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Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology
A science editor's take on what's new and interesting in the plant kingdom.
Curated by Jennifer Mach
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PLOS Pathogens: The Secreted Peptide PIP1 Amplifies Immunity through Receptor-Like Kinase 7 (2014)

PLOS Pathogens: The Secreted Peptide PIP1 Amplifies Immunity through Receptor-Like Kinase 7 (2014) | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

In plants, innate immune responses are initiated by plasma membrane-located pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) upon recognition of elicitors, including exogenous pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and endogenous damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Arabidopsis thaliana produces more than 1000 secreted peptide candidates, but it has yet to be established whether any of these act as elicitors. Here we identified an A. thaliana gene family encoding precursors of PAMP-induced secreted peptides (prePIPs) through an in-silicoapproach. The expression of some members of the family, including prePIP1 and prePIP2, is induced by a variety of pathogens and elicitors. Subcellular localization and proteolytic processing analyses demonstrated that the prePIP1 product is secreted into extracellular spaces where it is cleaved at the C-terminus. Overexpression of prePIP1 and prePIP2, or exogenous application of PIP1 and PIP2 synthetic peptides corresponding to the C-terminal conserved regions in prePIP1 and prePIP2, enhanced immune responses and pathogen resistance in A. thaliana. Genetic and biochemical analyses suggested that the receptor-like kinase 7 (RLK7) functions as a receptor of PIP1. Once perceived by RLK7, PIP1 initiates overlapping and distinct immune signaling responses together with the DAMP PEP1. PIP1 and PEP1 cooperate in amplifying the immune responses triggered by the PAMP flagellin. Collectively, these studies provide significant insights into immune modulation by Arabidopsis endogenous secreted peptides.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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The circadian clock and defence signalling in plants

The circadian clock and defence signalling in plants | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

The circadian clock is the internal time-keeping machinery in higher organisms. Cross-talk between the circadian clock and a diverse range of physiological processes in plants, including stress acclimatization, hormone signalling, photomorphogenesis and defence signalling, is currently being explored. Recent studies on circadian clock genes and genes involved in defence signalling have indicated a possible reciprocal interaction between the two. It has been proposed that the circadian clock shapes the outcome of plant–pathogen interactions. In this review, we highlight the studies carried out so far on two model plant pathogens, namely Pseudomonas syringae and Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis, and the involvement of the circadian clock in gating effector-triggered immunity and pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered immunity. We focus on how the circadian clock gates the expression of various stress-related transcripts in a prolific manner to enhance plant fitness. An understanding of this dynamic relationship between clock and stress will open up new avenues in the understanding of endogenous mechanisms of defence signalling in plants.

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The coffee genome provides insight into the convergent evolution of caffeine biosynthesis

Coffee is a valuable beverage crop due to its characteristic flavor, aroma, and the stimulating effects of caffeine. We generated a high-quality draft genome of the species Coffea canephora, which displays a conserved chromosomal gene order among asterid angiosperms. Although it shows no sign of the whole-genome triplication identified in Solanaceae species such as tomato, the genome includes several species-specific gene family expansions, among them N-methyltransferases (NMTs) involved in caffeine production, defense-related genes, and alkaloid and flavonoid enzymes involved in secondary compound synthesis. Comparative analyses of caffeine NMTs demonstrate that these genes expanded through sequential tandem duplications independently of genes from cacao and tea, suggesting that caffeine in eudicots is of polyphyletic origin.

Jennifer Mach's insight:

What a way to start the day-- independent evolution of caffeine production in coffee, tea, and chocolate. Better have some of each...

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Producing more grain with lower environmental costs

Producing more grain with lower environmental costs | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Agriculture faces great challenges to ensure global food security by increasing yields while reducing environmental costs1, 2. Here we address this challenge by conducting a total of 153 site-year field experiments covering the main agro-ecological areas for rice, wheat and maize production in China. A set of integrated soil–crop system management practices based on a modern understanding of crop ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry increases average yields for rice, wheat and maize from 7.2 million grams per hectare (Mg ha−1), 7.2 Mg ha−1 and 10.5 Mg ha−1 to 8.5 Mg ha−1, 8.9 Mg ha−1 and 14.2 Mg ha−1, respectively, without any increase in nitrogen fertilizer. Model simulation and life-cycle assessment3 show that reactive nitrogen losses and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced substantially by integrated soil–crop system management. If farmers in China could achieve average grain yields equivalent to 80% of this treatment by 2030, over the same planting area as in 2012, total production of rice, wheat and maize in China would be more than enough to meet the demand for direct human consumption and a substantially increased demand for animal feed, while decreasing the environmental costs of intensive agriculture.

