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Current Opinion in Plant Biology

Jacob O Brunkard, Patricia C Zambryski
Plant cells are connected by plasmodesmata (PD), cytosolic bridges that allow molecules to freely move across the cell wall. Recently resolved relationships among land plants and their algal relatives reveal that land plants evolved PD independently from algae. Proteomic and genetic screens illuminate new dimensions of the structural and regulatory pathways that control PD biogenesis. Biochemical studies demonstrate that immunological signals induce systemic defenses by moving from diseased cells through PD; subsequently, PD transport is restricted to quarantine diseased cells...
November 24, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Patricia Ballester, Cristina Ferrándiz
Fruits are seed dispersal units, and for that they have evolved different strategies to facilitate separation and dispersal of the progeny from the mother plant. A great proportion of fruits from different clades are dry and dehiscent, opening upon maturity to disperse the seeds. In the last two decades, intense research mainly in Arabidopsis has uncovered the basic network that controls the differentiation of the Arabidopsis fruit dehiscence zone. This review focuses on recent discoveries that have helped to complete the picture, as well as the insights from evo-devo and crop domestication studies that show how the conservation/variation of the elements of this network across species accounts for its evolutionary plasticity and the origin of evolutionary innovations...
November 23, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Jie Cui, Chenjiang You, Xuemei Chen
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a central player in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression and are involved in numerous biological processes in eukaryotes. Knowledge of the origins and divergence of miRNAs paves the way for a better understanding of the complexity of the regulatory networks that they participate in. The biogenesis, degradation, and regulatory activities of miRNAs are relatively better understood, but the evolutionary history of miRNAs still needs more exploration. Inverted duplication of target genes, random hairpin sequences and small transposable elements constitute three main models that explain the origination of miRNA genes (MIR)...
November 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Dave Stateczny, Jara Oppenheimer, Peter Bommert
Heterotrimeric G proteins are key regulators in the transduction of extracellular signals both in animals and plants. In plants, heterotrimeric G protein signaling plays essential roles in development and in response to biotic and abiotic stress. However, over the last decade it has become clear that plants have unique mechanisms of G protein signaling. Although plants share most of the core components of heterotrimeric G proteins, some of them exhibit unusual properties compared to their animal counterparts...
November 19, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Nayoung Lee, Giltsu Choi
Phytochromes are red and far-red light photoreceptors that regulate the responses of plants to light throughout their life cycles. Phytochromes do this in part by inhibiting the function of a group of basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors called phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs). Arabidopsis has eight PIFs that function sometimes redundantly and sometimes distinctively depending on their expression patterns and protein stability, as well as on variations in the promoters they target in vivo. PIF-like proteins exist in other seed plants and non-vascular plants where they also regulate light responses...
November 19, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Xian Deng, Xiaofeng Cao
Plants possess amazing plasticity of growth and development, allowing them to adjust continuously and rapidly to changes in the environment. Over the past two decades, numerous molecular studies have illuminated the role of transcriptional regulation in plant development and environmental responses. However, emerging studies in Arabidopsis have uncovered an unexpectedly widespread role for post-transcriptional regulation in development and responses to environmental changes. In this review, we summarize recent discoveries detailing the contribution of two post-transcriptional mechanisms, pre-mRNA splicing and polyadenylation, to the regulation of plant development, with an emphasis on the control of flowering time...
November 17, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Marlies Huysmans, Saul Lema A, Nuria S Coll, Moritz K Nowack
Programmed cell death (PCD) is a fundamental cellular process that has adopted a plethora of vital functions in multicellular organisms. In plants, PCD processes are elicited as an inherent part of regular development in specific cell types or tissues, but can also be triggered by biotic and abiotic stresses. Although over the last years we have seen progress in our understanding of the molecular regulation of different plant PCD processes, it is still unclear whether a common core machinery exists that controls cell death in development and disease...
November 16, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Arp Schnittger, Keiko Sugimoto
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 10, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Daisuke Maruyama, Tetsuya Higashiyama
In flowering plants, sexual reproduction culminates in double fertilization, which occurs after an ovule receives two sperm cells from a single pollen tube. Recent progress in pollen tube guidance, as well as analyses of fertilization-defective mutants, have highlighted a post-fertilization event that rapidly terminates pollen tube attraction. This event plays a crucial role in ensuring a one-to-one fertilization system between males and females. This phenomenon is controlled by the activity of persistent synergid cells, which secrete peptides that attract and thus guide the pollen tube...
November 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Marie Monniaux, Angela Hay
A key question in biology is how the endless diversity of forms found in nature evolved. Understanding the cellular basis of this diversity has been aided by advances in non-model experimental systems, quantitative image analysis tools, and modeling approaches. Recent work in plants highlights the importance of cell wall and cuticle modifications for the emergence of diverse forms and functions. For example, explosive seed dispersal in Cardamine hirsuta depends on the asymmetric localization of lignified cell wall thickenings in the fruit valve...
