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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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Dominance hierarchy arising from the evolution of a complex small RNA regulatory network

The prevention of fertilization through self-pollination (or pollination by a close relative) in the Brassicaceae plant family is determined by the genotype of the plant at the self-incompatibility locus (S locus). The many alleles at this locus exhibit a dominance hierarchy that determines which of the two allelic specificities of a heterozygous genotype is expressed at the phenotypic level. Here, we uncover the evolution of how at least 17 small RNA (sRNA)–producing loci and their multiple target sites collectively control the dominance hierarchy among alleles within the gene controlling the pollen S-locus phenotype in a self-incompatible Arabidopsis species. Selection has created a dynamic repertoire of sRNA-target interactions by jointly acting on sRNA genes and their target sites, which has resulted in a complex system of regulation among alleles.

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A novel bioinformatics pipeline to discover genes related to arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis based on their evolutionary conservation pattern among higher plants

BackgroundGenes involved in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis have been identified primarily by mutant screens, followed by identification of the mutated genes (forward genetics). In addition, a number of AM-related genes has been identified by their AM-related expression patterns, and their function has subsequently been elucidated by knock-down or knock-out approaches (reverse genetics). However, genes that are members of functionally redundant gene families, or genes that have a vital function and therefore result in lethal mutant phenotypes, are difficult to identify. If such genes are constitutively expressed and therefore escape differential expression analyses, they remain elusive. The goal of this study was to systematically search for AM-related genes with a bioinformatics strategy that is insensitive to these problems. The central element of our approach is based on the fact that many AM-related genes are conserved only among AM-competent species.ResultsOur approach involves genome-wide comparisons at the proteome level of AM-competent host species with non-mycorrhizal species. Using a clustering method we first established orthologous/paralogous relationships and subsequently identified protein clusters that contain members only of the AM-competent species. Proteins of these clusters were then analyzed in an extended set of 16 plant species and ranked based on their relatedness among AM-competent monocot and dicot species, relative to non-mycorrhizal species. In addition, we combined the information on the protein-coding sequence with gene expression data and with promoter analysis. As a result we present a list of yet uncharacterized proteins that show a strongly AM-related pattern of sequence conservation, indicating that the respective genes may have been under selection for a function in AM. Among the top candidates are three genes that encode a small family of similar receptor-like kinases that are related to the S-locus receptor kinases involved in sporophytic self-incompatibility.ConclusionsWe present a new systematic strategy of gene discovery based on conservation of the protein-coding sequence that complements classical forward and reverse genetics. This strategy can be applied to diverse other biological phenomena if species with established genome sequences fall into distinguished groups that differ in a defined functional trait of interest.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Improving crop disease resistance: lessons from research on Arabidopsis and tomato

One of the great challenges for food security in the 21st century is to improve yield stability through the development of disease-resistant crops. Crop research is often hindered by the lack of molecular tools, growth logistics, generation time and detailed genetic annotations, hence the power of model plant species. Our knowledge of plant immunity today has been largely shaped by the use of models, specifically through the use of mutants. We examine the importance of Arabidopsis and tomato as models in the study of plant immunity and how they help us in revealing a detailed and deep understanding of the various layers contributing to the immune system. Here we describe examples of how knowledge from models can be transferred to economically important crops resulting in new tools to enable and accelerate classical plant breeding. We will also discuss how models, and specifically transcriptomics and effectoromics approaches, have contributed to the identification of core components of the defence response which will be key to future engineering of durable and sustainable disease resistance in plants.
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Frontiers | Interactions of Xanthomonas type-III effector proteins with the plant ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like pathways | Plant-Microbe Interaction

Frontiers | Interactions of Xanthomonas type-III effector proteins with the plant ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like pathways | Plant-Microbe Interaction | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
In eukaryotes, regulated protein turnover is required during many cellular processes, including defense against pathogens. Ubiquitination and degradation of ubiquitinated proteins via the ubiquitin – proteasome system (UPS) is the main pathway for the turnover of intracellular proteins in eukaryotes. The extensive utilization of the UPS in host cells makes it an ideal pivot for the manipulation of cellular processes by pathogens. Like many other Gram-negative bacteria, Xanthomonas species secrete a suite of type-III effector proteins (T3Es) into their host cells to promote virulence. Some of these T3Es exploit the plant UPS to interfere with immunity. This review summarizes T3E examples from the genus Xanthomonas with a proven or suggested interaction with the host UPS or UPS-like systems and also discusses the apparent paradox that arises from the presence of T3Es that inhibit the UPS in general while others rely on its activity for their function.

