Showing papers in "Journal of Experimental Botany in 2004"
TL;DR: Evaluation of claims in the literature that the transfer of a single or a few genes can increase the tolerance of plants to saline conditions reveals that, of the 68 papers produced between 1993 and early 2003, only 19 report quantitative estimates of plant growth.
Abstract: Salinity is an ever-present threat to crop yields, especially in countries where irrigation is an essential aid to agriculture. Although the tolerance of saline conditions by plants is variable, crop species are generally intolerant of one-third of the concentration of salts found in seawater. Attempts to improve the salt tolerance of crops through conventional breeding programmes have met with very limited success, due to the complexity of the trait: salt tolerance is complex genetically and physiologically. Tolerance often shows the characteristics of a multigenic trait, with quantitative trait loci (QTLs) associated with tolerance identified in barley, citrus, rice, and tomato and with ion transport under saline conditions in barley, citrus and rice. Physiologically salt tolerance is also complex, with halophytes and less tolerant plants showing a wide range of adaptations. Attempts to enhance tolerance have involved conventional breeding programmes, the use of in vitro selection, pooling physiological traits, interspecific hybridization, using halophytes as alternative crops, the use of marker-aided selection, and the use of transgenic plants. It is surprising that, in spite of the complexity of salt tolerance, there are commonly claims in the literature that the transfer of a single or a few genes can increase the tolerance of plants to saline conditions. Evaluation of such claims reveals that, of the 68 papers produced between 1993 and early 2003, only 19 report quantitative estimates of plant growth. Of these, four papers contain quantitative data on the response of transformants and wild-type of six species without and with salinity applied in an appropriate manner. About half of all the papers report data on experiments conducted under conditions where there is little or no transpiration: such experiments may provide insights into components of tolerance, but are not grounds for claims of enhanced tolerance at the whole plant level. Whether enhanced tolerance, where properly established, is due to the chance alteration of a factor that is limiting in a complex chain or an effect on signalling remains to be elucidated. After ten years of research using transgenic plants to alter salt tolerance, the value of this approach has yet to be established in the field.
TL;DR: The world's agricultural community should adopt plant breeding and other genetic technologies to improve human health, and the world's nutrition and health communities should support these efforts.
Abstract: Over three billion people are currently micronutrient (i.e. micronutrient elements and vitamins) malnourished, resulting in egregious societal costs including learning disabilities among children, increased morbidity and mortality rates, lower worker productivity, and high healthcare costs, all factors diminishing human potential, felicity, and national economic development. Nutritional deficiencies (e.g. iron, zinc, vitamin A) account for almost two-thirds of the childhood death worldwide. Most of those afflicted are dependent on staple crops for their sustenance. Importantly, these crops can be enriched (i.e. ‘biofortified’) with micronutrients using plant breeding and/ or transgenic strategies, because micronutrient enrichment traits exist within their genomes that can to used for substantially increasing micronutrient levels in these foods without negatively impacting crop productivity. Furthermore, ‘proof of concept’ studies have been published using transgenic approaches to biofortify staple crops (e.g. high b-carotene ‘golden rice’ grain, high ferritin-Fe rice grain, etc). In addition, micronutrient element enrichment of seeds can increase crop yields when sowed to micronutrient-poor soils, assuring their adoption by farmers. Bioavailability issues must be addressed when employing plant breeding and/or transgenic approaches to reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Enhancing substances (e.g. ascorbic acid, S-containing amino acids, etc) that promote micronutrient bioavailability or decreasing antinutrient substances (e.g. phytate, polyphenolics, etc) that inhibit micronutrient bioavailability, are both options that could be pursued, but the latter approach should be used with caution. The world’s agricultural community should adopt plant breeding and other genetic technologies to improve human health, and the world’s nutrition and health communities should support these efforts. Sustainable solutions to this enormous global problem of ‘hidden hunger’ will not come without employing agricultural approaches.