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CONSTANS-LIKE 7 (COL7) Is Involved in Phytochrome B (phyB)-Mediated Light-Quality Regulation of Auxin Homeostasis

CONSTANS-LIKE 7 (COL7) Is Involved in Phytochrome B (phyB)-Mediated Light-Quality Regulation of Auxin Homeostasis | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Arabidopsis phytochrome B (phyB) is the major photoreceptor that senses the ratio of red to far-red light (R:FR) to regulate the shade-avoidance response (SAR). It has been hypothesized that altered homeostasis of phytohormones such as auxin and strigolactone is at least partially responsible for SAR, but the mechanism underlying phyB regulation of the hormonal change is not fully understood. Previously we reported thatCONSTANS-LIKE 7 (COL7) enhances branching number under high R:FR but not under low R:FR, implying that COL7 may be involved in the phyB-mediated SAR. In this study, we provide evidence that COL7 reduces auxin levels in a high R:FR-dependent manner. We found that the phyB mutation suppresses the COL7-induced branching proliferation. Moreover, COL7 promotes mRNA expression of SUPERROOT 2 (SUR2), which encodes a suppressor of auxin biosynthesis, in high R:FR but not in low R:FR. Consistently with these results, deficiency of phyB suppresses the elevated transcription of SUR2 in COL7 overexpression plants grown in high R:FR. Taking these results together with data suggesting that photo-excited phyB is required for stabilization of the COL7 protein, we argue that COL7 is a critical factor linking light perception to changes in auxin level inArabidopsis.


Via Andres Zurita
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, September 3, 12:37 PM

Arabidopsis phytochrome B (phyB) is the major photoreceptor that senses the ratio of red to far-red light (R:FR) to regulate the shade-avoidance response (SAR). It has been hypothesized that altered homeostasis of phytohormones such as auxin and strigolactone is at least partially responsible for SAR, but the mechanism underlying phyB regulation of the hormonal change is not fully understood. Previously we reported thatCONSTANS-LIKE 7 (COL7) enhances branching number under high R:FR but not under low R:FR, implying that COL7 may be involved in the phyB-mediated SAR. In this study, we provide evidence that COL7 reduces auxin levels in a high R:FR-dependent manner. We found that the phyB mutation suppresses the COL7-induced branching proliferation. Moreover, COL7 promotes mRNA expression of SUPERROOT 2 (SUR2), which encodes a suppressor of auxin biosynthesis, in high R:FR but not in low R:FR. Consistently with these results, deficiency of phyB suppresses the elevated transcription of SUR2 in COL7 overexpression plants grown in high R:FR.

Taking these results together with data suggesting that photo-excited phyB is required for stabilization of the COL7 protein, we argue that COL7 is a critical factor linking light perception to changes in auxin level in Arabidopsis.

 
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A nitrogen-dependent switch in the high affinity ammonium transport in Medicago truncatula - Online First - Springer

