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    Dual carbon goal and agriculture in China: exploring key factors influencing farmers' behavior in adopting low carbon technologies
    ZOU Jin-peng, SHEN Lu-lin, WANG Fang, TANG Hong, ZHOU Zi-yang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.016 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract5)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Identifying the factors that influence farmers' adoption of low-carbon technologies (FA) and understanding their impacts are essential for shaping effective agricultural policies aimed at emission reduction and carbon sequestration in China. Utilizing a meta-analysis of 122 empirical studies, this research delves into 23 driving factors affecting FA and tries to address the inconsistencies found in existing literature. This study systematically examines the effect size, source of heterogeneity, and time-accumulation effect of the driving factors on FA. Key findings are as follows: (1) There is a significant level of heterogeneity in the factors influencing FA, with the exception of farming experience, the sources of heterogeneity come from survey zone, methodology model, technological attributes, report source, financial support, and the sampling year. (2) Age, farming experience, adoption cost exhibit a negative correlation with FA, whereas educational level, health status, technical training, economic and welfare cognition, land contract, soil quality, terrain, information accessibility, demonstration, government promotion, government regulation, government support, agricultural cooperatives member, peer effect, and agricultural income ratio demonstrate a positive correlation. Especially, demonstration and age show a particularly strong correlation. (3) The effect of demonstration, age, economic and welfare cognition, farming experience, land contract, soil quality, information accessibility, government promotion, and support, as well as agricultural cooperative membership and peer effects on FA, are generally stable but exhibit varying degrees of attenuation over time. The effect of village cadre, family income, farm scale, gender, health status, technical training, and off-farm work on FA show notable temporal shifts and maintain a weak correlation with FA. This study plays a pivotal role in shaping China's current low-carbon agriculture policies across various regions. It encourages policymakers to comprehensively consider the stability of key factors, other potential factors, technological attributes, rural economic and social context and their interrelations.

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    A tomato NBS-LRR gene Mi-9 confers heat-stable resistance to root-knot nematodes
    Shudong Chen, Yupan Zou, Xin Tong, Cao Xu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.017 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract3)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Root-knot nematodes (RKNs) are the most widespread soil-borne obligate endoparasites. They can infect the roots of many crops and cause significant yield losses. In tomato, the only commercially available RKN resistant gene Mi-1.2 fails at soil temperatures above 28°C. We cloned the heat stable RKN-resistant gene Mi-9 from a gene cluster composed of seven nucleotide-binding site and leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) type resistant genes in Solanum arcunum accession LA2157. Screening nematode infections in individual & combinatorial knockouts of five NBS-LRR genes showed that Mi-9 Candidate 4 (MiC-4) alone is sufficient to confer heat stable RKN resistance. Our study identifies a new source of heat stable resistance to RKN in tomato for challenging environmental conditions. We also showcase a roadmap for rapid characterization of resistance genes by combining comparative genomics and genome editing, with the potential to be utilized in other crops.

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    Land use shapes the microbial community structure by altering soil aggregates and dissolved organic matter components
    Zongpeng Zhang, Lijuan Hu, Yating Liu, Yixuan Guo, Shiming Tang, Jie Ren
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.018 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract5)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The agro-pastoral ecotone epitomizes the ecologically fragile semi-arid zone, where the soil microbiomes play a pivotal role in regulating its multifunctionality. However, whether and how changes in soil structure and organic matter composition under different land uses affect microbial community structure remain unclear. Here, land-use types in the agro-pastoral ecotone, including shrubland (BF), artificial grassland (ArG), abandoned grassland (AbG), and maize farmland (MA), were chosen to explore the response relationships between soil microbial communities and the aggregates and dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition. The results showed that compared to MA, the macroaggregates in BF, AbG, and ArG were increased by 123.0, 92.79, and 63.71%, respectively, while MA soil had the greatest abundance of <100 μm particles. The higher aromatic carbon with high aromaticity and molecular weight in BF soil DOM contributed to its highest mineral-associated organic carbon level (12.61 g kg-1), while MA soil organic carbon had highly efficient decomposition due to its high content of aliphatic and carboxy carbon, so it is prone to loss from the active carbon pools. The transition in land use from shrubland to grassland and farmland has facilitated the conversion of stable aromatic carbon to unstable carboxy carbon. The taxonomic analysis revealed that soil bacterial and fungal communities in the four land uses were dominated by Proteobacteria, Actinobacteriota, Chloroflexi, and Ascomycota. More taxonomic groups from phylum to family were enriched in BF soil. The DOM components and organic carbon are crucial variables shaping the composition of soil bacterial communities, jointly explaining 61.66% of the variance, while aggregates are important variables driving the composition of fungal communities, with an explanation rate of 20.49%. Our results suggest that DOM components and aggregates impact the soil microbial structure; and the transition in land use from agricultural to grassland and shrubland in the agro-pastoral ecotone enhances aggregate stability, carbon sequestration potential, and microbial diversity. 

