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Brachypodium Distachyon Gnrf, Swam1 And Swam4 Are Transcriptional Regulators Of Secondary Cell Wall Biosynthesis, Sandra Romero-Gamboa Jul 2019

Brachypodium Distachyon Gnrf, Swam1 And Swam4 Are Transcriptional Regulators Of Secondary Cell Wall Biosynthesis, Sandra Romero-Gamboa

Doctoral Dissertations

Plant cell walls are complex structures that contain a matrix of cellulose, lignin and hemicellulose. The regulation of the biosynthesis of these components has been well-studied in the eudicot plant Arabidopsis thaliana, and a transcriptional network has been elucidated. Several NAC and MYB family transcription factors are key regulators of secondary cell wall biosynthesis, and their functional characterization provides significant insight into the complex underlying transcriptional network. Genetic and structural evidence suggests that genes controlling this process might be different between eudicots and monocots. Here, the model grass Brachypodium distachyon has been selected to characterize the function of GNRF (GRASS ...


The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Pollinators As Vectors Of Mummy Berry Disease In Highbush Blueberry, Matthew Boyer Mar 2019

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly: Pollinators As Vectors Of Mummy Berry Disease In Highbush Blueberry, Matthew Boyer

Doctoral Dissertations

Background: Many plants must balance the need for pollination services with mediating the risk of pollinator-vectored pathogens. Vaccinium corymbosum, highbush blueberry, is negatively affected by an insect-vectored, fungal plant pathogen, Monilinia vaccinii-corymosi (MVC), the cause of mummy berry disease, in which the asexual spore mimics pollen grains and is transferred from blighted tissue to flowers via pollinators, resulting in inedible, hardened fruits. Highbush blueberry plants require outcrossed pollen for maximum yield and fecundity. Therefore, yield of blueberry plants rely on a balance between adequate pollination service and disease avoidance.

Approach: To explore the relationship between pollinator community and infection we ...


Variation And Evolution Of Fruit Ripening Traits In Tomato Species, Ian M. Gillis Oct 2018

Variation And Evolution Of Fruit Ripening Traits In Tomato Species, Ian M. Gillis

Doctoral Dissertations

As angiosperm seeds mature within their ovaries, ovary tissue tends to grow and transform itself into fruit, which aids the success of the seeds. Fruits that are fleshy provide numerous ways to aid in the protection and the dispersal of seeds. First, they keep seeds hidden, encased in hard walls, surrounded by poisons and unpalatable compounds, and second, they undergo developmental changes that facilitate seeds’ release. Tomatoes, a model fleshy fruit, have all these protective traits, and over the course of ripening they become the familiar fruit that is a staple crop around the world. The wild relatives of cultivated ...


Grass-Specific Mechanisms Of Iron Uptake: Investigation Of Phytosiderophore Transporters And Discovery Of Novel Iron Deficiency Loci, David Chan Rodriguez Oct 2018

Grass-Specific Mechanisms Of Iron Uptake: Investigation Of Phytosiderophore Transporters And Discovery Of Novel Iron Deficiency Loci, David Chan Rodriguez

Doctoral Dissertations

Iron-deficiency anemia is one of the most prevalent forms of malnutrition worldwide, affecting 1.62 billion people, with the population in developing countries being the most affected. Iron is equally vital in plants to perform essential functions such as photosynthesis. Crop grasses form part of everyday human nutrition, contribute fundamentally to human caloric intake, and, in some parts of the world, are the primary source of food. Grasses acquire iron from the soil by secreting chelator molecules called phytosiderophores to solubilize iron, making it available to be transported by the Yellow Stripe1 (YS1) transporter.

In this dissertation, I studied aspects ...