Via Suayib Üstün
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Suayib Üstün's curator insight, December 3, 2014 8:19 AM

My first Review is online! Also first paper in Frontiers in Plant Science. Next one in this issue is following soon...

Jennifer Mach's comment, December 3, 2014 8:56 AM
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Promoter-Based Integration in Plant Defense Regulation

Promoter-Based Integration in Plant Defense Regulation | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

A key unanswered question in plant biology is how a plant regulates metabolism to maximize performance across an array of biotic and abiotic environmental stresses. In this study, we addressed the potential breadth of transcriptional regulation that can alter accumulation of the defensive glucosinolate metabolites in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). A systematic yeast one-hybrid study was used to identify hundreds of unique potential regulatory interactions with a nearly complete complement of 21 promoters for the aliphatic glucosinolate pathway. Conducting high-throughput phenotypic validation, we showed that >75% of tested transcription factor (TF) mutants significantly altered the accumulation of the defensive glucosinolates. These glucosinolate phenotypes were conditional upon the environment and tissue type, suggesting that these TFs may allow the plant to tune its defenses to the local environment. Furthermore, the pattern ofTF/promoter interactions could partially explain mutant phenotypes. This work shows that defense chemistry within Arabidopsis has a highly intricate transcriptional regulatory system that may allow for the optimization of defense metabolite accumulation across a broad array of environments.

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Identification of CROWN ROOTLESS1-regulated genes in rice reveals specific and conserved elements of postembryonic root formation

Identification of CROWN ROOTLESS1-regulated genes in rice reveals specific and conserved elements of postembryonic root formation | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

In monocotyledons, the root system is mostly composed of postembryonic shoot-borne roots called crown roots. In rice (Oryza sativa), auxin promotes crown root initiation via the LOB-domain transcription factor (LBD) transcription factor CROWN ROOTLESS1 (CRL1); however, the gene regulatory network downstream of CRL1 remains largely unknown.We tested CRL1 transcriptional activity in yeast and in planta, identified CRL1-regulated genes using an inducible gene expression system and a transcriptome analysis, and used in situ hybridization to demonstrate coexpression of a sample of CRL1-regulated genes with CRL1 in crown root primordia.We show that CRL1 positively regulates 277 genes, including key genes involved in meristem patterning (such as QUIESCENT-CENTER SPECIFIC HOMEOBOX; QHB), cell proliferation and hormone homeostasis. Many genes are homologous to Arabidopsis genes involved in lateral root formation, but about a quarter are rice-specific.Our study reveals that several genes acting downstream of LBD transcription factors controlling postembryonic root formation are conserved between monocots and dicots. It also provides evidence that specific genes are involved in the formation of shoot-derived roots in rice.


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Role of early signalling events in plant–insect interactions

Role of early signalling events in plant–insect interactions | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

The response of plants to the stress caused by herbivores involves several different defence mechanisms. These responses begin at the plant cell plasma membrane, where insect herbivores interact physically by causing mechanical damage and chemically by introducing elicitors or by triggering plant-derived signalling molecules. The earliest plant responses to herbivore contact are represented by ion flux unbalances generated in the plant cell plasma membrane at the damaged site. Differences in the charge distribution generate plasma transmembrane potential (V m) variation, the first event, which eventually leads to the initiation of signal transduction pathways and gene expression. Calcium signalling and the generation of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species are early events closely related to V m variations. This review provides an update on recent developments and advances in plant early signalling in response to herbivory, with particular emphasis on the electrophysiological variations of the plasma membrane potential, calcium signalling, cation channel activity, production of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, and formation of a systemically moving signal from wounded tissues. The roles of calcium-dependent protein kinases and calcineurin signalling are also discussed.

