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Current Opinion in Plant Biology

Gwyneth Ingram, Ari Pekka Mähönen
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February 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Sanna Sevanto
Drought impacts on phloem transport have attracted attention only recently, despite the well-established, and empirically verified theories on drought impacts on water transport in plants in general. This is because studying phloem transport is challenging. Phloem tissue is relatively small and delicate, and it has often been assumed not to be impacted by drought, or having insignificant impact on plant function or survival compared to the xylem. New evidence, however, suggests that drought responses of the phloem might hold the key for predicting plant survival time during drought or revival capacity after drought...
February 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Cankui Zhang, Robert Turgeon
The complex form of higher plants requires continuous, balanced transport of nutrients in the phloem. The initial step of transferring sugars, amino acids, and other materials from photosynthetic cells to the conducting sieve tubes is known as phloem loading. Three phloem loading mechanisms have been described. The first involves release of sucrose into the apoplast and subsequent retrieval by the phloem. The initial release step in this process is now known to be mediated by a new class of transporters, the SWEET proteins...
February 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Polina Yu Novikova, Nora Hohmann, Yves Van de Peer
Polyploidy may provide adaptive advantages and is considered to be important for evolution and speciation. Polyploidy events are found throughout the evolutionary history of plants, however they do not seem to be uniformly distributed along the time axis. For example, many of the detected ancient whole-genome duplications (WGDs) seem to cluster around the K/Pg boundary (∼66Mya), which corresponds to a drastic climate change event and a mass extinction. Here, we discuss more recent polyploidy events using Arabidopsis as the most developed plant model at the level of the entire genus...
February 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Patricia Baldrich, Aleksandra Beric, Blake C Meyers
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are key regulators of gene expression. A handful of miRNAs are broadly conserved in land plants, while the majority are lineage specific; this review describes the processes by which new miRNAs are hypothesized to have emerged. Two major models describe miRNA origins, firstly, de novo emergence via inverted duplication of target gene fragments, and secondly, the expansion and neofunctionalization of existing miRNA families. The occasional acquisition of target sites by previously un-targeted genes adds further dynamism to the process by which miRNAs may shift roles during evolution...
February 12, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Uwe Sonnewald, Alisdair R Fernie
Whether plants are source or sink limited, that is, whether carbon assimilation or rather assimilate usage is ultimately responsible for crop yield, has been the subject of intense debate over several decades. Here we provide a short review of this debate before focusing on the use of transgenic intervention as a means to influence yield by modifying either source or sink function (or both). Given the relatively low success rates of strategies targeting single genes we highlight the success of multi-target transformations...
February 8, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Richard Hilleary, Simon Gilroy
Plants possess systemic signaling networks that allow the perception of local stresses to be translated into plant-wide responses. Although information can be propagated via a variety of molecules such as hormones and RNAs moving within the bulk flow of the phloem or in the transpiration stream, the vasculature also appears to be a major pathway whereby extremely rapid signals move bi-directionally throughout the plant. In these cases, the movement mechanisms are not dependent on redistribution through bulk flow...
January 16, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Elizabeth A Ainsworth, Pauline Lemonnier
Increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration ([CO2]) directly stimulates photosynthesis and reduces stomatal conductance in C3 plants. Both of these physiological effects have the potential to alter phloem function at elevated [CO2]. Recent research has clearly established that photosynthetic capacity is correlated to vascular traits associated with phloem loading and water transport, but the effects of elevated [CO2] on these relationships are largely unexplored. Plants also employ different strategies for loading sucrose and other sugars into the phloem, and there is potential for species with different phloem loading strategies to respond differently to elevated [CO2]...
January 9, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Michael Knoblauch, Winfried S Peters, Karen Bell, Timothy J Ross-Elliott, Karl J Oparka
Sieve elements (SEs) degrade selected organelles and cytoplasmic structures when they differentiate. According to classical investigations, only smooth ER, mitochondria, sieve element plastids, and, in most cases, P-proteins remain in mature SEs. More recent proteomics and immuno-histochemical studies, however, suggested that additional components including a protein-synthesizing machinery and a fully developed actin cytoskeleton operate in mature SEs. These interpretations are at odds with conventional imaging studies...
January 4, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Mónica R Carvalho, Juan M Losada, Karl J Niklas
The survival of all vascular plants depends on phloem and xylem, which comprise a hydraulically coupled tissue system that transports photosynthates, water, and a variety of other molecules and ions. Although xylem hydraulics has been extensively studied, until recently, comparatively little is known quantitatively about the phloem hydraulic network and how it is functionally coupled to the xylem network, particularly in photosynthetic leaves. Here, we summarize recent advances in quantifying phloem hydraulics in fully expanded mature leaves with different vascular architectures and show that (1) the size of phloem conducting cells across phylogenetically different taxa scales isometrically with respect to xylem conducting cell size, (2) cell transport areas and lengths increase along phloem transport pathways in a manner that can be used to model Münch's pressure-flow hypothesis, and (3) report observations that invalidate da Vinci's and Murray's hydraulic models as plausible constructs for understanding photosynthate transport in the leaf lamina...
January 4, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Johannes Liesche, Alexander Schulz
Even in the highest trees, carbon is efficiently distributed from leaves to heterotrophic tissues like fruit, flowers and roots. This long-distance transport happens in the highly specialized sieve elements of the phloem. In gymnosperms, sieve element anatomy appears to be less suited for mass flow of phloem sap than that of angiosperms. This review covers available data on gymnosperm phloem to evaluate if it functions differently from that of angiosperms. Although current evidence suggests that, despite a higher pathway resistance, a single source-to-sink turgor pressure gradient can drive mass flow, several questions remain unanswered...
