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Current Biology - Mechanical Regulation of Auxin-Mediated Growth

Background

The phytohormone auxin is a primary regulator of growth and developmental pattern formation in plants. Auxin accumulates at specific sites (e.g., organ primordia) and induces localized growth within a tissue. Auxin also mediates developmental responses to intrinsic and external physical stimuli; however, exactly how mechanics influences auxin distribution is unknown.

Results

Here we show that mechanical strain can regulate auxin transport and accumulation in the tomato shoot apex, where new leaves emerge and rapidly grow. Modification of turgor pressure, application of external force, and artificial growth induction collectively show that the amount and intracellular localization of the auxin efflux carrier PIN1 are sensitive to mechanical alterations. In general, the more strained the tissue was, the more PIN1 was present per cell and the higher the proportion localized to the plasma membrane. Modulation of the membrane properties alone was sufficient to explain most of the mechanical effects.

Conclusions

Our experiments support the hypothesis that the plasma membrane acts as a sensor of tissue mechanics that translates the cell wall strain into cellular responses, such as the intracellular localization of membrane-embedded proteins. One implication of this fundamental mechanism is the mechanical enhancement of auxin-mediated growth in young organ primordia. We propose that growth-induced mechanical strain upregulates PIN1 function and auxin accumulation, thereby promoting further growth, in a robust positive feedback loop.


Via Guogen Yang
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Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii

Genome sequence of the progenitor of the wheat D genome Aegilops tauschii | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Aegilops tauschii is the diploid progenitor of the D genome of hexaploid wheat1 (Triticum aestivum, genomes AABBDD) and an important genetic resource for wheat2,3,4. The large size and highly repetitive nature of the Ae. tauschii genome has until now precluded the development of a reference-quality genome sequence5. Here we use an array of advanced technologies, including ordered-clone genome sequencing, whole-genome shotgun sequencing, and BioNano optical genome mapping, to generate a reference-quality genome sequence for Ae. tauschii ssp. strangulata accession AL8/78, which is closely related to the wheat D genome. We show that compared to other sequenced plant genomes, including a much larger conifer genome, the Ae. tauschii genome contains unprecedented amounts of very similar repeated sequences. Our genome comparisons reveal that the Ae. tauschii genome has a greater number of dispersed duplicated genes than other sequenced genomes and its chromosomes have been structurally evolving an order of magnitude faster than those of other grass genomes. The decay of colinearity with other grass genomes correlates with recombination rates along chromosomes. We propose that the vast amounts of very similar repeated sequences cause frequent errors in recombination and lead to gene duplications and structural chromosome changes that drive fast genome evolution.

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Persulfidation proteome reveals the regulation of protein function by hydrogen sulfide in diverse biological processes in Arabidopsis | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic

Persulfidation proteome reveals the regulation of protein function by hydrogen sulfide in diverse biological processes in Arabidopsis | Journal of Experimental Botany | Oxford Academic | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Hydrogen sulfide-mediated signaling pathways regulate many physiological and pathophysiological processes in mammalian and plant systems. The molecular mechanism by which hydrogen sulfide exerts its action involves the post-translational modification of cysteine residues to form a persulfidated thiol motif, a process called protein persulfidation. We have developed a comparative and quantitative proteomic analysis approach for the detection of endogenous persulfidated proteins in wild-type Arabidopsis and L-CYSTEINE DESULFHYDRASE 1 mutant leaves using the tag-switch method. The 2015 identified persulfidated proteins were isolated from plants grown under controlled conditions, and therefore, at least 5% of the entire Arabidopsis proteome may undergo persulfidation under baseline conditions. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that persulfidated cysteines participate in a wide range of biological functions, regulating important processes such as carbon metabolism, plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses, plant growth and development, and RNA translation. Quantitative analysis in both genetic backgrounds reveals that protein persulfidation is mainly involved in primary metabolic pathways such as the tricarboxylic acid cycle, glycolysis, and the Calvin cycle, suggesting that this protein modification is a new regulatory component in these pathways.
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“La Vie en Rose”: Biosynthesis, Sources and Applications of Betalain Pigments

“La Vie en Rose”: Biosynthesis, Sources and Applications of Betalain Pigments | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

This review discusses betalain metabolism in light of recent advances in the field, with an up-to-date survey of characterized genes and enzymes that take part in betalain biosynthesis, catabolism and transcriptional regulation. Currently-used and potential new sources for betalains are discussed, together with a summary of possible applications of betalains in research and commercial use.