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    A compound produced by Helicoverpa armigera male genitalia activates a conserved pheromone receptor
    Dongdong Sun, Yutong Zhang, Song Cao, Xiaoqing Wang, Qian Cao, Sai Zhang, Guirong Wang, Yang Liu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.019 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract1)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Mating behavior is essential for sexual reproduction, and it is often modulated by key chemical cues. In many moth species, males find compatible mates through the reception of sex pheromones which are released by females. Pheromone receptors (PRs) are key elements in sensing these chemical signals. Concurrently, male moths emit a complex blend of volatile compounds during courtship; however, the mechanisms for recognizing putative male pheromones remain poorly understood. Here, we employed gas chromatography coupled with electroantennographic detection and mass spectrometry to analyze the volatile compounds produced by males of the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera. Three candidate male sex pheromones were identified, with (Z)-7-dodecen-1-yl acetate (Z7-12:OAc) eliciting the most pronounced electrophysiological response in the male antenna. The olfactory receptor neuron (ORN) ORN-a in Type A trichoid sensilla was shown to respond to Z7-12:OAc by conducting single sensillum recording (SSR) assays. Additionally, we found that the OR13s from five Heliothinae species responded to Z7-12:OAc by using the Xenopus oocyte expression system and two-electrode voltage-clamp recording. Our findings identified a candidate for evaluation in future behavioral studies of the poorly understood chemosensory recognition mechanisms underlying male sex pheromones. If its relevance is supported by behavioral data, this knowledge may facilitate the design of novel olfactory regulators for effective pest control strategies involving mating disruption.

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    Overexpression of TuABCC4 is associated with abamectin resistance in Tetranychus urticae Koch
    Mingmei Wu, Rui Dong, Yan Zhang, Haojie Liao, Tian Tian, Dandan Xu, Youjun Zhang, Zhaojiang Guo, Shaoli Wang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.020 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract2)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Pesticide resistance greatly limits control efficacy after the long-term application of pesticides. The two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch, is a notorious agricultural pest worldwide that is resistant to various pesticides, including abamectin. While some studies of abamectin resistance have investigated target resistance related to glutamate-gated chloride channels (GluCls), studies on the metabolic resistance mechanisms are still limited. In this study, we identified an ABCC subfamily gene, TuABCC4, that was overexpressed in resistant populations of T. urticae, based on the analysis of previously obtained transcriptomic and RNA-seq data. No consistent nonsynonymous mutations in the TuABCC4 gene were found between the susceptible and resistant populations, although TuABCC4 expression was significantly increased in all the resistant populations that were studied. Synergistic experiments with the inhibitor verapamil and gene expression analysis of the susceptible and resistant populations confirmed the key role of TuABCC4 in abamectin resistance. In addition, an increase in the expression of the TuABCC4 gene was shown by RNA interference and genetic association analysis to be closely related to the resistance of T. urticae to abamectin. In conclusion, overexpression of TuABCC4 was shown to be involved in abamectin resistance in T. urticae. These results can help us to better understand the molecular basis of pest resistance to abamectin.

