The occurrence of Arabidopsis thaliana semi-dwarf accessions carrying inactive alleles at the gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis GA5 locus has raised the question whether there are pleiotropic effects on other traits at the root level, such as rooting depth. In addition, it is unknown whether semi-dwarfism in arabidopsis confers a growth advantage under water-limiting conditions compared with wild-type plants. The aim of this research was therefore to investigate whether semi-dwarfism has a pleiotropic effect in the root system and also whether semi-dwarfs might be more tolerant of water-limiting conditions.
The root systems of different arabidopsis semi-dwarfs and GA biosynthesis mutants were phenotyped in vitro using the GROWSCREEN-ROOT image-based software. Semi-dwarfs were phenotyped together with tall, near-related accessions. In addition, root phenotypes were investigated in soil-filled rhizotrons. Rosette growth trajectories were analysed with the GROWSCREEN-FLUORO setup based on non-invasive imaging.
Mutations in the early steps of the GA biosynthesis pathway led to a reduction in shoot as well as root size. Depending on the genetic background, mutations at the GA5 locus yielded phenotypes characterized by decreased root length in comparison with related wild-type ones. The semi-dwarf accession Pak-3 showed the deepest root system both in vitroand in soil cultivation experiments; this comparatively deep root system, however, was independent of the ga5 loss-of-function allele, as shown by co-segregation analysis. When the accessions were grown under water-limiting conditions, semi-dwarf accessions with high growth rates were identified.
The observed diversity in root system growth and architecture occurs independently of semi-dwarf phenotypes, and is probably linked to a genetic background effect. The results show that there are no clear advantages of semi-dwarfism at low water availability in arabidopsis.
Muñoz-Amatriaín et al. The Plant Journal - Wiley Online Library
Andres Zurita's insight:
Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) possesses a large and highly repetitive genome of 5.1 Gb that has hindered the development of a complete sequence. In 2012, the International Barley Sequencing Consortium released a resource integrating whole-genome shotgun sequences with a physical and genetic framework. However, because only 6,278 BACs in the physical map were sequenced, fine structure was limited. To gain access to the gene-containing portion of the barley genome at high resolution, we identified and sequenced 15,622 BACs representing the minimal tiling path of 72,052 physical-mapped gene-bearing BACs. This generated ~1.7 Gb of genomic sequence containing an estimated 2/3 of all Morex barley genes. Exploration of these sequenced BACs revealed that although distal ends of chromosomes contain most of the gene-enriched BACs and are characterized by high recombination rates, there are also gene-dense regions with suppressed recombination. We made use of published map-anchored sequence data from Aegilops tauschii to develop a synteny viewer between barley and the ancestor of the wheat D genome. Except for some notable inversions, there is a high level of collinearity between the two species. The software HarvEST:Barley provides facile access to BAC sequences and their annotations, along with the barley-Ae. tauschii synteny viewer. These BAC sequences constitute a resource to improve the efficiency of marker development, map-based cloning, and comparative genomics in barley and related crops. Additional knowledge about regions of the barley genome that are gene-dense but low-recombination is particularly relevant.
Author Summary Despite the essential functions of roots in plant access to water and nutrients, root system architecture has not been directly considered for crop breeding improvement, but it is now considered key for a “second green revolution.” In this study, we aimed to decipher integrated molecular mechanisms coordinating lateral organ development in legume roots: lateral roots and nitrogen-fixing symbiotic nodules. The compact root architecture 2 ( cra2 ) mutant form an increased numbe
Andres Zurita's insight:
In plants, root system architecture is determined by the activity of root apical meristems, which control the root growth rate, and by the formation of lateral roots. In legumes, an additional root lateral organ can develop: the symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodule. We identified in Medicago truncatula ten allelic mutants showing a compact root architecture phenotype (cra2) independent of any major shoot phenotype, and that consisted of shorter roots, an increased number of lateral roots, and a reduced number of nodules. The CRA2 gene encodes a Leucine-Rich Repeat Receptor-Like Kinase (LRR-RLK) that primarily negatively regulates lateral root formation and positively regulates symbiotic nodulation. Grafting experiments revealed that CRA2 acts through different pathways to regulate these lateral organs originating from the roots, locally controlling the lateral root development and nodule formation systemically from the shoots. The CRA2 LRR-RLK therefore integrates short- and long-distance regulations to control root system architecture under non-symbiotic and symbiotic conditions.