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Insights into Land Plant Evolution Garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha Genome, cell

Insights into Land Plant Evolution Garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha Genome, cell | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
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Via Loïc Lepiniec
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Corporate Concentration and Technological Change in the Global Seed Industry

Corporate Concentration and Technological Change in the Global Seed Industry | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
In the past three decades, the seed sector has experienced, and is now again experiencing, corporate concentration trends. The fallout of this consolidation is the subject of numerous concerns. However, the seed sector is rather poorly understood. Thus, it is useful to understand it better and to investigate the potential impact on the agri-food chain of the trend toward increased corporate concentration. The first part of this paper presents the main characteristics of the global seed sector, its stakeholders, and its size in the agri-food chain. Next, the corporate consolidation trends of the seed industry over the past two years are examined. The technological evolution of the seed sector is also briefly presented. In the last part of this paper, the fallout of recent mergers and acquisitions in the seed industry are analyzed. Opposing views are expressed on the impact of these mergers and acquisitions in the agri-food chain: while certain stakeholders worry about the risk of food power by the biggest companies, some others expect useful innovations.
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Frequent paramutation-like features of natural epialleles in tomato

Freakish and rare or the tip of the iceberg? Both phrases have been used to refer to paramutation, an epigenetic drive that contravenes Mendel's first law of segregation. Although its underlying mechanisms are beginning to unravel, its understanding relies only on a few examples that may involve transgenes or artificially generated epialleles. By using DNA methylation of introgression lines as an indication of past paramutation, we reveal that the paramutation-like properties of the H06 locus in hybrids of Solanum lycopersicum and a range of tomato relatives and cultivars depend on the timing of sRNA production and conform to an RNA-directed mechanism. In addition, by scanning the methylomes of tomato introgression lines for shared regions of differential methylation that are absent in the S. lycopersicum parent, we identify thousands of candidate regions for paramutation-like behaviour. The methylation patterns for a subset of these regions segregate with non Mendelian ratios, consistent with secondary paramutation-like interactions to variable extents depending on the locus. Together these results demonstrate that paramutation-like epigenetic interactions are common for natural epialleles in tomato, but vary in timing and penetrance.

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Subcellular Localization of a Plant Catalase-Phenol Oxidase, AcCATPO, from Amaranthus and Identification of a Non-canonical Peroxisome Targeting Signal

Subcellular Localization of a Plant Catalase-Phenol Oxidase, AcCATPO, from Amaranthus and Identification of a Non-canonical Peroxisome Targeting Signal | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
AcCATPO is a plant catalase-phenol oxidase recently identified from red amaranth. Its physiological function remains unexplored. As the starting step of functional analysis, here we report its subcellular localization and a non-canonical targeting signal. Commonly used bioinformatics programs predicted a peroxisomal localization for AcCATPO, but failed in identification of canonical peroxisomal targeting signals (PTS). The C-terminal GFP tagging led the fusion protein AcCATPO-GFP to the cytosol and the nucleus, but N-terminal tagging directed the GFP-AcCATPO to peroxisomes and nuclei, in transgenic tobacco. Deleting the tripeptide (PTM) at the extreme C-terminus almost ruled out the peroxisomal localization of GFP-AcCATPOΔ3, and removing the C-terminal decapeptide completely excluded peroxisomes as the residence of GFP-AcCATPOΔ10. Furthermore, this decapeptide as a targeting signal could import GFP-10aa to the peroxisome exclusively. Taken together, these results demonstrate that AcCATPO is localized to the peroxisome and the nucleus, and its peroxisomal localization is attributed to a non-canonical PTS1, the C-terminal decapeptide which contains an internal SRL motif and a conserved tripeptide P-S/T-I/M at the extreme of C-terminus. This work may further the study as to the physiological function of AcCATPO, especially clarify its involvement in betalain biosynthesis, and provide a clue to elucidate more non-canonic PTS.
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Phototropin perceives temperature based on the lifetime of its photoactivated state

