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Trends in Plant Science

Jianbin Lai, Danlu Han, Chengwei Yang
Two recent reports show that SUMO ligase AtMMS21 controls the cell cycle through dissociating the E2Fa/DPa complex, and regulates chromatin remodeling by maintaining the stability of BRAHMA. We discuss these novel functions of AtMMS21 and its potential role in linking DNA repair and root development.
December 2, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Hongjian Wan, Limin Wu, Yuejian Yang, Guozhi Zhou, Yong-Ling Ruan
In higher plants, invertases hydrolyze sucrose (Suc), the major end product of photosynthesis, into glucose (Glc) and fructose (Fru), which are used as nutrients, energy sources, and signaling molecules for plant growth, yield formation, and stress responses. The invertase enzymes, named CWINs, VINs, and CINs, are located in the cell wall, vacuole, and cytosol, respectively. We hypothesize, based on their distinctive subcellular locations and physiological roles, that invertases may have undergone different modes during evolution with important functional implications...
November 25, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Frank Hochholdinger, Peng Yu, Caroline Marcon
The maize root system comprises structurally and functionally different root types. Mutant analyses have revealed that root-type-specific genetic regulators intrinsically determine the maize root system architecture. Molecular cloning of these genes has demonstrated that key elements of auxin signal transduction, such as LOB domain (LBD) and Aux/IAA proteins, are instrumental for seminal, shoot-borne, and lateral root initiation. Moreover, genetic analyses have demonstrated that genes related to exocytotic vesicle docking, cell wall loosening, and cellulose synthesis and organization control root hair elongation...
November 20, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Subramanian Sankaranarayanan, Tetsuya Higashiyama
Sexual reproduction relies on the successful fusion of the sperm and egg cell. Despite the vast differences between plants and animals, there are similarities at a molecular level between plant and animal reproduction. While the molecular basis of fertilization has been extensively studied in plants, the process of capacitation has received little attention until recently. Recent research has started to uncover the molecular basis of plant capacitation. Furthermore, recent studies suggest that the key molecules in plants and animal fertilization are functionally conserved...
November 20, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Marcus A Koch, Dmitry A German, Markus Kiefer, Andreas Franzke
The advent of omic technologies opened new and multiple avenues to access higher levels of complexity. Taxonomy - discovering and naming biodiversity - has also entered a taxonomics epoch and serves as a tool not only to name biological diversity, but also to fully explore biological knowledge and to build bridges between disciplines.
November 13, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Matthias C Rillig, Anika Lehmann, Johannes Lehmann, Tessa Camenzind, Cornelia Rauh
Our knowledge of soil biodiversity in agriculture in general is currently increasing rapidly. However, almost all studies have stopped with the quantification of soil biodiversity effects on crops at harvest time, ignoring subsequent processes along the agrifood chain until food arrives on our plates. Here we develop a conceptual framework for the study of such postharvest effects. We present the main mechanisms (direct and indirect) via which soil biodiversity can influence crop quality aspects and give examples of how effects at harvest time may become attenuated through postharvest operations and how biodiversity may also affect some of these operations (i...
November 13, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Pierre Jacob, Adi Avni, Abdelhafid Bendahmane
The crop selection process has created a genetic bottleneck ultimately restricting breeding output. Wild relatives of major crops as well as the so-called 'neglected plant' species represent a reservoir of genetic diversity that remains underutilized. These species could be used as a tool to discover new alleles of agronomic interest or could be the target of breeding programs. Targeted induced local lesions in the genome (TILLING) can be used to translate in neglected crops what has been discovered in major crops and reciprocally...
November 7, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Yu-Jin Kim, Dabing Zhang
In many plant species, male-sterile female lines with cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) or nuclear-controlled environment-sensitive genic male sterility (EGMS) have long been used to efficiently produce hybrids that harness hybrid vigor or heterosis. However, the underlying molecular mechanisms for these applications have only recently been uncovered in a few species. We provide here an update on the understanding of cytoplasmic-nuclear communication based on the discovery of mitochondrial CMS genes and their corresponding nuclear fertility determinants...
November 7, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Joseph K E Ortega
Dimensionless numbers are ubiquitous in the physical sciences because they provide insight into physical processes, organize large quantities of data, facilitate 'scale analysis' and establish 'similarity'. Here I explore the use of dimensionless numbers in plant biology, focusing on the expansive growth rate of plant, fungal, and algal cells.
October 25, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Andrei Smertenko
Although plant germplasm contains numerous unknown traits for drought-tolerance, the ability to phenotype this material remains challenging. I propose that peroxisome abundance may be a viable parameter for the evaluation of drought response at the cellular level, and hence could be useful to improve phenotyping efforts.
October 25, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Tom Laloum, Guiomar Martín, Paula Duque
Alternative splicing, which generates multiple transcripts from the same gene, is an important modulator of gene expression that can increase proteome diversity and regulate mRNA levels. In plants, this post-transcriptional mechanism is markedly induced in response to environmental stress, and recent studies have identified alternative splicing events that allow rapid adjustment of the abundance and function of key stress-response components. In agreement, plant mutants defective in splicing factors are severely impaired in their response to abiotic stress...