November 5, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
José-Antonio Pedroza-Garcia, Séverine Domenichini, Catherine Bergounioux, Moussa Benhamed, Cécile Raynaud
Plastids arose from an endosymbiosis between a host cell and free-living bacteria. One key step during this evolutionary process has been the establishment of coordinated cell and symbiont division to allow the maintenance of organelles during proliferation of the host. However, surprisingly little is known about the underlying mechanisms. In addition, due to their central role in the cell's energetic metabolism and to their sensitivity to various environmental cues such as light or temperature, plastids are ideally fitted to be the source of signals allowing plants to adapt their development according to external conditions...
November 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Zoltán Magyar, László Bögre, Masaki Ito
Cell cycle phase specific oscillation of gene transcription has long been recognized as an underlying principle for ordered processes during cell proliferation. The G1/S-specific and G2/M-specific cohorts of genes in plants are regulated by the E2F and the MYB3R transcription factors. Mutant analysis suggests that activator E2F functions might not be fully required for cell cycle entry. In contrast, the two activator-type MYB3Rs are part of positive feedback loops to drive the burst of mitotic gene expression, which is necessary at least to accomplish cytokinesis...
November 3, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Martin Bayer, Daniel Slane, Gerd Jürgens
In nearly all flowering plants, the basic body plan is laid down during embryogenesis. In Arabidopsis, the crucial cell types are established extremely early as reflected in the stereotypic sequence of oriented cell divisions in the developing young embryo. Research into early embryogenesis was especially focused on the role of the infamous tryptophan derivative auxin in establishing embryo polarity and generating the main body axis. However, it is becoming obvious that the mere link to auxin does not provide any mechanistic understanding of early embryo patterning...
October 31, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Crisanto Gutierrez, Bénédicte Desvoyes, Zaida Vergara, Sofía Otero, Joana Sequeira-Mendes
Genome replication in multicellular organisms involves duplication of both the genetic material and the epigenetic information stored in DNA and histones. In some cases, the DNA replication process provides a window of opportunity for resetting chromatin marks in the genome of the future daughter cells instead of transferring them identical copies. This crucial step of genome replication depends on the correct function of DNA replication factors and the coordination between replication and transcription in proliferating cells...
October 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Shinichiro Komaki, Arp Schnittger
The spindle checkpoint, also called spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), is a crucial control instance in animals and yeast that surveys the correct attachment of chromosomes to the spindle assuring their equal distribution in mitosis and meiosis. The presence of homologs of all core SAC components in plants indicates that these regulators have an ancient function. However, the fact that mutants of SAC components in plants are usually fully viable together with the observation that plants can be readily made polyploid raises the question whether plants have an efficient SAC...
October 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Suvi Honkanen, Liam Dolan
Plants develop tip-growing extensions-root hairs and rhizoids-that initiate as swellings on the outer surface of individual epidermal cells. A conserved genetic mechanism controls the earliest stages in the initiation of these swellings. The same mechanism controls the formation of multicellular structures that develop from swellings on epidermal cells in early diverging land plants. Details of the molecular events that regulate the positioning of the swellings involve sterols and phosphatidylinositol phosphates...
October 27, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Jung-Ok Heo, Bernhard Blob, Ykä Helariutta
Two major conducting tissues in plants, phloem and xylem, are composed of highly specialized cell types adapted to long distance transport. Sieve elements (SEs) in the phloem display a thick cell wall, callose-rich sieve plates and low cytoplasmic density. SE differentiation is driven by selective autolysis combined with enucleation, after which the plasma membrane and some organelles are retained. By contrast, differentiation of xylem tracheary elements (TEs) involves complete clearance of the cellular components by programmed cell death followed by autolysis of the protoplast; this is accompanied by extensive deposition of lignin and cellulose in the cell wall...
October 26, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Ramiro E Rodriguez, Carla Schommer, Javier F Palatnik
Plants have the ability to generate different and new organs throughout their life cycle. Organ growth is mostly determined by the combinatory effects of cell proliferation and cell expansion. Still, organ size and shape are adjusted constantly by environmental conditions and developmental timing. The plasticity of plant development is further illustrated by the diverse organ forms found in nature. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are known to control key biological processes in plants. In this review, we will discuss recent findings showing the participation of miRNA networks in the regulation of cell proliferation and organ growth...
October 26, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Kenneth D Birnbaum
Plants often make the same organ in different development contexts. Roots are a quintessential example, with embryonic, primary, lateral, adventitious, and regenerative roots common to many plants. The cellular origins and early morphologies of different roots can vary greatly, but the adult structures can be remarkably similar. Recent studies have highlighted the diversity of mechanisms that can initiate roots while late patterning mechanisms are frequently shared. In the middle stages when patterning emerges, evidence shows that antagonistic auxin-cytokinin interactions regulate tissue patterns in root embryogenesis, vascular organization, and regeneration but it is not yet clear if a common ontogeny for the root body plan exists...
October 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Robert Sablowski
Plant tissue growth requires the interdependent cellular processes of cytoplasmic growth, cell wall extension and cell division, but the feedbacks that link these processes are poorly understood. Recent papers have revealed developmentally regulated coupling between plant cell growth and progression through both mitotic cycles and endocycles. Modeling has given insight into the effects of cell geometry and tissue mechanics on the orientation of cell divisions. Developmental inputs by auxin have been highlighted in the control of cell turgor, vacuole function and the microtubule dynamics that underlies oriented growth and division...
October 7, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
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