The Interplay Between Polarity Regulators, Calcium, And The Actin Cytoskeleton During Tip Growth, Carlisle Bascom Jr Oct 2018

The Interplay Between Polarity Regulators, Calcium, And The Actin Cytoskeleton During Tip Growth, Carlisle Bascom Jr

Doctoral Dissertations

Plant cell growth is a meticulously regulated process whereby the cell wall is selectively loosened to allow for turgor-pressure driven expansion. The rate of expansion must equal delivery of new material, or the cell will lyse. In many plant cells, this process happens diffusely around the cell. However, a number of plant cells have anisotropic shapes that require exquisite spatial control of secretion. One simple example of anisotropic patterning is tip growth; highly polarized cell expansion utilized by pollen tubes, root hairs, and moss protonemata. Investigating the role various molecules have in tip growth sheds light on how plant cells ...


Non-Canonical Signaling From The Etr1 And Etr2 Ethylene Receptors In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Arkadipta Bakshi Dec 2017

Non-Canonical Signaling From The Etr1 And Etr2 Ethylene Receptors In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Arkadipta Bakshi

Doctoral Dissertations

The gaseous phytohormone ethylene regulates several physiological and developmental processes in higher plants. There are five ethylene receptor isoforms that mediate the responses to ethylene in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Prior research has shown that these five ethylene receptor isoforms in Arabidopsis have both overlapping and non-overlapping roles in regulating diverse responses such as growth in air, growth recovery after removal of ethylene, and ethylene stimulated nutational bending. Functional divergence of ETR1 has been determined in controlling some of these traits and in some of these cases, ETR1 subfunctionalization requires the receiver domain. Using homology modeling and sequence alignment ...


The Key Question In Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation: How Does Host Maintain A Bacterial Symbiont?, Onur Oztas Jul 2017

The Key Question In Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation: How Does Host Maintain A Bacterial Symbiont?, Onur Oztas

Doctoral Dissertations

The fact that plants cannot use nitrogen in the gaseous form makes them dependent on the levels of usable nitrogen forms in the soil. Legumes overcome nitrogen limitation by entering a symbiotic association with rhizobia, soil bacteria that convert atmospheric nitrogen into usable ammonia. In root nodules, bacteria are internalized by host plant cells inside an intracellular compartment called the symbiosome where they morphologically differentiate into nitrogen-fixing forms by symbiosome-secreted host proteins.

In this project, I explained the host proteins required to maintain bacterial symbionts and described their delivery to the symbiosome. I showed that the SYNTAXIN 132 (SYP132) gene ...


Evaluation Of Off-Type Grasses In Interspecific Hybrid Bermudagrass [Cynodon Dactylon (L.) Pers. X C. Transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] Putting Greens, Eric Hall Reasor May 2017

Evaluation Of Off-Type Grasses In Interspecific Hybrid Bermudagrass [Cynodon Dactylon (L.) Pers. X C. Transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] Putting Greens, Eric Hall Reasor

Doctoral Dissertations

The economic impact of the golf industry in the United States (U.S.) in 2011 was estimated to be $176.8 billion. Interspecific hybrid bermudagrasses [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. x C. transvaalensis Burtt-Davy] are some of the most widely utilized grasses on golf courses throughout tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates. In 2007, bermudagrass was grown on 80% of putting green acreage in the southern U.S. ‘Tifgreen’ and ‘Tifdwarf’ were two of the first widely established cultivars on putting greens, but their genetic instability led to the occurrence of phenotypically different off-type (OT) grasses. Several OT grasses were selected and ...


Uncovering The Genetic Basis For Biofuel-Related Traits In Brachypodium Distachyon, Scott J. Lee Nov 2016

Uncovering The Genetic Basis For Biofuel-Related Traits In Brachypodium Distachyon, Scott J. Lee

Doctoral Dissertations

Biofuels derived from plant biomass present a promising avenue to address the negative aspects of fossil-fuel dependence. The sustainability of biofuel production relies in part on the efficient degradation of lignocellulosic feedstocks. In order to capitalize on the potential of lignocellulosic biofuels, the genes underlying natural genetic variation for conversion efficiency must be determined. We have developed a robust and high-throughput assay to measure feedstock quality using the anaerobic bacterium Clostridium phytofermentans. We have measured biomass accumulation phenotypes and utilized this assay to perform quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping and a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in the model grass species ...


