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Trends in Plant Science

Nemanja Vukašinović, Eugenia Russinova
The movement and differential distribution of endogenous plant hormones are the determining factors for many developmental processes. Brassinosteroids (BRs) are a group of plant steroidal hormones that promote growth and development. Although synthesis and signalling of BRs are well described and characterized, the exit mechanism of these compounds from the cell remains uncharacterizd. Whether BRs are able to move within the apoplast and whether the BR synthesis in one cell can trigger the signalling in its neighbours is also unknown...
February 17, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Samuel Bottani, Nicolae Radu Zabet, Jonathan F Wendel, Reiner A Veitia
The classical example of nonadditive contributions of the two parents to allopolyploids is nucleolar dominance, which entails silencing of one parental set of ribosomal RNA genes. This has been observed for many other loci. The prevailing explanation for this genome-wide expression disparity is that the two merged genomes differ in their transposable element (TE) complement and in their level of TE-mediated repression of gene expression. Alternatively, and not exclusively, gene expression dominance may arise from mismatches between trans effectors and their targets...
February 9, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Tino Köster, Katja Meyer
Research into the regulation of gene expression underwent a shift from focusing on DNA-binding proteins as key transcriptional regulators to RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that come into play once transcription has been initiated. RBPs orchestrate all RNA-processing steps in the cell. To obtain a global view of in vivo targets, the RNA complement associated with particular RBPs is determined via immunoprecipitation of the RBP and subsequent identification of bound RNAs via RNA-seq. Here, we describe technical advances in identifying RBP in vivo targets and their binding motifs...
February 8, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Duoduo Wang, Trevor H Yeats, Selman Uluisik, Jocelyn K C Rose, Graham B Seymour
Fruit softening, which is a major determinant of shelf life and commercial value, is the consequence of multiple cellular processes, including extensive remodeling of cell wall structure. Recently, it has been shown that pectate lyase (PL), an enzyme that degrades de-esterified pectin in the primary wall, is a major contributing factor to tomato fruit softening. Studies of pectin structure, distribution, and dynamics have indicated that pectins are more tightly integrated with cellulose microfibrils than previously thought and have novel structural features, including branches of the main polymer backbone...
February 8, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Marieke Dubois, Lisa Van den Broeck, Dirk Inzé
Being continuously exposed to variable environmental conditions, plants produce phytohormones to react quickly and specifically to these changes. The phytohormone ethylene is produced in response to multiple stresses. While the role of ethylene in defense responses to pathogens is widely recognized, recent studies in arabidopsis and crop species highlight an emerging key role for ethylene in the regulation of organ growth and yield under abiotic stress. Molecular connections between ethylene and growth-regulatory pathways have been uncovered, and altering the expression of ethylene response factors (ERFs) provides a new strategy for targeted ethylene-response engineering...
February 7, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Huihui Li, Awais Rasheed, Lee T Hickey, Zhonghu He
'Speed breeding' enables scientists to exploit gene bank accessions and mutant collections for an unparalleled rapid gene discovery and gene deployment. Combining speed breeding and other leading-edge plant breeding technologies with strategic global partnerships, has the potential to achieve the genetic gain targets required to deliver our future crops.
February 6, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Xiulai Chen, Guipeng Hu, Liming Liu
Transcriptional engineering is a viable means for engineering microalgae to produce lipid, but it often results in a trade-off between production and growth. A recent study shows that engineering a single transcriptional regulator enables efficient carbon partitioning to lipid biosynthesis with high biomass productivity.
February 3, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Agnieszka A Golicz, Prem L Bhalla, Mohan B Singh
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcripts over 200 base pairs in length with no discernible protein-coding potential. Multiple lines of evidence point to lncRNAs as master regulators, controlling the expression of protein-coding genes. Studies in plants and animals consistently show high expression of lncRNAs in reproductive organs in a cell- and tissue-specific manner. Sexual reproduction is a complex process that involves cell fate specification and specialized cell division requiring precise coordination of gene expression in response to intrinsic and extrinsic signals...
January 30, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Maite Colinas, Alain Goossens
Plants produce countless specialized compounds of diverse chemical nature and biological activities. Their biosynthesis often exclusively occurs either in response to environmental stresses or is limited to dedicated anatomical structures. In both scenarios, regulation of biosynthesis appears to be mainly controlled at the transcriptional level, which is generally dependent on a combined interplay of DNA-related mechanisms and the activity of transcription factors that may act in a combinatorial manner. How environmental and developmental cues are integrated into a coordinated cell type-specific stress response has only partially been unraveled so far...
January 29, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Eunkyoo Oh, Pil Joon Seo, Jungmook Kim
Small peptides mediate cell-cell communication to coordinate a variety of plant developmental processes. Signaling peptides specifically bind to the extracellular domains of receptors that belong to the receptor-like kinase family, and the peptide-receptor interaction activates a range of biochemical and physiological processes. The plant root is crucial for the anchorage of plants in soil as well as for the uptake of water and nutrients. Over recent years great progress has been made in the identification of receptors, structural analysis of peptide-receptor pairs, and characterization of their signaling pathways during plant root development...