TL;DR: The relationships between chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and leaf photosynthetic performance are reviewed in the context of applications of fluorescence measurements to screening programmes which seek to identify improved plant performance.
Abstract: Chlorophyll fluorescence has been routinely used for many years to monitor the photosynthetic performance of plants non-invasively. The relationships between chlorophyll fluorescence parameters and leaf photosynthetic performance are reviewed in the context of applications of fluorescence measurements to screening programmes which seek to identify improved plant performance. The potential role of chlorophyll fluorescence imaging in increasing both the sensitivity and throughput of plant screening programmes is examined. Finally, consideration is given to possible specific applications of chlorophyll fluorescence for screening of plants for tolerance to environmental stresses and for improvements in glasshouse production and post-harvest handling of crops.
TL;DR: The major constraints to carbon assimilation and the metabolic regulations that play a role in plant responses to water deficits, acting in isolation or in conjunction with other stresses, is reviewed.
Abstract: Drought is one of the greatest limitations to crop expansion outside the present-day agricultural areas. It will become increasingly important in regions of the globe where, in the past, the problem was negligible, due to the recognized changes in global climate. Today the concern is with improving cultural practices and crop genotypes for drought-prone areas; therefore, understanding the mechanisms behind drought resistance and the efficient use of water by the plants is fundamental for the achievement of those goals. In this paper, the major constraints to carbon assimilation and the metabolic regulations that play a role in plant responses to water deficits, acting in isolation or in conjunction with other stresses, is reviewed. The effects on carbon assimilation include increased resistance to diffusion by stomata and the mesophyll, as well as biochemical and photochemical adjustments. Oxidative stress is critical for crops that experience drought episodes. The role of detoxifying systems in preventing irreversible damage to photosynthetic machinery and of redox molecules as local or systemic signals is revised. Plant capacity to avoid or repair membrane damage during dehydration and rehydration processes is pivotal for the maintenance of membrane integrity, especially for those that embed functional proteins. Among such proteins are water transporters, whose role in the regulation of plant water status and transport of other metabolites is the subject of intense investigation. Long-distance chemical signalling, as an early response to drought, started to be unravelled more than a decade ago. The effects of those signals on carbon assimilation and partitioning of assimilates between reproductive and non-reproductive structures are revised and discussed in the context of novel management techniques. These applications are designed to combine increased crop water-use efficiency with sustained yield and improved quality of the products. Through an understanding of the mechanisms leading to successful adaptation to dehydration and rehydration, it has already been possible to identify key genes able to alter metabolism and increase plant tolerance to drought. An overview of the most important data on this topic, including engineering for osmotic adjustment or protection, water transporters, and C4 traits is presented in this paper. Emphasis is given to the most successful or promising cases of genetic engineering in crops, using functional or regulatory genes. as well as to promising technologies, such as the transfer of transcription factors.
TL;DR: Progress in breeding for improved water-use efficiency of rain-fed wheat is reviewed and results of such simulations indicate that greater progress may be achieved by pyramiding traits so that potential negative effects of individual traits are neutralized.
Abstract: There is a pressing need to improve the water-use efficiency of rain-fed and irrigated crop production. Breeding crop varieties with higher water-use efficiency is seen as providing part of the solution. Three key processes can be exploited in breeding for high water-use efficiency: (i) moving more of the available water through the crop rather than it being wasted as evaporation from the soil surface or drainage beyond the root zone or being left behind in the root zone at harvest; (ii) acquiring more carbon (biomass) in exchange for the water transpired by the crop, i.e. improving crop transpiration efficiency; (iii) partitioning more of the achieved biomass into the harvested product. The relative importance of any one of these processes will vary depending on how water availability varies during the crop cycle. However, these three processes are not independent. Targeting specific traits to improve one process may have detrimental effects on the other two, but there may also be positive interactions. Progress in breeding for improved water-use efficiency of rain-fed wheat is reviewed to illustrate the nature of some of these interactions and to highlight opportunities that may be exploited in other crops as well as potential pitfalls. For C3 species, measuring carbon isotope discrimination provides a powerful means of improving water-use efficiency of leaf gas exchange, but experience has shown that improvements in leaf-level water-use efficiency may not always translate into higher crop water-use efficiency or yield. In fact, the reverse has frequently been observed. Reasons for this are explored in some detail. Crop simulation modelling can be used to assess the likely impact on water-use efficiency and yield of changing the expression of traits of interest. Results of such simulations indicate that greater progress may be achieved by pyramiding traits so that potential negative effects of individual traits are neutralized. DNA-based selection techniques may assist in such a strategy.