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Rescooped by Jennifer Mach from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
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Plasmodesmata in integrated cell signalling: insights from development and environmental signals and stresses

Plasmodesmata in integrated cell signalling: insights from development and environmental signals and stresses | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
To survive as sedentary organisms built of immobile cells, plants require an effective intercellular communication system, both locally between neighbouring cells within each tissue and systemically across distantly located organs. Such a system enables cells to coordinate their intracellular activities and produce concerted responses to internal and external stimuli. Plasmodesmata, membrane-lined intercellular channels, are essential for direct cell-to-cell communication involving exchange of diffusible factors, including signalling and information molecules. Recent advances corroborate that plasmodesmata are not passive but rather highly dynamic channels, in that their density in the cell walls and gating activities are tightly linked to developmental and physiological processes. Moreover, it is becoming clear that specific hormonal signalling pathways play crucial roles in relaying primary cellular signals to plasmodesmata. In this review, we examine a number of studies in which plasmodesmal structure, occurrence, and/or permeability responses are found to be altered upon given cellular or environmental signals, and discuss common themes illustrating how plasmodesmal regulation is integrated into specific cellular signalling pathways.

Via Christophe Jacquet, Mary Williams
Jennifer Mach's insight:

Not so sure about the use of "sedentary" here. Are plants just sittin' around?

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Traffic: Rerouting of plant late endocytic trafficking towards a pathogen interface (2014)

Traffic: Rerouting of plant late endocytic trafficking towards a pathogen interface (2014) | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

The biogenesis and functions of the extrahaustorial membrane (EHM), an intimate interface between plants and filamentous pathogens, are poorly understood. One long-standing puzzle is why several membrane proteins, such as some cell surface receptors, are missing from the EHM. We gained a significant insight into how the EHM is formed and made an important step in understanding why certain membrane proteins are missing from the EHM. We discovered that late endosomes targeted to the vacuoles are rerouted to the EHM. This process is dynamic because, upon activation, a cell surface immune receptor traffics to this compartment. We propose a model in which some cell surface receptors that undergo ligand induced endocytosis and traffic to late endosomes get sorted to the host pathogen interface, instead of taking the default route to the vacuole as in uninfected cells.

 

--- A number of plant pathogenic and symbiotic microbes produce specialized cellular structures that invade host cells where they remain enveloped by host-derived membranes. The mechanisms underlying the biogenesis and functions of host-microbe interfaces are poorly understood. Here, we show that plant late endocytic trafficking is diverted towards the extrahaustorial membrane; a host-pathogen interface that develops in plant cells invaded by Irish potato famine pathogen Phytophthora infestans. A late endosome and tonoplast marker protein Rab7 GTPase RabG3c, but not a tonoplast-localized sucrose transporter, is recruited to the extrahaustorial membrane suggesting specific rerouting of vacuole targeted late endosomes to a host pathogen interface. We revealed the dynamic nature of this process by showing that, upon activation, a cell surface immune receptor traffics towards the haustorial interface. Our work provides insight into the biogenesis of the extrahaustorial membrane and reveals dynamic processes that recruit membrane compartments and immune receptors to this host-pathogen interface.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL, Francis Martin
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Shedding light on kin recognition response in plants

