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Current Opinion in Plant Biology

Caroline Pont, Jérôme Salse
Following the triplication reported in Brassiceae ∼10million years ago, and at the basis of rosids ∼100million years ago, bias in organization and regulation, known as subgenome dominance, has been reported between the three post-polyploidy compartments referenced to as less fractionated (LF), medium fractionated (MF1) and more fractionated (MF2), that have been proposed to derive from an hexaploidization event involving ancestors of 7-14-21 chromosomes. Modern bread wheat experienced similar paleohistory during the last half million year of evolution opening a new hypothesis where the wheat genome is at the earliest stages on the road of diploidization through subgenome dominance driving asymmetry in gene content, gene expression abundance, transposable element content as dynamics and epigenetic control between the A, B and D subgenomes...
February 6, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Ji Hoon Ahn, Markus Schmid
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Rafal M Gutaker, Hernán A Burbano
Improved understanding of ancient DNA (aDNA) biochemical properties coupled with application of next generation sequencing (NGS) methods enabled sequencing and authenticating genomes of historical samples. This advancement ignited a revolution in plant evolutionary genomics by allowing direct observations of past molecular diversity. Analyses of genomes sequenced from temporally distributed samples of Gossypium sp., Phytophthora infestans and Arabidopsis thaliana improved our understanding of the evolutionary rates and time scales at which genome remodeling takes place...
February 1, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
German Martinez, Claudia Köhler
Sexual reproduction, the formation of a new individual from specialized reproductive cells after fertilization, involves the precise orchestration of different developmental and genomic processes. These processes are to a large extent governed by small RNAs (sRNAs) that either belong to the class of micro RNAs (miRNAs) or small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The latter are derived from transposable elements (TEs) and involved in genome defense and transgenerational inheritance of heterochromatin identity, ensuring genome stability...
January 11, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Goh Choe, Ji-Young Lee
Unlike animals, plants continue to grow throughout their lives. The stem cell niche, protected in meristems of shoots and roots, enables this process. In the root, stem cells produce precursors for highly organized cell types via asymmetric cell divisions. These precursors, which are "transit-amplifying cells," actively divide for several rounds before entering into differentiation programs. In this review, we highlight positive feedback regulation between shoot- and root-ward signals during the postembryonic root growth, which is reminiscent of a "push-pull strategy" in business parlance...
January 4, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Elena Baena-González, Johannes Hanson
SnRK1 (Snf1-related protein kinase 1) and TOR (target of rapamycin) are evolutionarily conserved protein kinases that lie at the heart of energy sensing, playing central and antagonistic roles in the regulation of metabolism and gene expression. Increasing evidence links these metabolic regulators to numerous aspects of plant development, from germination to flowering and senescence. This prompts the hypothesis that SnRK1 and TOR modify developmental programs according to the metabolic status to adjust plant growth to a specific environment...
December 24, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Azahara Barra-Jiménez, Laura Ragni
Secondary growth, the increase in girth of plant organs, is primarily driven by the vascular and cork cambium. In perennial dicotyledons and gymnosperms, it represents a major source of biomass accumulation in the form of wood. However, the molecular framework underlying secondary growth is largely based on studies in the annual herbaceous plant Arabidopsis thaliana. In this review, we will focus on a selection of major regulators of stem secondary growth, which have recently been shown to play a role in woody species...
December 22, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Artem Pankin, Maria von Korff
Five major cereals such as wheat, rice, maize, barley and sorghum were among the first Neolithic crops that facilitated the establishment of the early agricultural societies. Since then they have remained the staple source of calories for the majority of the human population. Ample archaeological and molecular evidence has provided important insights into the domestication history of cereals but the debates on the origin of cereal crops are still far from resolved. Here, we review the recent advances in applying genome sequencing technologies for deciphering the history of cereal domestication...
December 20, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Xinyan Zhang, Hongwei Guo
In eukaryotes, degradation of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) is required for both mRNA quantity and quality control. Fine-tuning of the abundance of mRNAs that are to be translated can be achieved through a deadenylation-mediated RNA decay pathway involving progressive removal of poly(A) tails, decapping and exoribonuclease digestion. While the classical view assumes that mRNAs are degraded only after their exit from protein translation, recent studies have revealed mRNA decay can occur during translation in plants...
December 20, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Levi Yant, Kirsten Bomblies
Large-scale population genomic approaches have very recently been fruitfully applied to the Arabidopsis relatives Arabidopsis halleri, A. lyrata and especially A. arenosa. In contrast to A. thaliana, these species are obligately outcrossing and thus the footprints of natural selection are more straightforward to detect. Furthermore, both theoretical and empirical studies indicate that outcrossers are better able to evolve in response to selection pressure. As a result, recent work in these species serves as a paradigm of population genomic studies of adaptation both to environmental as well as intracellular challenges...