October 23, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
John W Chandler
The APETALA2 (AP2) transcription factor superfamily in many plant species is extremely large. In addition to well-documented roles in stress responses, some AP2 members in arabidopsis, such as those of subgroup VIIIb, which includes DORNRÖSCHEN, DORNRÖSCHEN-LIKE, PUCHI, and LEAFY PETIOLE, are also important developmental regulators throughout the plant life cycle. Information is accumulating from orthologs of these proteins in important crop species that they influence key agronomic traits, such as the release of bud-burst in woody perennials and floral meristem identity and branching in cereals, and thereby represent potential for agronomic improvement...
October 23, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Qidong Jia, Tobias G Köllner, Jonathan Gershenzon, Feng Chen
Terpenes constitute a large class of plant secondary metabolites. It was once presumed that these compounds are biosynthesized by typical plant terpene synthases in all land plants. This view has changed with the identification of a new group of terpene synthase genes called MTPSLs for microbial terpene synthase-like genes. MTPSLs are structurally and phylogenetically more related to bacterial and fungal terpene synthases than to typical plant terpene synthases. They are widely distributed in nonseed plants but absent in seed plants and green algae...
October 20, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Carla P Coelho, Pu Huang, Dong-Yeon Lee, Thomas P Brutnell
The INDETERMINATE DOMAIN (IDD) family of transcriptional regulators controls a diversity of processes in a variety of plant tissues and organs and at different stages of plant development. Several recent reports describe the genetic characterization of IDD family members, including those that are likely to regulate C4 kranz anatomy, with implications for the engineering of C4 traits into C3 crops. In this review we summarize the reported functions of IDD members in the regulation of metabolic sensing and leaf, root, seed, and inflorescence development...
October 19, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Emma R Lindsay, Frans J M Maathuis
Arsenic is toxic to all life forms and is a potent carcinogen. Its accumulation in crop plants and subsequent consumption poses a serious threat to public health worldwide. Recent developments have enhanced our understanding of the molecular mechanisms governing arsenic uptake, detoxification, and accumulation in plants. In particular, the identification of plant arsenate reductase enzymes and emerging details of the processes underlying arsenic distribution and deposition in the seed will prove invaluable in the development of new strategies to mitigate this threat...
October 19, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Filip Kolář, Martin Čertner, Jan Suda, Peter Schönswetter, Brian C Husband
Mixed-ploidy species harbor a unique form of genomic and phenotypic variation that influences ecological interactions, facilitates genetic divergence, and offers insights into the mechanisms of polyploid evolution. However, there have been few attempts to synthesize this literature. We review here research on the cytotype distribution, diversity, and dynamics of intensively studied mixed-ploidy species and consider the implications for understanding mechanisms of polyploidization such as cytotype formation, establishment, coexistence, and post-polyploid divergence...
October 17, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Joelle Sasse, Enrico Martinoia, Trent Northen
Plant health in natural environments depends on interactions with complex and dynamic communities comprising macro- and microorganisms. While many studies have provided insights into the composition of rhizosphere microbiomes (rhizobiomes), little is known about whether plants shape their rhizobiomes. Here, we discuss physiological factors of plants that may govern plant-microbe interactions, focusing on root physiology and the role of root exudates. Given that only a few plant transport proteins are known to be involved in root metabolite export, we suggest novel families putatively involved in this process...
October 16, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Yuese Ning, Wende Liu, Guo-Liang Wang
Crop diseases cause enormous yield losses and threaten global food[ED1] security. The use of highly resistant cultivars can effectively control plant diseases, but in crops, genetic immunity to disease often comes with an unintended reduction in growth and yield. Here, we review recent advances in understanding how nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat (NLR) receptors and cell wall-associated kinase (WAK) proteins function in balancing immunity and yield. We also discuss the role of plant hormones and transcription factors in regulating the trade-offs between plant growth and immunity...
October 13, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Marco D'Ario, Sam Griffiths-Jones, Minsung Kim
While the role of proteins in determining cell identity has been extensively studied, the contribution of small noncoding RNA molecules such as miRNAs and siRNAs has been also recognised. miRNAs bind to complementary sites in target mRNA molecules to trigger the degradation or translational inhibition of those targets. Recent studies have revealed that miRNAs play pivotal roles in key developmental processes such as patterning of the embryo, meristem, leaf, and flower. Furthermore, these miRNAs have been recruited throughout plant evolution into pathways that create diverse plant organ forms and shapes...
October 11, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Michael J Considine
Light, nutrition, and oxygen are each important cues for developmental transitions in plants. A small number of recent studies have converged to give the first indication of how these environmental cues act together and independently via auxin, cytokinin, and ethylene to regulate cell proliferation in the root and shoot meristems.
October 10, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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