Plant and Seed Biology
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Rescooped by Loïc Lepiniec from Life Sciences Université Paris-Saclay
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Lancement de l’Ecole Universitaire de Recherche en Sciences des Plantes de Saclay | Université Paris Saclay

Lancement de l’Ecole Universitaire de Recherche en Sciences des Plantes de Saclay | Université Paris Saclay | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Les sciences du végétal ont désormais leur école universitaire de recherche (EUR) au cœur de Paris-Saclay. Né dans la continuité du LabEx SPS, réseau de recherche en biologie végétale de Paris-Saclay depuis 2011, ce projet de « Graduate School » à la française a été sélectionné dans le cadre du Programme d’Investissement d’Avenir 2017.


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RNA-binding protein RBP-P is required for glutelin and prolamine mRNA localization in rice endosperm cells

RNA-binding protein RBP-P is required for glutelin and prolamine mRNA localization in rice endosperm cells | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
In developing rice (Oryza sativa) endosperm, mRNAs of the major storage proteins, glutelin and prolamine, are transported and anchored to distinct subdomains of the cortical endoplasmic reticulum. RNA-binding protein RBP-P binds to both glutelin and prolamine mRNAs, suggesting a role in some aspect of their RNA metabolism. Here, we show that rice lines expressing mutant RBP-P mis-localize both glutelin and prolamine mRNAs. Different mutant RBP-P proteins exhibited varying degrees of reduced RNA binding and/or protein-protein interaction properties, which may account for the mis-localization of storage protein RNAs. In addition, partial loss of RBP-P function conferred a broad phenotypic variation ranging from dwarfism, chlorophyll deficiency and sterility to late flowering and low spikelet fertility. Transcriptome analysis highlighted the essential role of RBP-P in regulating storage protein genes and several essential biological processes during grain development. Overall, our data demonstrate the significant roles of RBP-P in glutelin and prolamine mRNA localization and in the regulation of genes important for plant growth and development through its RNA binding activity and cooperative regulation with interacting proteins.
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The opium poppy genome and morphinan production

The opium poppy genome and morphinan production | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Morphinan-based painkillers are derived from opium poppy. We report a draft of the opium poppy genome, with 2.72 Gb assembled into 11 chromosomes with contig N50 and scaffold N50 of 1.77 Mb and 204 Mb, respectively. Synteny analysis suggests a whole genome duplication at approximately 7.8 million years ago (MYA) and ancient segmental or whole genome duplication(s) that occurred before the Papaveraceae-Ranunculaceae divergence 110 MYA. Syntenic blocks representative of phthalideisoquinoline and morphinan components of a benzylisoquinoline alkaloid cluster of 15 genes provides insight into how it evolved. Paralog analysis identified P450 and oxidoreductase genes that combined to form the STORR gene fusion essential for morphinan biosynthesis in opium poppy. Thus gene duplication, rearrangement and fusion events have led to evolution of specialized metabolic products in opium poppy.
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Position for Research Group Leader – Developmental Biology of Plant Seeds, IPK-Gatersleben (Germany)

Position for Research Group Leader – Developmental Biology of Plant Seeds, IPK-Gatersleben (Germany) | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

The general goal of the research group Seed Development is to understand and influence signalling and regulation mechanisms that govern growth and differentiation processes during seed formation, focusing on genetic and metabolic / hormonal regulation of cell, tissue and organ development. The group has access to the excellent IPK research infrastructure, and closely interacts with other complementary research groups, in particular of the Dept. Molecular Genetics. These groups investigate metabolic processes during seed filling or are experts in plant phenotyping (mainly using non-invasive 2D, 3D, and 4D approaches), in image analysis, in molecular and systems genetics, as well as in network analysis and modelling.

 

What you need to know:

For us, your qualifications and strengths count. Therefore, everyone – independent from gender, origin, age, or possible

disability – is welcome.

As an institution which has been awarded the Certificate for Career and Family (“berufundfamilie”), we offer family-friendly working conditions and flexible working hours. The IPK has set a goal to employ more people with disabilities. Qualified applicants with a disability will be given

preference.