TL;DR: This paper reviews the various methods available for irrigation scheduling, contrasting traditional water-balance and soil moisture-based approaches with those based on sensing of the plant response to water deficits, and indicating the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches and highlighting their suitability over different spatial and temporal scales.
Abstract: This paper reviews the various methods available for irrigation scheduling, contrasting traditional water-balance and soil moisture-based approaches with those based on sensing of the plant response to water deficits. The main plant-based methods for irrigation scheduling, including those based on direct or indirect measurement of plant water status and those based on plant physiological responses to drought, are outlined and evaluated. Specific plant-based methods include the use of dendrometry, fruit gauges, and other tissue water content sensors, while measurements of growth, sap flow, and stomatal conductance are also outlined. Recent advances, especially in the use of infrared thermometry and thermography for the study of stomatal conductance changes, are highlighted. The relative suitabilities of different approaches for specific crop and climatic situations are discussed, with the aim of indicating the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches, and highlighting their suitability over different spatial and temporal scales. The potential of soil- and plant-based systems for automated irrigation control using various scheduling techniques is also discussed.
TL;DR: A photosynthetic organism is subjected to photo-oxidative stress when more light energy is absorbed than is used in photosynthesis, and changes of the mid-point potential of the primary quinone acceptor in Photosystem II modulate the pathway of charge recombination in photosystem II and influence the yield of singlet oxygen production.
Abstract: A photosynthetic organism is subjected to photo-oxidative stress when more light energy is absorbed than is used in photosynthesis. In the light, highly reactive singlet oxygen can be produced via triplet chlorophyll formation in the reaction centre of photosystem II and in the antenna system. In the antenna, triplet chlorophyll is produced directly by excited singlet chlorophyll, while in the reaction centre it is formed via charge recombination of the light-induced charge pair. Changes of the mid-point potential of the primary quinone acceptor in photosystem II modulate the pathway of charge recombination in photosystem II and influence the yield of singlet oxygen production. Singlet oxygen can be quenched by β-carotene, α-tocopherol or can react with the D1 protein of photosystem II as target. If not completely quenched, it can specifically trigger the up-regulation of the expression of genes which are involved in the molecular defence response of plants against photo-oxidative stress.
TL;DR: Characterization of water deficit-induced changes in transcript populations and cell wall protein profiles within the growth zone of the maize primary root is in progress and initial results from EST and unigene analyses in the tips of well-watered and water-stressed roots highlight the strength of the kinematic approach to transcript profiling.
Abstract: Progress in understanding the network of mechanisms involved in maize primary root growth maintenance under water deficits is reviewed. These include the adjustment of growth zone dimensions, turgor maintenance by osmotic adjustment, and enhanced cell wall loosening. The role of the hormone abscisic acid (ABA) in maintaining root growth under water deficits is also addressed. The research has taken advantage of kinematic analysis, i.e. characterization of spatial and temporal patterns of cell expansion within the root growth zone. This approach revealed different growth responses to water deficits and ABA deficiency in distinct regions of the root tip. In the apical 3 mm region, elongation is maintained at well-watered rates under severe water deficit, although only in ABA-sufficient roots, whereas the region from 3-7 mm from the apex exhibits maximum elongation in well-watered roots, but progressive inhibition of elongation in roots under water deficit. This knowledge has greatly facilitated discovery of the mechanisms involved in regulating the responses. The spatial resolution with which this system has been characterized and the physiological knowledge gained to date provide a unique and powerful underpinning for functional genomics studies. Characterization of water deficit-induced changes in transcript populations and cell wall protein profiles within the growth zone of the maize primary root is in progress. Initial results from EST and unigene analyses in the tips of well-watered and water-stressed roots highlight the strength of the kinematic approach to transcript profiling.
