Peroxisomal biogenesis factor 11 (PEX11) proteins are found in yeasts, mammals and plants, and play a role in peroxisome morphology and regulation of peroxisome division. The moss Physcomitrella patens has six PEX11 isoforms which fall into two subfamilies, similar to those found in monocots and dicots. We carried out targeted gene disruption of the Phypa_PEX11-1 gene and compared the morphological and cellular phenotypes of the wild-type and mutant strains. The mutant grew more slowly and the development of gametophores was retarded. Mutant chloronemal filaments contained large cellular structures which excluded all other cellular organelles. Expression of fluorescent reporter proteins revealed that the mutant strain had greatly enlarged peroxisomes up to 10 μm in diameter. Expression of a vacuolar membrane marker confirmed that the enlarged structures were not vacuoles, or peroxisomes sequestered within vacuoles as a result of pexophagy. Phypa_PEX11 targeted to peroxisome membranes could rescue the knock out phenotype and interacted with Fission1 on the peroxisome membrane. Moss PEX11 functions in peroxisome division similar to PEX11 in other organisms but the mutant phenotype is more extreme and environmentally determined, making P. patens a powerful system in which to address mechanisms of peroxisome proliferation and division.
Two LHC-like proteins, Photosystem II Subunit S (PSBS) and Light-Harvesting Complex Stress-Related (LHCSR), are essential for triggering excess energy dissipation in chloroplasts of vascular plants and green algae, respectively. The mechanism of quenching was studied in Physcomitrella patens, an early divergent streptophyta (including green algae and land plants) in which both proteins are active. PSBS was localized in grana together with photosystem II (PSII), but LHCSR was located mainly in stroma-exposed membranes together with photosystem I (PSI), and its distribution did not change upon high-light treatment. The quenched conformation can be preserved by rapidly freezing the high-light-treated tissues in liquid nitrogen. When using green fluorescent protein as an internal standard, 77K fluorescence emission spectra on isolated chloroplasts allowed for independent assessment of PSI and PSII fluorescence yield. Results showed that both photosystems underwent quenching upon high-light treatment in the wild type in contrast to mutants depleted of LHCSR, which lacked PSI quenching. Due to the contribution of LHCII, P. patens had a PSI antenna size twice as large with respect to higher plants. Thus, LHCII, which is highly abundant in stroma membranes, appears to be the target of quenching by LHCSR.
Because the uptake and transport of water in plants is tightly linked to photosynthesis, plant water relations play a major role in developing mechanistic models of plant growth, yield, and crop production and in predicting future species distribution and plant responses to climate change. One would expect, therefore, that our basic understanding of plant hydraulics is now fairly complete. There is general consensus about the driving mechanism for plant water transport by the cohesion-tension (C-T) theory, which was first proposed 120 yr ago (Askenasy, 1895; Dixon and Joly, 1895) and has survived many tests and challenges. Nevertheless, our understanding of water uptake and long-distance transport in plants remains controversial and potentially confusing to those outside the field due to different interpretations of air entry into water-conducting cells. It is clear that any hydraulic system that operates under negative pressure is potentially prone to failure by air bubble formation. Air bubbles that enter a xylem conduit where the liquid is under tension should, in theory, rapidly expand to fill the conduit and block water transport (Fig. 1). Therefore, over the years bubbles have been a focus of research on the ascent of sap in plants, both as confusing methodological artifacts associated with manipulating a transport system containing liquid under tension (Jansen et al., 2015) and as a long-standing perceived challenge to the C-T theory, which on its face would appear to be incompatible with the existence of air bubbles in xylem.
Current land surface models assume that groundwater, streamflow and plant transpiration are all sourced and mediated by the same well mixed water reservoir—the soil. However, recent work in Oregon1 and Mexico2 has shown evidence of ecohydrological separation, whereby different subsurface compartmentalized pools of water supply either plant transpiration fluxes or the combined fluxes of groundwater and streamflow. These findings have not yet been widely tested. Here we use hydrogen and oxygen isotopic data (2H/1H (δ2H) and 18O/16O (δ18O)) from 47 globally distributed sites to show that ecohydrological separation is widespread across different biomes. Precipitation, stream water and groundwater from each site plot approximately along the δ2H/δ18O slope of local precipitation inputs. But soil and plant xylem waters extracted from the 47 sites all plot below the local stream water and groundwater on the meteoric water line, suggesting that plants use soil water that does not itself contribute to groundwater recharge or streamflow. Our results further show that, at 80% of the sites, the precipitation that supplies groundwater recharge and streamflow is different from the water that supplies parts of soil water recharge and plant transpiration. The ubiquity of subsurface water compartmentalization found here, and the segregation of storm types relative to hydrological and ecological fluxes, may be used to improve numerical simulations of runoff generation, stream water transit time and evaporation–transpiration partitioning. Future land surface model parameterizations should be closely examined for how vegetation, groundwater recharge and streamflow are assumed to be coupled.