December 15, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Dawit G Tekleyohans, Yanbo Mao, Christina Kägi, York-Dieter Stierhof, Rita Groß-Hardt
A common denominator of sexual reproduction in many eukaryotic species is the exposure of an egg to excess sperm to maximize the chances of reproductive success. To avoid potential harmful or deleterious consequences of supernumerary sperm fusion to a single female gamete (polyspermy), many eukaryotes, including plants, have evolved barriers preventing polyspermy. Typically, these checkpoints are implemented at different stages in the reproduction process. The virtual absence of unambiguous reports of naturally occurring egg cell polyspermy in flowering plants is likely reflecting the success of this multiphasic strategy and highlights the difficulty to trace this presumably rare event...
December 9, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Sacha Escamez, Hannele Tuominen
Plant development requires specific cells to be eliminated in a predictable and genetically regulated manner referred to as programmed cell death (PCD). However, the target cells do not merely die but they also undergo autolysis to degrade their cellular corpses. Recent progress in understanding developmental cell elimination suggests that distinct proteins execute PCD sensu stricto and autolysis. In addition, cell death alone and cell dismantlement can fulfill different functions. Hence, it appears biologically meaningful to distinguish between the modules of PCD and autolysis during plant development...
December 6, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Anna Franciosini, Bart Rymen, Michitaro Shibata, David S Favero, Keiko Sugimoto
Plant cell growth can broadly be categorized into either diffuse or tip growth. Here we compare gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling growth of hypocotyls and root hairs as examples for diffuse and tip growth, respectively. Accumulating evidence shows that GRNs in both cell types are multi-layered in structure and fine-tuned by transcriptional and post-translational mechanisms. We discuss how these GRNs regulate the expression of proteins controlling cell wall remodeling or other growth regulatory processes...
December 2, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Hyunwoo Cho, Tuong Vi T Dang, Ildoo Hwang
The divergence of land plants followed by vascular plants has entirely changed the terrestrial ecology. The vascular system is a prerequisite for this evolutionary event, providing upright stature and communication for sink demand-source capacity and facilitating the development of plants and colonization over a wide range of environmental habitats. Various hormonal and non-hormonal regulatory networks have been identified and reviewed as key processes for vascular formation; however, how these factors have evolutionarily emerged and interconnected to trigger the emergence of the vascular system still remains elusive...
December 2, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Anne Pfeiffer, Christian Wenzl, Jan U Lohmann
Developmental plasticity is a defining feature of plants allowing them to colonize a wide range of different ecosystems by promoting environmental adaptation. Their postembryonic development requires life-long maintenance of stem cells, which are embedded into specialized tissues, called meristems. The shoot apical meristem gives rise to all above ground tissues and is a complex and dynamic three-dimensional structure harboring cells of different clonal origins and fates. Functionally divergent subdomains are stably maintained despite permanent cell division, however their relative sizes are modified in response to developmental and environmental signals...
December 2, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Paz Merelo, Esther Botterweg Paredes, Marcus G Heisler, Stephan Wenkel
Leaves are present in all land plants and are specialized organs for light harvesting. They arise at the flanks of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), and develop into lamina structures that exhibit adaxial/abaxial (upper/lower side of the leaf) polarity. At the molecular level, an intricate regulatory network determines ad-/abaxial polarity in Arabidopsis thaliana leaves, where the Class III Homeodomain Leucine Zipper (HD-ZIPIII) and KANADI (KAN) proteins are key mediators. The HD-ZIPIII REVOLUTA (REV) is expressed in the adaxial domain of lateral organs, whereas KAN1 is involved in abaxial differentiation...
December 2, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Jiyan Qi, Thomas Greb
Spatial organization is fundamental for the performance of living organisms and is reflected in a distinct distribution of structures and molecules down to the subcellular level. In particular, eukaryotic cells harbor a vast range of possibilities for distributing organelles, the cytoskeleton or the extracellular matrix in an active and highly regulated manner. An asymmetric or polar distribution is rather the rule than the exception and often reflects a particular position or orientation of a cell within a multicellular body...
December 2, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Holger Puchta
Less than 5 years ago the CRISPR/Cas nuclease was first introduced into eukaryotes, shortly becoming the most efficient and widely used tool for genome engineering. For plants, efforts were centred on obtaining heritable changes in most transformable crop species by inducing mutations into open reading frames of interest, via non-homologous end joining. Now it is important to take the next steps and further develop the technology to reach its full potential. For breeding, besides using DNA-free editing and avoiding off target effects, it will be desirable to apply the system for the mutation of regulatory elements and for more complex genome rearrangements...
November 30, 2016: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Santiago Mora-García, María José de Leone, Marcelo Yanovsky
Circadian clocks are molecular devices that help adjust organisms to periodic environmental changes. Although formally described as self-sustaining oscillators that are synchronized by external cues and produce defined outputs, it is increasingly clear that physiological processes not only are regulated by, but also regulate the function of the clock. We discuss three recent examples of the intimate relationships between the function of the clock, growth and metabolism in photosynthetic organisms: the daily tracking of sun by sunflowers, the fine computations plants and cyanobacteria perform to manage carbon reserves and prevent starvation, and the changes in clock parameters that went along with domestication of tomato...
November 29, 2016: 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
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