TL;DR: Induction of DSBs could be used as a means for the controlled manipulation of plant genomes in an analogous way for the use of marker gene excision and site-specific integration.
Abstract: The efficient repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in genomic DNA is important for the survival of all organisms. In recent years, basic mechanisms of DSB repair in somatic plant cells have been elucidated. DSBs are mainly repaired by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). The repair can be associated with deletions, but also insertions due to copying genomic sequences from elsewhere into the break. Species-specific differences of NHEJ have been reported and an inverse correlation of deletion size to genome size has been postulated, indicating that NHEJ might contribute significantly to evolution of genome size. DSB repair by homologous recombination (HR) might also influence genome organization. Whereas homology present in an allelic or an ectopic position is hardly used for repair, the use of homologous sequences in close proximity to the break is frequent. A 'single-strand annealing' mechanism that leads to sequence deletions between direct repeats is particularly efficient. This might explain the accumulation of single long terminal repeats of retroelements in cereal genomes. The conservative 'synthesis-dependent strand annealing' mechanism, resulting in conversions without crossovers is also prominent and seems to be significant for the evolution of tandemly arranged gene families such as resistance genes. Induction of DSBs could be used as a means for the controlled manipulation of plant genomes in an analogous way for the use of marker gene excision and site-specific integration.
TL;DR: The evidence that particular aspects of acclimation are advantageous to the plant is discussed, and the significant gaps in understanding of the mechanisms underlying acclimations are highlighted.
Abstract: It has long been recognized that higher plants vary the composition and organization of the photosynthetic apparatus in response to the prevailing environmental conditions, with particular attention being paid to the responses to incident light Under high light conditions there are increases in the amounts of photosystems, electron transport and ATP synthase complexes, and enzymes of the Calvin-Benson cycle; conversely, under low light there is an increase in the relative amounts of light-harvesting complexes (LHC) and in the stacking of thylakoid membranes to form grana It is believed that these changes are of adaptive significance, and in a few instances evidence has been provided that this is indeed the case; an increase in photosynthetic capacity reduces susceptibility to photodamage, while changes in photosystem stoichiometry serve to optimize light utilization By contrast, the potential benefit to the plant of other changes in chloroplast composition, such as in the levels of LHC, is far less clear It is also believed that redox signals derived from photosynthetic electron transport play an important regulatory role in acclimation However, while there is convincing evidence that such redox signals modulate the expression of many plastidic and nuclear genes encoding photosynthetic components, there is little to demonstrate that such changes are responsible for regulating chloroplast composition This review discusses the evidence that particular aspects of acclimation are advantageous to the plant, and highlights the significant gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying acclimation
TL;DR: First the AM symbiosis enhanced osmotic adjustment in roots, which could contribute to maintaining a water potential gradient favourable to the water entrance from soil into the roots, enabled higher leaf water potential in AM plants during drought and kept the plants protected against oxidative stress, and these cumulative effects increased the plant tolerance to drought.
Abstract: This study investigated several aspects related to drought tolerance in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) soybean plants. The investigation included both shoot and root tissues in order to reveal the preferred target tissue for AM effects against drought stress. Non-AM and AM soybean plants were grown under well-watered or drought-stressed conditions, and leaf water status, solute accumulation, oxidative damage to lipids, and other parameters were determined. Results showed that AM plants were protected against drought, as shown by their significantly higher shoot-biomass production. The leaf water potential was also higher in stressed AM plants (-1.9 MPa) than in non-AM plants (-2.5 MPa). The AM roots had accumulated more proline than non-AM roots, while the opposite was observed in shoots. Lipid peroxides were 55% lower in shoots of droughted AM plants than in droughted non-AM plants. Since there was no correlation between the lower oxidative damage to lipids in AM plants and the activity of antioxidant enzymes, it seems that first the AM symbiosis enhanced osmotic adjustment in roots, which could contribute to maintaining a water potential gradient favourable to the water entrance from soil into the roots. This enabled higher leaf water potential in AM plants during drought and kept the plants protected against oxidative stress, and these cumulative effects increased the plant tolerance to drought.