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    Development of a piggyBac transgenic system in Bactrocera dorsalis and its potential for research on olfactory molecular targets
    Jie Zhang, Qi Wang, Jinxi Yuan, Zhen Tian, Shanchun Yan, Wei Liu, Guirong Wang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.021 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract8)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Chemicals that modify pest behavior are developed to reduce crop damage by altering pest behavior, using specific genes within the olfactory system as molecular targets. The identification of these molecular targets in Bactrocera dorsalis, also known as the functional study of key olfactory genes, relies on CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knockout techniques. However, these techniques face limitations when applied to lethal genes. Transgenic technology offers a solution since it enables precise manipulation of gene expression in specific tissues or during certain developmental stages. Consequently, this study developed a piggyBac-mediated transgenic system in B. dorsalis to investigate reporter gene expression in olfactory organs, and assessed the olfactory behavior and antennal electrophysiological responses in transgenic lines. The goal was to assess the potential of this approach for future research on olfactory gene function. A universally expressed housekeeping gene from the BdorActin family was identified using the developmental transcriptome dataset. Its candidate promoter region (BdorActinA3a-1P-2k) was then cloned into the piggyBac plasmid. We subsequently established two stable transgenic lines with specific TTAA insertion sites on chromosomes 4 and 5, consistent with the characteristics of piggyBac transposition. The transgenic strains exhibited essentially normal survival, with hatchability and adult lifespan unaffected, although there were slight reductions in the emergence rate and oviposition capacity. The fluorescent reporter has been successfully expressed in olfactory-related organs, such as the antennae, proboscis, maxillary palp, legs, external genitalia, and brain. The antennal electrophysiological responses to representative chemicals in the transgenic lines were consistent with those of the wild type. However, some olfactory-related behaviors, such as pheromone response and mating, were significantly affected in the transgenic lines. These findings suggest that our system could potentially be applied in future olfactory research, such as driving the expression of exogenous elements that are effective in olfactory organs. However, caution is advised regarding its impact when applied to some olfactory-related behavioral phenotypes.

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    Interactions of arsenic and phosphorus in their uptake and transportation in plants: Advances and prospective research on the mechanisms and approaches for alleviating arsenic stress
    Ameer Khan, Farah Kanwal, Muhammad Shazad, Shama Naz, Sanaullah Jalil, Guoping Zhang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.022 Online: 18 July 2024
    Abstract1)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Metalloid arsenic (As) is not a necessary element for plants, but its excessive accumulation is toxic to plants, and it also poses a great health risk to humans via the food chain. Plants absorb and metabolize As through a variety of processes. Arsenate in the form of As5+ is absorbed by phosphate transporters, but methylated As and As3+ enter plant tissues mainly through aquaporin channels. Various strategies and practices have been proposed and applied to alleviate As toxicity or reduce As accumulation in plants, but an efficient and environment-friendly approach has yet to be developed. This review comprehensively explores As sources and uptake mechanisms, as well as the interactions of phosphorus (P) and As in their uptake, transportation and influences on plant growth and physiological activities. This comprehensive review covers the transport, metabolism, and tolerance processes that plants exhibit in response to As stress and the addition of P. In addition, we also present recent advances in reducing As toxicity and accumulation by improving P nutrition, manipulating P transporter genes and optimizing the plant microbial community. Finally, the future research directions and main challenges are briefly discussed. 

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    Dopamine improves apple replant disease resistance by regulating physiological resilience and rhizosphere microbial community structure
    Peihua Du, Yang Cao, Huaite Liu, Jiahao Ji, Wei Sun, Xueying Zhang, Jizhong Xu, Bowen Liang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.011 Online: 15 July 2024
    Abstract11)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Apple replant disease (ARD) is a complex agricultural problem caused by multiple stressors that can lead to increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels and limited nutrient utilization in plants. However, existing countermeasures are insufficient to effectively address this challenge. Here, we used Malus hupehensis as a test organism to investigate the ability of the pleiotropic molecule dopamine to alleviate ARD using pot experiments. Exogenous application of 100 μmol L-1 dopamine significantly promoted the growth of apple in the replanted soil, with the relative growth rate increase of 17.44%. Our results revealed two major pathways through which dopamine regulates ARD resistance in apple plants. First, dopamine effectively reduces the level of ROS and activates the expression of genes related to nitrogen (N) transport and metabolism. Among such genes, MdNPL5, MdNRT1.1, MdNPL2, MdNRT2.5, MdNPL3, MdNRT2.4, MdNADH-GAGOT, MdFd-GAGOT were strongly regulated by dopamine. These regulatory effects promoted the uptake and utilization of soil N by plants. Second, dopamine improved physical and chemical properties, enhanced microbial community diversity, and promoted mutual cooperation between microbial communities in soil. Furthermore, dopamine altered the microbial structure of rhizosphere soil (upregulated: Clostridiales, Gaiellales, Sordariales and Mortierellales; downregulated: Micrococcales, Longimicrobiales, Hypocreales and Cystobasidiales). Notably, dopamine significantly upregulated the abundances of Gaiella and Mortierella, both of which were positively correlated with soil urease activity, soil available N content, plant growth and N uptake. Dopamine also significantly downregulated the abundance of the plant pathogen Gibberella (11.71-fold) in replant soil. Our results provide insights into the mechanisms through which dopamine promotes ARD resistance, and could promote sustainable development of the apple industry.

