Seeds respond to multiple different environmental stimuli that regulate germination. Nitrate stimulates germination in many plants but how it does so remains unclear. Here we show that the Arabidopsis NIN-like protein 8 (NLP8) is essential for nitrate-promoted seed germination. Seed germination in nlp8 loss-of-function mutants does not respond to nitrate. NLP8 functions even in a nitrate reductase-deficient mutant background, and the requirement for NLP8 is conserved among Arabidopsis accessions. NLP8 reduces abscisic acid levels in a nitrate-dependent manner and directly binds to the promoter of CYP707A2, encoding an abscisic acid catabolic enzyme. Genetic analysis shows that NLP8-mediated promotion of seed germination by nitrate requires CYP707A2. Finally, we show that NLP8 localizes to nuclei and unlike NLP7, does not appear to be activated by nitrate-dependent nuclear retention of NLP7, suggesting that seeds have a unique mechanism for nitrate signalling.
"Primary seed dormancy is an important adaptive plant trait whereby seed germination is blocked under conditions that would otherwise be favorable for germination. This trait is found in newly produced mature seeds of many species, but not all. Once produced, dry seeds undergo an aging time period, called dry after-ripening, during which they lose primary dormancy and gradually acquire the capacity to germinate when exposed to favorable germination conditions. Primary seed dormancy has been extensively studied not only for its scientific interest but also for its ecological, phenological, and agricultural importance. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying primary seed dormancy and its regulation during after-ripening remain poorly understood. Here we review the principal developmental stages where primary dormancy is established and regulated prior to and during seed after-ripening, where it is progressively lost. We attempt to identify and summarize what is known about the molecular and genetic mechanisms intervening over time in each of these stages"
Arabidopsis FORGETTER1 mediates stress-induced chromatin memory through nucleosome remodeling | Environmentally-mediated gene induction is extended beyond the duration of an external cue by sustaining a nucleosome-depleted chromatin structure.
Designer nucleases allow the creation of new plant genotypes by introducing precisely-targeted double-strand breaks that are resolved by endogenous repair pathways. The major nuclease technologies are meganucleases, zinc-finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and the CRISPR/Cas9 system. Each comprises a promiscuous endonuclease guided by protein–DNA or RNA–DNA interactions. A great deal is known about the principles of designer nucleases but much remains to be learned about their detailed behavioral characteristics in different plant species. The outcome of genome engineering reflects the intrinsic properties of each nuclease and target genome, causing variations in efficiency, accuracy, and mutation structure. In this article, we critically discuss the activities of designer nucleases in different cereals representing a broad range of genome characteristics.
Seed dispersal is an essential trait that enables colonization of new favorable habitats, ensuring species survival. In plants with dehiscent fruits, such as Arabidopsis , seed dispersal depends on two processes: the separation of the fruit valves that protect the seeds (fruit dehiscence) and the detachment of the seeds from the funiculus connecting them to the mother plant (seed abscission). The key factors required to establish a proper lignin pattern for fruit dehiscence are SHATTERPROOF 1 and 2 (SHP1 and SHP2). Here, we demonstrate that the SHP-related gene SEEDSTICK ( STK ) is a key factor required to establish the proper lignin pattern in the seed abscission zone but in an opposite way. We show that STK acts as a repressor of lignin deposition in the seed abscission zone through the direct repression of HECATE3 , whereas the SHP proteins promote lignin deposition in the valve margins by activating INDEHISCENT. The interaction of STK with the SEUSS co-repressor determines the difference in the way STK and SHP proteins control the lignification patterns. Despite this difference in the molecular control of lignification during seed abscission and fruit dehiscence, we show that the genetic networks regulating these two developmental pathways are highly conserved.
