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Current Opinion in Plant Biology

Anne-Charlotte Marsollier, Gwyneth Ingram
Plant cells are enclosed in cell walls that weld them together, meaning that cells rarely change neighbours. Nonetheless, invasive growth events play critical roles in plant development and are often key hubs for the integration of environmental and/or developmental signalling. Here we review cellular processes involved in three such events: lateral root emergence, pollen tube growth through stigma and style tissues, and embryo expansion through the endosperm (Figures 1-3). We consider processes such as regulation of water fluxes and cell turgor (driving growth), cell wall modifications (e...
July 5, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Peishan Yi, Gohta Goshima
Centrosomes play various critical roles in animal cells such as microtubule nucleation and stabilization, mitotic spindle morphogenesis, and spindle orientation. Land plants have lost centrosomes and yet must execute many of these functions. Recent studies have revealed the crucial roles played by morphologically distinct cytoplasmic microtubule-organizing centers (MTOCs) in initiating spindle bipolarity and maintaining spindle orientation robustness. These MTOCs resemble centrosomes in many aspects, implying an evolutionary divergence of MT-organizing structures in plants...
July 2, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Johan Uddling, Malin C Broberg, Zhaozhong Feng, Håkan Pleijel
Crops grown under elevated CO2 (eCO2 ) typically exhibit enhanced yields but at the same time decreased nutritional quality. The latter effect has often been explained as a growth dilution phenomenon, but this cannot be the only process involved since crop nutrient concentrations are decreased also when production is unaffected by eCO2 . We review the current knowledge on eCO2 effects on crop nutritional quality with focus on the current understanding of the possible mechanisms and processes causing these effects...
June 26, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Ying Zhang, Juan Dong
Protein polarization underlies directional cell growth, cell morphogenesis, cell division, fate specification and differentiation in plant development. Analysis of in vivo protein dynamics reveals differential mobility of polarized proteins in plant cells, which may arise from lateral diffusion, local protein-protein interactions, and is restricted by protein-membrane-cell wall connections. The asymmetric protein dynamics may provide a mechanism for the regulation of asymmetric cell division and cell differentiation...
June 26, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Qin Wang, Zecheng Zuo, Xu Wang, Qing Liu, Lianfeng Gu, Yoshito Oka, Chentao Lin
Cryptochromes (CRYs) are blue light receptors that mediate light regulation of plant growth and development. Land plants possess various numbers of cryptochromes, CRY1 and CRY2, which serve overlapping and partially redundant functions in different plant species. Cryptochromes exist as physiologically inactive monomers in darkness; photoexcited cryptochromes undergo homodimerization to increase their affinity to the CRY-signaling proteins, such as CIBs (CRY2-interacting bHLH), PIFs (Phytochrome-Interacting Factors), AUX/IAA (Auxin/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID), and the COP1-SPAs (Constitutive Photomorphogenesis 1-Suppressors of Phytochrome A) complexes...
June 15, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Claus Schwechheimer
The ubiquitin-related protein NEDD8 is conjugated and deconjugated to and from proteins in processes related to ubiquitin conjugation and deconjugation. Neddylation is a well-studied posttranslational modification of Cullin-RING E3 ligases (CRLs). Biochemical and structural studies aiming at understanding the role of NEDD8 in CRL function have now resulted in a convincing model of how neddylation and deneddylation antagonistically regulate CRL stability, conformation, activity as well as degradation substrate receptor exchange...
June 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Eirini Kaiserli, Giorgio Perrella, Mhairi Lh Davidson
Environmental stimuli play a major role in modulating growth and development throughout the life-cycle of a plant. Quantitative and qualitative variations in light and temperature trigger changes in gene expression that ultimately shape plant morphology for adaptation and survival. Although the phenotypic and transcriptomic basis of plant responses to the constantly changing environment have been examined for decades, the relationship between global changes in nuclear architecture and adaption to environmental stimuli is just being uncovered...
June 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Zachary A Myers, Ben F Holt
The NUCLEAR FACTOR-Y (NF-Y) families of transcription factors are important regulators of plant development and physiology. Though NF-Y regulatory roles have recently been suggested for numerous aspects of plant biology, their roles in flowering time, early seedling development, stress responses, hormone signaling, and nodulation are the best characterized. The past few years have also seen significant advances in our understanding of the mechanistic function of the NF-Y, and as such, increasingly complex and interesting questions are now more approachable...
June 11, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Mainak Das Gupta, Miltos Tsiantis
Elaboration of morphology depends on the precise orchestration of gene expression by key regulatory genes. The hierarchy and relationship among the participating genes is commonly known as gene regulatory network (GRN). Therefore, the evolution of morphology ultimately occurs by the rewiring of gene network structures or by the co-option of gene networks to novel domains. The availability of high-resolution expression data combined with powerful statistical tools have opened up new avenues to formulate and test hypotheses on how diverse gene networks influence trait development and diversity...
June 6, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Marianne C Kramer, Stephen J Anderson, Brian D Gregory
During and after transcription, the fate of an RNA molecule is almost entirely directed by the cohorts of interacting RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). RBPs regulate all stages of the life cycle of a messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule, including splicing, polyadenylation, transport out of the nucleus, RNA stability, and translation. In addition to these functions, RBPs can function to modify or edit the sequences encoded by the RNA. While the sequence for each transcript is determined in the genome, by the time an RNA reaches its final fate, the sequence may have been edited, where one nucleotide is converted to another, or modified, where a chemical group, or sometimes others moieties, are covalently linked to a nucleotide base...