The increasing temperature associated with climate change impacts grapevine phenology and development with critical effects on grape yield and composition. Plant breeding has the potential to deliver new cultivars with stable yield and quality under warmer climate conditions, but this requires the identification of stable genetic determinants. This study tested the potentialities of the microvine to boost genetics in grapevine. A mapping population of 129 microvines derived from Picovine x Ugni Blanc flb, was genotyped with the Illumina® 18 K SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) chip. Forty-three vegetative and reproductive traits were phenotyped outdoors over four cropping cycles, and a subset of 22 traits over two cropping cycles in growth rooms with two contrasted temperatures, in order to map stable QTLs (Quantitative Trait Loci).
Ten stable QTLs for berry development and quality or leaf area were identified on the parental maps. A new major QTL explaining up to 44 % of total variance of berry weight was identified on chromosome 7 in Ugni Blanc flb, and co-localized with QTLs for seed number (up to 76 % total variance), major berry acids at green lag phase (up to 35 %), and other yield components (up to 25 %). In addition, a minor QTL for leaf area was found on chromosome 4 of the same parent. In contrast, only minor QTLs for berry acidity and leaf area could be found as moderately stable in Picovine. None of the transporters recently identified as mutated in low acidity apples or Cucurbits were included in the several hundreds of candidate genes underlying the above berry QTLs, which could be reduced to a few dozen candidate genes when a priori pertinent biological functions and organ specific expression were considered.
This study combining the use of microvine and a high throughput genotyping technology was innovative for grapevine genetics. It allowed the identification of 10 stable QTLs, including the first berry acidity QTLs reported so far in a Vitis vinifera intra-specific cross. Robustness of a set of QTLs was assessed with respect to temperature variation.
Background Avocado (Persea americana) is an economically important tropical fruit considered to be a good source of fatty acids. Despite its importance, the molecular and cellular characterization of biochemical and developmental processes in avocado is limited due to the lack of transcriptome and genomic information.
Results The transcriptomes of seeds, roots, stems, leaves, aerial buds and flowers were determined using different sequencing platforms. Additionally, the transcriptomes of three different stages of fruit ripening (pre-climacteric, climacteric and post-climacteric) were also analyzed. The analysis of the RNAseqatlas presented here reveals strong differences in gene expression patterns between different organs, especially between root and flower, but also reveals similarities among the gene expression patterns in other organs, such as stem, leaves and aerial buds (vegetative organs) or seed and fruit (storage organs). Important regulators, functional categories, and differentially expressed genes involved in avocado fruit ripening were identified. Additionally, to demonstrate the utility of the avocado gene expression atlas, we investigated the expression patterns of genes implicated in fatty acid metabolism and fruit ripening.
Conclusions A description of transcriptomic changes occurring during fruit ripening was obtained in Mexican avocado, contributing to a dynamic view of the expression patterns of genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and the fruit ripening process.
The endodermis in roots acts as a selectivity filter for nutrient and water transport essential for growth and development. This selectivity is enabled by the formation of lignin-based Casparian strips. Casparian strip formation is initiated by the localization of the Casparian strip domain proteins (CASPs) in the plasma membrane, at the site where the Casparian strip will form. Localized CASPs recruit Peroxidase 64 (PER64), a Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homolog F, and Enhanced Suberin 1 (ESB1), a dirigent-like protein, to assemble the lignin polymerization machinery. However, the factors that control both expression of the genes encoding this biosynthetic machinery and its localization to the Casparian strip formation site remain unknown. Here, we identify the transcription factor, MYB36, essential for Casparian strip formation. MYB36 directly and positively regulates the expression of the Casparian strip genes CASP1, PER64, and ESB1. Casparian strips are absent in plants lacking a functional MYB36 and are replaced by ectopic lignin-like material in the corners of endodermal cells. The barrier function of Casparian strips in these plants is also disrupted. Significantly, ectopic expression of MYB36 in the cortex is sufficient to reprogram these cells to start expressing CASP1–GFP, correctly localize the CASP1–GFP protein to form a Casparian strip domain, and deposit a Casparian strip-like structure in the cell wall at this location. These results demonstrate that MYB36 is controlling expression of the machinery required to locally polymerize lignin in a fine band in the cell wall for the formation of the Casparian strip.