Phototropin perceives temperature based on the lifetime of its photoactivated state | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Living organisms perceive temperature using thermosensory molecules. In this study, we found that phototropin, a blue-light photoreceptor, perceives temperature via a mechanism based on the photoactivated chromophore’s lifetime to induce appropriate chloroplast positioning in plants. Our findings reveal that the chromophore of phototropin directs chloroplast positioning to optimize photosynthesis in plants by (i) sensing blue light and (ii) sensing temperature via a temperature-dependent lifetime mechanism. Because many photoreceptors in a range of organisms contain phtoactivatable chromophores with a thermodependent lifetime, the present study suggests that a common molecular principle underlies biological perception of temperature.
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Glutamate receptor-like channels are essential for chemotaxis and reproduction in mosses

Glutamate receptors are well characterized channels that mediate cell-to-cell communication during neurotransmission in animals. Nevertheless, information regarding their functional role in organisms without nervous systems is still limited. In plants, Glutamate Receptor-like (GLR) genes have been implicated in defence against pathogens, reproduction, control of stomata aperture and light signal transduction1–5. However, the numerous GLR genes present in angiosperm genomes (20 to 70)6 has prevented the observation of strong phenotypes in loss-of-function mutants. Here, we show that in the moss Physcomitrella patens, a basal land plant, mutation of GLR genes cause sperm failure in targeting the female reproductive organs. In addition, we show that GLR genes encode non-selective Ca2+ permeable channels that can regulate cytoplasmic Ca2+ and are needed to induce the expression of a BELL1-like transcription factor essential for zygote development. Our work reveals novel functions for GLRs in sperm chemotaxis and transcriptional regulation. Sperm chemotaxis is essential for fertilization in both animals and early land plants like bryophytes and pteridophytes. Therefore, our results are suggestive that ionotropic glutamate receptors may have been conserved throughout plant evolution to mediate cell-to-cell communication during sexual reproduction.
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Exposure to Farm Animals and Risk of Lung Cancer in the AGRICAN Cohort | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic

Exposure to Farm Animals and Risk of Lung Cancer in the AGRICAN Cohort | American Journal of Epidemiology | Oxford Academic | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Epidemiologic studies have found lower risks of lung cancer in farmers. However, little is known about the types of agricultural activities concerned. In the Agriculture and Cancer cohort, we assessed the relationship between animal farming and lung cancer by investigating the types of animals, tasks, and timing of exposure. Analyses included 170,834 participants from the Agriculture and Cancer (AGRICAN) cohort in France. Incident lung cancers were identified through linkage with cancer registries from enrollment (2005–2007) to 2011. A Cox model, adjusting for pack-years of cigarette smoking, was used to calculate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals. Lung cancer risk was inversely related to duration of exposure to cattle (≥40 years: hazard ratio = 0.60, 95% confidence interval: 0.41, 0.89; P for trend < 0.01) and to horse farming (≥20 years: hazard ratio = 0.64, 95% confidence interval: 0.35, 1.17; P for trend = 0.09), especially for adenocarcinomas, but not with poultry or pig farming. More pronounced decreased risks were reported among individuals who had cared for animals, undertaken milking, and who had been exposed to cattle in infancy. Our study provides strong evidence of an inverse association between lung cancer and cattle and horse farming. Further research is warranted to identify the etiologic protective agents and biological mechanisms.
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Synthetic Botany