Shedding light on kin recognition response in plants | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Kin recognition, a well understood phenomenon in animals, has also more recently been illustrated in plants (Dudley & File, 2007; Biedrzycki & Bais, 2010; Biedrzycki et al., 2010; Bhatt et al., 2011). The work done on Cakile edentula showed an increase in root growth in the presence of strangers compared with kin, demonstrating that these plants have the ability to distinguish kin from nonkin and alter their growth in response. In parallel, Biedrzycki et al. (2010) showed for the first time that a model system, Arabidopsis thaliana (CHA-25), has the ability to recognize kin and strangers. Further, the data by Biedrzycki et al. (2010) demonstrated that recognition is mediated through a root-derived cue. The surprising observation of plants recognizing kin has also garnered some controversy (Klemens, 2008; Masclaux et al., 2010; Williset al., 2010), and the lack of a precise molecular mechanism underpinning the kin recognition response in plants has led to a debate questioning the occurrence of kin recognition in plants. In this issue of New Phytologist, Crepy & Casal (pp. 329–338) followed a systematic approach of analyzing kin recognition in the model system A. thaliana. Crepy & Casal showed that plants recognized their kin neighbors by horizontally reorienting leaf growth compared with the interactions with the nonkin members. The authors also showed that the mechanism that led to reorientation of the leaf with kin members was regulated by phytochrome B and cryptochrome 1. The work by Crepy & Casalprovides the first molecular evidence of the way in which plants respond to kinship. The proposed work will provide the foundations for the genetic and biochemical mechanisms responsible for kin recognition in A. thaliana and will not only shed light on competitive interactions between kin and strangers in this model species, but will also facilitate understanding of how these processes may occur in crop species.

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The CLE40 and CRN/CLV2 Signaling Pathways Antagonistically Control Root Meristem Growth in Arabidopsis

The CLE40 and CRN/CLV2 Signaling Pathways Antagonistically Control Root Meristem Growth in Arabidopsis | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Differentiation processes in the primary root meristem are controlled by several signaling pathways that are regulated by phytohormones or by secreted peptides. Long-term maintenance of an active root meristem requires that the generation of new stem cells and the loss of these from the meristem due to differentiation are precisely coordinated. Via phenotypic and large-scale transcriptome analyses of mutants, we show that the signaling peptide CLE40 and the receptor proteins CLV2 and CRN act in two genetically separable pathways that antagonistically regulate cell differentiation in the proximal root meristem. CLE40 inhibits cell differentiation throughout the primary root meristem by controlling genes with roles in abscisic acid, auxin, and cytokinin signaling. CRN and CLV2 jointly control target genes that promote cell differentiation specifically in the transition zone of the proximal root meristem. While CRN and CLV2 are not acting in the CLE40 signaling pathway under normal growth conditions, both proteins are required when the levels of CLE40 or related CLE peptides increase. We show here that two antagonistically acting pathways controlling root meristem differentiation can be activated by the same peptide in a dosage-dependent manner.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Cell Host & Microbe: The Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase CPK28 Buffers Plant Immunity and Regulates BIK1 Turnover (2014)

Cell Host & Microbe: The Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase CPK28 Buffers Plant Immunity and Regulates BIK1 Turnover (2014) | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

• A forward-genetic screen identifies loci regulating Arabidopsis immune signaling
• MOB1/CPK28 negatively regulates immune signaling triggered by infection and PAMPs
• CPK28 interacts with and phosphorylates the central immune regulator BIK1
• CPK28 buffers immune responses and contributes to BIK1 turnover

 

Plant perception of pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) triggers a phosphorylation relay leading to PAMP-triggered immunity (PTI). Despite increasing knowledge of PTI signaling, how immune homeostasis is maintained remains largely unknown. Here we describe a forward-genetic screen to identify loci involved in PTI and characterize the Arabidopsis calcium-dependent protein kinase CPK28 as a negative regulator of immune signaling. Genetic analyses demonstrate that CPK28 attenuates PAMP-triggered immune responses and antibacterial immunity. CPK28 interacts with and phosphorylates the plasma-membrane-associated cytoplasmic kinase BIK1, an important convergent substrate of multiple pattern recognition receptor (PRR) complexes. We find that BIK1 is rate limiting in PTI signaling and that it is continuously turned over to maintain cellular homeostasis. We further show that CPK28 contributes to BIK1 turnover. Our results suggest a negative regulatory mechanism that continually buffers immune signaling by controlling the turnover of this key signaling kinase.