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    An allelic variation in the promoter of the LRR-RLK gene, qSS6.1, is associated with melon seed size
    Xiaoxue Liang, Jiyu Wang, Lei Cao, Xuanyu Du, Junhao Qiang, Wenlong Li, Panqiao Wang, Juan Hou, Xiang Li, Wenwen Mao, Huayu Zhu, Luming Yang, Qiong Li, Jianbin Hu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.012 Online: 15 July 2024
    Abstract8)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Seed size is an important agronomic trait in melons that directly affects the seed germination and subsequent seedling growth. However, the genetic mechanism underlying seed size in melon has remained unclear. In the present study, we employed Bulked-Segregant Analysis sequencing (BSA-seq) to identify a candidate region (~1.35 Mb) on chromosome 6 that corresponds to seed size. This interval was confirmed by QTL mapping of three seed size-related traits from an F2 population across three environments. This mapping represented nine QTLs that shared an overlapping region on chromosome 6, collectively referred to as qSS6.1. New InDel markers were developed in the qSS6.1 region, narrowing it down to a 68.35-kb interval that contains eight annotated genes. Sequence variation analysis of the eight genes identified a SNP with a C to T transition mutation in the promoter region of MELO3C014002, a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase (LRR-RLK) gene. This mutation affected promoter activity of the MELO3C014002 gene and was successfully used to differentiate the large-seeded accessions (C-allele) from the small-seeded accessions (T-allele). qRT-PCR revealed differential expression of MELO3C014002 between the two parental lines. Its predicted protein has typical domains of LRR-RLK family, and phylogenetic analyses reveled its similarity with the homologs in several plant species. Altogether, these findings suggest MELO3C014002 as the most likely candidate gene involved in melon seed size regulation. Our results will be helpful for better understanding the genetic mechanism regulating seed size in melons and for genetically improving this important trait through molecular breeding pathways.  

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    Nitrogen application regulates antioxidant capacity and flavonoid metabolism, especially quercetin, in grape seedlings under salt stress
    Congcong Zhang Han Wang, Guojie Nai, Lei Ma , Xu Lu, Haokai Yan, Meishuang Gong, Yuanyuan Li, Ying Lai, Zhihui Pu, Li Wei, Guiping Chen, Ping Sun, Baihong Chen, Shaoying Ma, Sheng Li
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.013 Online: 15 July 2024
    Abstract12)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Salt stress is a typical abiotic stress in plants that causes slow growth, stunting, and reduced yield and fruit quality. Fertilization is necessary to ensure proper crop growth. However, the effect of fertilization on salt tolerance in grapevine is unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of nitrogen fertilizer (0.01 and 0.1 mol L-1 NH4NO3) application on the salt (200 mmol L-1 NaCl) tolerance of grapevine based on physiological indices, and transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses. The results revealed that 0.01 mol L-1 NH4NO3 supplementation significantly reduced the accumulation of superoxide anion (O2.-), enhanced the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase (POD), and improved the levels of ascorbic acid (AsA) and glutathione (GSH) in grape leaves compared to salt treatment alone. Specifically, joint transcriptome and metabolome analyses showed that the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and differentially accumulated metabolites (DAMs) were significantly enriched in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway (ko00941) and the flavone and flavonol biosynthesis pathway (ko00944). In particular, the relative content of quercetin (C00389) was markedly regulated by salt and nitrogen. Further analysis revealed that exogenous foliar application of quercetin improved the SOD and POD activities, increased the AsA and GSH contents, and reduced the H2O2 and O2.- contents. Meanwhile, 10 hub DEGs, which had high Pearson correlations (R2 > 0.9) with quercetin, were repressed by nitrogen. In conclusion, all the results indicated that moderate nitrogen and quercetin application under salt stress enhanced the antioxidant system defense response, thus providing a new perspective for improving salt tolerance in grapes.