Andres Zurita's insight:
Casparian strips play a critical role in sealing endodermal cells in the root to block uncontrolled extracellular uptake of nutrients and water. Building Casparian strips requires the construction of extracellular lignin structures that encircle cells within the cell wall and that are anchored to the plasma membranes of adjacent cells to form tight seals between them. The transcription factor we have discovered, and the set of genes it regulates, now provides us with the detailed “parts list” necessary to build Casparian strips. This finding has clear implications for better understanding the nature of tight cellular junctions in biology and also has practical implications of agricultural, offering the potential for improved water and nutrient use efficiencies and enhanced resistance to abiotic stresses.
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.
Climate change threatens the ability of agriculture and forestry to meet growing global demands for food, fibre and wood products. Information gathered from genotype-by-environment interactions (G × E), which demonstrate intraspecific variation in phenotypic plasticity (the ability of a genotype to alter its phenotype in response to environmental change), may prove important for bolstering agricultural and forest productivity under climate change. Nonetheless, very few studies have explicitly quantified genotype plasticity–productivity relationships in agriculture or forestry. Here, we conceptualize the importance of intraspecific variation in agricultural and forest species plasticity, and discuss the physiological and genetic factors contributing to intraspecific variation in phenotypic plasticity. Our discussion highlights the need for an integrated understanding of the mechanisms of G × E, more extensive assessments of genotypic responses to climate change under field conditions, and explicit testing of genotype plasticity–productivity relationships. Ultimately, further investigation of intraspecific variation in phenotypic plasticity in agriculture and forestry may prove important for identifying genotypes capable of increasing or sustaining productivity under more extreme climatic conditions.
Plant roots are important for a wide range of processes, including nutrient and water uptake, anchoring and mechanical support, storage functions, and as the major interface with the soil environment. Several small signalling peptides and receptor kinases have been shown to affect primary root growth, but very little is known about their role in lateral root development. In this context, the CLE family, a group of small signalling peptides that has been shown to affect a wide range of developmental processes, were the focus of this study. Here, the expression pattern during lateral root initiation for several CLE family members is explored and to what extent CLE1, CLE4, CLE7, CLE26, and CLE27, which show specific expression patterns in the root, are involved in regulating root architecture in Arabidopsis thaliana is assessed. Using chemically synthesized peptide variants, it was found that CLE26 plays an important role in regulating A. thaliana root architecture and interacts with auxin signalling. In addition, through alanine scanning and in silico structural modelling, key residues in the CLE26 peptide sequence that affect its activity are pinpointed. Finally, some interesting similarities and differences regarding the role of CLE26 in regulating monocot root architecture are presented.
Sucrose (Suc) transporters (SUCs or SUTs) are important regulators in plant growth and stress tolerance. However, the mechanism of SUCs in plant abiotic stress resistance remains to be dietermined. Here, we found that AtSUC9 expression was induced by abiotic stress, including salt, osmotic and cold stress conditions. Disruption of AtSUC9 led to sensitive responses to abiotic stress during seed germination and seedling growth. Further analyses indicated that the sensitivity phenotype of Atsuc9mutants resulted from higher Suc content in shoots and lower Suc content in roots, as compared with that in wild-type (WT) plants. In addition, we found that the expression of AtSUC9 is induced in particular by low levels of exogenous and endogenous Suc, and deletion of AtSUC9 affected the expression of the low Suc level-responsive genes. AtSUC9 also showed an obvious response to treatments with low concentrations of exogenous Suc during seed germination, seedling growth and Suc distribution, and Atsuc9 mutants hardly grew in abiotic stress treatments without exogenous Suc. Moreover, our results illustrated not only that deletion of AtSUC9 blocks abiotic stress-inducible ABA accumulation but also that Atsuc9 mutants had a lower content of endogenous ABA in stress conditions than in normal conditions. Deletion of AtSUC9 also inhibited the expression of many ABA-inducible genes (SnRk2.2/3/6, ABF2/3/4, ABI1/3/4, RD29A, KIN1 and KIN2). These results indicate that AtSUC9 is induced in particular by low Suc levels then mediates the balance of Suc distribution and promotes ABA accumulation to enhance Arabidopsis abiotic stress resistance.