A nitrogen-dependent switch in the high affinity ammonium transport in Medicago truncatula - Online First - Springer | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Ammonium transporters (AMTs) are crucial for the high affinity primary uptake and translocation of ammonium in plants. In the model legume Medicago truncatula, the genomic set of AMT-type ammonium transporters comprises eight members. Only four genes were abundantly expressed in young seedlings, both in roots and shoots. While the expression of all AMTs in the shoot was not affected by the nitrogen availability, the dominating MtAMT1;1 gene was repressed by nitrogen in roots, despite that cellular nitrogen concentrations were far above deficiency levels. A contrasting de-repression by nitrogen was observed for MtAMT1;4 and MtAMT2;1, which were both expressed at intermediate level. Weak expression was found for MtAMT1;2 and MtAMT2;3, while the other AMTs were not detected in young seedlings. When expressed from their endogenous promoters, translational fusion proteins of MtAMT1;1 and MtAMT2;1 with green fluorescent protein were co-localized in the plasma membrane of rhizodermal cells, but also detected in cortical root layers. Both transporter proteins similarly functionally complemented a yeast strain that is deficient in high affinity ammonium transport, both at acidic and neutral pH. The uptake into yeast mediated by these transporters saturated with Km AMT1;1 = 89 µM and Km AMT2;1 = 123 µM, respectively. When expressed in oocytes, MtAMT1;1 mediated much larger 15N-ammonium uptake than MtAMT2;1, but NH4 + currents were only recorded for MtAMT1;1. These currents saturated with a voltage-dependent Km = 90 µM at -80 mV. The cellular localization and regulation of the AMTs suggests that MtAMT1;1 encodes the major high affinity ammonium transporter gene in low nitrogen grown young M. truncatula roots and despite the similar localization and substrate affinity, MtAMT2;1 appears functionally distinct and more important at higher nitrogen supply.


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Symbiosis Plasmids Bring Their Own Mutagen to the Wedding Party

Symbiosis Plasmids Bring Their Own Mutagen to the Wedding Party | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Entering into a symbiotic relationship is not something to be taken lightly. Previously free-living organisms become beholden to each other and have to tolerate invasion of their personal space to accommodate varying degrees of intimacy, especially when one partner lives within the body or even the cells of the other. Symbiosis brings with it so many potential mutual benefits that it has arisen independently many times in evolution, but overcoming these barriers requires some encouragement.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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The ISME J: Short-term impacts of energy wood harvesting on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of Norway spruce saplings

The ISME J: Short-term impacts of energy wood harvesting on ectomycorrhizal fungal communities of Norway spruce saplings | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

The increased demand for harvesting energy wood raises questions about its effects on the functioning of the forest ecosystems, soil processes and biodiversity. Impacts of tree stump removal on ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) communities of Norway spruce saplings were studied with 454-pyrosequencing in a 3-year field experiment replicated in 3 geographical areas. This is possibly the most thorough investigation of EMF communities associated with saplings grown on sites subjected to energy wood harvesting. To separate impacts of tree stump and logging residue removal on EMF and plant variables, we used three harvesting treatments with increasing complexity from patch mounding alone (P) to patch mounding combined with logging residue removal (RP), and patch mounding combined with both logging residue and stump removal (SRP). Saplings grown in uncut forests (F) served as references for harvesting treatments. A majority of sequences (>92%) and operational taxonomic units (OTUs, 55%) were assigned as EMF. EMF OTU richness, fungal community composition or sapling growth did not differ between harvesting treatments (P, RP and SRP), while EMF OTU richness, diversity and evenness were highest and sapling growth lowest in the undisturbed reference forests (F). The short study period may partially explain the similarities in fungal and sapling variables in different harvesting treatments. In conclusion, our results indicate that neither stump removal nor logging residue removal have significant additional negative impacts on EMF communities or growth of Norway spruce saplings in the short-term compared with the impacts of more conventional harvesting methods, including clear cutting and patch mounding.


Via Stéphane Hacquard, Francis Martin
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A Genome-Wide Association Study of the Maize Hypersensitive Defense Response Identifies Genes That Cluster in Related Pathways

A Genome-Wide Association Study of the Maize Hypersensitive Defense Response Identifies Genes That Cluster in Related Pathways | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Much remains unknown of molecular events controlling the plant hypersensitive defense response (HR), a rapid localized cell death that limits pathogen spread and is mediated by resistance (R-) genes. Genetic control of the HR is hard to quantify due to its microscopic and rapid nature. Natural modifiers of the ectopic HR phenotype induced by an aberrant auto-active R-gene (Rp1-D21), were mapped in a population of 3,381 recombinant inbred lines from the maize nested association mapping population. Joint linkage analysis was conducted to identify 32 additive but no epistatic quantitative trait loci (QTL) using a linkage map based on more than 7000 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Genome-wide association (GWA) analysis of 26.5 million SNPs was conducted after adjusting for background QTL. GWA identified associated SNPs that colocalized with 44 candidate genes. Thirty-six of these genes colocalized within 23 of the 32 QTL identified by joint linkage analysis. The candidate genes included genes predicted to be in involved programmed cell death, defense response, ubiquitination, redox homeostasis, autophagy, calcium signalling, lignin biosynthesis and cell wall modification. Twelve of the candidate genes showed significant differential expression between isogenic lines differing for the presence of Rp1-D21. Low but significant correlations between HR-related traits and several previously-measured disease resistance traits suggested that the genetic control of these traits was substantially, though not entirely, independent. This study provides the first system-wide analysis of natural variation that modulates the HR response in plants.