Your application:

They are looking forward to receive your online-application (http://www.ipk-gatersleben.de/en/job-offers/). If you have questions or require more information, please do contact Mr. Danielowski (jobs@ipk-gatersleben.de).
Please indicate the reference number 63/08/18 in your correspondence.

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The plant pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa triggers a DELLA-dependent seed germination arrest in Arabidopsis

The plant pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa triggers a DELLA-dependent seed germination arrest in Arabidopsis | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
To anticipate potential seedling damage, plants block seed germination under unfavorable conditions. Previous studies investigated how seed germination is controlled in response to abiotic stresses through gibberellic and abscisic acid signaling. However, little is known about whether seeds respond to rhizosphere bacterial pathogens. We found that Arabidopsis seed germination is blocked in the vicinity of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. We identified L-2-amino-4-methoxy-trans-3-butenoic acid (AMB), released by P. aeruginosa, as a biotic compound triggering germination arrest. We provide genetic evidence that in AMB-treated seeds DELLA factors promote the accumulation of the germination repressor ABI5 in a GA-independent manner. AMB production is controlled by the quorum sensing system IQS. In vitro experiments show that the AMB-dependent germination arrest protects seedlings from damage induced by AMB. We discuss the possibility that this could serve as a protective response to avoid severe seedling damage induced by AMB and exposure to a pathogen.
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RNA-Dependent Epigenetic Silencing Directs Transcriptional Downregulation Caused by Intronic Repeat Expansions 

RNA-Dependent Epigenetic Silencing Directs Transcriptional Downregulation Caused by Intronic Repeat Expansions  | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Summary
Transcriptional downregulation caused by intronic triplet repeat expansions underlies diseases such as Friedreich’s ataxia. This downregulation of gene expression is coupled with epigenetic changes, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here, we show that an intronic GAA/TTC triplet expansion within the IIL1 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana results in accumulation of 24-nt short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and repressive histone marks at the IIL1 locus, which in turn causes its transcriptional downregulation and an associated phenotype. Knocking down DICER LIKE-3 (DCL3), which produces 24-nt siRNAs, suppressed transcriptional downregulation of IIL1 and the triplet expansion-associated phenotype. Furthermore, knocking down additional components of the RNA-dependent DNA methylation (RdDM) pathway also suppressed both transcriptional downregulation of IIL1 and the repeat expansion-associated phenotype. Thus, our results show that triplet repeat expansions can lead to local siRNA biogenesis, which in turn downregulates transcription through an RdDM-dependent epigenetic modification.
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« Il faut évaluer au cas par cas les organismes obtenus par mutagénèse » (Le Monde, 21/08)

La Cour de justice de l’UE a récemment assimilé à des OGM les organismes dont le génome a été altéré sans y insérer un ADN étranger. Pour l’ex-député Jean-Yves Le Déaut et la sénatrice Catherine Procaccia, il est urgent de clarifier la directive pour bénéficier des nouvelles techniques de mutagénèse.
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Massive crossover elevation via combination of HEI10 and recq4a recq4b during Arabidopsis meiosis

The majority of eukaryotes reproduce sexually, creating genetic variation within populations. Sexual reproduction requires gamete production via meiotic cell division. During meiosis, homologous chromosomes pair and undergo exchange, called crossover. Crossover is vital for crop breeding and remains a major tool to combine useful traits. Despite the importance of crossovers for breeding, their levels are typically low, with one to two forming per chromosome, irrespective of physical chromosome size. Here we genetically engineer superrecombining Arabidopsis , via boosting the major procrossover pathway (using additional copies of the HEI10 E3-ligase gene), and simultaneously removing a major antirecombination pathway (using mutations in RECQ4A and RECQ4B helicase genes). This strategy has the potential to drive massive crossover elevations in crop genomes and accelerate breeding.

Via Herman Höfte
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The Director of Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC MU) opens 2 positions of Post-doc in the research group of Dr Hélène Robert Boisivon 

The Director of Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC MU) opens 2 positions of Post-doc in the research group of Dr Hélène Robert Boisivon  | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

The Director of Central European Institute of Technology (CEITEC MU) opens 2 positions of Post-doc
 
The research group of Dr Hélène Robert Boisivon focuses on the effects of hormones during organogenesis in flowering plants, and how environmental cues influence the reproduction fitness in Arabidopsis thaliana and related crops.