Circadian clocks are endogenous timers that enable plants to synchronize biological processes with daily and seasonal environmental conditions in order to allocate resources during the most beneficial times of day and year. The circadian clock regulates a number of central plant activities, including growth, development, and reproduction, primarily through controlling a substantial proportion of transcriptional activity and protein function. This review examines the roles that alleles of circadian clock genes have played in domestication and improvement of crop plants. The focus here is on three groups of circadian clock genes essential to clock function in Arabidopsis thaliana: PSEUDO-RESPONSE REGULATORs, GIGANTEA, and the evening complex genes EARLY FLOWERING 3, EARLY FLOWERING 4, and LUX ARRHYTHMO. Homologous genes from each group underlie quantitative trait loci that have beneficial influences on key agricultural traits, especially flowering time but also yield, biomass, and biennial growth habit. Emerging insights into circadian clock regulation of other fundamental plant processes, including responses to abiotic and biotic stresses, are discussed to highlight promising avenues for further crop improvement.
A global perspective on water management predominates in high-level policy discussions. This has the advantage that over-arching issues can be highlighted and international resources mobilized. But water issues arise from local conditions and can only be resolved by people and institutions with local authority and responsibility. High-level policies can only have meaningful impact if they are informed by and responsive to local and regional contexts. In keeping with the principle of subsidiarity, high-level policy-making should support local and regional interests, efforts, and policies.
One of the many ways that climate change may affect human health is by altering the nutrient content of food crops. However, previous attempts to study the effects of increased atmospheric CO2on crop nutrition have been limited by small sample sizes and/or artificial growing conditions. Here we present data from a meta-analysis of the nutritional contents of the edible portions of 41 cultivars of six major crop species grown using free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) technology to expose crops to ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations in otherwise normal field cultivation conditions. This data, collected across three continents, represents over ten times more data on the nutrient content of crops grown in FACE experiments than was previously available. We expect it to be deeply useful to future studies, such as efforts to understand the impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 on crop macro- and micronutrient concentrations, or attempts to alleviate harmful effects of these changes for the billions of people who depend on these crops for essential nutrients.
Food price spikes are correlated with increases in food riots. Red dashed vertical lines correspond to beginning dates of “food riots” and protests associated with the major recent unrest in North Africa and the Middle East. The overall death toll is reported in parentheses. The blue vertical line indicates the date on which the authors of the cited report  submitted a report to the U.S. government warning of the link between food prices, social unrest, and political instability. The inset shows the FAO Food Price Index from 1990 to 2011. (The figure is reproduced with permission from ).
Over the past two centuries, the human population has grown sevenfold and the experts anticipate the addition of 2–3 billion more during the twenty-first century. In the present overview, I take a historical glance at how humans supported such extraordinary population growth first through the invention of agriculture and more recently through the rapid deployment of scientific and technological advances in agriculture. I then identify future challenges posed by continued population growth and climate warming on a finite planet. I end by discussing both how we can meet such challenges and what stands in the way.
Plant cells contain specialized structures, such as a cell wall and a large vacuole, which play a major role in cell growth. Roots follow an organized pattern of development, making them the organs of choice for studying the spatio-temporal regulation of cell proliferation and growth in plants. During root growth, cells originate from the initials surrounding the quiescent center, proliferate in the division zone of the meristem, and then increase in length in the elongation zone, reaching their final size and differentiation stage in the mature zone. Phytohormones, especially auxins and cytokinins, control the dynamic balance between cell division and differentiation and therefore organ size. Plant growth is also regulated by metabolites and nutrients, such as the sugars produced by photosynthesis or nitrate assimilated from the soil. Recent literature has shown that the conserved eukaryotic TOR (target of rapamycin) kinase pathway plays an important role in orchestrating plant growth. We will summarize how the regulation of cell proliferation and cell expansion by phytohormones are at the heart of root growth and then discuss recent data indicating that the TOR pathway integrates hormonal and nutritive signals to orchestrate root growth.