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    Identification of MAP65 family genes in tomato and the member SlMAP65-1 is involved in fruit morphogenesis
    Peiyu Zhang, Guoning Zhu, Chunjiao Zhang, Hongliang Zhu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.014 Online: 15 July 2024
    Abstract5)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The plant growth process is accompanied by dynamic changes in the microtubules, and the rearrangement of microtubules is regulated by diverse microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs). Plant MAP65s have been exhaustively characterized in some species, but the information about MAP65 family members in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) is limited. In this study, nine SlMAP65 family genes were identified in the tomato genome. Then a systematic analysis including physio-chemical properties, evolution, conserved motifs, domains, gene structure, and cis-regulatory elements of SlMAP65 family members was conducted. The member SlMAP65-1, which had the highest expression, was knocked out by CRISPR/Cas9. The tomato fruit of slmap65-1 loss of function lines showed an elongated morphology, and the data indicated that SlMAP65-1 was involved in fruit morphogenesis at early fruit development stage. These results provided insights for fruit morphogenesis-related research areas and future functional studies of SlMAP65 family members in tomato.

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    Research on the estimation of wheat AGB at the entire growth stage based on improved convolutional features
    Tao Liu, Jianliang Wang, Jiayi Wang, Yuanyuan Zhao, Hui Wang, Weijun Zhang, Zhaosheng Yao, Shengping Liu, Xiaochun Zhong, Chengming Sun
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.015 Online: 15 July 2024
    Abstract8)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The wheat above-ground biomass (AGB) is an important index that shows the life activity of vegetation, which is of great significance for wheat growth monitoring and yield prediction.  Traditional biomass estimation methods specifically include sample surveys and harvesting statistics.  Although these methods have high estimation accuracy, they are time-consuming, destructive, and difficult to implement to monitor the biomass at a large scale.  The main objective of this study is to optimize the traditional remote sensing methods to estimate the wheat AGB based on improved convolutional features (CFs).  Low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) were used as the main data acquisition equipment.  This study acquired RGB and multi-spectral (MS) image data of the wheat population canopy for two wheat varieties and five key growth stages.  Then, field measurements were conducted to obtain the actual wheat biomass data for validation.  Based on the remote sensing indices (RSIs), structural features (SFs), and convolutional features (CFs), this study proposed a new feature named AUR-50 (Multi-source combination based on convolutional feature optimization) to estimate the wheat AGB.  The results show that AUR-50 could more accurately estimate the wheat AGB than RSIs and SFs, and the average R2 exceeded 0.77.  AUR-50MS had the highest estimation accuracy (R2 of 0.88) in the overwintering period.  In addition, AUR-50 reduced the effect of the vegetation index saturation on the biomass estimation accuracy by adding CFs, where the highest R2 was 0.69 at the flowering stage.  The results of this study provide an effective method to evaluate the AGB in wheat with high throughput and a research reference for the phenotypic parameters of other crops.

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    Elucidating the mechanisms of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi inhibition using functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes: A comprehensive analysis of biophysical and molecular interactions
    Sadia Manzoor, Asma Irshad, Saira Azam, Ijaz Ali, Ayesha Latif, Abdul Qayyum Rao, Samina Hassan, Ahmad Ali Shahid, Muhammad Danish Ali, Ameni Brahmia
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.010 Online: 09 July 2024
    Abstract6)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The study explores the antifungal properties of functionalized multi-walled carbon nanotubes (f-MWCNTs) against Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi, revealing a concentration-dependent impact, with the lowest concentration suppressing mycelial development. The peaks at 2θ° = 7.92° and 25.85° reveal the presence of MWCNTs. Furthermore, the bonding extremes at 3194 and 2441 cm-1 and the peak at 3573 cm-1 are hydrogen-bonded. The peak at 3756 cm-1 demonstrates the vibration of OH stretching to confirm the functionalization of MWCNTs. MWCNTs at 308 nm show a peak with much higher UV energy. This is because of the different plasmonic vibrations that the free electrons of multi-wall carbon nanotubes exhibit at about 308nm. SEM analysis revealed mycelial structure distortions, revealing inhibitory mechanisms of f-MWCNTs and their interaction with F. oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi, providing insights into their complex behavior. Multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs) showed anti-oxidative properties, indicating potential multifaceted modes of action, as evidenced by 2', 7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate dye testing. The current study analyzed bioactive molecules in F. oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi extracts by GC-MS analysis, showing six metabolites having antimicrobial, cytotoxic, and antioxidant properties. However, exposure to f-MWCNTs reduced these potent molecule concentrations, highlighting the significant impact of f-MWCNTs on F. oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi biochemical arsenal. This is the first report that checked the antifungal, and antioxidant activity and of a lesser concentration of metabolites produced after the action of f-MWCNTs in F. oxysporum f. sp. tuberosi.  This research highlights the potential of f-MWCNTs as antifungal agents, paving the way for innovative strategies in combating fungal pathogens and developing effective treatments.