June 5, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
R P Rötter, M P Hoffmann, M Koch, C Müller
Modelling is a key tool to explore agricultural impacts of and adaptations to climate change. Here we report recent progress made especially referring to the large project initiatives MACSUR and AgMIP; in particular, in modelling potential crop impacts from field to global using multi-model ensembles. We identify two main fields where further progress is necessary: a more mechanistic understanding of climate impacts and management options for adaptation and mitigation; and focusing on cropping systems and integrative multi-scale assessments instead of single season and crops, especially in complex tropical and neglected but important cropping systems...
June 1, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Xian Deng, Qi Qiu, Kaixuan He, Xiaofeng Cao
Epigenetic regulation plays fundamental roles in modulating chromatin-based processes and shaping the epigenome in multicellular eukaryotes, including plants. How epigenetic factors recognize their target loci hiding in the vast genomic DNA sequence remains a long-standing mystery. During the past several years, a growing body of work has revealed the complex, dynamic, and diverse chromatin-targeting mechanisms of these epigenetic factors. In this review, we focus on recent advances in understanding the recruitment of epigenetic factors to specific genomic regions, based on data from Arabidopsis thaliana...
June 1, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Wolfgang Dröge-Laser, Basten L Snoek, Berend Snel, Christoph Weiste
The basic (region) leucine zippers (bZIPs) are evolutionarily conserved transcription factors in eukaryotic organisms. Here, we have updated the classification of the Arabidopsis thaliana bZIP-family, comprising 78 members, which have been assorted into 13 groups. Arabidopsis bZIPs are involved in a plethora of functions related to plant development, environmental signalling and stress response. Based on the classification, we have highlighted functional and regulatory aspects of selected well-studied bZIPs, which may serve as prototypic examples for the particular groups...
May 31, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Cesar L Cuevas-Velazquez, José R Dinneny
Membraneless compartments are formed from the dynamic physical association of proteins and RNAs through liquid-liquid phase separation, and have recently emerged as an exciting new mechanism to explain the dynamic organization of biochemical processes in the cell. In this review, we provide an overview of the current knowledge of the process of phase separation in plants and other eukaryotes. We discuss specific examples of liquid-like membraneless compartments found in green plants, their composition, and the intriguing prevalence of proteins with intrinsically disordered domains...
May 30, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Zeyang Ma, Xiuren Zhang
Argonaute (AGO) proteins are the key effector of RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC). Land plants typically encode numerous AGO proteins, and they can be typically divided into two major functional groups based on the species of their housed small RNAs (sRNAs). One group of AGOs, guided by 24-nucleotide (nt) sRNAs, canonically function in nuclei to implement transcriptional gene silencing (TGS), whereas the other group of AGOs, guided by 21-nt sRNAs, act in the cytoplasm to fulfill posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS)...
May 29, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
José L Araus, Shawn C Kefauver
Breeding is one of the central pillars of adaptation of crops to climate change. However, phenotyping is a key bottleneck that is limiting breeding efficiency. The awareness of phenotyping as a breeding limitation is not only sustained by the lack of adequate approaches, but also by the perception that phenotyping is an expensive activity. Phenotyping is not just dependent on the choice of appropriate traits and tools (e.g. sensors) but relies on how these tools are deployed on their carrying platforms, the speed and volume of data extraction and analysis (throughput), the handling of spatial variability and characterization of environmental conditions, and finally how all the information is integrated and processed...
May 28, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Jiayin Pang, Megan H Ryan, Hans Lambers, Kadambot Hm Siddique
Improving phosphorus (P)-use efficiency in legumes is a worldwide challenge in the face of an increasing world population, dwindling global rock phosphate reserves, the relatively high P demand of legumes and global change. This review focuses on P acquisition of crop legumes in response to climate change. We advocate further studies on: firstly, the response of carboxylate exudation, mycorrhizas and root morphology to climate change and their role in P acquisition as dependent on edaphic factors; secondly, developing intercropping systems with a combination of a legume and another crop species to enhance P acquisition; and thirdly, the impact of the interactions of the major climate change factors on P acquisition in the field...
May 28, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Hugo F Hofhuis, Renze Heidstra
Recent findings highlight three instances in which major aspects of plant development are controlled by dosage-dependent protein levels. In the shoot apical meristem the mobile transcription factor WUS displays an intricate function with respect to target regulation that involves WUS dosage, binding site affinity and protein dimerization. The size of the root meristem is controlled by dosage-dependent PLT protein activity. Recent identification of targets and feedbacks provide new insights and entry into possible mechanisms of dosage read-out...
May 28, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Jill E Cairns, B M Prasanna
In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and Asia maize yields remain variable due to climate shocks. Over the past decade extensive progress has been made on the development and delivery of climate-resilient maize. In 2016 over 70000 metric tonnes of drought-tolerant maize seed was commercialized in 13 countries in SSA, benefiting an estimated 53 million people. Significant progress is also being made with regard to the development and deployment of elite heat-tolerant maize varieties in South Asia. Increased genetic gain in grain yield under stress-prone environments, coupled with faster replacement of old/obsolete varieties, through intensive engagement with seed companies is essential to protect maize crops grown by smallholders from the changing climates in SSA and Asia...
May 17, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Robert J Henry, Agnelo Furtado, Parimalan Rangan
Analysis of the transcriptome of the developing wheat grain has associated expression of genes with traits involving production (e.g. yield) and quality (e.g. bread quality). Photosynthesis in the grain may be important in retaining carbon that would be lost in respiration during grain filling and may contribute to yield in the late stages of seed formation under warm and dry environments. A small number of genes have been identified as having been selected by humans to optimize the performance of wheat for foods such as bread...
May 17, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
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