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PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses

PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

During plant growth, dividing cells in meristems must coordinate transitions from division to expansion and differentiation, thus generating three distinct developmental zones: the meristem, elongation zone and differentiation zone1. Simultaneously, plants display tropisms, rapid adjustments of their direction of growth to adapt to environmental conditions. It is unclear how stable zonation is maintained during transient adjustments in growth direction. In Arabidopsis roots, many aspects of zonation are controlled by the phytohormone auxin and auxin-induced PLETHORA (PLT) transcription factors, both of which display a graded distribution with a maximum near the root tip2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. In addition, auxin is also pivotal for tropic responses13,14. Here, using an iterative experimental and computational approach, we show how an interplay between auxin and PLTs controls zonation and gravitropism. We find that the PLT gradient is not a direct, proportionate readout of the auxin gradient. Rather, prolonged high auxin levels generate a narrow PLT transcription domain from which a gradient of PLT protein is subsequently generated through slow growth dilution and cell-to-cell movement. The resulting PLT levels define the location of developmental zones. In addition to slowly promoting PLT transcription, auxin also rapidly influences division, expansion and differentiation rates. We demonstrate how this specific regulatory design in which auxin cooperates with PLTs through different mechanisms and on different timescales enables both the fast tropic environmental responses and stable zonation dynamics necessary for coordinated cell differentiation.

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The genome of the stress-tolerant wild tomato species Solanum pennellii

The genome of the stress-tolerant wild tomato species Solanum pennellii | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Bjorn Usadel and colleagues report the genome sequence of the wild tomato species Solanum pennellii. The authors identify genes important for stress tolerance, metabolism and fruit maturation and suggest that transposable elements have had an important role in the evolution of the S. penellii stress response.
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Brazil considers transgenic trees

Brazil considers transgenic trees | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Genetically modified eucalyptus could be a global test case.
Jennifer Mach's insight:

GM trait would increase wood yield-- hurray for output traits!

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PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses

PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

During plant growth, dividing cells in meristems must coordinate transitions from division to expansion and differentiation, thus generating three distinct developmental zones: the meristem, elongation zone and differentiation zone1. Simultaneously, plants display tropisms, rapid adjustments of their direction of growth to adapt to environmental conditions. It is unclear how stable zonation is maintained during transient adjustments in growth direction. In Arabidopsis roots, many aspects of zonation are controlled by the phytohormone auxin and auxin-induced PLETHORA (PLT) transcription factors, both of which display a graded distribution with a maximum near the root tip2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. In addition, auxin is also pivotal for tropic responses13, 14. Here, using an iterative experimental and computational approach, we show how an interplay between auxin and PLTs controls zonation and gravitropism. We find that the PLT gradient is not a direct, proportionate readout of the auxin gradient. Rather, prolonged high auxin levels generate a narrow PLT transcription domain from which a gradient of PLT protein is subsequently generated through slow growth dilution and cell-to-cell movement. The resulting PLT levels define the location of developmental zones. In addition to slowly promoting PLT transcription, auxin also rapidly influences division, expansion and differentiation rates. We demonstrate how this specific regulatory design in which auxin cooperates with PLTs through different mechanisms and on different timescales enables both the fast tropic environmental responses and stable zonation dynamics necessary for coordinated cell differentiation.