Modification Of Carbohydrate Active Enzymes In Switchgrass (Panicum Virgatum L.) To Improve Saccharification And Biomass Yields For Biofuels, Jonathan Duran Willis Aug 2016

Modification Of Carbohydrate Active Enzymes In Switchgrass (Panicum Virgatum L.) To Improve Saccharification And Biomass Yields For Biofuels, Jonathan Duran Willis

Doctoral Dissertations

The natural recalcitrance of plant cell walls is a major commercial hurdle for plant biomass to be converted into a viable energy source as alternative to fossil fuels. To circumvent this hurdle manipulation of carbohydrate enzymes active in the cellulose and hemicellulose portions of the plant cell wall can be utilized to improve feedstocks. Production of cellulolytic enzymes by plants have been evaluated for reducing the cost associated with lignocellulosic biofuels. Plants have successfully served as bioreactors producing bacterial and fungal glycosyl hydrolases, which have altered plant growth to improve saccharification. A bioprospecting opportunity lies with the utilization of insect ...


Computational Analyses Of Mrna Ribosome Loading In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Joseph Benjamin Ernest Aug 2016

Computational Analyses Of Mrna Ribosome Loading In Arabidopsis Thaliana, Joseph Benjamin Ernest

Doctoral Dissertations

Translation of mRNA into protein is a critical step in gene expression, but the principles guiding its regulation at the genome level are not completely understood. Translation can be quantified at a genome scale by measuring the ribosome loading of mRNA—the extent to which mRNA is associated with ribosomes. In this dissertation, I present investigations into how genome-wide ribosome loading is controlled in Arabidopsis thaliana. In chapter 1, I give an overview of regulation of ribosome loading and translation. In chapter 2, I present research demonstrating for the first time that genome-wide ribosome loading in plants is partially controlled ...


Decoding The Cellular Zipcode: Functional Analysis Of Transit Peptide Motifs And Mechanistic Implications In Plastid Targeting And Import, Kristen N. Holbrook Aug 2016

Decoding The Cellular Zipcode: Functional Analysis Of Transit Peptide Motifs And Mechanistic Implications In Plastid Targeting And Import, Kristen N. Holbrook

Doctoral Dissertations

Eukaryotic organisms are defined by their compartmentalization and various organelles. The membranes that define these organelles require complex nanomachines (known as translocons) to selectively mediate the import of proteins from the cytosol where they are synthesized into the organelle. The plastid, (specifically the chloroplast) which is characteristic of plant cells, possibly represents the most complex system of protein sorting, requiring many different translocons located in the three membranes found in this organelle. Despite having a small genome, the vast majority of plastid-localized proteins are nuclear-encoded and must be post-translationally imported from the cytosol. These proteins are encoded as a larger ...


Chemically Mediated Interactions Between Hosts, Parasitic Plants And Insect Herbivores, Muvari C. Tjiurutue Jul 2016

Chemically Mediated Interactions Between Hosts, Parasitic Plants And Insect Herbivores, Muvari C. Tjiurutue

Doctoral Dissertations

Species interactions, by changing phenotypic traits, can alter the outcome of subsequent interactions. Plant-mediated responses to herbivores have been extensively studied, but little is known about plant-mediated responses involving parasitic plants within a broader community context that also includes herbivores. Because parasitic plants are important components of many ecosystems and can shape community structure, it is important to understand how host-mediated interactions influence parasite preference and success. The goal of this thesis is to examine interactions between hosts, parasitic plants and herbivores mediated by chemical traits. We first examined the effects of dodder (Cuscuta sp.) parasitism on induced defenses in ...