Purslane (Portulaca oleracea) is a globally-distributed plant with a long history of use in folk medicine and cooking. We have developed purslane as a model system for exploring plant responses to stress. We exposed two varieties of purslane to saline stress with the objective of identifying differences between the varieties in the plasticity of morphological and physiological traits. The varieties responded to saline stress with significantly different changes in the measured traits, which included inter alia biomass, flower counts, proline concentrations and betalain pigment concentrations. The alternative responses of the two varieties consisted of complex, simultaneous changes in multiple traits. In particular, we observed that while both varieties increased production of betalain pigments and proline under saline stress, one variety invested more in betalain pigments while the other invested more in proline. Proline and betalain pigments undoubtedly play multiple roles in plant tissues, but in this case their role as antioxidants deployed to ameliorate saline stress appears to be important. Taken holistically, our results suggest that the two varieties employ different strategies in allocating resources to cope with saline stress. This conclusion establishes purslane as a suitable model system for the study of saline stress and the molecular basis for differential responses.
A bigger more hearty catnip plant – whose enriched oil not only promises to drive cats crazy with pleasure but also may be a safer, more effective mosquito repellent – has been developed for specialized commercial farmers ...
CRISPR-Cas9 is very close to the Graal!!But social acceptability of targeted genome edition remains unsolvedScientific improvements come quite faster than regulation policies!!Abstract
The first period of plant genome editing was based on Agrobacterium; chemical mutagenesis by EMS (ethyl methanesulfonate) and ionizing radiations; each of these technologies led to randomly distributed genome modifications. The second period is associated with the discoveries of homing and meganuclease enzymes during the 80s and 90s, which were then engineered to provide efficient tools for targeted editing. From 2006 to 2012, a few crop plants were successfully and precisely modified using zinc-finger nucleases. A third wave of improvement in genome editing, which led to a dramatic decrease in off-target events, was achieved in 2009-2011 with the TALEN technology. The latest revolution surfaced in 2013 with the CRISPR-Cas9 system, whose high efficiency and technical ease of use is really impressive; scientists can use in-house kits or commercially available kits; the only two requirements are to carefully choose the location of the DNA double strand breaks to be induced and then to order an oligonucleotide. While this close-to- ultimate toolkit for targeted editing of genomes represents dramatic scientific progress which allows the development of more complex useful agronomic traits through synthetic biology, the social acceptance of genome editing remains regularly questioned by anti-GMO citizens and organizations.
Maize (Zea mays ssp. mays L.) is highly susceptible to drought stress. This work focused on whole-plant physiological mechanisms by which a biotechnology-derived maize event expressing bacterial cold shock protein B (CspB), MON 87460, increased grain yield under drought. Plants of MON 87460 and a conventional control (hereafter ‘control’) were tested in the field under well-watered (WW) and water-limited (WL) treatments imposed during mid-vegetative to mid-reproductive stages during 2009–2011. Across years, average grain yield increased by 6% in MON 87460 compared with control under WL conditions. This was associated with higher soil water content at 0.5 m depth during the treatment phase, increased ear growth, decreased leaf area, leaf dry weight and sap flow rate during silking, increased kernel number and harvest index in MON 87460 than the control. No consistent differences were observed under WW conditions. This indicates that MON 87460 acclimated better under WL conditions than the control by lowering leaf growth which decreased water use during silking, thereby eliciting lower stress under WL conditions. These physiological responses in MON 87460 under WL conditions resulted in increased ear growth during silking, which subsequently increased the kernel number, harvest index and grain yield compared to the control.