Via Christophe Jacquet, Andres Zurita
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Nitrate inhibits soybean nodulation by regulating expression of CLE genes

Nitrate inhibits soybean nodulation by regulating expression of CLE genes | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Nitrogen compounds such as nitrate act as a potential inhibitor for legume nodulation. In this study, we isolated a new CLE gene, GmNIC2, from nitrate-treated roots, which shares high sequence homology with nitrate-induced CLE gene GmNIC1. Similar to GmNIC1, the expression level of GmNIC2 was not significantly altered in roots by rhizobial inoculation and was much higher in young nodules than in roots. In addition, overexpression of GmNIC2 led to similar nodulation inhibition of transgenic hairy roots to that of GmNIC1, which occurred in GmNARK-dependent manner and at the local level. By analyzing GmNARK loss-of-function mutant, SS2-2, it was found that expression levels of GmNIC1 and GmNIC2 in the SS2-2 roots were lower than in the wild type (WT) roots in response to nitrate. In contrast to GmNIC1 and GmNIC2, expressions of GmRIC1 and GmRIC2 genes that are related to the autoregulation of nodulation (AON) were strongly suppressed both of the soybeans during all periods of nitrate treatment and even were not induced by additional inoculation with rhizobia. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that GmNIC2, as an active homologous gene located in chromosome 13, acts locally to suppress nodulation, like GmNIC1, and nitrate inhibition of nodulation is led by fine-tuned regulation of both nitrate-induced CLEs and rhizobia-induced CLEs.


Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Trans-kingdom Cross-Talk: Small RNAs on the Move

Trans-kingdom Cross-Talk: Small RNAs on the Move | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

This review focuses on the mobility of small RNA (sRNA) molecules from the perspective of trans-kingdom gene silencing. Mobility of sRNA molecules within organisms is a well-known phenomenon, facilitating gene silencing between cells and tissues. sRNA signals are also transmitted between organisms of the same species and of different species. Remarkably, in recent years many examples of RNA-signal exchange have been described to occur between organisms of different kingdoms. These examples are predominantly found in interactions between hosts and their pathogens, parasites, and symbionts. However, they may only represent the tip of the iceberg, since the emerging picture suggests that organisms in biological niches commonly exchange RNA-silencing signals. In this case, we need to take this into account fully to understand how a given biological equilibrium is obtained. Despite many observations of trans-kingdom RNA signal transfer, several mechanistic aspects of these signals remain unknown. Such RNA signal transfer is already being exploited for practical purposes, though. Pathogen genes can be silenced by plant-produced sRNAs designed to affect these genes. This is also known as Host-Induced Genes Silencing (HIGS), and it has the potential to become an important disease-control method in the future.

Jennifer Mach's insight:

Fascinating review that brings it all together!

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Sridhar Ranganathan's curator insight, September 10, 11:24 AM
Exciting hypothesis involving sRNAs in plant-microbe interactions.
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Special Issue: Functional-Structural Plant Modelling

Special Issue: Functional-Structural Plant Modelling | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

A number of research groups in various areas of plant biology as well as computer science and applied mathematics have addressed modelling the spatiotemporal dynamics of growth and development of plants. This has resulted in development of functional–structural plant models (FSPMs). In FSPMs, the plant structure is always explicitly represented in terms of a network of elementary units. In this respect, FSPMs are different from more abstract models in which a simplified representation of the plant structure is frequently used (e.g. spatial density of leaves, total biomass, etc.). This key feature makes it possible to build modular models and creates avenues for efficient exchange of model components and experimental data. They are being used to deal with the complex 3-D structure of plants and to simulate growth and development occurring at spatial scales from cells to forest areas, and temporal scales from seconds to decades and many plant generations. The plant types studied also cover a broad spectrum, from algae to trees. This special issue of Annals of Botany features selected papers on FSPM topics such as models of morphological development, models of physical and biological processes, integrated models predicting dynamics of plants and plant communities, modelling platforms, methods for acquiring the 3-D structures of plants using automated measurements, and practical applications for agronomic purposes.