Plants are attractive platforms for synthetic biology and metabolic engineering. Plants’ modular and plastic body plans, capacity for photosynthesis, extensive secondary metabolism, and agronomic systems for large-scale production make them ideal targets for genetic reprogramming. However, efforts in this area have been constrained by slow growth, long life cycles, the requirement for specialized facilities, a paucity of efficient tools for genetic manipulation, and the complexity of multicellularity. There is a need for better experimental and theoretical frameworks to understand the way genetic networks, cellular populations, and tissue-wide physical processes interact at different scales. We highlight new approaches to the DNA-based manipulation of plants and the use of advanced quantitative imaging techniques in simple plant models such as Marchantia polymorpha. These offer the prospects of improved understanding of plant dynamics and new approaches to rational engineering of plant traits.

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Non-model model organisms

Non-model model organisms | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Model organisms are widely used in research as accessible and convenient systems to study a particular area or question in biology. Traditionally only a handful of organisms have been widely studied, but modern research tools are enabling researchers to extend the set of model organisms to include less-studied and more unusual systems. This Forum highlights a range of 'non-model model organisms' as emerging systems for tackling questions across the whole spectrum of biology (and beyond), the opportunities and challenges, and the outlook for the future.
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Genetically modified sugarcane developed by CTC in Brazil is approved at CTNBio - Unica (2017) 

The new variety is resistant to sugarcane borer, the main pest that affects the crops in Brazil, generating losses that reach R$ 5 billion per year. 


The ... CTNBio (National Biosafety Technical Commission) has approved the commercial use of the first genetically-modified sugarcane (Bt Sugarcane) developed by the Brazilian sugarcane breeding and technology company... CTC. The Bt Sugarcane variety was submitted to CTNBio, which considered the safety of the biotechnology-derived variety for the environment and human and animal health. This is the first genetically-modified sugarcane approved for marketing in the world.

The new variety, CTC 20 BT, is resistant to crop damage caused by the main sugarcane pest in Brazil, the sugarcane borer. According to a survey carried out by agricultural experts, damage caused by the sugarcane borer results in approximately R$ 5 billion per year, due to losses in sugarcane yield and quality, lower grower insecticide use and costs, and impacts on processors of sugar and ethanol. The helpful Bt gene (Bacillus thuringiensis), found in CTC 20 BT, has been used widely in both Brazilian and global agriculture for over 20 years in biotechnology-derived crops like soybean, maize, cotton, among others. 


“The Bt Sugarcane approval by CTNBio is a great achievement by CTC and the national sugar-ethanol sector”... In the next years, we plan to expand the portfolio of varieties resistant to the borer, adapted to each of the producing regions of Brazil. Further, CTC plans to develop other varieties that are resistant to other insect pests and also tolerant to herbicides... in addition to the economic gains from CTC 20 BT, producers can both simplify their logistics and improve their operation’s environmental management.”

The extensive scientific dossier, which evaluated the genetically-modified sugarcane (GM), was submitted to CTNBio at the end of 2015 for the assessment of health and environmental safety using internationally-accepted standards. Processing studies proved that the sugar and ethanol obtained from the new variety are identical to those products derived from conventional sugarcane. Studies additionally showed that both the Bt gene and protein found in CTC 20 BT sugarcane are completely eliminated from sugarcane derivatives during the manufacturing process. Further, environmental studies did not find any negative effects on soil composition, sugarcane biodegradability, or insect populations, with the exception of the target pests (mainly the borer)... 