TL;DR: A more detailed analysis of genes involved in cell wall metabolism, indicated that there was a global decrease in expression of genes that promote cell expansion, which indicated that repression of gene expression supported a frequently observed response to water-deficit stress.
Abstract: Cellular water-deficit stress triggers many changes in gene expression which can be used to define the response of a plant to an environmental condition. Microarray technology permits the study of expression patterns of thousands of genes simultaneously, permitting a comprehensive understanding of the types and quantities of RNAs that are present in a cell in response to water-deficit stress. The expression of specific genes was compared in three different experiments designed to understand changes in gene expression in response to water-deficit stress. Surprisingly, there was a relatively small set of genes that were commonly induced or repressed. There were 27 genes commonly induced and three commonly repressed; 1.4% and 0.2% of the genes analysed in common to all three experiments. The induced genes fell into six different functional categories: metabolism, transport, signalling, transcription, hydrophilic proteins, and unknown. The three commonly repressed genes indicated that repression of gene expression supported a frequently observed response to water-deficit stress, decreased growth. A more detailed analysis of genes involved in cell wall metabolism, indicated that there was a global decrease in expression of genes that promote cell expansion.
TL;DR: A two-dimensional Blue-native gel map of thylakoid membrane protein complexes, and their modification in the grana and stroma lamellae during a high-light treatment, is presented.
Abstract: Oxygenic photosynthesis produces various radicals and active oxygen species with harmful effects on photosystem II (PSII). Such photodamage occurs at all light intensities. Damaged PSII centres, however, do not usually accumulate in the thylakoid membrane due to a rapid and efficient repair mechanism. The excellent design of PSII gives protection to most of the protein components and the damage is most often targeted only to the reaction centre D1 protein. Repair of PSII via turnover of the damaged protein subunits is a complex process involving (i) highly regulated reversible phosphorylation of several PSII core subunits, (ii) monomerization and migration of the PSII core from the grana to the stroma lamellae, (iii) partial disassembly of the PSII core monomer, (iv) highly specific proteolysis of the damaged proteins, and finally (v) a multi-step replacement of the damaged proteins with de novo synthesized copies followed by (vi) the reassembly, dimerization, and photoactivation of the PSII complexes. These processes will shortly be reviewed paying particular attention to the damage, turnover, and assembly of the PSII complex in grana and stroma thylakoids during the photoinhibition–repair cycle of PSII. Moreover, a two-dimensional Blue-native gel map of thylakoid membrane protein complexes, and their modification in the grana and stroma lamellae during a high-light treatment, is presented.
TL;DR: The physiological and morphological alternation of plants under partial root-zone irrigation may bring more benefits to crops than improved water use efficiency where carbon redistribution among organs is crucial to the determination of the quantity and quality of the products.