Computational Identification Of Terpene Synthase Genes And Their Evolutionary Analysis, Qidong Jia May 2016

Computational Identification Of Terpene Synthase Genes And Their Evolutionary Analysis, Qidong Jia

Doctoral Dissertations

Terpenoids, the largest and most structurally and functionally diverse class of natural compounds on earth, are mostly synthesized by plants to be involved in various plant environment interactions. Some terpenoids are classified as primary metabolites essential for plant growth and development. Terpene synthases (TPSs), the key enzymes for terpenoid biosynthesis, are the major determinant of the tremendous diversity of terpenoid carbon skeletons. The TPS genes represent a mid-size family of about 30-100 functional genes in almost all major sequenced plant genomes. TPSs are also found in fungi and bacteria, but microbial TPS genes share low levels of sequence similarity and ...


Evaluation Of Spring Frost Control Methods And An Assessment Of Cold Hardiness In Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarporn Ait.), Faith Ndlovu Nov 2015

Evaluation Of Spring Frost Control Methods And An Assessment Of Cold Hardiness In Cranberry (Vaccinium Macrocarporn Ait.), Faith Ndlovu

Doctoral Dissertations

The American cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon Ait.) is an important temperate woody shrub crop whose fruit has human health benefits. Cranberry acquires cold hardiness in the autumn and loses it in spring, following deacclimation. Frost protection is necessary in cranberry production as a means to reduce bud damage due to low spring temperatures. The objectives of the field studies were to evaluate two methods of sprinkler irrigation for frost protection, the conventional approach consisting of continuous irrigation throughout the night (CON) and intermittent cycling of sprinklers (INT) incorporating cycling on and off throughout the night, by (i) assessing bud damage and ...


Calmodulin-Like Protein 38: A Component Of Ribonucleoprotein Particles During Hypoxic Stress Responses In Arabidopsis, Ansul Lokdarshi Aug 2015

Calmodulin-Like Protein 38: A Component Of Ribonucleoprotein Particles During Hypoxic Stress Responses In Arabidopsis, Ansul Lokdarshi

Doctoral Dissertations

Waterlogging stress leads to a crisis in energy metabolism and the accumulation of toxic metabolites due to the hypoxic and/or anoxic environment associated with this condition. To respond and adapt to this situation, higher plants employ an integrated genetic program that leads to the induction of anaerobic response polypeptide genes that encode metabolic and signaling proteins involved in altering metabolic flow and other adaptive responses. The study presented here shows that the Arabidopsis thaliana calmodulin-like protein CML38 is calcium sensor protein that serves as a member of the core anaerobic response gene family and is involved in modulating the ...


Pore Selectivity And Gating Of Arabidopsis Nodulin 26 Intrinsic Proteins And Roles In Boric Acid Transport In Reproductive Growth, Tian Li Dec 2014

Pore Selectivity And Gating Of Arabidopsis Nodulin 26 Intrinsic Proteins And Roles In Boric Acid Transport In Reproductive Growth, Tian Li

Doctoral Dissertations

Plant nodulin-26 intrinsic proteins (NIPs) are members of the aquaporin superfamily that serve as multifunctional channels of uncharged metabolites and water. They share the same canonical hourglass fold as the aquaporin family. The aromatic arginine (ar/R) selectivity filter controls transport selectivity based on size, hydrophobicity, and hydrogen bonding with substrates. In Arabidopsis thaliana, NIP II subclass proteins contain a conserved ar/R “pore signature” that is composed of Alanine at the helix 2 position (H2), Valine/Isoleucine at the helix 5 position (H5), and an Alanine (LE1) and an invariant Arginine (LE2) at the two loop E positions. In ...


Understanding The Transcriptional Regulation Of Secondary Cell Wall Biosynthesis In The Model Grass Brachypodium Distachyon, Pubudu Handakumbura Nov 2014

Understanding The Transcriptional Regulation Of Secondary Cell Wall Biosynthesis In The Model Grass Brachypodium Distachyon, Pubudu Handakumbura

Doctoral Dissertations

Secondary cell wall synthesis occurs in specialized cell types following completion of cell enlargement. By virtue of mechanical strength provided by a wall thickened with cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin, these cells can function as water-conducting vessels and provide structural support. Several transcription factor families regulate genes encoding wall synthesis enzymes. Certain NAC and MYB proteins directly bind upstream of structural genes and other transcription factors. The most detailed model of this regulatory network is established predominantly for a eudicot, Arabidopsis thaliana. In grasses, both the patterning and the composition of secondary cell walls are distinct from that of eudicots. These ...


