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Trends in Plant Science

Hongning Tong, Chengcai Chu
Brassinosteroid (BR) regulates many important agronomic traits and thus has great potential in agriculture. However, BR application is limited due to its complex effects on plants. The identification of specific downstream BR components and pathways in the crop plant rice (Oryza sativa) further demonstrates the feasibility of modulating BR responses to obtain desirable traits for breeding. Here, we review advances on how BR regulates various biological processes or agronomic traits such as plant architecture and grain yield in rice...
September 13, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
George W Bassel
The molecular networks plant cells evolved to tune their development in response to the environment are becoming increasingly well understood. Much less is known about how these programs function in the multicellular context of organs and the impact this spatial embedding has on emergent decision-making. Here I address these questions and investigate whether the computational control principles identified in engineered information processing systems also apply to plant development. Examples of distributed computing underlying plant development are presented and support the presence of shared mechanisms of information processing across these domains...
September 12, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Heidi S Dungey, Jonathan P Dash, David Pont, Peter W Clinton, Michael S Watt, Emily J Telfer
Phenotyping is the accurate and precise physical description of organisms. Accurate and quantitative phenotyping underpins the delivery of benefits from genetic improvement programs in agriculture. In forest trees, phenotyping at an equivalent precision has been impossible because trees and forests are large, long-lived, and highly variable. These facts have restricted the delivery of genetic gains in forestry compared to other agricultural sectors. We describe a landscape-scale phenotyping platform that integrates remote sensing, spatial information systems, and genomics to facilitate the delivery of greater gains enabling forestry to catch up with other sectors...
September 11, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Pieter A Zuidema, Benjamin Poulter, David C Frank
Realistic forecasting of forest responses to climate change critically depends on key advancements in global vegetation modelling. Compared with traditional 'big-leaf' models that simulate forest stands, 'next-generation' vegetation models aim to track carbon-, light-, water-, and nutrient-limited growth of individual trees. Wood biology can play an important role in delivering the required knowledge at tissue-to-individual levels, at minute-to-century scales and for model parameterization and benchmarking...
September 9, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Syed Shan-E-Ali Zaidi, Shahid Mansoor, Andrew Paterson
Cotton is the most important fiber crop, but its polyploid genome is complex and difficult to improve. Recent advances in obtaining high-quality genome sequences of cultivated tetraploid and diploid cotton species may now overcome this hurdle, as well as provide new insights on important fiber quality and disease resistance genes.
September 5, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Julien Gronnier, Patricia Gerbeau-Pissot, Véronique Germain, Sébastien Mongrand, Françoise Simon-Plas
Since the publication of the fluid mosaic as a relevant model for biological membranes, accumulating evidence has revealed the outstanding complexity of the composition and organization of the plant plasma membrane (PM). Powerful new methodologies have uncovered the remarkable multiscale and multicomponent heterogeneity of PM subcompartmentalization, and this is emerging as a general trait with different features and properties. It is now evident that the dynamics of such a complex organization are intrinsically related to signaling pathways that regulate key physiological processes...
August 30, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Sergi Munné-Bosch
Tree growth and longevity are key features to understand fundamental issues of plant biology, environmental sciences, and current forest management plans. Here I discuss current evidence on the limits of tree growth and longevity and present a new conceptual framework to understand how and why they are closely interconnected. Despite the tremendous plasticity of trees, growth and longevity are limited not only by biotic and abiotic stresses, but also by age-related structural constraints such as height-related hydraulic limitations and vascular discontinuities, which are strongly species specific...
August 27, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Kai P Voss-Fels, Rod J Snowdon, Lee T Hickey
Despite the importance of roots, they have largely been ignored by modern crop research and breeding. We discuss important progress in crop root research and highlight how the context-dependent optimisation of below- and above-ground plant components provides opportunities to improve future crops in the face of increasing environmental fluctuations.
August 22, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Róbert Dóczi, László Bögre
Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways are versatile signaling mechanisms in all eukaryotes. Their signaling outputs are defined by the protein substrates phosphorylated by MAPKs. An expanding list of substrates has been identified by high-throughput screens and targeted approaches in plants. The majority of these are phosphorylated by MPK3/6, and a few by MPK4, which are the best-characterized plant MAPKs, participating in the regulation of numerous biological processes. The identified substrates clearly represent the functional diversity of MAPKs: they are associated with pathogen defense, abiotic stress responses, ethylene signaling, and various developmental functions...
August 21, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Sha Yang, Qianqian Yu, Youming Zhang, Yuebin Jia, Shubo Wan, Xiangpei Kong, Zhaojun Ding
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are initially considered to be toxic by-products of aerobic metabolism. However, accumulating evidence has shown that ROS also act as key regulators for the progression of several basic biological processes. Recent studies highlight the key role of ROS in root and shoot stem cell niche maintenance.