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PLOS Biology: Transient Hypermutagenesis Accelerates the Evolution of Legume Endosymbionts following Horizontal Gene Transfer (2014)

PLOS Biology: Transient Hypermutagenesis Accelerates the Evolution of Legume Endosymbionts following Horizontal Gene Transfer (2014) | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Horizontal gene transfer (HGT) is an important mode of adaptation and diversification of prokaryotes and eukaryotes and a major event underlying the emergence of bacterial pathogens and mutualists. Yet it remains unclear how complex phenotypic traits such as the ability to fix nitrogen with legumes have successfully spread over large phylogenetic distances. Here we show, using experimental evolution coupled with whole genome sequencing, that co-transfer of imuABC error-prone DNA polymerase genes with key symbiotic genes accelerates the evolution of a soil bacterium into a legume symbiont. Following introduction of the symbiotic plasmid of Cupriavidus taiwanensis, the Mimosasymbiont, into pathogenic Ralstonia solanacearum we challenged transconjugants to become Mimosa symbionts through serial plant-bacteria co-cultures. We demonstrate that a mutagenesis imuABC cassette encoded on the C. taiwanensis symbiotic plasmid triggered a transient hypermutability stage in R. solanacearum transconjugants that occurred before the cells entered the plant. The generated burst in genetic diversity accelerated symbiotic adaptation of the recipient genome under plant selection pressure, presumably by improving the exploration of the fitness landscape. Finally, we show that plasmid imuABC cassettes are over-represented in rhizobial lineages harboring symbiotic plasmids. Our findings shed light on a mechanism that may have facilitated the dissemination of symbiotic competency among α- and β-proteobacteria in natura and provide evidence for the positive role of environment-induced mutagenesis in the acquisition of a complex lifestyle trait. We speculate that co-transfer of complex phenotypic traits with mutagenesis determinants might frequently enhance the ecological success of HGT.

 

See also Symbiosis Plasmids Bring Their Own Mutagen to the Wedding Party http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001943


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth

Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

How do you model a plant? By modeling pieces and assembling them in a meaningful way. Here's a multiscale model that works. From the abstract:

"Our model brings together gene dynamics, carbon partitioning, organ growth, shoot architecture, and development in response to environmental signals. It predicted the biomass of each leaf in independent data, demonstrated flexible control of photosynthesis across photoperiods, and predicted the pleiotropic phenotype of a developmentally misregulated transgenic line. Systems biology, crop science, and ecology might thus be linked productively in a community-based approach to modeling."


Via Mary Williams
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Small RNA deep sequencing identifies novel and salt-stress-regulated microRNAs from roots of Medicago sativa and Medicago truncatula

Small RNA deep sequencing identifies novel and salt-stress-regulated microRNAs from roots of Medicago sativa and Medicago truncatula | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Small 21- to 24-nt RNAs, notably the miRNA, are emerging as a posttranscriptional regulation mechanism. Salt stress is one of the primary abiotic stresses that cause the crop losses worldwide. In saline lands, root growth and function of plant are determined by the action of environmental salt stress through specific genes that adapt root development to the restrictive condition. To elucidate the role of miRNAs in salt stress regulation in Medicago, we used a high-throughput sequencing approach to analyze four small RNA libraries from roots of Zhongmu-1 (Medicago sativa) and Jemalong A17 (Medicago truncatula), which were treated with 300 mM NaCl for 0 and 8 h. Each library generated about 20 million short sequences and contained predominantly small RNAs of 24-nt length, followed by 21-nt and 22-nt small RNAs. Using sequence analysis, we identified 385 conserved miRNAs from 96 families, along with 68 novel candidate miRNAs. Of all the 68 predicted novel miRNAs, 15 miRNAs were identified to have miRNA*. Statistical analysis on abundance of sequencing read revealed specific miRNA showing contrasting expression patterns between Medicago sativa and Medicago truncatula roots, as well as between roots treated for 0 h and 8 h. The expression of 10 conserved and novel miRNAs was also quantified by qRT-PCR. The miRNA precursor and target genes were predicted by bioinformatics analysis. We concluded that the salt stress related conserved and novel miRNAs may have a large variety of target mRNAs, some of which might play key roles in salt stress regulation of Medicago.


