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Trends in Plant Science

Michael J Axtell
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function to post-transcriptionally regulate target RNAs, including long non-coding RNAs and mRNAs. A recent study demonstrates that Arabidopsis miRNAs are enriched at the rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This enrichment is a surprise, given that most known miRNA targets are not expected to be translated at the rough ER.
March 17, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Fay-Wei Li, Juan Carlos Villarreal, Péter Szövényi
Hornworts are the only land plant lineage harboring a biophysical carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM). Here, we argue that hornworts are a promising, yet currently overlooked, model system to study the evolution and genetic basis of CCMs. The results of such studies could have translational values toward engineering a CCM in crop plants.
March 7, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Jeppe Thulin Østerberg, Wen Xiang, Lene Irene Olsen, Anna Kristina Edenbrandt, Suzanne Elizabeth Vedel, Andreas Christiansen, Xavier Landes, Martin Marchman Andersen, Peter Pagh, Peter Sandøe, John Nielsen, Søren Brøgger Christensen, Bo Jellesmark Thorsen, Klemens Kappel, Christian Gamborg, Michael Palmgren
The domestication of new crops would promote agricultural diversity and could provide a solution to many of the problems associated with intensive agriculture. We suggest here that genome editing can be used as a new tool by breeders to accelerate the domestication of semi-domesticated or even wild plants, building a more varied foundation for the sustainable provision of food and fodder in the future. We examine the feasibility of such plants from biological, social, ethical, economic, and legal perspectives...
March 2, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Jennifer E Schmidt, Amélie C M Gaudin
Breeding towards root-centric ideotypes can be a relatively quick trait-based strategy to improve crop resource use efficiency. Irrigated agriculture represents a crucial and expanding sector, but its unique parameters require traits distinct from previously proposed rainfed ideotypes. We propose a novel irrigated ideotype that integrates traits across multiple scales to enhance resource use efficiency in irrigated agroecosystems, where resources are concentrated in a relatively shallow 'critical zone'. Unique components of this ideotype include rapid transplant recovery and establishment, enhanced exploitation of localized resource hotspots, adaptive physiological regulation, maintenance of hydraulic conductivity, beneficial rhizosphere interactions, and salinity/waterlogging avoidance...
March 2, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Anna Bastet, Christophe Robaglia, Jean-Luc Gallois
eIF4E translation initiation factors have emerged as major susceptibility factors for RNA viruses. Natural eIF4E-based resistance alleles are found in many species and are mostly variants that maintain the translation function of the protein. eIF4E genes represent major targets for engineering viral resistance, and gene-editing technologies can be used to make up for the lack of natural resistance alleles in some crops, often by knocking out eIF4E susceptibility factors. However, we report here how redundancy among eIF4E genes can restrict the efficient use of knockout alleles in breeding...
February 28, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Laetitia Willocquet, Serge Savary, Jonathan Yuen
Advances in biotechnology have rendered tracking of quantitative trait loci (QTLs) a much easier task, making phenotyping, and not genotyping, the main bottleneck to integrating quantitative host plant resistance into breeding programs. The relevance of phenotyping methods is conditioned by their ability to predict the performance of a genotype at the field scale. Components of resistance represent the keystone hierarchy level between resistance expression in the field (the breeder's scale) and QTLs (the geneticist's scale)...
February 28, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
K G Srikanta Dani, Francesco Loreto
Marine phytoplankton emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as dimethyl sulfide (DMS) and isoprene that influence air quality, cloud dynamics, and planetary albedo. We show that globally (i) marine phytoplankton taxa tend to emit either DMS or isoprene, and (ii) sea-water surface concentration and emission hotspots of DMS and isoprene have opposite latitudinal gradients. We argue that a convergence of antioxidant functions between DMS and isoprene is possible, driven by potential metabolic competition for photosynthetic substrates...
February 24, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Michel-Pierre Faucon, David Houben, Hans Lambers
Decline of ecosystem services has triggered numerous studies aiming at developing more sustainable agricultural management practices. Some agricultural practices may improve soil properties by expanding plant biodiversity. However, sustainable management of agroecosystems should be performed from a functional plant trait perspective. Advances in functional ecology, especially plant functional trait effects on ecosystem processes and services, provide pivotal knowledge for ecological intensification of agriculture; this approach acknowledges that a crop field is an agroecosystem whose ecological processes influence soil properties...
February 13, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Takayuki Tohge, Alisdair R Fernie
The dependency of plants on sunlight renders exposure to UV a constant hazard. Light of this wavelength is damaging to proteins, RNA, and DNA, with damage to the latter resulting in a high mutagenic potential. To acclimate to environmental changes in light wavelengths and intensity, plants accumulate the production of UV-B-protectant phytochemicals, such as flavonoids and vitamins. Here, we review current and emerging knowledge concerning the biochemical response of plants to UV-B exposure. We additionally outline our opinion that the adoption of broad natural variance represents a powerful strategy by which to identify both novel UV-B-relevant metabolites and the genes regulating their abundance...
February 4, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Colin Ruprecht, Neha Vaid, Sebastian Proost, Staffan Persson, Marek Mutwil
Understanding how genomes change as organisms become more complex is a central question in evolution. Molecular evolutionary studies typically correlate the appearance of genes and gene families with the emergence of biological pathways and morphological features. While such approaches are of great importance to understand how organisms evolve, they are also limited, as functionally related genes work together in contexts of dynamic gene networks. Since functionally related genes are often transcriptionally coregulated, gene coexpression networks present a resource to study the evolution of biological pathways...