You will assist us in context of the recently funded SINGING PLANTS and CEBR research projects in the area of plant developmental biology as part of Hormonal Crosstalk in Plant Development Group of Genomics and Proteomics of Plant Systems Research Programme of CEITEC.

If successful candidate/s, you will join a team of motivated researchers who are investigating the effects of abiotic stress on seed production in a state-of-the-art scientific environment. You will help with the transfer of knowledge to crops. We use two different models in our investigations; Arabidopsis thaliana and Oilseed rape.

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Statement from the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research on the recent decision of the European Court of Justice regarding gene-edited organisms

Statement from the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research on the recent decision of the European Court of Justice regarding gene-edited organisms
August 06, 2018

We, the directors of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, note with dismay the recent ruling of the European Court of Justice of the European Union that imposes strict regulations on gene-edited plants and crops.

The importance of gene editing for modern plant research and agriculture is hard to overstate. To cite but one example from our own research: in the 1990s we isolated the barley Mlo gene which when mutated provides durable and broad resistance against the pathogenic powdery mildew fungus. Mutation of this gene, which is already found in nature, has been successfully employed in European barley agriculture for more than 40 years. Further, genetic engineering has been harnessed to introduce this resistance into almost all economically significant plant species, including wheat and tomato. While in barley compromising the function of this gene is relatively straightforward using traditional approaches, engineering resistance in a species such as wheat, which harbors six copies of every gene requires much more targeted and specific methods.

In explaining its decision, the Court has reasoned “that the risks linked to the use of these new mutagenesis techniques might prove to be similar to those that result from the production and release of a GMO through transgenesis.” Such a rationale risks muddying the water with respect to the important and fundamental differences between gene editing per se and transgenic technology. Highly specific methods such as CRISPR-Cas9, for example, can be used to selectively deactivate a single gene within a genome containing tens of thousands of genes. Sequencing the entire genome of the resulting mutant (which is becoming easier and cheaper by the year) and comparison with the original can then reveal if any other undesired changes have taken place. No foreign genetic material is introduced. Further, compared to traditional techniques such as radiation-induced mutagenesis the method is surgical in its precision. As has been argued elsewhere, the safety of a mutant plant should not be determined by the technique used to generate it but by the final genetic make-up of the plant itself. Somewhat ironically, thousands of varieties of mutant crops generated using the much more scattergun approach of shotgun mutagenesis have been approved for commercialization and are consumed by millions on a daily basis.

The repercussions of the ECJ’s ruling will of course be felt in basic plant and crop research in the EU and will hamper field experiments in the area of molecular ecology. Furthermore, such restrictions put us at a disadvantage compared to non-European colleagues. However, the most serious consequences are likely to be those for agriculture and world food security. By 2050, world food demand may be twice that in 2005 and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations predicts that, if we continue on our current course, then this increased demand may not be met. The genetic engineering of plants to make them more productive and resistant offers huge potential in a world where crop yields have plateaued, where the use of herbicides and pesticides are more controversial than ever, and where the effects of climate change on crop yields are being felt ever more keenly – drought is likely to reduce harvests by as much as 70% in Germany this year. Finally, the ruling of the European Court of Justice will certainly result in a drain of excellently trained young European scientists moving to agricultural companies outside of the EU.

Paul Schulze-Lefert, George Coupland, and Miltos Tsiantis

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Seed coats as an alternative molecular factory: thinking outside the box. Plant Reprod. 2018 Jul 28

Seed coats as an alternative molecular factory: thinking outside the box. Plant Reprod. 2018 Jul 28 | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

Seed coats as commodities. Seed coats play important roles in the protection of the embryo from biological attack and physical damage by the environment as well as dispersion strategies. A significant part of the energy devoted by the mother plant to seed production is channeled into the production of the cell layers and metabolites that surround the embryo. Nevertheless, in crop species these are often discarded post-harvest and are a wasted resource that could be processed to yield co-products. The production of novel compounds from existing metabolites is also a possibility. A number of macromolecules are already accumulated in these maternal layers that could be exploited in industrial applications either directly or via green chemistry, notably flavonoids, lignin, lignan, polysaccharides, lipid polyesters and waxes. Here, we summarize our knowledge of the in planta biosynthesis pathways of these macromolecules and their molecular regulation as well as potential applications. We also outline recent work aimed at providing further tools for increasing yields of existing molecules or the development of novel biotech approaches, as well as trial studies aimed at exploiting this underused resource.


