; Grosse, I.; Gursinsky, T.; Behrens, S.-E. Highly efficacious antiviral protection of plants by small interfering RNAs identified in vitro Nucleic Acids Res 47, 9343-9357, (2019) DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkz678

In response to a viral infection, the plant’s RNA silencing machinery processes viral RNAs into a huge number of small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). However, a very few of these siRNAs actually interfere with viral replication. A reliable approach to identify these immunologically effective siRNAs (esiRNAs) and to define the characteristics underlying their activity has not been available so far. Here, we develop a novel screening approach that enables a rapid functional identification of antiviral esiRNAs. Tests on the efficacy of such identified esiRNAs of a model virus achieved a virtual full protection of plants against a massive subsequent infection in transient applications. We find that the functionality of esiRNAs depends crucially on two properties: the binding affinity to Argonaute proteins and the ability to access the target RNA. The ability to rapidly identify functional esiRNAs could be of great benefit for all RNA silencing-based plant protection measures against viruses and other pathogens.
Publikation

García, M. L.; Bó, E. D.; da Graça, J. V.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Hammond, J.; Moreno, P.; Natsuaki, T.; Pallás, V.; Navarro, J. A.; Reyes, C. A.; Luna, G. R.; Sasaya, T.; Tzanetakis, I. E.; Vaira, A. M.; Verbeek, M.; ICTV Report Consortium Corrigendum: ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Ophioviridae J Gen Virol 99, 949-949, (2018) DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.001093

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Publikation

García, M. L.; Bó, E. D.; da Graça, J. V.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Hammond, J.; Moreno, P.; Natsuaki, T.; Pallás, V.; Navarro, J. A.; Reyes, C. A.; Luna, G. R.; Sasaya, T.; Tzanetakis, I. E.; Vaira, A. M.; Verbeek, M.; ICTV Report Consortium ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Ophioviridae J Gen Virol 98 , 1161-1162, (2017) DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.000836

Ophioviridae,The Ophioviridae is a family of filamentous plant viruses, with single-stranded negative, and possibly ambisense, RNA genomes of 11.3–12.5 kb divided into 3–4 segments, each encapsidated separately. Virions are naked filamentous nucleocapsids, forming kinked circles of at least two different contour lengths. The sole genus, Ophiovirus, includes seven species. Four ophioviruses are soil-transmitted and their natural hosts include trees, shrubs, vegetables and bulbous or corm-forming ornamentals, both monocots and dicots. This is a summary of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Report on the taxonomy of the which is available at http://www.ictv.global/report/ophioviridae.
Publikation

López-Carrasco, A.; Ballesteros, C.; Sentandreu, V.; Delgado, S.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Flores, R.; Sanjuán, R. Different rates of spontaneous mutation of chloroplastic and nuclear viroids as determined by high-fidelity ultra-deep sequencing PLOS Pathog 13, e1006547, (2017) DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1006547

Mutation rates vary by orders of magnitude across biological systems, being higher for simpler genomes. The simplest known genomes correspond to viroids, subviral plant replicons constituted by circular non-coding RNAs of few hundred bases. Previous work has revealed an extremely high mutation rate for chrysanthemum chlorotic mottle viroid, a chloroplast-replicating viroid. However, whether this is a general feature of viroids remains unclear. Here, we have used high-fidelity ultra-deep sequencing to determine the mutation rate in a common host (eggplant) of two viroids, each representative of one family: the chloroplastic eggplant latent viroid (ELVd, Avsunviroidae) and the nuclear potato spindle tuber viroid (PSTVd, Pospiviroidae). This revealed higher mutation frequencies in ELVd than in PSTVd, as well as marked differences in the types of mutations produced. Rates of spontaneous mutation, quantified in vivo using the lethal mutation method, ranged from 1/1000 to 1/800 for ELVd and from 1/7000 to 1/3800 for PSTVd depending on sequencing run. These results suggest that extremely high mutability is a common feature of chloroplastic viroids, whereas the mutation rates of PSTVd and potentially other nuclear viroids appear significantly lower and closer to those of some RNA viruses.
Bücher und Buchkapitel

Flores, R.; Gago-Zachert, S.; De la Peña, M.; Navarro, B. Chrysanthemum Chlorotic Mottle Viroid (Ed. A. Hadidi, et al.). 331-338, (2017) ISBN: eBook ISBN: 9780128017029; Hardcover ISBN: 9780128014981. DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-801498-1.00031-0

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Publikation

Gharsallah, C.; Fakhfakh, H.; Grubb, D.; Gorsane, F. Effect of salt stress on ion concentration, proline content, antioxidant enzyme activities and gene expression in tomato cultivars AoB PLANTS 8, plw055, (2016) DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plw055

