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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...
January 17, 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
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...
January 10, 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...
January 9, 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.
January 5, 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...
January 5, 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Thomas Eekhout, Paul Larsen, Lieven De Veylder
Although aluminum (Al) toxicity represents a global agricultural problem, the biochemical targets for Al remain elusive. Recently identified Arabidopsis mutants with increased Al tolerance provide evidence of DNA as one of the main targets of Al. This insight could lead the way for novel strategies to generate Al-tolerant crop plants.
January 3, 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...
January 3, 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...
December 27, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Alexander Bucksch, Abhiram Das, Hannah Schneider, Nirav Merchant, Joshua S Weitz
Cyberinfrastructure projects (CIPs) are complex, integrated systems that require interaction and organization amongst user, developer, hardware, technical infrastructure, and funding resources. Nevertheless, CIP usability, functionality, and growth do not scale with the sum of these resources. Instead, growth and efficient usage of CIPs require access to 'hidden' resources. These include technical resources within CIPs as well as social and functional interactions among stakeholders. We identify approaches to overcome resource limitations following the conceptual basis of Liebig's Law of the Minimum...
December 24, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Rhiannon K Schilling, Mark Tester, Petra Marschner, Darren C Plett, Stuart J Roy
Constitutive expression of the Arabidopsis vacuolar proton-pumping pyrophosphatase (H(+)-PPase) gene (AVP1) increases plant growth under various abiotic stress conditions and, importantly, under nonstressed conditions. Many interpretations have been proposed to explain these phenotypes, including greater vacuolar ion sequestration, increased auxin transport, enhanced heterotrophic growth, and increased transport of sucrose from source to sink tissues. In this review, we evaluate all the roles proposed for AVP1, using findings published to date from mutant plants lacking functional AVP1 and transgenic plants expressing AVP1...
December 15, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Michael J Considine, Pedro Diaz-Vivancos, Pavel Kerchev, Santiago Signorelli, Patricia Agudelo-Romero, Daniel J Gibbs, Christine H Foyer
Plants are developmentally disposed to significant changes in oxygen availability, but our understanding of the importance of hypoxia is almost entirely limited to stress biology. Differential patterns of the abundance of oxygen, nitric oxide ((•)NO), and reactive oxygen species (ROS), as well as of redox potential, occur in organs and meristems, and examples are emerging in the literature of mechanistic relationships of these to development. We describe here the convergence of these cues in meristematic and reproductive tissues, and discuss the evidence for regulated hypoxic niches within which oxygen-, ROS-, (•)NO-, and redox-dependent signalling curate developmental transitions in plants...
December 13, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Simone Pedrini, David J Merritt, Jason Stevens, Kingsley Dixon
Seed coating is the practice of covering seeds with external materials to improve handling, protection, and, to a lesser extent, germination enhancement and plant establishment. With an annual value exceeding US$1 billion dollars, this technology is mostly the preserve of the private research sector, with few links to the scientific community. Here, we analyse the science and industry of seed coating and its contribution to seed establishment and plant performance. We posit that a closer collaboration between academia and industry is critical to realising the potential of seed coating both as a tool for enhancing plant establishment in the face of the challenges posed to agricultural systems and to propel the multibillion-dollar global push for ecological restoration of degraded ecosystems...
December 12, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
John F Allen, Jon Nield
In photosynthesis, oxygen is liberated from water, not from CO2; however, this model has been silent on why photosynthesis requires bicarbonate. Rutherford and colleagues solve this problem elegantly: bicarbonate tunes water-oxidising photosystem II to make onward electron transfer efficient; an absence of bicarbonate retunes, redirects, and safely shuts down energy flow.
December 12, 2016: 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
Nicolas Corradi, Andreas Brachmann
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are relevant plant symbionts whose hyphae and spores carry hundreds of coexisting nuclei with supposedly divergent genomes but no sign of sexual reproduction. This unusual biology suggested that conventional fungal mating is not amendable to optimize strains for plant growth, but recent evidence of sexual-related nuclear inheritance in these organisms is now challenging this widespread notion. Here, we outline our knowledge of AMF genetics within a historical context, and discuss how past and new information in this area changed our understanding of AMF biology...
November 19, 2016: Trends in Plant Science
Thomas Rey, Bernard Dumas
Streptomyces spp. constitute a major clade of the phylum Actinobacteria. These Gram-positive, filamentous prokaryotes are ubiquitous in soils and marine sediments, and are commonly found in the rhizosphere or inside plant roots. Plant-interacting Streptomyces have received limited attention, in contrast to Streptomyces spp. extensively investigated for decades in medicine given their rich potential for secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Recent genomic, metabolomic, and biotechnological advances have produced key insights into Streptomyces spp...
January 2017: Trends in Plant Science
Bénédicte Charrier, Juliet C Coates, Ioanna Stavridou
The COST Action Phycomorph (FA1406) was initiated in 2015 from a handful of academic researchers, and now joins together 19 European countries and nine international partners. Phycomorph's goal is to coordinate and develop research on developmental biology in macroalgae. This is an ambitious project, as the related scientific community is small, the concepts are complex, and there is currently limited knowledge of these organisms and there are few technologies to study them. Here we report the first step in achieving this enterprise, the creation of the Phycomorph network...
January 2017: Trends in Plant Science
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