January 23, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Monica Borghi, Alisdair R Fernie, Florian P Schiestl, Harro J Bouwmeester
A striking feature of the angiosperms that use animals as pollen carriers to sexually reproduce is the great diversity of their flowers with regard to morphology and traits such as color, odor, and nectar. These traits are underpinned by the synthesis of secondary metabolites such as pigments and volatiles, as well as carbohydrates and amino acids, which are used by plants to lure and reward animal pollinators. We review here the knowledge of the metabolic network that supports the biosynthesis of these compounds and the behavioral responses that these molecules elicit in the animal pollinators...
January 19, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Jorad de Vries, Jochem B Evers, Erik H Poelman
Plants downregulate their defences against insect herbivores upon impending competition for light. This has long been considered a resource trade-off, but recent advances in plant physiology and ecology suggest this mechanism is more complex. Here we propose that to understand why plants regulate and balance growth and defence, the complex dynamics in plant-plant competition and plant-herbivore interactions needs to be considered. Induced growth-defence responses affect plant competition and herbivore colonisation in space and time, which has consequences for the adaptive value of these responses...
January 12, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Ugo Cenci, Debashish Bhattacharya, Andreas P M Weber, Christophe Colleoni, Agathe Subtil, Steven G Ball
The plastid originated 1.5 billion years ago through a primary endosymbiosis involving a heterotrophic eukaryote and an ancient cyanobacterium. Phylogenetic and biochemical evidence suggests that the incipient endosymbiont interacted with an obligate intracellular chlamydial pathogen that housed it in an inclusion. This aspect of the ménage-à-trois hypothesis (MATH) posits that Chlamydiales provided critical novel transporters and enzymes secreted by the pathogens in the host cytosol. This initiated the efflux of photosynthate to both the inclusion lumen and host cytosol...
January 11, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Teresa Garnatje, Josep Peñuelas, Joan Vallès
Here, we propose a new term, 'ethnobotanical convergence', to refer to the similar uses for plants included in the same node of a phylogeny. This phylogenetic approach, together with the 'omics' revolution, shows how combining modern technologies with traditional ethnobotanical knowledge could be used to identify potential new applications of plants.
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Bernhard Jank, Johannes Rath
Toxicity from naturally occurring plant pyrrolizidine alkaloids bears substantial risk to humans and livestock. Risk management strategies must focus on minimizing the likelihood of such alkaloids entering into the food chain. To address this challenge, we describe the role of a tiered risk characterization approach and specific farm management practices.
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Carolin Delker, Martijn van Zanten, Marcel Quint
Understanding the molecular networks driving plant responses to high ambient temperatures is crucial for developing crop cultivars resistant to global warming. Although several factors involved in temperature signalling are known, a thermosensing mechanism had remained elusive. However, two recent publications demonstrate that the photoreceptor phytochrome B (phyB) also acts as a thermosensor.
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Peter Geigenberger, Ina Thormählen, Danilo M Daloso, Alisdair R Fernie
Thioredoxins are ubiquitous enzymes catalyzing reversible disulfide-bond formation to regulate structure and function of many proteins in diverse organisms. In recent years, reverse genetics and biochemical approaches were used to resolve the functions, specificities, and interactions of the different thioredoxin isoforms and reduction systems in planta and revealed the most versatile thioredoxin system of all organisms. Here we review the emerging roles of the thioredoxin system, namely the integration of thylakoid energy transduction, metabolism, gene expression, growth, and development under fluctuating environmental conditions...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Victoria Mironova, William Teale, Mojgan Shahriari, Jonathan Dawson, Klaus Palme
Systems biology orientates signaling pathways in their biological context. This aim invariably requires models that ignore extraneous factors and focus on the most crucial pathways of any given process. The developing embryo encapsulates many important processes in plant development; understanding their interaction will be key to designing crops able to maximize yield in an ever-more challenging world. Here, we briefly summarize the role of auxin during embryo development. We highlight recent advances in our understanding of auxin signaling and discuss implications for a systems understanding of development...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Mireia Bartrons, Josep Peñuelas
Pharmaceuticals and personal-care products (PPCPs) derived from agricultural, urban, and industrial areas accumulate in plants at concentrations (ng to μg kg(-1)) that can be toxic to the plants. Importantly, the dietary intake of these PPCP-contaminated plants may also pose a risk to human health, but currently little is known about the fate of PPCPs in plants and their effect on or risk to the ecosystem. In this Opinion article we propose that in-depth research on the use of plants as a monitoring device for assessing the use and environmental presence of PPCPs is warranted...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Ji Feng Shao, Naoki Yamaji, Ren Fang Shen, Jian Feng Ma
Plants only require small amounts of manganese (Mn) for healthy growth, but Mn concentrations in soil solution vary from sub-micromolar to hundreds of micromolar across the growth period. Therefore, plants must deal with large Mn concentration fluctuations, but the molecular mechanisms underlying how plants cope with low and high Mn concentrations are poorly understood. In this Opinion we discuss the role of Mn transporters in the uptake, distribution, and detoxification of Mn in response to changes in Mn concentrations through their regulation at the transcriptional and protein levels, mainly focusing on rice, an Mn-tolerant and -accumulating species...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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