CTC will work closely with producers, starting with CTC 20 BT seedling distribution and followed by closely-monitored field planting... “The seedling propagation process will proceed like any conventional new variety introduction, with a planted area growth rate that increases gradually, as new plants are replanted to expand cultivated area and not used in sugar production. This process is aligned with the schedule for obtaining international approvals for the sugar produced from the GM sugarcane”... 


http://english.unica.com.br/news/16900437920334804993/genetically-modified-sugarcane-developed-by-ctc-in-brazil-is-approved-at-ctnbio



Via Alexander J. Stein
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Health effect of agricultural pesticide use in China: implications for the development of GM crops

It is notable that the adoption of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops increases glyphosate use but reduces non-glyphosate herbicide use; and adoption of GM insect-resistant crops significantly reduces insecticide use. While the health hazard of pesticide use has been well documented, little literature evaluates the health effects of different pesticides related to GM crops in an integrated framework. This study aims to associate the uses of different pesticides related to GM crops with the blood chemistry panel and peripheral nerve conduction of Chinese farmers. Pesticides used by farmers were recorded and classified as glyphosate, non-glyphosate herbicides, chemical lepidopteran insecticides, biological lepidopteran insecticides, non-lepidopteran insecticides and fungicides. The multivariate regression results show that none of the examined 35 health indicators was associated with glyphosate use, while the use of non-glyphosate herbicides was likely to induce renal dysfunction and decrease of serum folic acid. The use of chemical lepidopteran insecticides might be associated with hepatic dysfunction, serum glucose elevation, inflammation and even severe nerve damage. In this context, if GM crops are adopted, the alterations in pesticide use may benefit farmer health in China and globe, which has positive implications for the development of GM crops.
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Relaxation of tyrosine pathway regulation underlies the evolution of betalain pigmentation in Caryophyllales

Relaxation of tyrosine pathway regulation underlies the evolution of betalain pigmentation in Caryophyllales | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Diverse natural products are synthesized in plants by specialized metabolic enzymes, which are often lineage-specific and derived from gene duplication followed by functional divergence. However, little is known about the contribution of primary metabolism to the evolution of specialized metabolic pathways.
Betalain pigments, uniquely found in the plant order Caryophyllales, are synthesized from the aromatic amino acid l-tyrosine (Tyr) and replaced the otherwise ubiquitous phenylalanine-derived anthocyanins. This study combined biochemical, molecular and phylogenetic analyses, and uncovered coordinated evolution of Tyr and betalain biosynthetic pathways in Caryophyllales.
We found that Beta vulgaris, which produces high concentrations of betalains, synthesizes Tyr via plastidic arogenate dehydrogenases (TyrAa/ADH) encoded by two ADH genes (BvADHα and BvADHβ). Unlike BvADHβ and other plant ADHs that are strongly inhibited by Tyr, BvADHα exhibited relaxed sensitivity to Tyr. Also, Tyr-insensitive BvADHα orthologs arose during the evolution of betalain pigmentation in the core Caryophyllales and later experienced relaxed selection and gene loss in lineages that reverted from betalain to anthocyanin pigmentation, such as Caryophyllaceae.
These results suggest that relaxation of Tyr pathway regulation increased Tyr production and contributed to the evolution of betalain pigmentation, highlighting the significance of upstream primary metabolic regulation for the diversification of specialized plant metabolism.
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Ancient trans-Acting siRNAs Confer Robustness and Sensitivity onto the Auxin Response

Ancient trans-Acting siRNAs Confer Robustness and Sensitivity onto the Auxin Response | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Plavskin et al. show that, in moss, ancient TAS3-derived tasiRNAs confer sensitivity
and robustness onto the plant response to the phytohormone auxin and stochastically
modulate development in response to environmental cues. These properties provide a basis for the repeated cooption of small RNA target modules over the course of plant evolution.

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Glyphosate Des voix venues d'ailleurs s'élèvent pour démêler le vrai du faux

Glyphosate Des voix venues d'ailleurs s'élèvent pour démêler le vrai du faux | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Alors que le sort du glyphosate sera débattu à la Commission européenne début octobre, forcément les agriculteurs tentent de défendre la première molécule herbicide utilisée en France, pendant que Générations futures, entres autres, multiplie les démonstrations de sa dangerosité. Pour une fois, certains médias "grand public" essaient d'adopter une posture neutre et objective dans le débat.