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Cell-autonomous defense, re-organization and trafficking of membranes in plant–microbe interactions

Cell-autonomous defense, re-organization and trafficking of membranes in plant–microbe interactions | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Plant cells dynamically change their architecture and molecular composition following encounters with beneficial or parasitic microbes, a process referred to as host cell reprogramming. Cell-autonomous defense reactions are typically polarized to the plant cell periphery underneath microbial contact sites, including de novo cell wall biosynthesis. Alternatively, host cell reprogramming converges in the biogenesis of membrane-enveloped compartments for accommodation of beneficial bacteria or invasive infection structures of filamentous microbes. Recent advances have revealed that, in response to microbial encounters, plasma membrane symmetry is broken, membrane tethering and SNARE complexes are recruited, lipid composition changes and plasma membrane-to-cytoskeleton signaling is activated, either for pre-invasive defense or for microbial entry. We provide a critical appraisal on recent studies with a focus on how plant cells re-structure membranes and the associated cytoskeleton in interactions with microbial pathogens, nitrogen-fixing rhizobia and mycorrhiza fungi.


Via Francis Martin
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Arabidopsis miR171-Targeted Scarecrow-Like Proteins Bind to GT cis-Elements and Mediate Gibberellin-Regulated Chlorophyll Biosynthesis under Light Conditions

Arabidopsis miR171-Targeted Scarecrow-Like Proteins Bind to GT cis-Elements and Mediate Gibberellin-Regulated Chlorophyll Biosynthesis under Light Conditions | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

An extraordinarily precise regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis is essential for plant growth and development. However, our knowledge on the complex regulatory mechanisms of chlorophyll biosynthesis is very limited. Previous studies have demonstrated that miR171-targeted scarecrow-like proteins (SCL6/22/27) negatively regulate chlorophyll biosynthesis via an unknown mechanism. Here we showed that SCLs inhibit the expression of the key gene encoding protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase (POR) in light-grown plants, but have no significant effect on protochlorophyllide biosynthesis in etiolated seedlings. Histochemical analysis of β-glucuronidase (GUS) activity in transgenic plants expressing pSCL27::rSCL27-GUS revealed that SCL27-GUS accumulates at high levels and suppresses chlorophyll biosynthesis at the leaf basal proliferation region during leaf development. Transient gene expression assays showed that the promoter activity of PORC is indeed regulated by SCL27. Consistently, chromatin immunoprecipitation and quantitative PCR assays showed that SCL27 binds to the promoter region of PORC in vivo. An electrophoretic mobility shift assay revealed that SCL27 is directly interacted with G(A/G)(A/T)AA(A/T)GT cis-elements of the PORCpromoter. Furthermore, genetic analysis showed that gibberellin (GA)-regulated chlorophyll biosynthesis is mediated, at least in part, by SCLs. We demonstrated that SCL27 interacts with DELLA proteins in vitro and in vivo by yeast-two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation analysis and found that their interaction reduces the binding activity of SCL27 to the PORCpromoter. Additionally, we showed that SCL27 activates MIR171 gene expression, forming a feedback regulatory loop. Taken together, our data suggest that the miR171-SCL module is critical for mediating GA-DELLA signaling in the coordinate regulation of chlorophyll biosynthesis and leaf growth in light.

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OSCA1 mediates osmotic-stress-evoked Ca2+ increases vital for osmosensing in Arabidopsis

OSCA1 mediates osmotic-stress-evoked Ca2+ increases vital for osmosensing in Arabidopsis | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Water is crucial to plant growth and development. Environmental water deficiency triggers an osmotic stress signalling cascade, which induces short-term cellular responses to reduce water loss and long-term responses to remodel the transcriptional network and physiological and developmental processes1, 2, 3, 4. Several signalling components that have been identified by extensive genetic screens for altered sensitivities to osmotic stress seem to function downstream of the perception of osmotic stress. It is known that hyperosmolality and various other stimuli trigger increases in cytosolic free calcium concentration ([Ca2+]i)5, 6. Considering that in bacteria and animals osmosensing Ca2+ channels serve as osmosensors7, 8, hyperosmolality-induced [Ca2+]iincreases have been widely speculated to be involved in osmosensing in plants1, 9. However, the molecular nature of corresponding Ca2+ channels remain unclear6, 10, 11. Here we describe a hyperosmolality-gated calcium-permeable channel and its function in osmosensing in plants. Using calcium-imaging-based unbiased forward genetic screens we isolated Arabidopsis mutants that exhibit low hyperosmolality-induced [Ca2+]i increases. These mutants were rescreened for their cellular, physiological and developmental responses to osmotic stress, and those with clear combined phenotypes were selected for further physical mapping. One of the mutants, reduced hyperosmolality-induced [Ca2+]i increase 1 (osca1), displays impaired osmotic Ca2+ signalling in guard cells and root cells, and attenuated water transpiration regulation and root growth in response to osmotic stress. OSCA1 is identified as a previously unknown plasma membrane protein and forms hyperosmolality-gated calcium-permeable channels, revealing that OSCA1 may be an osmosensor. OSCA1 represents a channel responsible for [Ca2+]i increases induced by a stimulus in plants, opening up new avenues for studying Ca2+ machineries for other stimuli and providing potential molecular genetic targets for engineering drought-resistant crops.

