Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Detection of QTLs for genotype × environment interactions in tomato seeds and seedlings
    Geshnizjani, Nafiseh ; Snoek, Basten L. ; Willems, Leo A.J. ; Rienstra, Juriaan A. ; Nijveen, Harm ; Hilhorst, Henk W.M. ; Ligterink, Wilco - \ 2020
    Plant, Cell & Environment 43 (2020)8. - ISSN 0140-7791 - p. 1973 - 1988.
    high phosphate - low nitrogen - maternal environment - QTL × E - seed quality - seedling establishment - tomato

    Seed quality and seedling establishment are the most important factors affecting successful crop development. They depend on the genetic background and are acquired during seed maturation and therefor, affected by the maternal environment under which the seeds develop. There is little knowledge about the genetic and environmental factors that affect seed quality and seedling establishment. The aim of this study is to identify the loci and possible molecular mechanisms involved in acquisition of seed quality and how these are controlled by adverse maternal conditions. For this, we used a tomato recombinant inbred line (RIL) population consisting of 100 lines which were grown under two different nutritional environmental conditions, high phosphate and low nitrate. Most of the seed germination traits such as maximum germination percentage (Gmax), germination rate (t50) and uniformity (U8416) showed ample variation between genotypes and under different germination conditions. This phenotypic variation leads to identification of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) which were dependent on genetic factors, but also on the interaction with the maternal environment (QTL × E). Further studies of these QTLs may ultimately help to predict the effect of different maternal environmental conditions on seed quality and seedling establishment which will be very useful to improve the production of high-performance seeds.

    Desiccation Tolerance : Avoiding Cellular Damage during Drying and Rehydration
    Oliver, Melvin J. ; Farrant, Jill M. ; Hilhorst, Henk W.M. ; Mundree, Sagadevan ; Williams, Brett ; Bewley, J.D. - \ 2020
    Annual Review of Plant Biology 71 (2020). - ISSN 1543-5008 - p. 435 - 460.
    cellular protection - desiccation - desiccation tolerance - mechanical stress - metabolic stress - reactive oxygen species - resurrection plants - senescence

    Desiccation of plants is often lethal but is tolerated by the majority of seeds and by vegetative tissues of only a small number of land plants. Desiccation tolerance is an ancient trait, lost from vegetative tissues following the appearance of tracheids but reappearing in several lineages when selection pressures favored its evolution. Cells of all desiccation-tolerant plants and seeds must possess a core set of mechanisms to protect them from desiccation- and rehydration-induced damage. This review explores how desiccation generates cell damage and how tolerant cells assuage the complex array of mechanical, structural, metabolic, and chemical stresses and survive.Likewise, the stress of rehydration requires appropriate mitigating cellular responses. We also explore what comparative genomics, both structural and responsive, have added to our understanding of cellular protection mechanisms induced by desiccation, and how vegetative desiccation tolerance circumvents destructive, stress-induced cell senescence.

    Sequence analysis of Ricinus communis small heat-shock protein (sHSP) subfamily and its role in abiotic stress responses
    Neto, Valdir G. ; Barbosa, Rhaissa R. ; Carosio, Maria G.A. ; Ferreira, Antônio G. ; Fernandez, Luzimar G. ; Castro, Renato D. de; Ligterink, Wilco ; Hilhorst, Henk ; Ribeiro, Paulo R. - \ 2020
    Industrial Crops and Products 152 (2020). - ISSN 0926-6690
    Abiotic stress - Oilseed crop - Regulatory mechanisms - Tolerance

    Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) possess major roles in plant defense mechanisms towards abiotic stresses. sHSPs act as molecular chaperones providing the necessary tools to sustain cellular homeostasis under adverse conditions. sHSP genes display specific expression signatures, which depend on tissue-specificity, developmental stage and the nature of the abiotic stress. Despite the fact that Ricinus communis is an important oilseed crop with large socioeconomic impact on small family farmers in semi-arid regions worldwide, the characterization of RcsHSP genes and their possible contribution to plant survival under harsh environmental conditions has not been addressed. Hence, this study aimed at characterizing the R. communis sHSP subfamily, through phylogeny, gene structure, duplication, and expression profile analysis, as well as by characterizing Arabidopsis thaliana seeds overexpressing RcsHSP genes. We identified 41 RcsHSP genes with the α-crystallin domain and compatible molecular weight (<43 kDa). The RcsHSP subfamily showed different homology levels with sHSP genes from other plant species, suggesting the occurrence of specific gene expansion and loss. The RcsHSP subfamily was classified according to the cellular locations of the genes, which included cytosolic, chloroplastic, mitochondrial, and endoplasmic reticulum groups. Ten putative motifs were found among RcsHSP genes, but only motifs 4, 6 and 8 were sHSP protein domains. The RcsHSP subfamily showed 19 genes produced by tandem duplication events, which might have been crucial for RcsHSP diversification and acquisition of tolerance in R. communis. Gene expression analysis showed that the RcsHSP subfamily possesses different regulatory mechanisms in response to various abiotic stresses. Additionally, overexpression of RcsHSP genes in A. thaliana was followed by enhanced SOD activity and higher content of osmoprotectants, which ultimately led to enhanced seed germination under a variety of abiotic stresses. Our results may contribute to breeding programs aiming at developing high tolerant R. communis plants, providing economic and social support for farmers in semiarid areas worldwide.

    Intertwined signatures of desiccation and drought tolerance in grasses
    Pardo, Jeremy ; Wai, Ching Man ; Chay, Hannah ; Madden, Christine F. ; Hilhorst, Henk W.M. ; Farrant, Jill M. ; VanBuren, Robert - \ 2020
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117 (2020)18. - ISSN 0027-8424 - p. 10079 - 10088.
    Desiccation tolerance - Drought - Evolution - Grasses - Rewiring

    Grasses are among the most resilient plants, and some can survive prolonged desiccation in semiarid regions with seasonal rainfall. However, the genetic elements that distinguish grasses that are sensitive versus tolerant to extreme drying are largely unknown. Here, we leveraged comparative genomic approaches with the desiccation-tolerant grass Eragrostis nindensis and the related desiccation-sensitive cereal Eragrostis tef to identify changes underlying desiccation tolerance. These analyses were extended across C4 grasses and cereals to identify broader evolutionary conservation and divergence. Across diverse genomic datasets, we identified changes in chromatin architecture, methylation, gene duplications, and expression dynamics related to desiccation in E. nindensis. It was previously hypothesized that transcriptional rewiring of seed desiccation pathways confers vegetative desiccation tolerance. Here, we demonstrate that the majority of seed-dehydration-related genes showed similar expression patterns in leaves of both desiccation-tolerant and -sensitive species. However, we identified a small set of seed-related orthologs with expression specific to desiccation-tolerant species. This supports a broad role for seed-related genes, where many are involved in typical drought responses, with only a small subset of crucial genes specifically induced in desiccation-tolerant plants.

    Arabidopsis in the wild—the effect of seasons on seed performance
    Souza Vidigal, Deborah de; He, Hanzi ; Hilhorst, Henk W.M. ; Willems, Leo A.J. ; Bentsink, Leónie - \ 2020
    Plants 9 (2020)5. - ISSN 2223-7747
    Arabidopsis - Environmental effects - Field conditions - Seed dormancy - Seed longevity

    Climate changes play a central role in the adaptive life histories of organisms all over the world. In higher plants, these changes may impact seed performance, both during seed development and after dispersal. To examine the plasticity of seed performance as a response to environmental fluctuations, eight genotypes known to be affected in seed dormancy and longevity were grown in the field in all seasons of two years. Soil and air temperature, day length, precipitation, and sun hours per day were monitored. We show that seed performance depends on the season. Seeds produced by plants grown in the summer, when the days began to shorten and the temperature started to decrease, were smaller with deeper dormancy and lower seed longevity compared to the other seasons when seeds were matured at higher temperature over longer days. The performance of seeds developed in the different seasons was compared to seeds produced in controlled conditions. This revealed that plants grown in a controlled environment produced larger seeds with lower dormancy than those grown in the field. All together the results show that the effect of the environment largely overrules the genetic effects, and especially, differences in seed dormancy caused by the different seasons were larger than the differences between the genotypes.