Via Institute Jean-Pierre Bourgin
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MYBs Drive Novel Consumer Traits in Fruits and Vegetables - ScienceDirect

MYBs Drive Novel Consumer Traits in Fruits and Vegetables - ScienceDirect | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

Members of the large R2R3 MYB family of transcription factors provide pathway regulation that determines much of the novelty in fruits and vegetables.

MYB-related control of pigmentation, flavour, and texture attract the consumer, while often also improving dietary health benefits.

Alleles of MYBs are being used as major genes in breeding programs. With new breeding technologies, such as gene editing, these MYBs will be key targets for driving crop improvement.

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Maternal auxin supply contributes to early embryo patterning in Arabidopsis

Maternal auxin supply contributes to early embryo patterning in Arabidopsis | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
The angiosperm seed is composed of three genetically distinct tissues: the diploid embryo that originates from the fertilized egg cell, the triploid endosperm that is produced from the fertilized central cell, and the maternal sporophytic integuments that develop into the seed coat1. At the onset of embryo development in Arabidopsis thaliana, the zygote divides asymmetrically, producing a small apical embryonic cell and a larger basal cell that connects the embryo to the maternal tissue2. The coordinated and synchronous development of the embryo and the surrounding integuments, and the alignment of their growth axes, suggest communication between maternal tissues and the embryo. In contrast to animals, however, where a network of maternal factors that direct embryo patterning have been identified3,4, only a few maternal mutations have been described to affect embryo development in plants5,6,7. Early embryo patterning in Arabidopsis requires accumulation of the phytohormone auxin in the apical cell by directed transport from the suspensor8,9,10. However, the origin of this auxin has remained obscure. Here we investigate the source of auxin for early embryogenesis and provide evidence that the mother plant coordinates seed development by supplying auxin to the early embryo from the integuments of the ovule. We show that auxin response increases in ovules after fertilization, due to upregulated auxin biosynthesis in the integuments, and this maternally produced auxin is required for correct embryo development.
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Pivotal CRISPR patent battle won by Broad Institute, Team from the University of California, Berkeley, loses appeal over coveted gene-editing technology.

Pivotal CRISPR patent battle won by Broad Institute, Team from the University of California, Berkeley, loses appeal over coveted gene-editing technology. | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
A fierce and unprecedented patent battle between two educational institutions might be nearing a close, after a US appeals court issued a decisive ruling on the rights to CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing.

On 10 September, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit awarded the pivotal intellectual property to the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, upholding a previous decision by the US Patent and Trademark Office. The decision spells defeat for a team of inventors at the University of California, Berkeley (UC), led by molecular biologist Jennifer Doudna.

The “Board’s underlying factual findings are supported by substantial evidence and the Board did not err”, Judge Kimberly Moore wrote in the latest decision. “We have considered UC’s remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive.”

The dispute centred on the rights to commercialize products developed by using the CRISPR–Cas9 system to make targeted changes to the genomes of eukaryotes — a group of organisms that includes plant and animals. Although many patents have been filed describing various aspects of CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing, the Broad Institute and UC patent applications were considered to be particularly important because they covered such a wide swath of potential CRISPR-Cas9 products.

Investors have watched the case closely, even as they poured millions into companies that aim to develop medicines and crops using CRISPR–Cas9. The zeal with which both institutions defended their patents was unusual, says Jacob Sherkow, a legal scholar at New York Law School in New York City. Normally, he says, such institutions would settle out of court before the case reached this point.

“This has been one of the single most heated disputes between two educational institutions over inventorship,” says Sherkow. “It’s hard for me to imagine the same thing happening again.”