In the last decade cheaper and faster sequencing methods have resulted in an enormous increase in genomic data. High throughput genotyping, genotyping by sequencing and genomic breeding are becoming a standard in plant breeding. As a result, the collection of phenotypic data is increasingly becoming a limiting factor in plant breeding. Genetic studies on root traits are being hampered by the complexity of these traits and the inaccessibility of the rhizosphere. With an increasing interest in phenotyping, breeders and scientists try to overcome these limitations, resulting in impressive developments in automated phenotyping platforms. Recently, many such platforms have been thoroughly described, yet their efficiency to increase genetic gain often remains undiscussed. This efficiency depends on the heritability of the phenotyped traits as well as the correlation of these traits with agronomically relevant breeding targets. This review provides an overview of the latest developments in root phenotyping and describes the environmental and genetic factors influencing root phenotype and heritability. It also intends to give direction to future phenotyping and breeding strategies for optimizing root system functioning. A quantitative framework to determine the efficiency of phenotyping platforms for genetic gain is described. By increasing heritability, managing effects caused by interactions between genotype and environment and by quantifying the genetic relation between traits phenotyped in platforms and ultimate breeding targets, phenotyping platforms can be utilized to their maximum potential.
The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the dominant climate phenomenon affecting extreme weather conditions worldwide. Its response to greenhouse warming has challenged scientists for decades, despite model agreement on projected changes in mean state. Recent studies have provided new insights into the elusive links between changes in ENSO and in the mean state of the Pacific climate. The projected slow-down in Walker circulation is expected to weaken equatorial Pacific Ocean currents, boosting the occurrences of eastward-propagating warm surface anomalies that characterize observed extreme El Niño events. Accelerated equatorial Pacific warming, particularly in the east, is expected to induce extreme rainfall in the eastern equatorial Pacific and extreme equatorward swings of the Pacific convergence zones, both of which are features of extreme El Niño. The frequency of extreme La Niña is also expected to increase in response to more extreme El Niños, an accelerated maritime continent warming and surface-intensified ocean warming. ENSO-related catastrophic weather events are thus likely to occur more frequently with unabated greenhouse-gas emissions. But model biases and recent observed strengthening of the Walker circulation highlight the need for further testing as new models, observations and insights become available.
The mechanism by which plants synthesize and store high amounts of triacylglycerols (TAG) in tissues other than seeds is not well understood. The comprehension of controls for carbon partitioning and oil accumulation in nonseed tissues is essential to generate oil-rich biomass in perennial bioenergy crops. Persea americana (avocado), a basal angiosperm with unique features that are ancestral to most flowering plants, stores ~ 70 % TAG per dry weight in its mesocarp, a nonseed tissue. Transcriptome analyses of select pathways, from generation of pyruvate and leading up to TAG accumulation, in mesocarp tissues of avocado was conducted and compared with that of oil-rich monocot (oil palm) and dicot (rapeseed and castor) tissues to identify tissue- and species-specific regulation and biosynthesis of TAG in plants.
RNA-Seq analyses of select lipid metabolic pathways of avocado mesocarp revealed patterns similar to that of other oil-rich species. However, only some predominant orthologs of the fatty acid biosynthetic pathway genes in this basal angiosperm were similar to those of monocots and dicots. The accumulation of TAG, rich in oleic acid, was associated with higher transcript levels for a putative stearoyl-ACP desaturase and endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated acyl-CoA synthetases, during fruit development. Gene expression levels for enzymes involved in terminal steps to TAG biosynthesis in the ER further indicated that both acyl-CoA-dependent and -independent mechanisms might play a role in TAG assembly, depending on the developmental stage of the fruit. Furthermore, in addition to the expression of an ortholog of WRINKLED1 (WRI1), a regulator of fatty acid biosynthesis, high transcript levels for WRI2-like and WRI3-like suggest a role for additional transcription factors in nonseed oil accumulation. Plastid pyruvate necessary for fatty acid synthesis is likely driven by the upregulation of genes involved in glycolysis and transport of its intermediates. Together, a comparative transcriptome analyses for storage oil biosynthesis in diverse plants and tissues suggested that several distinct and conserved features in this basal angiosperm species might contribute towards its rich TAG content.