The introduction of genetically-modified (GM) crops is often accompanied by other changes in cultural practices. The objective of the present study was to evaluate these changes with the simulation model FlorSys which quantifies the effects of cropping systems and pedoclimate on weed dynamics as well as indicators of weed-related biodiversity (species richness and equitability, trophic resources for birds, insects and pollinators) and crop production loss (yield loss, harvest contamination, harvesting problems, field infestation). The study focused on two GM maize variety types, i.e. expressing Bacillus thuringiensis toxins against insects (Bt) and tolerating the non-selective herbicide glyphosate (HT). Two contrasting maize-growing sites were studied: Aquitaine, a region in South-Western France, and Catalonia in North-Eastern Spain. Typical regional cropping systems containing maize were identified for each site from expert knowledge and the Biovigilance database recording French agricultural practices. GM scenarios were based on expert knowledge, literature and current Spanish practices. A total of 11 most probable scenarios (1 conventional, 3 Bt and 8 HT) were simulated over 28 years for each region, and repeated with 10 different regional random weather series. An additional series of 5–7 scenarios per region was run to decorrelate factors, and make it easier to identify the cultural practices responsible for changes in weed flora, biodiversity and production. The simulations showed that the changes accompanying the introduction of GM maize varieties affected weed flora as well as weed-related biodiversity and crop production loss, but that the consequences depended on local conditions. Most of these consequences were caused by simplifications in the cropping systems made possible by the GM varieties, rather than by the glyphosate associated to GM varieties. Simplified tillage or no-till increased weed harmfulness, particularly in Aquitaine where the weed flora was poorer and dominated by larger and more persistent species. Conversely, no-till cancelled part or all of the nefarious effects on biodiversity of simplified rotations (maize/wheat and maize monoculture), particularly by improving trophic resources offered by weeds to birds, insects and pollinators. Overall, biodiversity was less affected by simplified rotations in Catalonia where the initial weed flora was richer and more equitable. Delayed maize sowing reduced weed harmfulness and biodiversity, except food offer for insects and pollinators whose pertinent feeding period covered spring and summer (vs. winter for birds). Based on the two most affected weed-based biodiversity indicators, ex post monitoring after GM introduction should focus on birds in Aquitaine and on pollinators in Catalonia.
Weeds are currently present in a wide range of ecosystems worldwide. Although the beginning of their evolution is largely unknown, researchers assumed that they developed in tandem with cultivation since the appearance of agricultural habitats some 12,000 years ago. These rapidly-evolving plants invaded the human disturbed areas and thrived in the new habitat. Here we present unprecedented new findings of the presence of “proto-weeds” and small-scale trial cultivation in Ohalo II, a 23,000-year
The scent of roses (Rosa x hybrida) is composed of hundreds of volatile molecules. Monoterpenes represent up to 70% percent of the scent content in some cultivars, such as the Papa Meilland rose. Monoterpene biosynthesis in plants relies on plastid-localized terpene synthases. Combining transcriptomic and genetic approaches, we show that the Nudix hydrolase RhNUDX1, localized in the cytoplasm, is part of a pathway for the biosynthesis of free monoterpene alcohols that contribute to fragrance in roses. The RhNUDX1 protein shows geranyl diphosphate diphosphohydrolase activity in vitro and supports geraniol biosynthesis in planta.
Exposure to green space has been associated with better physical and mental health. Although this exposure could also influence cognitive development in children, available epidemiological evidence on such an impact is scarce. This study aimed to assess the association between exposure to green space and measures of cognitive development in primary schoolchildren. This study was based on 2,593 schoolchildren in the second to fourth grades (7–10 y) of 36 primary schools in Barcelona, Spain (2012–2013). Cognitive development was assessed as 12-mo change in developmental trajectory of working memory, superior working memory, and inattentiveness by using four repeated (every 3 mo) computerized cognitive tests for each outcome. We assessed exposure to green space by characterizing outdoor surrounding greenness at home and school and during commuting by using high-resolution (5 m × 5 m) satellite data on greenness (normalized difference vegetation index). Multilevel modeling was used to estimate the associations between green spaces and cognitive development. We observed an enhanced 12-mo progress in working memory and superior working memory and a greater 12-mo reduction in inattentiveness associated with greenness within and surrounding school boundaries and with total surrounding greenness index (including greenness surrounding home, commuting route, and school). Adding a traffic-related air pollutant (elemental carbon) to models explained 20–65% of our estimated associations between school greenness and 12-mo cognitive development. Our study showed a beneficial association between exposure to green space and cognitive development among schoolchildren that was partly mediated by reduction in exposure to air pollution
One of the challenges for achieving efficient exciton transport in solar energy conversion systems is precise structural control of the light-harvesting building blocks. Here, we create a tunable material consisting of a connected chromophore network on an ordered biological virus template. Using genetic engineering, we establish a link between the inter-chromophoric distances and emerging transport properties. The combination of spectroscopy measurements and dynamic modelling enables us to elucidate quantum coherent and classical incoherent energy transport at room temperature. Through genetic modifications, we obtain a significant enhancement of exciton diffusion length of about 68% in an intermediate quantum-classical regime.