Via Agriculture Nouvelle
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Identification of a methyltransferase catalyzing the final step of methyl anthranilate synthesis in cultivated strawberry

Identification of a methyltransferase catalyzing the final step of methyl anthranilate synthesis in cultivated strawberry | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Methyl anthranilate (MA) contributes an attractive fruity note to the complex flavor and aroma of strawberry (Fragaria spp.), yet it is rare in modern cultivars. The genetic basis for its biosynthesis has not been elucidated. Understanding the specific genes required for its synthesis could allow  the development of gene/allele-specific molecular markers to speed breeding of flavorful strawberries. Ripe fruits from individuals in an F1 population resulting from a cross between a MA producer and a non-producer were examined using a bulk-segregant transcriptome approach. MA producer and non-producer transcriptomes were compared, revealing five candidate transcripts that strictly co-segregated with MA production. One candidate encodes an annotated methyltransferase. MA levels are lower when this transcript is suppressed with RNAi, and bacterial cultures expressing the protein produced MA in the presence of anthranilic acid. Frozen fruit powders reconstituted with anthranilic acid and a methyl donor produced MA only if the transcript was detected in the fruit powder. A DNA-based molecular marker was developed that segregates with the MA-producing gene variant. These analyses indicate that the methyltransferase, now noted ANTHRANILIC ACID METHYL TRANSFERASE (FanAAMT), mediates the ultimate step of MA production in cultivated strawberry. Identification of this gene and its associated molecular marker may hasten breeding efforts to introduce this important volatile into modern cultivars.
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Nanobody‐mediated resistance to Grapevine fanleaf virus in plants

Nanobody‐mediated resistance to Grapevine fanleaf virus in plants | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Since their discovery, single-domain antigen-binding fragments of camelid-derived heavy chain-only antibodies, also known as Nanobodies (Nbs), have proven to be of outstanding interest as therapeutics against human diseases and pathogens including viruses, but their use against phytopathogens remains limited. Many plant viruses including Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV), a nematode-transmitted icosahedral virus and causal agent of fanleaf degenerative disease, have worldwide distribution and huge burden on crop yields representing billions of US dollars of losses annually, yet solutions to combat these viruses are often limited or inefficient. Here we identified a Nb specific to GFLV that confers strong resistance to GFLV upon stable expression in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana and also in grapevine rootstock, the natural host of the virus. We showed that resistance was effective against a broad range of GFLV isolates independently of the inoculation method including upon nematode transmission but not against its close relative, Arabis mosaic virus. We also demonstrated that virus neutralization occurs at an early step of the virus life cycle, prior to cell-to-cell movement. Our findings will not only be instrumental to confer resistance to GFLV in grapevine but more generally they pave the way for the generation of novel antiviral strategies in plants based on Nbs.

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Engineered gray mold resistance, antioxidant capacity, and pigmentation in betalain-producing crops and ornamentals

Engineered gray mold resistance, antioxidant capacity, and pigmentation in betalain-producing crops and ornamentals | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
In plants, three major classes of pigments are generally responsible for colors seen in fruits and flowers: anthocyanins, carotenoids, and betalains. Betalains are red-violet and yellow plant pigments that have been reported to possess strong antioxidant and health-promoting properties, including anticancer, antiinflammatory, and antidiabetic activity. Here, heterologous betalain production was achieved for the first time in three major food crops: tomato, potato, and eggplant. Remarkably, betalain production in tobacco resulted in significantly enhanced resistance toward gray mold (Botrytis cinerea), a plant pathogen responsible for major crop losses. Considering the significant characteristics of these molecules, heterologous betalain production now offers exciting opportunities for creating new value for consumers, producers, and suppliers of food crops and ornamental plants.
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Actin fringes of polar cell growth