Our work represents a comprehensive transcriptome resource for a basal angiosperm species and provides insight into their lipid metabolism in mesocarp tissues. Furthermore, comparison of the transcriptome of oil-rich mesocarp of avocado, with oil-rich seed and nonseed tissues of monocot and dicot species, revealed lipid gene orthologs that are highly conserved during evolution. The orthologs that are distinctively expressed in oil-rich mesocarp tissues of this basal angiosperm, such as WRI2, ER-associated acyl-CoA synthetases, and lipid-droplet associated proteins were also identified. This study provides a foundation for future investigations to increase oil-content and has implications for metabolic engineering to enhance storage oil content in nonseed tissues of diverse species.
miR156 is an evolutionarily highly conserved miRNA in plants that defines an age-dependent flowering pathway. The investigations thus far have largely, if not exclusively, confined to plant aerial organs. Root branching architecture is a major determinant of water and nutrients uptake for plants. We show here that MIR156 genes are differentially expressed in specific cells/tissues of lateral roots. Plants overexpressing miR156 produce more lateral roots whereas reducing miR156 levels leads to fewer lateral roots. We demonstrate that at least one representative from the three groups of miR156 targets SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE (SPL) genes: SPL3, SPL9 and SPL10 are involved in the repression of lateral root growth, with SPL10 playing a dominant role. In addition, both MIR156 and SPLs are responsive to auxin signaling suggesting that miR156/SPL modules might be involved in the proper timing of the lateral root developmental progression. Collectively, these results unravel a role for miR156/SPLs modules in lateral root development in Arabidopsis.
Crop genotypes with reduced metabolic costs of soil exploration would have improved water and nutrient acquisition. Three strategies to achieve this goal are (1) production of the optimum number of axial roots; (2) greater biomass allocation to root classes that are less metabolically demanding; and (3) reduction of the respiratory requirement of root tissue. An example of strategy 1 is the case of reduced crown root number in maize, which is associated with greater rooting depth, N capture and yield in low N soil. An example of strategy 2 is the case of increased hypocotyl-borne rooting in bean, which decreases root cost and increases P capture from low P soil. Examples of strategy 3 are the cases of increased formation of root cortical aerenchyma, decreased cortical cell file number and increased cortical cell size in maize, which decrease specific root respiration, increase rooting depth and increase water capture and yield under water stress. Root cortical aerenchyma also increases N capture and yield under N stress. Root phenes that reduce the metabolic cost of soil exploration are promising, underexploited avenues to the climate-resilient, resource-efficient crops that are urgently needed in global agriculture.
Histone modifications contribute to gene regulation in eukaryotes. We analyzed genome-wide histone H3 Lysine (Lys) 4 trimethylation and histone H3 Lys 9 acetylation (two modifications typically associated with active genes) in meristematic cells at the base and expanded cells in the blade of the maize (Zea mays) leaf. These data were compared with transcript levels of associated genes. For individual genes, regulations (fold changes) of histone modifications and transcript levels were much better correlated than absolute intensities. When focusing on regulated histone modification sites, we identified highly regulated secondary H3 Lys 9 acetylation peaks on upstream promoters (regulated secondary upstream peaks [R-SUPs]) on 10% of all genes. R-SUPs were more often found on genes that were up-regulated toward the blade than on down-regulated genes and specifically, photosynthetic genes. Among those genes, we identified six genes encoding enzymes of the C4 cycle and a significant enrichment of genes associated with the C4 trait derived from transcriptomic studies. On the DNA level, R-SUPs are frequently associated with ethylene-responsive elements. Based on these data, we suggest coevolution of epigenetic promoter elements during the establishment of C4 photosynthesis.