As I sat writing this ‘personal reflections’ manuscript in the spring of 2015, I was seeing press reports related to the use of tobacco to make an Ebola therapeutic called ZMapp. For several months newspaper articles, radio shows and hour-long TV documentaries have given the public unprecedented exposure to the fact that ‘plant-made pharmaceuticals’ (PMP) can be life-saving drugs. I have been asked by many nonspecialists – why tobacco? How can this work? After spending over twenty years doing research in this field and many, many hours in public policy meetings promoting PMPs as an important tool of public health, I do not tire of hearing the same questions. Although there is an increasing pipeline of new protein drugs that will come from plants for both human and animal health, the general public has little knowledge of these specialized tools and therefore limited support for the field. ZMapp has given us free advertising on an international scale that I could never have anticipated.
Vitamin B6 deficiency is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, neurological diseases1 and nodding syndrome (NS, a childhood condition in eastern Africa2). Pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (PLP), the cofactor form of vitamin B6, is required for multiple essential enzymatic reactions and other forms of vitamin B6, such as pyridoxine and pyridoxamine, inhibit oxygen radical production, pathogenic glycation and lipid peroxidation3, 4. Notably, investigation of the causes of NS has revealed a high prevalence of vitamin B6 deficiencies in affected African populations2, 5, 6. Humans cannot synthesize vitamin B6 de novo, so this micronutrient is obtained from food by intestinal absorption7. In this Correspondence, we report biofortification of cassava Manihot esculenta Crantz with vitamin B6 using transgenes from Arabidopsis thaliana.
The moss Physcomitrella patens is a suitable model plant to analyze the activation of defense mechanisms after pathogen assault. In this study, we show that Colletotrichum gloeosporioides isolated from symptomatic citrus fruit infects P. patens and cause disease symptoms evidenced by browning and maceration of tissues. After C. gloeosporioides infection, P. patens reinforces the cell wall by the incorporation of phenolic compounds and induces the expression of a Dirigent-protein-like encoding gene that could lead to the formation of lignin-like polymers. C. gloeosporioides-inoculated protonemal cells show cytoplasmic collapse, browning of chloroplasts and modifications of the cell wall. Chloroplasts relocate in cells of infected tissues toward the initially infected C. gloeosporioides cells. P. patens also induces the expression of the defense genes PAL and CHS after fungal colonization. P. patens reporter lines harboring the auxin-inducible promoter from soybean (GmGH3) fused to β-glucuronidase revealed an auxin response in protonemal tissues, cauloids and leaves of C. gloeosporioides-infected moss tissues, indicating the activation of auxin signaling. Thus, P. patens is an interesting plant to gain insight into defense mechanisms that have evolved in primitive land plants to cope with microbial pathogens.
Genetically modified foods (GMFs) have been defined and emphasis has been given to legislation issues along with risk assessment. Moreover, consumer behavior has been discussed focussing on prevalent trends toward genetically modified (GM) foods in consumer behavior studies to date, attitudinal surveys, ‘willingness-to-pay’ studies, factors affecting GMF attitudes, and perceptual issues with GM food: risks and benefits. Finally, the role of ethics has been discussed along with food fears and the role of neophobia in shaping consumer attitudes.
Bacillus thuringiensis is the most widely used biological pesticide in the world. It belongs to the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group, which contains six species. Among these six species, B. thuringiensis, B. anthracis, and B. cereus have a low genetic diversity. B. thuringiensis strain HD521 shows maroon colony which is different from most of the B. thuringiensis strains. Strain HD521 also displays an ability to inhibit plant sheath blight disease pathogen (Rhizoctonia solani AG1 IB) growth and can form bipyramidal parasporal crystals consisting of three cry7 genes. These crystals have an insecticidal activity against Henosepilachna vigintioctomaculata larva (Coleoptera). Here we report the complete genome sequence of strain HD521, which has one chromosome and six circular plasmids.