UC could now appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court, but it is unclear whether the court would agree to hear the case.

Since researchers filed the original CRISPR-Cas9 patents, the fast-paced field of CRISPR biology has moved on. Researchers have since discovered new enzymes to replace Cas9, and modified the CRISPR-Cas9 system to manipulate the genome in many ways, from editing individual DNA letters to activating gene expression.

Although CRISPR-Cas9 is still often the preferred CRISPR variety for researchers in both industry and academia, other systems may grow in popularity as scientists gain more experience with them. “This is still an incredibly important case for the present,” says Sherkow. “But it may not be an incredibly important case for the future.”
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Phosphocode-dependent functional dichotomy of a common co-receptor in plant signalling

Phosphocode-dependent functional dichotomy of a common co-receptor in plant signalling | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Multicellular organisms use cell-surface receptor kinases to sense and process extracellular signals. Many plant receptor kinases are activated by the formation of ligand-induced complexes with shape-complementary co-receptors1. The best-characterized co-receptor is BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1-ASSOCIATED KINASE 1 (BAK1), which associates with numerous leucine-rich repeat receptor kinases (LRR-RKs) to control immunity, growth and development2. Here we report key regulatory events that control the function of BAK1 and, more generally, LRR-RKs. Through a combination of phosphoproteomics and targeted mutagenesis, we identified conserved phosphosites that are required for the immune function of BAK1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Notably, these phosphosites are not required for BAK1-dependent brassinosteroid-regulated growth. In addition to revealing a critical role for the phosphorylation of the BAK1 C-terminal tail, we identified a conserved tyrosine phosphosite that may be required for the function of the majority of Arabidopsis LRR-RKs, and which separates them into two distinct functional classes based on the presence or absence of this tyrosine. Our results suggest a phosphocode-based dichotomy of BAK1 function in plant signalling, and provide insights into receptor kinase activation that have broad implications for our understanding of how plants respond to their changing environment.
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Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate

Increase in crop losses to insect pests in a warming climate | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Insect pests substantially reduce yields of three staple grains—rice, maize, and wheat—but models assessing the agricultural impacts of global warming rarely consider crop losses to insects. We use established relationships between temperature and the population growth and metabolic rates of insects to estimate how and where climate warming will augment losses of rice, maize, and wheat to insects. Global yield losses of these grains are projected to increase by 10 to 25% per degree of global mean surface warming. Crop losses will be most acute in areas where warming increases both population growth and metabolic rates of insects. These conditions are centered primarily in temperate regions, where most grain is produced.
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Impact of anthropogenic CO 2 emissions on global human nutrition

Impact of anthropogenic CO 2 emissions on global human nutrition | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Elevated atmospheric CO2 (550 ppm) could cause an additional 175 million people to be zinc deficient and 122 million protein deficient (assuming 2050 population and CO2 projections) due to the reduced nutritional value of staple food crops.
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L'agroécologie : vers une autre révolution verte - Avec Marion Guillou, spécialiste des sciences de l’alimentation

L'agroécologie : vers une autre révolution verte - Avec Marion Guillou, spécialiste des sciences de l’alimentation | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Quel enjeux pour nourrir 9 milliards d’êtres humains en 2050 ?

9 milliards d’êtres humains à nourrir, en 2050, au milieu de ce siècle. C’est à dire demain.  Le temps presse, les Nations Unies ont fixé des objectifs, il n’est pas certain qu’ils soient atteints. Les vraies questions : de quelle alimentation s’agira-t-il ? Avec quels moyens de production, quelle sécurité, quelle répartition ?  Les fortes pressions exercées sur l’environnement, le réchauffement climatique et la perte de la biodiversité obligeront à penser autrement tout le système agricole et alimentaire de notre planète. Une véritable révolution qui remettra en cause bien des pratiques et soulèvera d’énormes enjeux économiques et politiques. Mais a-t-on le choix ?  