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    A novel TLR7 agonist exhibits antiviral activity against pseudorabies virus
    Yue Song, Heng Wang, Mingyang Wang, Yumin Wang, Xiuxiang Lu, Wenjie Fan, Chen Yao, Pengxiang Liu, Yanjie Ma, Shengli Ming, Mengdi Wang, Lijun Shi
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.001 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract10)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Innate immunity is the primary defense against viral infections, with Toll-like receptors (TLRs) playing a crucial role in this process. This study aims to highlight the effectiveness of a pyrrolo[3,2-d]pyrimidine derivative (named TLR713), a potential TLR7 agonist, in inhibiting pseudorabies virus (PRV) replication both in vitro and in vivo. Tests on PK-15 cells demonstrated that TLR713 had no significant impact on cell viability, cell cycle progression, or apoptosis at concentrations of 0 – 3 μmol L-1. TLR713 could promote the phosphorylation of IκBα, p38, and JNK through TLR7, and increase the expression of inflammatory cytokines. In vitro, when cells were treated with TLR713, PRV proliferation was inhibited via TLR7 pathway. Analysis of the viral life cycle indicated that TLR713 could inhibit the replication of PRV, but not affect viral attachment, entry, assembly, or release. In vivo, TLR713 showed no side effects on mice at a concentration of 25 mg kg-1. It improved the survival rate of PRV-infected mice, reduced tissue viral load, and alleviated the inflammatory response. In summary, this study highlights the potential of TLR713 as a novel TLR7 agonist capable of inhibiting PRV replication and may offer new opportunities for developing antiviral therapies.

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    Integrative identification of Aphelenchoides fragariae (Nematoda: Aphelenchoididae) parasitizing Fuchsia hybrid in China
    Qiuling Huang, Yan Liao, Chunhui Huang, Huan Peng, Lingchiu Tsang, Borong Lin, Deliang Peng, Jinling Liao, Kan Zhuo
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.002 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract12)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The strawberry crimp nematode (Aphelenchoides fragariae) is a serious pathogen of ornamental crops and an important quarantine object in approximately 50 countries and regions including China. One nematode population within the genus Aphelenchoides was discovered from diseased leaves of fuchsia plants (Fuchsia × hybrid Voss.) in Chengdu city, Sichuan province of China. Morphological and morphometric data were obtained using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. After detailed examination, the species was identified as A. fragariae. Three rDNA sequences of this species, including partial rRNA small subunit, D2-D3 expansion domains of the rRNA large subunit and internal transcribed spacer, were amplified and sequenced. Bayesian trees inferred from these three rDNA sequences were constructed, revealing that this species is placed in a high support monophyletic clade with A. fragariae but clearly separated from all other Aphelenchoides species. Moreover, host-suitability tests showed that the Aphelenchoides population not only can harm and reproduce in F. hybrid, but also in Fragaria ananassa and Pteris vittata (two common hosts of A. fragariae). In conclusion, the study confirmed A. fragariae identity of the nematode from F. hybrid in Chengdu city based on morphology, molecular analysis and host-suitability tests. To our knowledge, this is the first molecular and morphological confirmation of A. fragariae in China, and F. hybrid was first discovered to be attacked by A. fragariae.