Abstract: Controlled alternate partial root-zone irrigation (CAPRI), also called partial root-zone drying (PRD) in other literature, is a new irrigation technique and may improve the water use efficiency of crop production without significant yield reduction. It involves part of the root system being exposed to drying soil while the remaining part is irrigated normally. The wetted and dried sides of the root system are alternated with a frequency according to soil drying rate and crop water requirement. The irrigation system is developed on the basis of two theoretical backgrounds. (i) Fully irrigated plants usually have widely opened stomata. A small narrowing of the stomatal opening may reduce water loss substantially with little effect on photosynthesis. (ii) Part of the root system in drying soil can respond to the drying by sending a root-sourced signal to the shoots where stomata may be inhibited so that water loss is reduced. In the field, however, the prediction that reduced stomatal opening may reduce water consumption may not materialize because stomatal control only constitutes part of the total transpirational resistance. The boundary resistance from the leaf surface to the outside of the canopy may be so substantial that reduction in stomatal conductance is small and may be partially compensated by the increase in leaf temperature. It is likely that densely populated field crops, such as wheat and maize, may have a different stomatal control over transpiration from that of fruit trees which are more sparsely separated. It was discussed how long the stomata can keep 'partially' closed when a prolonged and repeated 'partial' soil drying is applied and what role the rewatering-stimulated new root growth may play in sensing the repeated soil drying. The physiological and morphological alternation of plants under partial root-zone irrigation may bring more benefits to crops than improved water use efficiency where carbon redistribution among organs is crucial to the determination of the quantity and quality of the products.
TL;DR: The hypothesis that stress responses of the glutathione system follow a general ecophysiological stress-response concept is investigated and it is suggested that a variety of parameters taking into account alternative protection pathways and other components of the antioxidative systems should be measured.
Abstract: Environmental stress impacts cause an increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the chloroplasts (photo-oxidative stress). The role of glutathione in the antioxidative defence system provides a rationale for its use as a stress marker. However, responses of glutathione concentrations and redox states are not consistent among the large number of available publications. In the present review the hypothesis that stress responses of the glutathione system follow a general ecophysiological stress-response concept is investigated. In this view, an initial response phase would be followed by an acclimation phase where a new steady-state is established. Alternatively, if successful acclimation is not achieved, degradation of the system will follow. Recent publications dealing with responses to photochilling, salinity, and drought are analysed as to whether the results fit the concept. In general, an initial stress response was related to changes in the glutathione redox state, whereas acclimation was marked by increased glutathione concentrations, increased related enzyme activities, and/or a more reduced redox state of glutathione. The latter was interpreted as overcompensation leading to enhanced regeneration of glutathione. Deterioration effects upon strong stress impacts were related to progressive degradation and oxidation of the glutathione pool. A time-course analysis, which has rarely been done in the published literature, showed this sequence of events. When apple trees were subjected to progressing drought, the initial response was a slight oxidation of the glutathione pool, followed by increased glutathione concentrations. When the stress increased, glutathione concentrations dropped and redox state became more oxidized, which marked the degradation of the system. In spite of the general congruency of these results with the suggested stress-response concept, several limitations have to be highlighted: The importance of the glutathione system relative to other components of the photoprotective and antioxidative defence system, as well as relative to stress avoidance strategies, has to be established. It is suggested that a variety of parameters taking into account alternative protection pathways (e.g. photorespiration, light dissipation) and other components of the antioxidative systems should be measured. Within such response patterns the glutathione system is a valuable stress marker in ecophysiological studies.
TL;DR: The appearance of genetically modified organisms on the food market a few years ago, and the demand for more precise and reliable techniques to detect foreign DNA in edible plants, have been the driving force for the introduction of real-time PCR techniques in plant research.
Abstract: The appearance of genetically modified organisms on the food market a few years ago, and the demand for more precise and reliable techniques to detect foreign (transgenic or pathogenic) DNA in edible plants, have been the driving force for the introduction of real-time PCR techniques in plant research. This was followed by numerous fundamental research applications aiming to study the expression profiles of endogenous genes and multigene families. Since then, the interest in this technique in the plant scientist community has increased exponentially. This review describes the technical features of quantitative real-time PCR that are especially relevant to plant research, and summarizes its present and future applications.
TL;DR: The photosystem II (PSII) light-harvesting system carries out two essential functions, the efficient collection of light energy for photosynthesis, and the regulated dissipation of excitation energy in excess of that which can be used.