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Asymmetric Epigenetic Modification and Elimination of rDNA Sequences by Polyploidization in Wheat

Asymmetric Epigenetic Modification and Elimination of rDNA Sequences by Polyploidization in Wheat | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

rRNA genes consist of long tandem repeats clustered on chromosomes, and their products are important functional components of the ribosome. In common wheat (Triticum aestivum), rDNA loci from the A and D genomes were largely lost during the evolutionary process. This biased DNA elimination may be related to asymmetric transcription and epigenetic modifications caused by the polyploid formation. Here, we observed both sets of parental nucleolus organizing regions (NORs) were expressed after hybridization, but asymmetric silencing of one parental NOR was immediately induced by chromosome doubling, and reversing the ploidy status could not reactivate silenced NORs. Furthermore, increased CHG and CHH DNA methylation on promoters was accompanied by asymmetric silencing of NORs. Enrichment of H3K27me3 and H3K9me2 modifications was also observed to be a direct response to increased DNA methylation and transcriptional inactivation of NOR loci. Both A and D genome NOR loci with these modifications started to disappear in the S4 generation and were completely eliminated by the S7 generation in synthetic tetraploid wheat. Our results indicated that asymmetric epigenetic modification and elimination of rDNA sequences between different donor genomes may lead to stable allopolyploid wheat with increased differentiation and diversity.

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Root Architecture Responses: In Search of Phosphate

Root Architecture Responses: In Search of Phosphate | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Soil phosphate represents the only source of phosphorus for plants and, consequently, is its entry into the trophic chain. This major component of nucleic acids, phospholipids, and energy currency of the cell (ATP) can limit plant growth because of its low mobility in soil. As a result, root responses to low phosphate favor the exploration of the shallower part of the soil, where phosphate tends to be more abundant, a strategy described as topsoil foraging. We will review the diverse developmental strategies that can be observed among plants by detailing the effect of phosphate deficiency on primary and lateral roots. We also discuss the formation of cluster roots: an advanced adaptive strategy to cope with low phosphate availability observed in a limited number of species. Finally, we will put this work into perspective for future research directions.

 

 


Via Christophe Jacquet
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Genome-wide Association Mapping Identifies a New Arsenate Reductase Enzyme Critical for Limiting Arsenic Accumulation in Plants

Genome-wide Association Mapping Identifies a New Arsenate Reductase Enzyme Critical for Limiting Arsenic Accumulation in Plants | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogen, and its ingestion through foods such as rice presents a significant risk to human health. Plants chemically reduce arsenate to arsenite. Using genome-wide association (GWA) mapping of loci controlling natural variation in arsenic accumulation inArabidopsis thaliana allowed us to identify the arsenate reductase required for this reduction, which we named High Arsenic Content 1 (HAC1). Complementation verified the identity ofHAC1, and expression in Escherichia coli lacking a functional arsenate reductase confirmed the arsenate reductase activity of HAC1. The HAC1 protein accumulates in the epidermis, the outer cell layer of the root, and also in the pericycle cells surrounding the central vascular tissue. Plants lacking HAC1 lose their ability to efflux arsenite from roots, leading to both increased transport of arsenic into the central vascular tissue and on into the shoot. HAC1 therefore functions to reduce arsenate to arsenite in the outer cell layer of the root, facilitating efflux of arsenic as arsenite back into the soil to limit both its accumulation in the root and transport to the shoot. Arsenate reduction by HAC1 in the pericycle may play a role in limiting arsenic loading into the xylem. Loss of HAC1-encoded arsenic reduction leads to a significant increase in arsenic accumulation in shoots, causing an increased sensitivity to arsenate toxicity. We also confirmed the previous observation that the ACR2 arsenate reductase in A. thaliana plays no detectable role in arsenic metabolism. Furthermore, ACR2 does not interact epistatically withHAC1, since arsenic metabolism in the acr2 hac1 double mutant is disrupted in an identical manner to that described for the hac1 single mutant. Our identification of HAC1 and its associated natural variation provides an important new resource for the development of low arsenic-containing food such as rice.