January 4, 2018: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Catherine Masson-Boivin, Joel L Sachs
By evolving the dual capacity of intracellular survival and symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes, rhizobia have achieved an ecological and evolutionary success that has reshaped our biosphere. Despite complex challenges, including a dual lifestyle of intracellular infection separated by a free-living phase in soil, rhizobial symbiosis has spread horizontally to hundreds of bacterial species and geographically throughout the globe. This symbiosis has also persisted and been reshaped through millions of years of history...
December 28, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Grace A Hoysted, Jill Kowal, Alison Jacob, William R Rimington, Jeffrey G Duckett, Silvia Pressel, Suzanne Orchard, Megan H Ryan, Katie J Field, Martin I Bidartondo
It has long been postulated that symbiotic fungi facilitated plant migrations onto land through enhancing the scavenging of mineral nutrients and exchanging these for photosynthetically fixed organic carbon. Today, land plant-fungal symbioses are both widespread and diverse. Recent discoveries show that a variety of potential fungal associates were likely available to the earliest land plants, and that these early partnerships were probably affected by changing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Here, we evaluate current hypotheses and knowledge gaps regarding early plant-fungal partnerships in the context of newly discovered fungal mutualists of early and more recently evolved land plants and the rapidly changing views on the roles of plant-fungal symbioses in the evolution and ecology of the terrestrial biosphere...
December 28, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Pauline Anne, Christian S Hardtke
Evolution of the vascular tissues allowed plants to efficiently settle land, occupy new ecological niches, and thereby crucially shape earth's biosphere. Of the two conducting cell types in the plant vasculature, the tubular network of phloem sieve elements transports phloem sap from source to sink organs. Recent years have witnessed the identification of ever more regulators of sieve element differentiation, as well as a more detailed understanding of phloem physiology and function. From molecular regulators of the commitment to sieve element fate, to enzymatic executors of the differentiation process, the toolbox to investigate sieve element formation has been greatly enlarged...
December 23, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Mechthild Tegeder, Ulrich Z Hammes
Amino acids represent the major transport form of reduced nitrogen in plants. Long-distance transport of amino acids occurs in the xylem and the phloem. However, the phloem is the main transport route for bulk flow of the organic nitrogen from source leaves to sink tissues. Phloem loading in leaves of most annual plant species follows an apoplasmic transport path and requires the coordinated activity of transport protein mediating cellular export or import of amino acids. Phloem unloading of amino acids is generally a symplasmic process but apoplasmic transport is additionally required for efficient post-phloem nitrogen transport...
December 23, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Nguyen Manh Linh, Carla Verna, Enrico Scarpella
During development, the behavior of cells in tissues is coordinated along specific orientations or directions by coordinating the polar localization of components in those cells. The coordination of such cell polarity is perhaps nowhere more spectacular than in developing leaves, where the polarity of hundreds of cells is coordinated in the leaf epidermis and inner tissue to pattern vein networks. Available evidence suggests that the spectacular coordination of cell polarity that patterns vein networks is controlled by auxin transport and levels, and by genes that have been implicated in the polar localization of auxin transporters...
December 23, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Ricky J Milne, Christopher Pl Grof, John W Patrick
Phloem unloading represents a series of cell-to-cell transport steps transferring phloem-mobile constituents from phloem to sink tissues/organs to fuel their development or resource storage. Our analysis focuses on unloading of two major phloem-mobile constituents, sugars and water. Their unloading can occur across phloem plasma membranes (apoplasmic unloading), through plasmodesmata interconnecting phloem and sink cells (symplasmic unloading) or predominately symplasmically with an intervening post-phloem apoplasmic step...
December 14, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Keiji Nakajima
In flowering plants, germ cells are formed via tightly coordinated patterning processes that facilitate specification of spore mother cells and meiosis during sporogenesis, as well as functional differentiation of germ cells in gametogenesis. Studies using the conventional Arabidopsis system and the newly emerged bryophyte system have revealed novel interactions between regulatory factors that restrict the number of spore mother cells, and evolutionarily conserved factors that promote germ cell differentiation...
December 6, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Richard J Morris
Messenger RNA (mRNA) can move through the vascular system in plants. Until recently the transport of mRNA had been demonstrated only for a few well-documented cases, leading to the suggestion that transport was selective and specific. The extent of this long-distance transport has now been shown to be on the genomic scale with thousands of transcripts covering broad regions of gene ontological space. In light of this recent data, I revisit proposed mechanisms of transport of mRNA and critically assess their potential role in signalling...
December 5, 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
Emmanuelle M Bayer, Imogen Sparkes, Steffen Vanneste, Abel Rosado
The plant endoplasmic reticulum (ER) defines the biosynthetic site of lipids and proteins destined for secretion, but also contains important signal transduction and homeostasis components that regulate multiple hormonal and developmental responses. To achieve its various functions, the ER has a unique architecture, both reticulated and highly plastic, that facilitates the spatial-temporal segregation of biochemical reactions and the establishment of inter-organelle communication networks. At the cell cortex, the cortical ER (cER) anchors to and functionally couples with the PM through largely static structures known as ER-PM contact sites (EPCS)...
December 2017: Current Opinion in Plant Biology
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