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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
Pengwei Wang, Chris Hawes, Patrick J Hussey
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) acts as a superhighway with multiple sideroads that connects the different membrane compartments including the ER to the plasma membrane (PM). ER-PM contact sites (EPCSs) are a common feature in eukaryotic organisms, but have not been studied well in plants owing to the lack of molecular markers and to the difficulty in resolving the EPCS structure using conventional microscopy. Recently, however, plant protein complexes required for linking the ER and PM have been identified...
December 9, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Byron B Lamont, Tianhua He
Fire as a major evolutionary force has been disputed because it is considered to lack supporting evidence. If a trait has evolved in response to selection by fire then the environment of the plant must have been fire-prone before the appearance of that trait. Using outcomes of trait assignments applied to molecular phylogenies for fire-stimulated flowering, seed-release, and germination, in this Opinion article we show that fire-proneness precedes, or rarely coincides with, the evolution of these fire-adapted traits...
December 2, 2016: 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
Bo Li, Mark Tester, Matthew Gilliham
Chloride (Cl(-)) is an essential plant nutrient but under saline conditions it can accumulate to toxic levels in leaves; limiting this accumulation improves the salt tolerance of some crops. The rate-limiting step for this process - the transfer of Cl(-) from root symplast to xylem apoplast, which can antagonize delivery of the macronutrient nitrate (NO3(-)) to shoots - is regulated by abscisic acid (ABA) and is multigenic. Until recently the molecular mechanisms underpinning this salt-tolerance trait were poorly defined...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Mélanie Ormancey, Patrice Thuleau, Christian Mazars, Valérie Cotelle
Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) are Ca(2+)-sensors that play pivotal roles in plant development and stress responses. They have the unique ability to directly translate intracellular Ca(2+) signals into reversible phosphorylation events of diverse substrates which can mediate interactions with 14-3-3 proteins to modulate protein functions. Recent studies have revealed roles for the coordinated action of CDPKs and 14-3-3s in regulating diverse aspects of plant biology including metabolism, development, and stress responses...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Ronny Kellner, Juan Carlos De la Concepcion, Abbas Maqbool, Sophien Kamoun, Yasin F Dagdas
Selective autophagy is a conserved homeostatic pathway that involves engulfment of specific cargo molecules into specialized organelles called autophagosomes. The ubiquitin-like protein ATG8 is a central player of the autophagy network that decorates autophagosomes and binds to numerous cargo receptors. Although highly conserved across eukaryotes, ATG8 diversified from a single protein in algae to multiple isoforms in higher plants. We present a phylogenetic overview of 376 ATG8 proteins across the green plant lineage that revealed family-specific ATG8 clades...
March 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Uwe Hoßfeld, Elizabeth Watts, Georgy S Levit
In 1866, the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) published the first Darwinian trees of life in the history of biology in his book General Morphology of Organisms. We take a specific look at the first phylogenetic trees for the plant kingdom that Haeckel created as part of this two-volume work.
February 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Alejandro Chamizo-Ampudia, Emanuel Sanz-Luque, Angel Llamas, Aurora Galvan, Emilio Fernandez
Nitrate reductase (NR) is a key enzyme for nitrogen acquisition by plants, algae, yeasts, and fungi. Nitrate, its main substrate, is required for signaling and is widely distributed in diverse tissues in plants. In addition, NR has been proposed as an important enzymatic source of nitric oxide (NO). Recently, NR has been shown to play a role in NO homeostasis by supplying electrons from NAD(P)H through its diaphorase/dehydrogenase domain both to a truncated hemoglobin THB1, which scavenges NO by its dioxygenase activity, and to the molybdoenzyme NO-forming nitrite reductase (NOFNiR) that is responsible for NO synthesis from nitrite...
February 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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