First announcement Dear members, The triennial ISSS Conference will be held from 10-14 September 2017 at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey California. See also the UcDavis website. Information on registration and other details will follow in due course. Regards, Peter Toorop, Secretary
Abstract: Transcription is a fundamental and dynamic step in the regulation of gene expression, but the characteristics of plant transcription are poorly understood. We adapted the global nuclear run-on sequencing (GRO-seq) and 5′GRO-seq methods for plants and provide a plant version of the next-generation sequencing software HOMER (homer.ucsd.edu/homer/plants) to facilitate data analysis. Mapping nascent transcripts in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings enabled identification of known and novel transcripts and precisely mapped their start sites, revealing distinct characteristics in plant transcription. Our modified method to map engaged RNA polymerases and nascent transcripts in primary tissues paves the way for comparative and response studies.
"Besides the deposition of storage reserves, seed maturation is characterized by the acquisition of functional traits including germination, desiccation tolerance, dormancy, and longevity. After seed filling, seed longevity increases up to 30-fold, concomitant with desiccation that brings the embryo to a quiescent state. The period that we define as late maturation phase can represent 10–78% of total seed development time, yet it remains overlooked. Its importance is underscored by the fact that in the seed production chain, the stage of maturity at harvest is the primary factor that influences seed longevity and seedling establishment. This review describes the major events and regulatory pathways underlying the acquisition of seed longevity, focusing on key indicators of maturity such as chlorophyll degradation, accumulation of raffinose family oligosaccharides, late embryogenesis abundant proteins, and heat shock proteins. We discuss how these markers are correlated with or contribute to seed longevity, and highlight questions that merit further attention. We present evidence suggesting that molecular players involved in biotic defence also have a regulatory role in seed longevity. We also explore how the concept of plasticity can help understand the acquisition of longevity."
Aggressive fungal pathogens such as Botrytis and Verticillium spp. cause severe crop losses worldwide. We recently discovered that Botrytis cinerea delivers small RNAs (Bc–sRNAs) into plant cells to silence host immunity genes. Such sRNA effectors are mostly produced by Botrytis cinerea Dicer-like protein 1 (Bc-DCL1) and Bc-DCL2. Here we show that expressing sRNAs that target Bc-DCL1 and Bc-DCL2 in Arabidopsis and tomato silences Bc-DCL genes and attenuates fungal pathogenicity and growth, exemplifying bidirectional cross-kingdom RNAi and sRNA trafficking between plants and fungi. This strategy can be adapted to simultaneously control multiple fungal diseases. We also show that Botrytis can take up external sRNAs and double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs). Applying sRNAs or dsRNAs that target Botrytis DCL1 and DCL2 genes on the surface of fruits, vegetables and flowers significantly inhibits grey mould disease. Such pathogen gene-targeting RNAs represent a new generation of environmentally friendly fungicides.
From domestication and breeding to the genetic engineering of crops, plants provide food, fuel, fibers, and feedstocks for our civilization. New research and discoveries aim to reduce the inputs needed to grow crops and to develop plants for environmental and sustainability applications. Faced with population growth and changing climate, the next wave of innovation in plant biology integrates technologies and approaches that span from molecular to ecosystem scales. Recent efforts to engineer plants for better nitrogen and phosphorus use, enhanced carbon fixation, and environmental remediation and to understand plant-microbiome interactions showcase exciting future directions for translational plant biology. These advances promise new strategies for the reduction of inputs to limit environmental impacts and improve agricultural sustainability.
The antagonistic crosstalk between gibberellic acid (GA) and abscisic acid (ABA) plays a pivotal role in the modulation of seed germination. However, the molecular mechanism of such phytohormone interaction remains largely elusive. Here we show that three Arabidopsis NUCLEAR FACTOR-Y C (NF-YC) homologues NF-YC3, NF-YC4 and NF-YC9 redundantly modulate GA- and ABA-mediated seed germination. These NF-YCs interact with the DELLA protein RGL2, a key repressor of GA signalling. The NF-YC–RGL2 module targets ABI5, a gene encoding a core component of ABA signalling, via specific CCAAT elements and collectively regulates a set of GA- and ABA-responsive genes, thus controlling germination. These results suggest that the NF-YC–RGL2–ABI5 module integrates GA and ABA signalling pathways during seed germination.
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