Abstract: The photosystem II (PSII) light-harvesting system carries out two essential functions, the efficient collection of light energy for photosynthesis, and the regulated dissipation of excitation energy in excess of that which can be used. This dual function requires structural and functional flexibility, in which light-harvesting proteins respond to an external signal, the thylakoid DeltapH, to induce feedback control. This process, referred to as non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) depends upon the xanthophyll cycle and the PsbS protein. In nature, NPQ is heterogeneous in terms of kinetics and capacity, and this adapts photosynthetic systems to the specific dynamic features of the light environment. The molecular features of the thylakoid membrane which may enable this flexibility and plasticity are discussed.
TL;DR: In spite of the fact that salt stress decreased activities of antioxidant enzymes in Lem peroxisome, oxidative stress was not evident in these organelles.
Abstract: The effect of salinity on the antioxidative system of root mitochondria and peroxisomes of a cultivated tomato Lycopersicon esculentum (Lem) and its wild salt-tolerant related species L. pennellii (Lpa) was studied. Salt stress induced oxidative stress in Lem mitochondria, as indicated by the increased levels of lipid peroxidation and H(2)O(2). These changes were associated with decreased activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and guaiacol peroxidases (POD) and contents of ascorbate (ASC) and glutathione (GSH). By contrast, in mitochondria of salt-treated Lpa plants both H(2)O(2) and lipid peroxidation levels decreased while the levels of ASC and GSH and activities of SOD, several isoforms of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and POD increased. Similarly to mitochondria, peroxisomes isolated from roots of salt-treated Lpa plants exhibited also decreased levels of lipid peroxidation and H(2)O(2) and increased SOD, ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and catalase (CAT) activities. In spite of the fact that salt stress decreased activities of antioxidant enzymes in Lem peroxisome, oxidative stress was not evident in these organelles.
TL;DR: Reciprocal pollination of H TS or control pistils with HTS or control pollen indicated that the combined effects of HTS on both micro- and megagametophytes was required to knock out fruit and seed development.
Abstract: High temperature stress (HTS), during flowering, decreases seed production in many plants. To determine the effect of a moderate HTS on flowering, fruit and seed set in Brassica napus, plants were exposed to a HTS (8/16 h dark/light, 18 degrees C night, ramped at 2 degrees C h-1, over 6 h, to 35 degrees C for 4 h, ramped at 2 degrees C h-1 back to 23 degrees C for 6 h) for 1 or 2 weeks after the initiation of flowering. Although flowering on the HTS-treated plants, during both the 1 week and 2 week HTS treatments, was equal to that of control-grown plants, fruit and seed development, as well as seed weight, were significantly reduced. Under HTS, flowers either developed into seedless, parthenocarpic fruit or aborted on the stem. At the cessation of the HTS, plants compensated for the lack of fruit and seed production by increasing the number of lateral inflorescences produced. During the HTS, pollen viability and germinability were slightly reduced. In vitro pollen tube growth at 35 degrees C, from both control pollen and pollen developed under a HTS, appeared abnormal, however, in vivo tube growth to the micropyle appeared normal. Reciprocal pollination of HTS or control pistils with HTS or control pollen indicated that the combined effects of HTS on both micro- and megagametophytes was required to knock out fruit and seed development. Expression profiles for a subset of HEAT SHOCK PROTEINs (HSP101, HSP70, HSP17.6) showed that both micro- and megagametophytes were thermosensitive despite HTS-induced expression from these genes.
TL;DR: Fruit softening and other textural changes in peach appear to have a number of stages, each involving a different set of cell wall modifications, and correlated closely with the depolymerization of matrix glycans, which proceeded throughout development.