Actin fringes of polar cell growth | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
The eukaryotic actin cytoskeleton is a highly dynamic framework that is involved in many biological processes, such as cell growth, division, morphology, and motility. G-actin polymerizes into microfilaments that associate into bundles, patches, and networks, which, in turn, organize into higher order structures that are fundamental for the course of important physiological events. Actin rings are an example for such higher order actin entities, but this term represents an actually diverse set of subcellular structures that are involved in various processes. This review especially sheds light on a crucial type of non-constricting ring-like actin networks, and categorizes them under the term ‘actin fringe’. These ‘actin fringes’ are visualized as highly dynamic and yet steady structures in the tip of various polarized growing cells. The present comprehensive overview compares the actin fringe characteristics of rapidly elongating pollen tubes with several related actin arrays in other cell types of diverse species. The current state of knowledge about various actin fringe functions is summarized, and the key role of this structure in the polar growth process is discussed.
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Cancer incidence in the AGRICAN cohort study (2005–2011)



Cancer incidence was not different between the cohort and the general population.


A lower incidence was observed for tobacco-related and female breast cancers.


Prostate, NHL, especially MM and skin melanoma were increased in the cohort.


Increase in risk was greater among male farmworkers for prostate and lip cancers.


Skin melanoma risk in women was greater among pesticide users on crops.
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Plant glandular trichomes: natural cell factories of high biotechnological interest

Plant glandular trichomes: natural cell factories of high biotechnological interest | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
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Via Loïc Lepiniec
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A transgenic strategy for controlling plant bugs (Adelphocoris suturalis) through expression of double‐stranded RNA homologous to fatty acyl‐coenzyme A reductase in cotton

A transgenic strategy for controlling plant bugs (Adelphocoris suturalis) through expression of double‐stranded RNA homologous to fatty acyl‐coenzyme A reductase in cotton | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it
Plant bugs (Miridae species), which are sap-sucking insects, have emerged as major pests of cotton in China. Most Miridae species are not sensitive to commercial Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton, resulting in significant economic losses and an increased application of insecticide, which eventually may compromise the future of Bt cotton.
We demonstrate that FATTY ACYL-COA REDUCTASE (AsFAR) plays an essential role in the reproduction of the bug Adelphocoris suturalis. Down-regulation of AsFAR expression by injection of double-stranded RNA suppresses ovarian development and female fertility, resulting in females producing few viable offspring.
To determine the viability of an RNA interference approach to limit FAR expression and reproductive ability in A. suturalis, a dsRNA targeting the AsFAR gene (dsAsFAR) of A. suturalis was expressed in transgenic cotton plants. AsFAR transcription levels were significantly downregulated in A. suturalis feeding on the transgenic plants. In contained field trials, the transgenic cotton lines significantly suppressed the development of A. suturalis populations and were resistant to damage caused by plant bug infestation.
These results suggest a new strategy for the management of plant bug pests of cotton.
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Nicotine in floral nectar pharmacologically influences bumblebee learning of floral features

Nicotine in floral nectar pharmacologically influences bumblebee learning of floral features | plant cell genetics | Scoop.it

Many plants defend themselves against herbivores by chemical deterrents in their tissues and the presence of such substances in floral nectar means that pollinators often encounter them when foraging. The effect of such substances on the foraging behaviour of pollinators is poorly understood. Using artificial flowers in tightly-controlled laboratory settings, we examined the effects of the alkaloid nicotine on bumblebee foraging performance. We found that bumblebees confronted simultaneously with two equally rewarded nicotine-containing and nicotine-free flower types are deterred only by unnaturally high nicotine concentrations. This deterrence disappears or even turns into attraction at lower nectar-relevant concentrations. The alkaloid has profound effects on learning in a dose-dependent manner. At a high natural dose, bees learn the colour of a nicotine-containing flower type more swiftly than a flower type with the same caloric value but without nicotine. Furthermore, after experiencing flowers containing nicotine in any tested concentration, increasing numbers of bumblebees stay more faithful to these flowers, even if they become a suboptimal choice in terms of reward. These results demonstrate that alkaloids enhance pollinator flower constancy, opening new perspectives in co-evolutionary process between plants and pollinators.

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