    Overexpression of Ricinus communis L. malate synthase enhances seed tolerance to abiotic stress during germination
    Brito, Valdinei Carvalho ; Almeida, Catherine P. de; Barbosa, Rhaíssa R. ; Carosio, Maria G.A. ; Ferreira, Antônio G. ; Fernandez, Luzimar G. ; Castro, Renato D. de; Hilhorst, Henk ; Ligterink, Wilco ; Ribeiro, Paulo Roberto - \ 2020
    Industrial Crops and Products 145 (2020). - ISSN 0926-6690
    Abiotic stress - Castor bean - Functional characterization - Temperature-responsive genes

    Ricinus communis L. seeds can germinate at high temperatures, but further development of the seedlings is negatively affected. This mainly caused by impairment of energy-generating pathways when seeds are germinated at 35 °C. Ricinus communis malate synthase (RcMLS) is a key responsive gene in lipid mobilization and gluconeogenesis and as such might have a role in sustaining successful seed germination and seedling growth. Herein, we raised the question whether RcMLS might be involved in the biochemical and molecular mechanisms required for R. communis seed germination under unfavourable environmental conditions. For that, we used a robust approach that encompassed bioinformatics analysis, transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh seeds overexpressing RcMLS, along with phenotypical characterization of seed germination under abiotic stress. The phylogenetic tree revealed important evolutionary relationship amongst MLS sequences from R. communis and from other crop species/model plants. Overexpression of RcMLS enhanced A. thaliana seed germination under high temperature and salt stress. For example, wild-type A. thaliana Columbia seeds (Col-0) showed 37 % of maximum germination at 35 °C, whereas A. thaliana seeds overexpressing RcMLS showed up to 71%. When salt stress was applied (75 mM NaCl), maximum germination of Col-0 seeds reached 37%, whereas for A. thaliana seeds overexpressing RcMLS it reached up to 93%. Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Gas Chromatography coupled to Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (GC-TOF-MS) metabolomics analysis showed a robust metabolic signature of A. thaliana seeds overexpressing RcMLS in response to abiotic stress. They accumulated high levels of Met, Ile, fructose, glucose, and sucrose. Therefore, we suggested that overexpression of RcMLS has modulated the glyoxylate cycle and gluconeogenesis pathway in order to maintain cellular homeostasis under unfavorable environmental conditions. Our results provide important leads into the contribution of RcMLS to the underlying mechanism of R. communis seed germination under adverse environmental conditions. This might be helpful for breeding programs to develop more resistant R. communis cultivars which are more likely to sustain growth and high yield under the severe conditions found in arid and semi-arid areas worldwide.