 

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Root structural and functional dynamics in terrestrial biosphere models – evaluation and recommendations

Root structural and functional dynamics in terrestrial biosphere models – evaluation and recommendations | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
There is wide breadth of root function within ecosystems that should be considered when modeling the terrestrial biosphere. Root structure and function are closely associated with control of plant water and nutrient uptake from the soil, plant carbon (C) assimilation, partitioning and release to the soils, and control of biogeochemical cycles through interactions within the rhizosphere. Root function is extremely dynamic and dependent on internal plant signals, root traits and morphology, and the physical, chemical and biotic soil environment. While plant roots have significant structural and functional plasticity to changing environmental conditions, their dynamics are noticeably absent from the land component of process-based Earth system models used to simulate global biogeochemical cycling. Their dynamic representation in large-scale models should improve model veracity. Here, we describe current root inclusion in models across scales, ranging from mechanistic processes of single roots to parameterized root processes operating at the landscape scale. With this foundation we discuss how existing and future root functional knowledge, new data compilation efforts, and novel modeling platforms can be leveraged to enhance root functionality in large-scale terrestrial biosphere models by improving parameterization within models, and introducing new components such as dynamic root distribution and root functional traits linked to resource extraction.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Functional Diversity of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes Enabling a Bacterium to Ferment Plant Biomass

Functional Diversity of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes Enabling a Bacterium to Ferment Plant Biomass | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Microbial metabolism of plant polysaccharides is an important part of environmental carbon cycling, human nutrition, and industrial processes based on cellulosic bioconversion. Here we demonstrate a broadly applicable method to analyze how microbes catabolize plant polysaccharides that integrates carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZyme) assays, RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), and anaerobic growth screening. We apply this method to study how the bacterium Clostridium phytofermentans ferments plant biomass components including glucans, mannans, xylans, galactans, pectins, and arabinans. These polysaccharides are fermented with variable efficiencies, and diauxies prioritize metabolism of preferred substrates. Strand-specific RNA-seq reveals how this bacterium responds to polysaccharides by up-regulating specific groups of CAZymes, transporters, and enzymes to metabolize the constituent sugars. Fifty-six up-regulated CAZymes were purified, and their activities show most polysaccharides are degraded by multiple enzymes, often from the same family, but with divergent rates, specificities, and cellular localizations. CAZymes were then tested in combination to identify synergies between enzymes acting on the same substrate with different catalytic mechanisms. We discuss how these results advance our understanding of how microbes degrade and metabolize plant biomass.


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How harmonious are arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses? Inconsistent concepts reflect different mindsets as well as results

How harmonious are arbuscular mycorrhizal symbioses? Inconsistent concepts reflect different mindsets as well as results | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbioses involve transfer of soil nutrients to plants and plant-derived organic compounds to AM fungi. Many experiments have shown that individual symbioses are ‘mutualistic’ (Table 1). However, outcomes in relation to the nonmycorrhizal (NM) state are not always positive for plants, although they are for all AM fungi, which are obligate symbionts. Different AM fungi produce different growth-related responses in individual plants and there are large differences in responsiveness among different plant taxa in relation to colonization by the same AM fungal taxon (Klironomos, 2003). Neutral outcomes for the plant may be termed ‘commensal’, and negative ones ‘parasitic’ (Table 1). Outcomes are influenced by many abiotic and biotic factors (Johnson et al., 1997).


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Editing plant genomes with CRISPR/Cas9

Editing plant genomes with CRISPR/Cas9 | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

CRISPR/Cas9 is a rapidly developing genome editing technology that has been successfully applied in many organisms, including model and crop plants. Cas9, an RNA-guided DNA endonuclease, can be targeted to specific genomic sequences by engineering a separately encoded guide RNA with which it forms a complex. As only a short RNA sequence must be synthesized to confer recognition of a new target, CRISPR/Cas9 is a relatively cheap and easy to implement technology that has proven to be extremely versatile. Remarkably, in some plant species, homozygous knockout mutants can be produced in a single generation. Together with other sequence-specific nucleases, CRISPR/Cas9 is a game-changing technology that is poised to revolutionise basic research and plant breeding.