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    Long-term combined application of organic and inorganic fertilizers increases crop yield sustainability by improving soil fertility in maize-wheat cropping systems
    Jinfeng Wang, Xueyun Yang, Shaomin Huang, Lei Wu, Zejiang Cai, Minggang Xu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.003 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract8)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Organic material combined with inorganic fertilizer has been shown to greatly improve g crop yield and maintain soil fertility globally. However, it remains unclear if crop yield and soil fertility can be sustained in the long term under the combined application of organic and inorganic fertilizers. Three long-term field trials were conducted to investigate the effects of organic amendments on the grain sustainable yield index (SYI), soil fertility index (SFI) and nutrient balance in maize-wheat cropping systems of central and southern China during 1991-2019. Five treatments were included in the trials: 1) no fertilization (control); 2) balanced mineral fertilization (NPK); 3) NPK plus manure (NPKM); 4) high dose of NPK plus manure (1.5NPKM); and 5) NPK plus crop straw (NPKS). Over time, the grain yields of wheat and maize showed an increasing trend in all four fertilization treatments at the Yangling (YL) and Zhengzhou (ZZ) locations, while they declined at Qiyang (QY). The grain yield in the NPKM and 1.5 NPKM treatments gradually exceeded that of the NPK and NPKS treatments at the QY site. The largest SYI was recorded in the NPKM treatment across the three sites, suggesting that inorganic fertilizer combined with manure can effectively improve crop yield sustainability. Higher SYI values were recorded at the YL and ZZ sites than at the QY site, possibly because the soil was more acid at QY. The key factors affecting grain yield were soil available phosphorus (AP) and available potassium (AK) at the YL and ZZ sites, and pH and AP at the QY site. All fertilization treatments resulted in soil N and P surpluses at the three sites, but soil K surpluses were recorded only at the QY site. The SFI was greater in the 1.5NPKM, NPKM and NPKS treatments than in the NPK treatment by 13.3-40.0 and 16.4-63.6% at the YL and ZZ sites, respectively, and was significantly higher in the NPKM and 1.5NPKM treatments than in the NPK and NPKS treatments at the QY site. A significant, positive linear relationship was found between SFI and crop yield, and SYI and nutrient balance, indicating that grain yield and its sustainability significantly increased with increasing soil fertility. The apparent N, P and K balances positively affected SFI. This study suggests that the appropriate amount of manure mixed with mineral NPK fertilizer is beneficial to the development of sustainable agriculture, which effectively increases the crop yield and yield sustainability by improving soil fertility.

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    Preceding crop rotation systems shape the selection process of wheat root-associated bacterial communities
    Shuting Yu, Tianshu Wang, Li Wang, Shuihong Yao, Bin Zhang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.004 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract7)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Wheat-maize (WM) and wheat-soybean (WS) double-cropping rotation systems are predominant in the North China Plain, with implications for national agricultural output and sustainability. As rotation systems exert legacy effects on soil health and crop productivity, the role of crop rotation in shaping the root-associated microbiome of the succeeding crops has emerged as a pivotal aspect of crop management research. Here, the effects of the preceding two cycles of WM and WS rotations on the recruitment and filtering of wheat root-associated bacterial communities across wheat developmental stages were investigated. Our results revealed that bacterial community diversity and composition were primarily influenced by compartment and developmental stage, while the preceding rotation systems had a slight but significant effect on wheat root-associated bacterial communities. The co-occurrence networks under WM were more complex in the wheat rhizosphere and rhizoplane, with the OTUs related to cellulolysis showing greater connectivity. The co-occurrence networks under WS were simple but stable in the rhizosphere and complex in the rhizoplane and endosphere, with the OTUs related to ureolysis and nitrogen fixation showing greater connectivity. While both stochastic and deterministic processes contributed to the assembly of wheat root-associated bacterial communities, the contributions of deterministic processes under WS were 19.4–38.5% higher than those under the WM rotation across the root-associated compartments, indicating the substantial impact of a soybean legacy effect on wheat root selection of microbes. Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria with the potential to fix nitrogen, produce indole-3-acetic acid, and inhibit diseases such as Betaproteobacteriales, Azospirillales and Dyella sp., were identified within the OTUs that were consistently enriched across all the wheat root-associated compartments and developmental stages, which were also important predictors of wheat yield. This study elucidates the role of crop rotation in modulating the dynamics of crop root-associated bacterial communities, and underscores the potential of targeted microbiome manipulation for optimizing wheat production and enhancing soil health.