Salinity is a constraint limiting plant growth and productivity of crops throughout the world. Understanding the mechanism underlying plant response to salinity provides new insights into the improvement of salt tolerance-crops of importance. In the present study, we report on the responses of twenty cultivars of tomato. We have clustered genotypes into scale classes according to their response to increased NaCl levels. Three local tomato genotypes, representative of different saline scale classes, were selected for further investigation. During early (0 h, 6 h and 12 h) and later (7 days) stages of the response to salt treatment, ion concentrations (Na + , K +  and Ca 2+ ), proline content, enzyme activities (catalase, ascorbate peroxidase and guiacol peroxidase) were recorded. qPCR analysis of candidate genes WRKY (8, 31and 39), ERF (9, 16 and 80), LeNHX (1, 3 and 4) and HKT (class I) were performed. A high K + , Ca 2 + and proline accumulation as well as a decrease of Na +  concentration-mediated salt tolerance. Concomitant with a pattern of high-antioxidant enzyme activities, tolerant genotypes also displayed differential patterns of gene expression during the response to salt stress.
Publikation

Gago-Zachert, S. Viroids, infectious long non-coding RNAs with autonomous replication. Virus Res. 212, 12–24, (2016) DOI: 10.1016/j.virusres.2015.08.018

Transcriptome deep-sequencing studies performed during the last years confirmed that the vast majority of the RNAs transcribed in higher organisms correspond to several types of non-coding RNAs including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The study of lncRNAs and the identification of their functions, is still an emerging field in plants but the characterization of some of them indicate that they play an important role in crucial regulatory processes like flowering regulation, and responses to abiotic stress and plant hormones. A second group of lncRNAs present in plants is formed by viroids, exogenous infectious subviral plant pathogens well known since many years. Viroids are composed of circular RNA genomes without protein-coding capacity and subvert enzymatic activities of their hosts to complete its own biological cycle. Different aspects of viroid biology and viroid-host interactions have been elucidated in the last years and some of them are the main topic of this review together with the analysis of the state-of-the-art about the growing field of endogenous lncRNAs in plants.
Publikation

López-Carrasco, A.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Mileti, G.; Minoia, S.; Flores, R.; Delgado, S. The transcription initiation sites of eggplant latent viroid strands map within distinct motifs in their in vivo RNA conformations RNA Biology 13, 83-97, (2016) DOI: 10.1080/15476286.2015.1119365

Eggplant latent viroid (ELVd), like other members of family Avsunviroidae, replicates in plastids through a symmetric rolling-circle mechanism in which elongation of RNA strands is most likely catalyzed by a nuclear-encoded polymerase (NEP) translocated to plastids. Here we have addressed where NEP initiates transcription of viroid strands. Because this step is presumably directed by sequence/structural motifs, we have previously determined the conformation of the monomeric linear (+) and (−) RNAs of ELVd resulting from hammerhead-mediated self-cleavage. In silico predictions with 3 softwares led to similar bifurcated conformations for both ELVd strands. In vitro examination by non-denaturing PAGE showed that they migrate as prominent single bands, with the ELVd (+) RNA displaying a more compact conformation as revealed by its faster electrophoretic mobility. In vitro SHAPE analysis corroborated the ELVd conformations derived from thermodynamics-based predictions in silico. Moreover, sequence analysis of 94 full-length natural ELVd variants disclosed co-variations, and mutations converting canonical into wobble pairs or vice versa, which confirmed in vivo most of the stems predicted in silico and in vitro, and additionally helped to introduce minor structural refinements. Therefore, results from the 3 experimental approaches were essentially consistent among themselves. Application to RNA preparations from ELVd-infected tissue of RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends, combined with pretreatments to modify the 5′ ends of viroid strands, mapped the transcription initiation sites of ELVd (+) and (−) strands in vivo at different sequence/structural motifs, in contrast with the situation previously observed in 2 other members of the family Avsunviroidae.
Publikation

Rekik, I.; Drira, N.; Grubb, C. D.; Elleuch, A. Molecular characterization and evolution studies of a SERK like gene transcriptionally induced during somatic embryogenesis in Phoenix Dactylifera L v Deglet Nour Genetika 47, 323-337, (2015) DOI: 10.2298/GENSR1501323R

A somatic embryogenesis receptor kinase like (SERKL) cDNA, designated PhSERKL, was isolated from date palm (Phoenix Dactylifera L) using RACE PCR. PhSERKL protein shared all the characteristic domains of the SERK family, including five leucine-rich repeats, one proline-rich region motif, a transmembrane domain, and kinase domains. Phylogenetic analyses using PHYLIP and Notung 2.7 programs suggest that the SERK proteins of some plant species resulted from relatively ancient duplication events. We predict an ancestor protein of monocots and dicots SERK using FASTML program. Somatic embryogenic cultures of date palm were established following transfer of callus cultures to medium containing 2, 4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. The role of PhSERKL gene during establishment of somatic embryogenesis in culture was investigated using quantitative real-time PCR. PhSERKL gene was highly expressed during embryogenic competence acquisition and globular embryo formation in culture. Overall, levels of expression of PhSERKL gene were lower in nonembryogenic tissues and organs than in embryogenic callus.
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