Jennifer Mach's insight:

Yet another review on CRISPR/Cas...

 

Also, I love that the publication date on this is "Volume 32, April 2015, Pages 76–84"-- a little time travel to improve the journal's impact factor perhaps? Tricky, tricky! 

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ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG of TRITHORAX1 (ATX1) is required for cell production, patterning, and morphogenesis in root development

ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG of TRITHORAX1 (ATX1) is required for cell production, patterning, and morphogenesis in root development | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG of TRITHORAX1 (ATX1/SDG27), a known regulator of flower development, encodes a H3K4histone methyltransferase that maintains a number of genes in an active state. In this study, the role of ATX1 in root development was evaluated. The loss-of-function mutant atx1-1 was impaired in primary root growth. The data suggest that ATX1 controls root growth by regulating cell cycle duration, cell production, and the transition from cell proliferation in the root apical meristem (RAM) to cell elongation. In atx1-1, the quiescent centre (QC) cells were irregular in shape and more expanded than those of the wild type. This feature, together with the atypical distribution of T-divisions, the presence of oblique divisions, and the abnormal cell patterning in the RAM, suggests a lack of coordination between cell division and cell growth in the mutant. The expression domain of QC-specific markers was expanded both in the primary RAM and in the developing lateral root primordia of atx1-1 plants. These abnormalities were independent of auxin-response gradients. ATX1 was also found to be required for lateral root initiation, morphogenesis, and emergence. The time from lateral root initiation to emergence was significantly extended in the atx1-1 mutant. Overall, these data suggest that ATX1 is involved in the timing of root development, stem cell niche maintenance, and cell patterning during primary and lateral root development. Thus, ATX1 emerges as an important player in root system architecture.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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PRL1 modulates root stem cell niche activity and meristem size through WOX5 and PLTs in Arabidopsis

PRL1 modulates root stem cell niche activity and meristem size through WOX5 and PLTs in Arabidopsis | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

The stem cell niche in the root meristem maintains pluripotent stem cells to ensure a constant supply of cells for root growth. Despite extensive progress, the molecular mechanisms through which root stem cell fates and stem cell niche activity are determined remain largely unknown. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the Pleiotropic Regulatory Locus 1 (PRL1) encodes a WD40-repeat protein subunit of the spliceosome-activating Nineteen complex (NTC) that plays a role in multiple stress, hormone and developmental signaling pathways. Here, we show that PRL1 is involved in the control of root meristem size and root stem cell niche activity. PRL1 is strongly expressed in the root meristem and its loss of function mutation results in disorganization of the quiescent center (QC), premature stem cell differentiation, aberrant cell division, and reduced root meristem size. Our genetic studies indicate that PRL1 is required for confined expression of the homeodomain transcription factor WOX5 in the QC and acts upstream of the transcription factor PLETHORA (PLT) in modulating stem cell niche activity and root meristem size. These findings define a role for PRL1 as an important determinant of PLT signaling that modulates maintenance of the stem cell niche and root meristem size.

 

 


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The unseen iceberg: plant roots in arctic tundra

The unseen iceberg: plant roots in arctic tundra | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Plant roots play a critical role in ecosystem function in arctic tundra, but root dynamics in these ecosystems are poorly understood. To address this knowledge gap, we synthesized available literature on tundra roots, including their distribution, dynamics and contribution to ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, and highlighted key aspects of their representation in terrestrial biosphere models. Across all tundra ecosystems, belowground plant biomass exceeded aboveground biomass, with the exception of polar desert tundra. Roots were shallowly distributed in the thin layer of soil that thaws annually, and were often found in surface organic soil horizons. Root traits – including distribution, chemistry, anatomy and resource partitioning – play an important role in controlling plant species competition, and therefore ecosystem carbon and nutrient fluxes, under changing climatic conditions, but have only been quantified for a small fraction of tundra plants. Further, the annual production and mortality of fine roots are key components of ecosystem processes in tundra, but extant data are sparse. Tundra root traits and dynamics should be the focus of future research efforts. Better representation of the dynamics and characteristics of tundra roots will improve the utility of models for the evaluation of the responses of tundra ecosystems to changing environmental conditions.