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    Identification of broad-spectrum B-cell and T-cell epitopes of H9 subtype avian influenza virus HA protein using polypeptide scanning
    Keji Quan, Nan Zhang, Mengqi Lin, Yuan Liu, Yue Li, Qun Hu, Maoshun Nie, Tao Qin, Jingzhi Li, Hongwei Ma, Sujuan Chen, and Daxin Peng, Xiufan Liu
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.005 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract8)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The H9N2 subtype avian influenza virus (AIV) hemagglutinin (HA) protein is a major immunogen in which HA1 is a genetic variant and HA2 is relatively conserved. Identifying broad-spectrum antigen epitopes targeting HA1 is crucial for vaccine design and detection. Based on the phylogenetic and serological analyses, we identified 2 antigenic groups and 3 representative viruses: A/chicken/Jiangsu/JY040218C/2019, A/pigeon/Jiangsu/JY020616/2019, and A/chicken/Jiangsu/WX090312/2018. An overlapping peptide library was synthesized using HA1 amino acid sequences of the viruses as templates. Through peptide scanning of the sera against different strains of H9N2 subtype AIV, we identified peptides from 4 regions (H9-2/3, H9-20/21, H9-26, and H9-29/30/31) that demonstrated broad-spectrum reactivity. Immunological assay results demonstrated that H9-21 (219RIFKPLIGPRPLVNGLMGRI239), H9-26 (269SGESHGRILKTDLKMGSCTV289), and H9-30 (309YAFGNCPKYI GVKSLKLAVG329) effectively induced antibody generation and conferred partial protective efficacy against the parent virus JY040218C. The results of lymphocyte proliferation and ELISpot assays indicated that peptides H9-15 (159MRWLTQKNNAYPTQDAQYTN179), H9-22 (229PLVNGLMGRINYYWSVLKP G249), and H9-23 (239NYYWSVLKPGQTLRIKSDGN259) could effectively stimulate the expression of interferon-gamma in peripheral blood lymphocytes of chickens immunized against different strains of H9N2 AIV. Collectively, 5 novel cell epitopes H9-15, H9-22, H9-23, H9-26, and H9-30, including the best B cell epitope H9-26 and the best T cells epitope H9-22, were identified that could be targeted for vaccine design or detection approaches against H9N2 AIVs

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    Genome-wide characterization and expression analysis of the cultivated peanut AhPR10 gene family mediating resistance to Aspergillus flavus L.
    Qi Zhao, Mengjie Cui, Tengda Guo, Lei Shi, Feiyan Qi, Ziqi Sun, Pei Du, Hua Liu, Yu Zhang, Zheng Zheng, Bingyan Huang, Wenzhao Dong, Suoyi Han, Xinyou Zhang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.006 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract11)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    The pathogenesis-related protein PR10 is essential for plant growth, development, and stress responses.  In this study, PR10 genes in cultivated peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) were systematically identified, after which their phylogenetic relationships, conserved motifs, gene structures, and syntenic relationships were analyzed.  A total of 54 AhPR10 genes were identified.  They were then divided into eight groups according to their phylogenetic relationships, which were supported by the characterization of gene structures and conserved motifs.  Analyses of chromosomal distribution and synteny revealed that segmental duplications were critical for the expansion of the AhPR10 gene family.  In addition, the identified AhPR10 genes had constitutive and inducible expression patterns.  Notably, AhPR10-7AhPR10-33, and AhPR10-41 may have crucial functions affecting the resistance of peanut to Aflavus.  In vitro fungistatic experiments indicated that recombinant AhPR10-33 can effectively inhibit Aflavus mycelial growth.  The study results provide useful insights for future research on AhPR10 functions that protect peanut from the detrimental effects of Aflavus.

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    Targeting ThyA: Investigating the mechanisms of 5-FU-induced inhibition of biofilm formation and virulence in Streptococcus suis through LuxS/AI-2 quorum sensing
    Jing Zuo, Yingying Quan, Yue Li, Dong Song, Jinpeng Li, Yuxin Wang, Li Yi, Yang Wang
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2024.07.007 Online: 08 July 2024
    Abstract10)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Streptococcus suis is a significant zoonotic agent affecting both human and pig health and poses a substantial public health concern. The pathogenicity of S. suis is intricately linked to its ability to form biofilms and express virulence factors, which are regulated by the LuxS/AI-2 quorum sensing (QS) system. Herein, we uncover a novel therapeutic avenue by demonstrating that 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), an FDA-approved anti-cancer agent, effectively mitigates biofilm formation and attenuates the virulence of S. suis. Mechanistically, we observe a significant reduction in capsular polysaccharide and extracellular polysaccharide production upon 5-FU treatment, elucidating a potential mechanism for biofilm weakening. Additionally, 5-FU down-regulates virulence traits, diminishing S. suis's ability to adhere to host cells and evade phagocytosis. Crucially, our study identifies the thymidylate synthase regulatory gene thyA as a key mediator of 5-FU's effects on the LuxS/AI-2 QS system. Virtual molecular docking and gene knockout experiments provide compelling evidence that 5-FU modulates the LuxS/AI-2 QS system by targeting thyA. In vivo experiments further validate the therapeutic potential of 5-FU, showcasing a significant reduction in bacterial load and mitigation of tissue damage in a mouse model. In conclusion, our investigation unveils 5-FU as a potent disruptor of S. suis's biofilm formation and virulence, offering a promising avenue for the control of this devastating pathogen.

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