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The genome sequence of African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and evidence for independent domestication

The genome sequence of African rice (Oryza glaberrima) and evidence for independent domestication | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Mingsheng Chen, Klaus Mayer, Steve Rounsley, Rod Wing and colleagues report the genome sequence of African rice (Oryza glaberrima), a different species than Asian rice. The authors resequenced 20 O. glaberrima accessions and 94 Oryza barthii accessions (the putative progenitor species of O. glaberrima), and their analyses support the hypothesis that O. glaberrima was domesticated in a single region along the upper Niger river.
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Construction and validation of a gene co-expression network in grapevine (Vitis vinifera. L.)

Construction and validation of a gene co-expression network in grapevine (Vitis vinifera. L.) | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Gene co-expression analysis has been widely used for predicting gene functions because genes within modules of a co-expression network may be involved in similar biological processes and exhibit similar biological functions. To detect gene relationships in the grapevine genome, we constructed a grapevine gene co-expression network (GGCN) by compiling a total of 374 publically available grapevine microarray datasets. The GGCN consisted of 557 modules containing a total of 3834 nodes with 13 479 edges. The functions of the subnetwork modules were inferred by Gene ontology (GO) enrichment analysis. In 127 of the 557 modules containing two or more GO terms, 38 modules exhibited the most significantly enriched GO terms, including ‘protein catabolism process’, ‘photosynthesis’, ‘cell biosynthesis process’, ‘biosynthesis of plant cell wall’, ‘stress response’ and other important biological processes. The ‘response to heat’ GO term was highly represented in module 17, which is composed of many heat shock proteins. To further determine the potential functions of genes in module 17, we performed a Pearson correlation coefficient test, analyzed orthologous relationships with Arabidopsis genes and established gene expression correlations with real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR). Our results indicated that many genes in module 17 were upregulated during the heat shock and recovery processes and downregulated in response to low temperature. Furthermore, two putative genes, Vit_07s0185g00040 and Vit_02s0025g04060, were highly expressed in response to heat shock and recovery. This study provides insight into GGCN gene modules and offers important references for gene functions and the discovery of new genes at the module level.

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RNA-seq transcriptome profiling reveals that Medicago truncatula nodules acclimate N2 fixation before emerging P deficiency reaches the nodules

Legume nodules are plant tissues with an exceptionally high concentration of phosphorus (P), which, when there is scarcity of P, is preferentially maintained there rather than being allocated to other plant organs. The hypothesis of this study was that nodules are affected before the P concentration in the organ declines during whole-plant P depletion. Nitrogen (N2) fixation and P concentration in various organs were monitored during a whole-plant P-depletion process in Medicago truncatula. Nodule gene expression was profiled through RNA-seq at day 5 of P depletion. Until that point in time P concentration in leaves reached a lower threshold but was maintained in nodules. N2-fixation activity per plant diverged from that of fully nourished plants beginning at day 5 of the P-depletion process, primarily because fewer nodules were being formed, while the activity of the existing nodules was maintained for as long as two weeks into P depletion. RNA-seq revealed nodule acclimation on a molecular level with a total of 1140 differentially expressed genes. Numerous genes for P remobilization from organic structures were increasingly expressed. Various genes involved in nodule malate formation were upregulated, while genes involved in fermentation were downregulated. The fact that nodule formation was strongly repressed with the onset of P deficiency is reflected in the differential expression of various genes involved in nodulation. It is concluded that plants follow a strategy to maintain N2 fixation and viable leaf tissue as long as possible during whole-plant P depletion to maintain their ability to react to emerging new P sources (e.g. through active P acquisition by roots).


Via IvanOresnik
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