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The inter-kingdom volatile signal indole promotes root development by interfering with auxin signalling

The inter-kingdom volatile signal indole promotes root development by interfering with auxin signalling | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Recently, emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) has emerged as a mode of communication between bacteria and plants. Although some bacterial VOCs that promote plant growth have been identified, their underlying mechanism of action is unknown. Here we demonstrate that indole, which was identified using a screen for Arabidopsis growth promotion by VOCs from soil-borne bacteria, is a potent plant-growth modulator. Its prominent role in increasing the plant secondary root network is mediated by interfering with the auxin-signalling machinery. Using auxin reporter lines and classic auxin physiological and transport assays we show that the indole signal invades the plant body, reaches zones of auxin activity and acts in a polar auxin transport-dependent bimodal mechanism to trigger differential cellular auxin responses. Our results suggest that indole, beyond its importance as a bacterial signal molecule, can serve as a remote messenger to manipulate plant growth and development.

Via Francis Martin, Nicolas Denancé
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Rescooped by Jennifer Mach from Plant roots and rhizosphere
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The CLE40 and CRN/CLV2 Signaling Pathways Antagonistically Control Root Meristem Growth in Arabidopsis

The CLE40 and CRN/CLV2 Signaling Pathways Antagonistically Control Root Meristem Growth in Arabidopsis | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it
Differentiation processes in the primary root meristem are controlled by several signaling pathways that are regulated by phytohormones or by secreted peptides. Long-term maintenance of an active root meristem requires that the generation of new stem cells and the loss of these from the meristem due to differentiation are precisely coordinated. Via phenotypic and large-scale transcriptome analyses of mutants, we show that the signaling peptide CLE40 and the receptor proteins CLV2 and CRN act in two genetically separable pathways that antagonistically regulate cell differentiation in the proximal root meristem. CLE40 inhibits cell differentiation throughout the primary root meristem by controlling genes with roles in abscisic acid, auxin, and cytokinin signaling. CRN and CLV2 jointly control target genes that promote cell differentiation specifically in the transition zone of the proximal root meristem. While CRN and CLV2 are not acting in the CLE40 signaling pathway under normal growth conditions, both proteins are required when the levels of CLE40 or related CLE peptides increase. We show here that two antagonistically acting pathways controlling root meristem differentiation can be activated by the same peptide in a dosage-dependent manner.

Via Christophe Jacquet
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Species-wide Genetic Incompatibility Analysis Identifies Immune Genes as Hot Spots of Deleterious Epistasis: Cell

Species-wide Genetic Incompatibility Analysis Identifies Immune Genes as Hot Spots of Deleterious Epistasis: Cell | Emerging Research in Plant Cell Biology | Scoop.it

Intraspecific genetic incompatibilities prevent the assembly of specific alleles into single genotypes and influence genome- and species-wide patterns of sequence variation. A common incompatibility in plants is hybrid necrosis, characterized by autoimmune responses due to epistatic interactions between natural genetic variants. By systematically testing thousands of F1 hybrids of Arabidopsis thalianastrains, we identified a small number of incompatibility hot spots in the genome, often in regions densely populated by nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat (NLR) immune receptor genes. In several cases, these immune receptor loci interact with each other, suggestive of conflict within the immune system. A particularly dangerous locus is a highly variable cluster of NLR genes, DM2, which causes multiple independent incompatibilities with genes that encode a range of biochemical functions, including NLRs. Our findings suggest that deleterious interactions of immune receptors limit the combinations of favorable disease resistance alleles accessible to plant genomes.

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