January 20, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Samar Kabbara, Thomas Schmülling, Nicolas Papon
Cytokinin (CK) signaling pathways were believed to be restricted to terrestrial plants. However, the identification of CK receptor homologs in phytopathogenic bacteria, cyanobacteria, and early diverging fungi has recently been reported. CK signaling in prokaryotic and non-plant eukaryotic organisms sheds new light on the dissemination and evolution of this hormone.
January 20, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Kyounghee Lee, Pil Joon Seo
Plants have the remarkable ability to drive cellular dedifferentiation and regeneration. Changes in epigenetic landscapes accompany the cell fate transition. Notably, modifications of chromatin structure occur primarily during callus formation via an in vitro tissue culture process and, thus, pluripotent callus cells have unique epigenetic signatures. Here, we highlight the latest progress in epigenetic regulation of callus formation in plants, which addresses fundamental questions related to cell fate changes and pluripotency establishment...
January 12, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Rainer Hedrich, Erwin Neher
The carnivorous plant Dionaea possesses very sensitive mechanoreceptors. Upon contact with prey an action potential is triggered which, via an electrical network - comparable to the nervous system of vertebrates - rapidly closes its bivalved trap. The 'hunting cycle' comprises a constitutively activated mechanism for the rapid capture of prey, followed by a well-orchestrated sequence of activation of genes responsible for tight trap closure, digestion of the prey, and uptake of nutrients. Decisions on the step-by-step activation are based on 'counting' the number of stimulations of sensory organs...
January 11, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Nerina Gnesutta, Roberto Mantovani, Fabio Fornara
CONSTANS (CO) is a master regulator of flowering time, although the mechanisms underlying its role as a transcriptional regulator are not well understood. The DNA-binding domain of CO shares homology with that of NUCLEAR FACTOR YA (NF-YA), a subunit of the CCAAT-binding trimer NF-Y. Recent publications indicate that CO and its rice homolog HEADING DATE 1 (Hd1) form heterotrimers with the histone-fold subunits of NF-Y to efficiently bind promoter elements in the florigen genes. Differences in the DNA-binding specificities of NF-Y and NF-CO can be conceptualized based on our knowledge of the 3D structure of the NF-Y/CCAAT complex...
January 10, 2018: Trends in Plant Science
Françoise Bringel, Ivan Couée
Ecological, signaling, metabolic, and chemical processes in plant-microorganism systems and in plant-derived material may link the use of chlorinated pesticides in the environment with plant chloromethane emission. This neglected factor should be taken into account to assess global planetary budgets of chloromethane and impacts on atmospheric ozone depletion.
December 26, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Néstor Fernández Del-Saz, Miquel Ribas-Carbo, Allison E McDonald, Hans Lambers, Alisdair R Fernie, Igor Florez-Sarasa
Despite intense research on the in vitro characterization of regulatory factors modulating the alternative oxidase (AOX) pathway, the regulation of its activity in vivo is still not fully understood. Advances concerning in vivo regulation of AOX based on the oxygen-isotope fractionation technique are reviewed, and regulatory factors that merit future research are highlighted. In addition, we review and discuss the main biological functions assigned to the plant AOX, and suggest future experiments involving in vivo activity measurements to test different hypothesized physiological roles...
December 18, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Emilie Demarsy, Michel Goldschmidt-Clermont, Roman Ulm
Plants grow in constantly changing environments, including highly variable light intensities. Sunlight provides the energy that drives photosynthesis and is thus of the utmost importance for plant growth and the generation of oxygen, which the majority of life on Earth depends on. However, exposure to either insufficient or excess levels of light can have detrimental effects and cause light stress. Whereas exposure to insufficient light limits photosynthetic activity, resulting in 'energy starvation', exposure to excess light can damage the photosynthetic apparatus...
December 9, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Hao Xu, Ted C J Turlings
Plant volatiles are used not only by herbivorous insects to find their host plants, but also by the natural enemies of the herbivores to find their prey. There is also increasing evidence that plant volatiles, in addition to species-specific pheromones, help these insects to find mating partners. Plant structures such as flowers, fruit, and leaves are frequently rendezvous sites for mate-seeking insects. Here we propose that the combined use of plant volatiles and pheromones can efficiently guide insects to these sites, where they will have access to both mates and food...
December 8, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Ashish Kumar Srivastava, Yuming Lu, Gaurav Zinta, Zhaobo Lang, Jian-Kang Zhu
Throughout their lives, plants sense many developmental and environmental stimuli, and activation of optimal responses against these stimuli requires extensive transcriptional reprogramming. To facilitate this activation, plant mRNA contains untranslated regions (UTRs) that significantly increase the coding capacity of the genome by producing multiple mRNA variants from the same gene. In this review we compare UTRs of arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and rice (Oryza sativum) at the genome scale to highlight their complexity in crop plants...
December 6, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Matthias Erb
Many morphological and chemical features of plants are classified as plant defenses against herbivores. By definition, plant defenses should increase a plant's fitness (i.e., its contribution to the gene pool of the next generation) as a function of herbivory. Over the past years, substantial progress has been made in understanding and manipulating the mechanistic basis of many putative plant defense traits. However, most plant defenses are still characterized by proximate variables such as herbivore performance or plant damage rather than actual fitness...
December 6, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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