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Trends in Plant Science

Oriane Hidalgo, Jaume Pellicer, Maarten Christenhusz, Harald Schneider, Andrew R Leitch, Ilia J Leitch
At 50-fold the size of the human genome (3 Gb), the staggeringly huge genome of 147.3 Gb recently discovered in the fern Tmesipteris obliqua is comparable in size to those of the other plant and animal record-holders (i.e., Paris japonica, a flowering plant with a genome size of 148.8 Gb, and Protopterus aethiopicus, a lungfish with a genome of 130 Gb). The synthesis of available information on giant genomes suggests that the biological limit to genome size expansion in eukaryotes may have been reached. We propose several explanations for why the genomes of ferns, flowering plants, and lungfish, all of which have independently undergone dramatic increases in genome size through a variety of mechanisms, do not exceed 150 Gb...
May 12, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Eliana Marzol, Cecilia Borassi, Silvina Paola Denita Juárez, Silvina Mangano, José M Estevez
Root hair growth dramatically expands the root surface area, thus facilitating water and nutrient uptake. Until recently, the molecular mechanism underlying root hair growth was unknown. Recent studies have revealed that the transcription factor ROOT HAIR DEFECTIVE 6 LIKE 4 (RSL4) coordinates hormonal, environmental, and developmental factors to trigger polar growth.
May 6, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Helmut Kirchhoff, Meng Li, Sujith Puthiyaveetil
It is well established that the majority of energy-converting photosynthetic protein complexes in plant thylakoid membrane are nonhomogenously distributed between stacked and unstacked membrane regions. Yet, the sublocalization of the central cytochrome b6f complex remains controversial. We present a structural model that explains the variation in cytochrome b6f sublocalization data. Small changes in the distance between adjacent membranes in stacked grana regions either allow or restrict access of cytochrome b6f complexes to grana...
May 5, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Marcel Bach-Pages, Alfredo Castello, Gail M Preston
The application of RNA interactome capture to plants has enabled comprehensive determination of the plant RNA-binding proteome and the identification of novel families of RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). The technique is providing insight into the evolution of the eukaryotic repertoire of RBPs and will enhance prospects for engineering RBPs to improve crop traits.
May 3, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Cuiling Wang, Songlin Hu, Candice Gardner, Thomas Lübberstedt
Breeders have been successful in increasing crop performance by exploiting genetic diversity over time. However, the reported annual yield increases are not sufficient in view of rapid human population growth and global environmental changes. Exotic germplasm possesses high levels of genetic diversity for valuable traits. However, only a small fraction of naturally occurring genetic diversity is utilized. Moreover, the yield gap between elite and exotic germplasm widens, which increases the effort needed to use exotic germplasm and to identify beneficial alleles and for their introgression...
May 2, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Michal Pyc, Yingqi Cai, Michael S Greer, Olga Yurchenko, Kent D Chapman, John M Dyer, Robert T Mullen
Lipid droplets (LDs) in plants have long been viewed as storage depots for neutral lipids that serve as sources of carbon, energy, and lipids for membrane biosynthesis. While much of our knowledge of LD function in plants comes from studies of oilseeds, a recent surge in research on LDs in non-seed cell types has led to an array of new discoveries. It is now clear that both evolutionarily conserved and kingdom-specific mechanisms underlie the biogenesis of LDs in eukaryotes, and proteomics and homology-based approaches have identified new protein players...
April 25, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Ruohe Yin
PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) is a key transcriptional regulator promoting plant responses to elevated ambient temperatures. A recent study reported that the ultraviolet B radiation (UV-B) photoreceptor UVR8 signaling pathway inhibits PIF4 via multiple mechanisms to repress plant responses to high ambient temperatures.
April 21, 2017: 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
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
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
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
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...
May 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.
May 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.
May 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.
May 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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