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Trends in Plant Science

Shahal Abbo, Avi Gopher
The Agricultural Revolution and plant domestication in the Near East (among its components) have fascinated generations of scholars. Here, we narrate the history of ideas underlying plant domestication research since the late 19th century. Biological and cultural perspectives are presented through two prevailing models: one views plant domestication as a protracted, unconscious evolutionary mutualistic (noncentric) process. The second advocates a punctuated, knowledge-based human initiative (centric). We scrutinize the research landscape while assessing the underlying evolutionary and cultural mechanisms...
April 20, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Huanhuan Jin, Ziqiang Zhu
The jasmonate signaling pathway has been established for 10 years. Nonetheless, two recent reports suggest that its temporal and spatial regulation is worth further investigation. These reports show that jasmonate responses decay gradually with increasing plant age and that signaling components vary between different tissues.
April 15, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Wenlong Bao, Yinglang Wan, František Baluška
Layered double hydroxides (LDHs) are sheet-formed nanoparticles (NPs) of adjustable size. It has recently been reported that LDHs have the ability to deliver biomolecules into intact plant cells. LDHs show promise as a novel and powerful tool for plant cell studies and similar applications.
April 13, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Tino Köster, Claudius Marondedze, Katja Meyer, Dorothee Staiger
RNA-protein interaction is an important checkpoint to tune gene expression at the RNA level. Global identification of proteins binding in vivo to mRNA has been possible through interactome capture - where proteins are fixed to target RNAs by UV crosslinking and purified through affinity capture of polyadenylated RNA. In Arabidopsis over 500 RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) enriched in UV-crosslinked samples have been identified. As in mammals and yeast, the mRNA interactomes came with a few surprises. For example, a plethora of the proteins caught on RNA had not previously been linked to RNA-mediated processes, for example proteins of intermediary metabolism...
April 12, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Siegfried L Krauss, Ryan D Phillips, Jeffrey D Karron, Steven D Johnson, David G Roberts, Stephen D Hopper
Pollinator behaviour has profound effects on plant mating. Pollinators are predicted to minimise energetic costs during foraging bouts by moving between nearby flowers. However, a review of plant mating system studies reveals a mismatch between behavioural predictions and pollen-mediated gene dispersal in bird-pollinated plants. Paternal diversity of these plants is twice that of plants pollinated solely by insects. Comparison with the behaviour of other pollinator groups suggests that birds promote pollen dispersal through a combination of high mobility, limited grooming, and intra- and interspecies aggression...
April 12, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Juan A López-Ráez, Ken Shirasu, Eloise Foo
Strigolactones (SLs) are plant hormones that have important roles as modulators of plant development. They were originally described as ex planta signaling molecules in the rhizosphere that induce the germination of parasitic plants, a role that was later linked to encouraging the beneficial symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Recently, the focus has shifted to examining the role of SLs in plant-microbe interactions, and has revealed roles for SLs in the association of legumes with nitrogen-fixing rhizobacteria and in interactions with disease-causing pathogens...
April 8, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Matthew Ramon, Filip Rolland
The metabolic intermediate trehalose-6-P (T6P) has emerged as a key regulator of plant growth and development, but the underlying mechanisms remain largely elusive. A recent publication reported a new chemical intervention strategy, providing a powerful tool to dissect T6P-mediated metabolic signaling.
April 6, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Xianwei Song, Xiaofeng Cao
Cytosine methylation in plants occurs in the mCG, mCHG, and mCHH (where H = A, T, or C) sequence contexts and specific pathways maintain methylation in each one. A recent publication revealed that substantial heterogeneity of methylated cytosine levels exists in the CHG/CHH trinucleotide contexts, which is associated with chromomethyltranferase functions in the maintenance of methylation.
April 6, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Karine Chenu, John Roy Porter, Pierre Martre, Bruno Basso, Scott Cameron Chapman, Frank Ewert, Marco Bindi, Senthold Asseng
With world population growing quickly, agriculture needs to produce more with fewer inputs while being environmentally friendly. In a context of changing environments, crop models are useful tools to simulate crop yields. Wheat (Triticum spp.) crop models have been evolving since the 1960s to translate processes related to crop growth and development into mathematical equations. These have been used over decades for agronomic purposes, and have more recently incorporated advances in the modeling of environmental footprints, biotic constraints, trait and gene effects, climate change impact, and the upscaling of global change impacts...
April 4, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Huei-Hsuan Tsai, Wolfgang Schmidt
Iron is one of the most abundant elements in soils, but its low phytoavailability at high pH restricts plant communities on alkaline soils to taxa that have evolved efficient strategies to increase iron solubility. Recent evidence provides support for a previously underestimated role of root-secreted coumarins in mobilizing iron through reduction and chelation as part of an orchestrated strategy evolved to improve the acquisition of iron from recalcitrant pools. Understanding the mechanisms that tune the production of iron-mobilizing coumarins and their intricate interplay with other biosynthesis pathways could yield clues for deciphering the molecular basis of 'iron efficiency' - the ability of plants to thrive on soils with limited iron availability - and may open avenues for generating iron-fortified crops...
April 3, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Joohyun Kang, Youngsook Lee, Hitoshi Sakakibara, Enrico Martinoia
Cytokinins are phytohormones essential for cytokinesis and many other physiological and developmental processes in planta. Long-distance transport and intercellular transport have been postulated. For these processes, the existence of cytokinin transporters has been suggested. Recently, a transporter loading the xylem (AtABCG14) and another for cellular import (AtPUP14) have been discovered. AtABCG14 participates in the xylem loading process of cytokinins and contributes to the positive regulation of shoot growth...
March 31, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Sang-Moo Lee, Hyun Gi Kong, Choong-Min Ryu
Circular RNAs (circ-RNAs), a novel class of noncoding RNAs, are a popular topic in animal research because they have potential as post-transcriptional regulators and diagnostic markers. Research in plants is only now emerging, but indicates that circ-RNAs could also be a crucial class of noncoding regulators.
March 30, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Claudia Voelckel, Nicole Gruenheit, Peter Lockhart
Comparative transcriptomics and proteomics (T&P) have brought biological insight into development, gene function, and physiological stress responses. However, RNA-seq and high-throughput proteomics remain underutilised in studies of plant adaptation. These methodologies have created discovery tools with the potential to significantly advance our understanding of adaptive diversification. We outline experimental recommendations for their application. We discuss analysis models and approaches that accelerate the identification of adaptive gene sets and integrate transcriptome, proteome, phenotypic, and environmental data...
March 30, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Judith K Paulus, Jiorgos Kourelis, Renier A L van der Hoorn
Recent studies on plant-pathogen interactions have exposed a new strategy used by plant pathogens: decoy effectors that protect virulence factors. Examples of these "bodyguards" include the recently discovered PsXLP1 from Phytophthora sojae and truncated TALEs from Xanthomonas oryzae. These examples suggest important roles for seemingly non-functional effector proteins in distracting the host.
March 27, 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
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