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The proanthocyanidin‐specific transcription factor MdMYBPA1 initiates anthocyanin synthesis under low‐temperature conditions in red‐fleshed apples

The proanthocyanidin‐specific transcription factor MdMYBPA1 initiates anthocyanin synthesis under low‐temperature conditions in red‐fleshed apples | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Summary
In plants, flavonoids play critical roles in resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and contribute substantially to the quality, flavor, and nutritional quality of many fruit crops. In apple (Malus × domestica), inbreeding has resulted in severe decreases in the genetic diversity and flavonoid content. Over the last decade, we have focused on the genetic improvement of apple using wild red‐fleshed apple resources (Malus sieversii f. niedzwetzkyana). Here, we found that the MYB transcription factors (TFs) involved in the synthesis of proanthocyanidins can be classified into TT2 and PA1 types. We characterized a PA1‐type MYB transcription factor, MdMYBPA1, from red‐fleshed apple and identified its role in flavonoid biosynthesis using overexpression and knockdown‐expression transgenes in apple calli. We explored the relationship between TT2‐ and PA1‐type MYB TFs, and found that MdMYB9/11/12 bind the MdMYBPA1 promoter. In addition, MdMYBPA1 responded to low temperature by redirecting the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway from proanthocyanidin to anthocyanin production. In binding analyses, MdbHLH33 directly bound to the low‐temperature‐responsive (LTR) cis‐element of the MdMYBPA1 promoter and promotes its activity. In addition, the calli expressing both MdMYBPA1 and MdbHLH33, which together form a complex, produced more anthocyanin under low temperature. Our findings shed light on the essential roles of PA1‐type TFs in the metabolic network of proanthocyanidin and anthocyanin synthesis in plants. Studies on red‐fleshed wild apple are beneficial for breeding new apple varieties with high flavonoid contents.
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Plant Reproduction Special Issue on Seeds as factories for sustainable agriculture !

Plant Reproduction Special Issue on Seeds as factories for sustainable agriculture ! | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

Plant Reproduction Volume 31, Issue 3, September 2018
Special issue on Seeds as factories for sustainable agriculture

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Modulating plant growth–metabolism coordination for sustainable agriculture

Modulating plant growth–metabolism coordination for sustainable agriculture | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
The balance of DELLA and GRF4 proteins in plants ensures the co-regulation of growth with metabolism and tipping this balance towards GRF4 leads to higher efficiency of nitrogen use.

Via Herman Höfte
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Plants send small RNAs in extracellular vesicles to fungal pathogen to silence virulence genes

Plants can use small RNAs (sRNAs) to interfere with virulence factor gene expression in pathogens. Cai et al. show that the small mustard plant Arabidopsis shuttles defensive sRNAs into the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea via extracellular vesicles (see the Perspective by Thomma and Cook). The vesicles are associated with tetraspanin proteins, which can interact and form membrane microdomains. Several dozen different sRNAs targeting the pathogenic process were transported from Arabidopsis to B. cinerea in a selective manner.

Science , this issue p. [1126][1]; see also p. [1070][2]

Some pathogens and pests deliver small RNAs (sRNAs) into host cells to suppress host immunity. Conversely, hosts also transfer sRNAs into pathogens and pests to inhibit their virulence. Although sRNA trafficking has been observed in a wide variety of interactions, how sRNAs are transferred, especially from hosts to pathogens and pests, is still unknown. Here, we show that host Arabidopsis cells secrete exosome-like extracellular vesicles to deliver sRNAs into fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea . These sRNA-containing vesicles accumulate at the infection sites and are taken up by the fungal cells. Transferred host sRNAs induce silencing of fungal genes critical for pathogenicity. Thus, Arabidopsis has adapted exosome-mediated cross-kingdom RNA interference as part of its immune responses during the evolutionary arms race with the pathogen.