For populations to maintain optimal fitness, harmful mutations must be efficiently purged from the genome. Yet, under circumstances that diminish the effectiveness of natural selection, such as the process of plant and animal domestication, deleterious mutations are predicted to accumulate. Here, we compared the load of deleterious mutations in 21 accessions from natural populations and 19 domesticated accessions of the common sunflower using whole-transcriptome single nucleotide polymorphism data. Although we find that genetic diversity has been greatly reduced during domestication, the remaining mutations were disproportionally biased toward nonsynonymous substitutions. Bioinformatically predicted deleterious mutations affecting protein function were especially strongly over-represented. We also identify similar patterns in two other domesticated species of the sunflower family (globe artichoke and cardoon), indicating that this phenomenon is not due to idiosyncrasies of sunflower domestication or the sunflower genome. Finally, we provide unequivocal evidence that deleterious mutations accumulate in low recombining regions of the genome, due to the reduced efficacy of purifying selection. These results represent a conundrum for crop improvement efforts. Although the elimination of harmful mutations should be a long-term goal of plant and animal breeding programs, it will be difficult to weed them out because of limited recombination
Plant betalain pigments are intriguing because they are restricted to the Caryophyllales and are mutually exclusive with the more common anthocyanins. However, betalain biosynthesis is poorly understood compared to that of anthocyanins. In this study, betalain production and betalain-related genes were characterized in Parakeelya mirabilis (Montiaceae). RT-PCR and transcriptomics identified three sequences related to the key biosynthetic enzyme Dopa 4,5-dioxgenase (DOD). In addition to a LigB gene similar to that of non-Caryophyllales species (Class I genes), two other P. mirabilis LigB genes were found (DOD and DOD-like, termed Class II). PmDOD and PmDOD-like had 70% amino acid identity. Only PmDOD was implicated in betalain synthesis based on transient assays of enzyme activity and correlation of transcript abundance to spatio-temporal betalain accumulation. The role of PmDOD-like remains unknown. The striking pigment patterning of the flowers was due to distinct zones of red betacyanin and yellow betaxanthin production. The major betacyanin was the unglycosylated betanidin rather than the commonly found glycosides, an occurrence for which there are a few previous reports. The white petal zones lacked pigment but had DOD activity suggesting alternate regulation of the pathway in this tissue. DOD and DOD-like sequences were also identified in other betalain-producing species but not in examples of anthocyanin-producing Caryophyllales or non-Caryophyllales species. A Class I LigB sequence from the anthocyanin-producing Caryophyllaceae species Dianthus superbus and two DOD-like sequences from the Amaranthaceae species Beta vulgaris and Ptilotus spp. did not show DOD activity in the transient assay. The additional sequences suggests that DOD is part of a larger LigB gene family in betalain-producing Caryophyllales taxa, and the tandem genomic arrangement of two of the three B. vulgaris LigB genes suggests the involvement of duplication in the gene family evolution.
Vavilov’s Law of Homologous Series indicates that heritable variation for a given trait will occur in different species based on parallel selection. The conclusion comes from Vavilov’s study of extensive collections and careful attention to phenotypic variation across taxa. The same examination of variation can be applied to traits using the power of genetic and genomic resolution, because parallel traits would be expected to be governed by the same genetic loci, and perhaps even common mutations. In this review, these concepts are applied to two central traits—the control of “shattering” of kernels in cereals and in the control of photoperiodic flowering. One of the strengths of the law is that it can make predictions about traits and perhaps the genes or genomic regions that control them. With respect to genetic variation, the occurrence and physical location of genes associated with kernel retention may be predicted. Many grains share mutations, such as the Sh 1 gene, which were selected in parallel. Selection of the Sh1 gene led to higher yields due to better kernel retention. While the genes affected are often the same, the types of mutations are not, implying convergent selection. Flowering time is governed by multiple loci, so variation may be attributed only to a few candidates, yet because of the number of regulators the predictive power of the law is lower. The modern application of the Law of Homologous Series is that it allows basic researchers or plant breeders to make predictions about the genes controlling key traits, although the genetic basis of variation is likely not conserved.
While ongoing climate change can increase the number of days above freezing, changes in other climatic conditions will lead to fewer days when plants can grow, which in turn will affect biodiversity and people. See the Synopsis.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.