August 18, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
James W Clark, Philip C J Donoghue
Whole-genome duplication (WGD) is characteristic of almost all fundamental lineages of land plants. Unfortunately, the timings of WGD events are loosely constrained and hypotheses of evolutionary consequence are poorly formulated, making them difficult to test. Using examples from across the plant kingdom, we show that estimates of timing can be improved through the application of molecular clock methodology to multigene datasets. Further, we show that phenotypic change can be quantified in morphospaces and that relative phenotypic disparity can be compared in the light of WGD...
August 16, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Asheesh Kumar Singh, Baskar Ganapathysubramanian, Soumik Sarkar, Arti Singh
Deep learning (DL), a subset of machine learning approaches, has emerged as a versatile tool to assimilate large amounts of heterogeneous data and provide reliable predictions of complex and uncertain phenomena. These tools are increasingly being used by the plant science community to make sense of the large datasets now regularly collected via high-throughput phenotyping and genotyping. We review recent work where DL principles have been utilized for digital image-based plant stress phenotyping. We provide a comparative assessment of DL tools against other existing techniques, with respect to decision accuracy, data size requirement, and applicability in various scenarios...
August 10, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Geraint Parry
The molecular changes that allow plant roots to response to low phosphate levels are poorly understood. A series of three papers investigate this phenomenon and reveal which components of the auxin response are key for transmitting the phosphate signal into changes in root hair phenotypes.
August 7, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Paula da Fonseca-Pereira, Willian Batista Silva, Wagner L Araújo, Adriano Nunes-Nesi
Two independent but complementary studies recently provided the first biochemical proof of the complete absence of mitochondrial Complex I in a multicellular eukaryote. The mitochondrial electron transport chain (mETC) of the hemiparasitic European mistletoe (Viscum album) displays dramatic rearrangements of its components, most likely reflecting its parasitic lifestyle.
August 7, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Gianpiero Vigani, Irene Murgia
Iron (Fe) is a cofactor required for a variety of essential redox reactions in plant metabolism. Thus, plants have developed a complex network of interacting pathways to withstand Fe deficiency, including metabolic reprogramming. This opinion aims at revisiting such reprogramming by focusing on: (i) the functional relationships of Fe-requiring enzymes (FeREs) with respect to oxygen; and (ii) the progression of FeREs engagement, occurring under Fe deficiency stress. In particular, we considered such progression of FeREs engagement as strain responses of increasing severity during the stress phases of alarm, resistance, and exhaustion...
August 1, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Jesse J Küpers, Kasper van Gelderen, Ronald Pierik
Plants use light as a signal to determine neighbour proximity in dense vegetation. Far-red (FR) light reflected from neighbour plants elicits an array of growth responses throughout the plant. Recently, various light quality-induced signals have been discovered that travel between organs and tissue layers. These signals share upstream and downstream components, but can have opposing effects on cell growth. The question is how plants can coordinate these spatial signals into various growth responses in remote tissues...
July 20, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Hugh C Woolfenden, Alice L Baillie, Julie E Gray, Jamie K Hobbs, Richard J Morris, Andrew J Fleming
The mechanism of stomatal function (control of gas flux through the plant surface via regulation of pore size) is fundamentally mechanical. The material properties of the pore-forming guard cells must play a key role in setting the dynamics and degree of stomatal opening/closure, but our understanding of the molecular players involved and resultant mechanical performance has remained limited. The application of indentation techniques and computational modelling, combined with molecular tools for imaging and manipulating guard cells and their constituent cell walls, has opened the way to a systems approach to analysing this problem...
September 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Johannes Knuesting, Renate Scheibe
Oxygenic photosynthesis gave rise to a regulatory mechanism based on reversible redox-modifications of enzymes. In chloroplasts, such on-off switches separate metabolic pathways to avoid futile cycles. During illumination, the redox interconversions allow for rapidly and finely adjusting activation states of redox-regulated enzymes. Noncovalent effects by metabolites binding to these enzymes, here addressed as 'small molecules', affect the rates of reduction and oxidation. The chloroplast enzymes provide an example for a versatile regulatory principle where small molecules govern thiol switches to integrate redox state and metabolism for an appropriate response to environmental challenges...
September 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Stephen P Cohen, Jonathan M Jacobs, Jan E Leach
Plants are colonized by pathogenic and beneficial microbes. When pathogenic bacteria contact plant cells, bacterial gene expression changes, influencing disease development. The impact of host plant immunity on bacterial gene expression remains largely unexplored. Recent studies show how in planta bacterial transcriptomics methods can better define mechanisms of plant-microbe interactions.
September 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Kelly S Ramirez, Stefan Geisen, Elly Morriën, Basten L Snoek, Wim H van der Putten
An understanding of above-belowground (AG-BG) ecology is important for evaluating how plant interactions with enemies, symbionts, and decomposers affect species diversity and will respond to global changes. However, research questions and experiments often focus on only a limited number of interactions, creating an incomplete picture of how entire communities may be involved in AG-BG community ecology. Therefore, a pressing challenge is to formulate hypotheses of AG-BG interactions when considering communities in their full complexity...
September 2018: Trends in Plant Science
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