Functional Analysis Of Moss Class Viii Myosin And Its Role In Plant Cell Division, Shu-Zon Wu Aug 2014

Functional Analysis Of Moss Class Viii Myosin And Its Role In Plant Cell Division, Shu-Zon Wu

Doctoral Dissertations

The moss Physcomitrella patens is a great model system for studying plant gene function using reverse genetic approaches. It undergoes efficient gene-targeting by homologous recombination, allowing the generation of specific gene knockout and tagging a gene at its endogenous locus. Additionally, RNAi is quite effective in P. patens, providing an effective tool for rapid gene silencing and phenotypic characterization. Taking advantage of these features, this dissertation described the establishment of a system to perform an unbiased gene-by-gene RNAi assay to screen for tip growth phenotypes in P. patens. A small set of RNAi constructs were tested, within them one gene ...


The Roles Of Myosin Xi And Rop In Moss Tip Growth, Graham M. Burkart Aug 2014

The Roles Of Myosin Xi And Rop In Moss Tip Growth, Graham M. Burkart

Doctoral Dissertations

Because of the large number of myosin XI and ROP genes found in many angiosperms, it has been difficult to determine their precise role with respect to tip growth. In contrast, there are only two myosin XI genes in four ROP genes in the moss Physcomitrella patens. To determine their role in tip growth using a loss-of-function approach, I used RNA interference (RNAi) and found that both of these proteins are essential for tip growth. Consistent with a role in tip growth, I show that a functional, full-length fusion of mEGFP to myosin XI accumulates at a subcortical, apical region ...


Toward Direct Biosynthesis Of Drop-In Ready Biofuels In Plants: Rapid Screening And Functional Genomic Characterization Of Plant-Derived Advanced Biofuels And Implications For Coproduction In Lignocellulosic Feedstocks, Blake Lee Joyce Aug 2013

Toward Direct Biosynthesis Of Drop-In Ready Biofuels In Plants: Rapid Screening And Functional Genomic Characterization Of Plant-Derived Advanced Biofuels And Implications For Coproduction In Lignocellulosic Feedstocks, Blake Lee Joyce

Doctoral Dissertations

Advanced biofuels that are “drop-in” ready, completely fungible with petroleum fuels, and require minimal infrastructure to process a finished fuel could provide transportation fuels in rural or developing areas. Five oils extracted from Pittosporum resiniferum, Copaifera reticulata, and surrogate oils for Cymbopogon flexuosus, C. martinii, and Dictamnus albus in B20 blends were sent for ASTM International biodiesel testing and run in homogenous charge combustion ignition engines to determine combustion properties and emissions. All oils tested lowered cloud point. Oils derived from Copaifera reticulata also lowered indicated specific fuel consumption and had emissions similar to the ultra-low sulfur diesel control. Characterization ...


Development And Application Of Mass Spectrometry-Based Proteomics To Generate And Navigate The Proteomes Of The Genus Populus, Paul Edward Abraham May 2013

Development And Application Of Mass Spectrometry-Based Proteomics To Generate And Navigate The Proteomes Of The Genus Populus, Paul Edward Abraham

Doctoral Dissertations

Historically, there has been tremendous synergy between biology and analytical technology, such that one drives the development of the other. Over the past two decades, their interrelatedness has catalyzed entirely new experimental approaches and unlocked new types of biological questions, as exemplified by the advancements of the field of mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomics. MS-based proteomics, which provides a more complete measurement of all the proteins in a cell, has revolutionized a variety of scientific fields, ranging from characterizing proteins expressed by a microorganism to tracking cancer-related biomarkers. Though MS technology has advanced significantly, the analysis of complicated proteomes, such ...