    KringloopWijzer: voordeel voor melkveehouder en natuur
    Haan, Michael de; Oenema, Jouke ; Hilhorst, Gerjan ; Verloop, Koos - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven benaderen Planet Proof criteria
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. ; Haan, M.H.A. de - \ 2019
    Nieuwsbrief Koeien & Kansen (2019)50. - p. 3 - 3.
    Minder fosfor in krachtvoer op Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    In 8 jaar tijd is het P-gehalte in krachtvoer met 14 procent gedaald van 4,9 naar 4,2 gram P per kilogram krachtvoer op de Koeien & Kansen bedrijven. Mede hierdoor is de fosfaatexcretie op deze bedrijven flink verminderd. Deze daling is het gevolg van een afgesloten convenant in 2011 van de ketenpartners NEVEDI en LTO om het fosforgehalte in krachtvoer te verlagen. Deze afspraken zijn in 2015 aangescherpt.
    Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven benaderen Planet Proof criteria
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. ; Haan, M.H.A. de - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    Om de integrale duurzaamheid van melk te kunnen beoordelen heeft Stichting Milieukeur het certificaat ‘Planet Proof’ in het leven geroepen. Om Planet Proof melk te mogen leveren moeten bedrijven aan verschillende duurzaamheidscriteria voldoen. In dit artikel kijken we hoe de Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven scoren op vijf duurzaamheidscriteria van Planet Proof.
    Ammoniakemissie per hectare gedaald in 2018 op Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    De gemiddelde ammoniakemissie per hectare op de Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven is in 2018 met 7 procent gedaald ten opzichte van 2017. Vooral minder melk per hectare door het houden van minder koeien en een groter bedrijfsoppervlak hebben geleid tot deze daling.
    Aandeel blijvend grasland 57% op Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    Op een gemiddeld Koeien & Kansen-bedrijf bestond het grondareaal in 2018 uit ruim 57% blijvend grasland. Dit niveau ligt ruimschoots boven het aandeel blijvend grasland in Nederland (gerekend over alle landbouwgrond). Tussen Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven is er wel een grote variatie. Zo is er één bedrijf met nauwelijks blijvend grasland en er zijn ook bedrijven met 90% blijvend grasland of meer
    Meer aandacht voor kwaliteit en optimalisatie
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. ; Haan, M.H.A. de - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    Koeien & Kansen- ondernemers stellen jaarlijks bedrijfsdoelen voor hun bedrijf en leggen deze vast in een bedrijfsontwikkelingsplan. In dit plan staan de te nemen maatregelen om de voorgestelde doelen te realiseren. Alle Koeien & Kansen-deelnemers zijn goed voor meer dan 50 verschillende maatregelen. Deze maatregelen zijn het afgelopen jaar vooral gericht op het optimaliseren en verbeteren van kwaliteit op het gebied van vee, bodem en gewas en minder op groei en productie.
    Broeikasgasemissie op Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven in beeld
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    Alle Koeien & Kansen bedrijven en de KTC De Marke hebben in 2018 een broeikasgasemissie van gemiddeld 1145 kilogram CO2-equivalenten per ton meetmelk. Dit zijn de broeikasgassen die volledig aan melk zijn toegerekend. In 2018 werd 86% van de totale uitstoot van broeikasgassen aan melk toegerekend en 14 procent aan vlees. In 2017 lag het percentage voor melk op 82%.
    Voordeel KringloopWijzer minder groot voor Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven in 2018
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    Bedrijfsspecifiek berekenen van de excretie met de Kringloopwijzer levert voor de Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven in 2018 minder voordeel op dan in 2017. Gemiddeld produceren deze bedrijven 17% minder fosfaat dan wanneer de excretie van mest wordt bepaald met de forfaitaire normen. De gemiddelde bedrijfsspecifieke stikstofproductie is ongeveer gelijk aan de forfaitaire productie. Bij toepassen van de bedrijfsspecifieke berekening in de KringloopWijzer besparen de bedrijven in 2018 gemiddeld 75 ton mestafvoer, terwijl in 2017 nog ruim 260 ton was.
    Fors lagere gewasopbrengsten voor Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    In 2018 is de gemiddelde gras- en maïsopbrengst op de Koeien & Kansen-bedrijven ongeveer 2900 kilo droge stof lager dan in 2017. Dit is een gevolg van de aanhoudende droogte in 2018. Door de droogte was ook de gemiddelde eiwitproductie van grasland bijna 20 procent lager dan in de voorgaande jaren.
    Weinig eiwit met krachtvoer voeren verhoogt de grondgebondenheid
    Evers, A.G. ; Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019
    Koeien & Kansen
    A blueprint of seed desiccation sensitivity in the genome of Castanospermum australe
    Correia Silva Santana Marques, A. ; Dias Costa, M.C. ; Chathuri, Udisha ; Jonkheer, Eef ; Zhao, T. ; Schijlen, E.G.W.M. ; Derks, M.F.L. ; Nijveen, H. ; Marcet-Houben, Marina ; Julca, Irene ; Delahaie, Julien ; Schranz, Eric ; Gabaldon, Toni ; Pelletier, S. ; Leprince, O. ; Ligterink, W. ; Buitink, J. ; Hilhorst, H.W.M. ; Farrant, Jill M. - \ 2019
    Most angiosperms produce seeds that are desiccated on dispersal with the ability to retain viability in storage facilities for prolonged periods. However, some species produce desiccation sensitive seeds which rapidly lose viability in storage, precluding ex situ conservation. Current consensus is that desiccation sensitive seeds either lack or do not express mechanisms necessary for the acquisition of desiccation tolerance. We sequenced the genome of Castanospermum australe, a legume species producing desiccation sensitive seeds, and characterized its seed developmental physiology and - transcriptomes. C. australe has a low rate of evolution, likely due to its perennial life-cycle and long generation times. The genome is syntenic with itself, with several orthologs of genes from desiccation tolerant legume seeds, from gamma whole-genome duplication events being retained. Changes in gene expression during development of C. australe seeds, as compared to desiccation tolerant Medicago truncatula seeds, suggest they remain metabolically active, prepared for immediate germination. Our data indicates that the phenotype of C. australe seeds arose through few changes in specific signalling pathways, precluding or bypassing activation of mechanisms necessary for acquisition of desiccation tolerance. Such changes have been perpetuated as the habitat in which dispersal occurs is favourable for prompt germination.
    Structural Plasticity of Intrinsically Disordered LEA Proteins from Xerophyta schlechteri Provides Protection In Vitro and In Vivo
    Silva Artur, Mariana A. ; Rienstra, Juriaan ; Dennis, Timothy J. ; Farrant, Jill M. ; Ligterink, Wilco ; Hilhorst, Henk - \ 2019
    Frontiers in Plant Science 10 (2019). - ISSN 1664-462X
    intrinsic disorder - late embryogenesis abundant proteins - plant desiccation tolerance - resurrection plants - Xerophyta

    Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA) proteins are essential to the ability of resurrection plants and orthodox seeds to protect the subcellular milieu against irreversible damage associated with desiccation. In this work, we investigated the structure and function of six LEA proteins expressed during desiccation in the monocot resurrection species Xerophyta schlechteri (XsLEAs). In silico analyses suggested that XsLEAs are hydrophilic proteins with variable intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) properties. Circular dichroism (CD) analysis indicated that these proteins are mostly unstructured in water but acquire secondary structure in hydrophobic solution, suggesting that structural dynamics may play a role in their function in the subcellular environment. The protective property of XsLEAs was demonstrated by their ability to preserve the activity of the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) against desiccation, heat and oxidative stress, as well as growth of Escherichia coli upon exposure to osmotic and salt stress. Subcellular localization analysis indicated that XsLEA recombinant proteins are differentially distributed in the cytoplasm, membranes and nucleus of Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Interestingly, a LEA_1 family protein (XsLEA1-8), showing the highest disorder-to-order propensity and protective ability in vitro and in vivo, was also able to enhance salt and drought stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Together, our results suggest that the structural plasticity of XsLEAs is essential for their protective activity to avoid damage of various subcellular components caused by water deficit stress. XsLEA1-8 constitutes a potential model protein for engineering structural stability in vitro and improvement of water-deficit stress tolerance in plants.

    Gestegen eiwitniveau in rantsoen is risicovol
    Hilhorst, G.J. - \ 2019

    kennisdeeldag van Vruchtbare Kringloop Noord-Nederland in het Friese Kollumerzwaag

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