SummaryPlants display numerous strategies to cope with phosphate (Pi)-deficiency. Despite multiple genetic studies, the molecular mechanisms of low-Pi-signalling remain unknown. To validate the interest of chemical genetics to investigate this pathway we discovered and analysed the effects of PHOSTIN (PSN), a drug mimicking Pi-starvation in Arabidopsis.We assessed the effects of PSN and structural analogues on the induction of Pi-deficiency responses in mutants and wild-type and followed their accumulation in plants organs by high pressure liquid chromotography (HPLC) or mass-spectrophotometry.We show that PSN is cleaved in the growth medium, releasing its active motif (PSN11), which accumulates in plants roots. Despite the overaccumulation of Pi in the roots of treated plants, PSN11 elicits both local and systemic Pi-starvation effects. Nevertheless, albeit that the transcriptional activation of low-Pi genes by PSN11 is lost in the phr1;phl1 double mutant, neither PHO1 nor PHO2 are required for PSN11 effects.The range of local and systemic responses to Pi-starvation elicited, and their dependence on the PHR1/PHL1 function suggests that PSN11 affects an important and early step of Pi-starvation signalling. Its independence from PHO1 and PHO2 suggest the existence of unknown pathway(s), showing the usefulness of PSN and chemical genetics to bring new elements to this field.
The capacity to synthesize betalains has arisen in diverse phylogenetic lineages across the Caryophyllales, and because betalainic plants often grow in deserts, sand dunes, or salt marshes, it is likely that these pigments confer adaptive advantages. However, possible functional roles of foliar betalains remain largely unexplored and are difficult to test experimentally. We adopted a novel approach to examine putative photoprotective roles of betalains in leaves for which chloroplast function has been compromised by salinity.Responses of l-DOPA-treated red shoots of Disphyma australe to high light and salinity were compared with those of naturally red- and green-leafed morphs. Betalain content and tyrosinase activity were measured, and Chl fluorescence profiles and H2O2 production were compared under white, red or green light.Green leaves lacked tyrosinase activity, but when supplied with exogenous l-DOPA they produced five betacyanins. Both the naturally red and l-DOPA-induced red leaves generated less H2O2 and showed smaller declines in photosystem II quantum efficiency than did green leaves when exposed to white or green light, although not when exposed to red light.Light screening by epidermal betalains effectively reduces the propensity for photoinhibition and photo-oxidative stress in subjacent chlorenchyma. This may assist plant survival in exposed and saline environments.
The plant hormone auxin regulates numerous aspects of plant growth and development. Early auxin response genes mediate its genomic effects on plant growth and development. Discovered in 1987, SMALL AUXIN UP RNAs (SAURs) are the largest family of early auxin response genes. SAUR functions have remained elusive, however, presumably due to extensive genetic redundancy. However, recent molecular, genetic, biochemical, and genomic studies have implicated SAURs in the regulation of a wide range of cellular, physiological, and developmental processes. Recently, crucial mechanistic insight into SAUR function was provided by the demonstration that SAURs inhibit PP2C.D phosphatases to activate plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPases and promote cell expansion. In addition to auxin, several other hormones and environmental factors also regulate SAUR gene expression. We propose that SAURs are key effector outputs of hormonal and environmental signals that regulate plant growth and development.
The non-protein amino acid, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) rapidly accumulates in plant tissues in response to biotic and abiotic stress, and regulates plant growth. Until now it was not known whether GABA exerts its effects in plants through the regulation of carbon metabolism or via an unidentified signalling pathway. Here, we demonstrate that anion flux through plant aluminium-activated malate transporter (ALMT) proteins is activated by anions and negatively regulated by GABA. Site-directed mutagenesis of selected amino acids within ALMT proteins abolishes GABA efficacy but does not alter other transport properties. GABA modulation of ALMT activity results in altered root growth and altered root tolerance to alkaline pH, acid pH and aluminium ions. We propose that GABA exerts its multiple physiological effects in plants via ALMT, including the regulation of pollen tube and root growth, and that GABA can finally be considered a legitimate signalling molecule in both the plant and animal kingdoms.
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