Functional Genomic Studies Of Soybean Defenses Against Pests And Soybean Meal Improvement, Jingyu (Lynn) Lin Dec 2011

Functional Genomic Studies Of Soybean Defenses Against Pests And Soybean Meal Improvement, Jingyu (Lynn) Lin

Doctoral Dissertations

Soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] is an important crop worldwide. It has been widely consumed for protein, oil and other soy products. To develop soybean cultivars with greater resistance against pests and improved meal quality, it is important to elucidate the molecular bases of these traits. This dissertation aims to investigate the biochemical and biological functions of soybean genes from four gene families, which are hypothesized to be associated with soybean defense against pests and soybean meal quality. There are three specific objectives in this dissertation. The first one is to determine the function of components in the salicylic acid ...


Developing Biocontainment Strategies To Suppress Transgene Escape Via Pollen Dispersal From Transgenic Plants, Hong Seok Moon Aug 2011

Developing Biocontainment Strategies To Suppress Transgene Escape Via Pollen Dispersal From Transgenic Plants, Hong Seok Moon

Doctoral Dissertations

Genetic engineering is important to enhance crop characteristics and certain traits. Genetically engineered crop cultivation brings environmental and ecological concerns with the potential of unwanted transgene escape and introgression. Transgene escape has been considered as a major environmental and regulatory concern. This concern could be alleviated by appropriate biocontainment strategies. Therefore, it is important to develop efficient and reliable biocontainment strategies.

Removing transgenes from pollen has been known to be the most environmentally friendly biocontainment strategy. A transgene excision vector containing a codon optimized serine resolvase CinH recombinase (CinH) and its recognition sites RS2 were constructed and transformed into tobacco ...


Developmental Evolution Of The Progamic Phase In Nymphaeales, Mackenzie Lorraine Taylor May 2011

Developmental Evolution Of The Progamic Phase In Nymphaeales, Mackenzie Lorraine Taylor

Doctoral Dissertations

The period between pollination and fertilization, or the progamic phase, is a critical life history stage in seed plants and innovations in this life history stage are hypothesized to have played an important role in the diversification of flowering plants. Over the course of this dissertation research, I investigated programic phase development in Nymphaeales (water lilies), an ancient angiosperm lineage that diverged from the basalmost or next most basal node of the angiosperm phylogenetic tree and that is represented in the oldest angiosperm fossil record. I used field experiments and microscopy to document pollination biology, breeding system, and reproductive developmental ...


Spatiotemporal Dynamics In A Lower Montane Tropical Rainforest, Robert Michael Lawton Aug 2010

Spatiotemporal Dynamics In A Lower Montane Tropical Rainforest, Robert Michael Lawton

Doctoral Dissertations

Disturbance in a forest’s canopy, whether caused by treefall, limbfall, landslide, or fire determines not only the distribution of well-lit patches at any given time, but also the ways in which the forest changes over time. In this dissertation, I use a 25 year record of treefall gap formation find a novel and highly patterned process of forest disturbance and regeneration, providing a local mechanism by examining the factors that influence the likelihood of treefall. I then develop a stochastic cellular automaton for disturbance and regeneration based on the analysis of this long term data set and illustrate the ...


In Vitro Propagation, Regeneration, Attempted Tetraploid Induction, And Agrobacterium-Mediated Transformation Of Euphorbia Pulchurrima ‘Winter Rose’™, Kimberly Ann Pickens Dec 2004

In Vitro Propagation, Regeneration, Attempted Tetraploid Induction, And Agrobacterium-Mediated Transformation Of Euphorbia Pulchurrima ‘Winter Rose’™, Kimberly Ann Pickens

Doctoral Dissertations

Poinsettia, Euphorbia pulchurrima, is the number one potted flowering plant in the United States. ‘Winter Rose’™ is a very popular cultivar with more than one million plants sold each year. To further improve this cultivar, particularly for larger flower heads and free branching, this research aimed at establishing some in vitro systems for application of biotechnology to poinsettia genetic improvement.

A protocol was established for in vitro axillary bud proliferation using greenhouse grown terminal buds. Buds were placed on Murashige-Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with benzlyaminopurine (BA). Explants produced the greatest number of axillary buds on medium containing between 2 ...