[1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aar4142
[2]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aat9343

Via Herman Höfte
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Nitrogen fixation in a landrace of maize is supported by a mucilage-associated diazotrophic microbiota

Nitrogen fixation in a landrace of maize is supported by a mucilage-associated diazotrophic microbiota | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Author summary Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, and for many nonlegume crops, the requirement for nitrogen is primarily met by the use of inorganic fertilizers. These fertilizers are produced from fossil fuel by energy-intensive processes that are estimated to use 1% to 2% of the total global energy supply and produce an equivalent share of greenhouse gases. Because maize (Zea mays L.) is a significant recipient of nitrogen fertilization, a research goal for decades has been to identify or engineer mechanisms for biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in association with this crop. We hypothesized that isolated indigenous landraces of maize grown using traditional practices with little or no fertilizer might have evolved strategies to improve plant performance under low-nitrogen nutrient conditions. Here, we show that for one such maize landrace grown in nitrogen-depleted fields near Oaxaca, Mexico, 29%–82% of the plant nitrogen is derived from atmospheric nitrogen. High levels of nitrogen fixation are supported, at least in part, by the abundant production of a sugar-rich mucilage associated with aerial roots that provides a home to a complex nitrogen-fixing microbiome.

Via Jean-Michel Ané
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Jean-Michel Ané's curator insight, August 7, 9:22 PM

Our paper on the nitrogen-fixing maize is now publicly available!

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A Comprehensive Toolkit for Inducible, Cell Type-Specific Gene Expression in Arabidopsis

A Comprehensive Toolkit for Inducible, Cell Type-Specific Gene Expression in Arabidopsis | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it
Understanding the context-specific role of gene function is a key objective of modern biology. To this end, we generated a resource for inducible cell type-specific trans-activation in Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) based on the well-established combination of the chimeric GR-LhG4 transcription factor and the synthetic pOp promoter. Harnessing the flexibility of the GreenGate cloning system, we produced a comprehensive set of transgenic lines termed GR-LhG4 driver lines targeting most tissues in the Arabidopsis shoot and root with a strong focus on the indeterminate meristems. When we combined these transgenic lines with effectors under the control of the pOp promoter, we observed tight temporal and spatial control of gene expression. In particular, inducible expression in F1 plants obtained from crosses of driver and effector lines allows for rapid assessment of the cell type-specific impact of an effector with high temporal resolution. Thus, our comprehensive and flexible method is suitable for overcoming the limitations of ubiquitous genetic approaches, the outputs of which are often difficult to interpret due to the widespread existence of compensatory mechanisms and the integration of diverging effects in different cell types.

Via Herman Höfte
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3rd International Brassinosteroid Conference will be held August 1-4, 2018 at Hotel Marriot San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA (supported by SPS)

3rd International Brassinosteroid Conference will be held August 1-4, 2018 at Hotel Marriot San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA (supported by SPS) | Plant and Seed Biology | Scoop.it

On behalf of the International Organizing Committee, we are pleased to announce that the 3rd International Brassinosteroid Conference will be held August 1-4, 2018 at Hotel Marriot San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.

 

Brassinosteroids (BRs) are critical plant hormones that regulate plant growth, development and plant responses to various environmental stresses. Molecular genetic studies in the past decades have determined and characterized both BR biosynthesis and signaling pathways. In the past several years, the field has made significant progress by using new technologies and through collaborations with other scientific disciplines. New BR signaling components have been discovered and the mechanisms of BR perception and signal transduction have been depicted at the molecular and in a few cases at the atomic levels. BR’s functional mechanisms in many growth and developmental processes have been studied. At the same time, genomics, proteomics and systems biology approaches have begun to reveal complex regulatory networks through which BRs regulate thousands of genes and crosstalk with other signaling pathways in the regulation of plant growth and responses to both abiotic (such as drought, cold, heat) and biotic (bacterial, fungal and viral) stresses. While much of the knowledge has been obtained with model plant Arabidopsis, BR’s function and signaling components have also been identified in important crops such as maize, rice and tomato.  These studies have promised great potential of BRs in improving crop yield and plant performance under stress conditions. 

We are delighted that we will be able to bring some of the top scientists, including some young and new scientists to the field, to the conference to share their exciting new findings. We hope that the meeting will also foster new collaborations between different groups, different disciplines and between academic and industrial fields not only to make new discoveries but also to transform the knowledge into agricultural products. 

We look forward to seeing you in beautiful San Diego in the summer of 2018!

- Dr. Yanhai Yin (Chair, International Organizing Committee)
- Dr. Steve Huber (Co-Chair, International Organizing Committee)


Via Saclay Plant Sciences
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