Abstract: Cell wall changes were examined in fruit of a melting flesh peach (Prunus persica L.) allowed to ripen on the tree. Three phases to softening were noted, the first of which began prior to the completion of flesh colour change and an increase in ethylene evolution. Softening in young mature fruit, prior to ripening, was associated with a depolymerization of matrix glycans both loosely and tightly attached to cellulose and a loss of Gal from all cell wall fractions. After the initiation of ripening, but before the melting stage, softening was associated with continuing, progressive depolymerization of matrix glycans. A massive loss of Ara from the loosely bound matrix glycan fraction was observed, probably from side chains of glucuronoarabinoxylan, pectin, or possibly arabinogalactan protein firmly bound into the wall and solubilized in this extract. An increase in the solubilization of polyuronides also occurred during this period, when softening was already well advanced. The extensive softening of the melting period was marked by substantial depolymerization of both loosely and tightly bound matrix glycans, including a loss of Ara from the latter, an increase in matrix glycan extractability, and a dramatic depolymerization of chelator-soluble polyuronides which continued during senescence. Depolymerization of chelator-soluble polyuronides thus occurred substantially after the increase in their solubilization. Ripening-related increases were observed in the activities of exo- and endo-polygalacturonase (EC 220.127.116.11; EC 18.104.22.168), pectin methylesterase (EC 22.214.171.124), endo1,4-b-glucanase (EC 126.96.36.199), endo-1,4-b-mannanase (EC 188.8.131.52), a-arabinosidase (EC 184.108.40.206), and b-galactosidase (EC 220.127.116.11), but the timing and extent of the increases differed between enzymes and was not necessarily related to ethylene evolution. Fruit softening in peach is a continuous process and correlated closely with the depolymerization of matrix glycans, which proceeded throughout development. However, numerous other cell wall changes also took place, such as the deglycosylation of particular polymers and the solubilization and depolymerization of chelator-soluble polyuronides, but these were transient and occurred only at specific phases of the softening process. Fruit softening and other textural changes in peach appear to have a number of stages, each involving a different set of cell wall modifications.
TL;DR: The potential of 1H NMR spectroscopy as a tool for probing the operation of metabolic networks, or as a functional genomics tool for identifying gene function, is largely untapped.
Abstract: Although less sensitive than mass spectrometry (MS), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy provides a powerful complementary technique for the identification and quantitative analysis of plant metabolites either in vivo or in tissue extracts. In one approach, metabolite fingerprinting, multivariate analysis of unassigned 1 H NMR spectra is used to compare the overall metabolic composition of wild-type, mutant, and transgenic plant material, and to assess the impact of stress conditions on the plant metabolome. Metabolite fingerprinting by NMR is a fast, convenient, and effective tool for discriminating between groups of related samples and it identifies the most important regions of the spectrum for further analysis. In a second approach, metabolite profiling, the 1 H NMR spectra of tissue extracts are assigned, a process that typically identifies 20-40 metabolites in an unfractionated extract. These profiles may also be used to compare groups of samples, and significant differences in metabolite concentrations provide the basis for hypotheses on the underlying causes for the observed segregation of the groups. Both approaches generate a metabolic phenotype for a plant, based on a system-wide but incomplete analysis of the plant metabolome. However, a review of the literature suggests that the emphasis so far has been on the accumulation of analytical data and sample classification, and that the potential of 1 H NMR spectroscopy as a tool for probing the operation of metabolic networks, or as a functional genomics tool for identifying gene function, is largely untapped.
TL;DR: The data suggest (i) that Se and S enter Arabidopsis through multiple transport pathways with contrasting sulphate/selenate selectivities, whose activities vary between plants of contrasting nutritional status, (ii) that rhizosphere sulphate inhibits selenate uptake, (iii) thatrhizosphere selenates promotes sulphate uptake and (iv) thatSe toxicity occurs because Se andS compete for a biochemical process, such as assimilation into amino acids of essential proteins.
Abstract: Selenium (Se) is an essential plant micronutrient, but is toxic at high tissue concentrations. It is chemically similar to sulphur (S), an essential plant macronutrient. The interactions between Se and S nutrition were investigated in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. Arabidopsis plants were grown on agar containing a complete mineral complement and various concentrations of selenate and sulphate. The Se/S concentration ratio in the shoot ([Se](shoot)/[S](shoot)) showed a complex dependence on the ratio of selenate to sulphate concentration in the agar ([Se](agar)/[S](agar)). Increasing [S](agar) increased shoot fresh weight (FW) and [S](shoot), but decreased [Se](shoot). Increasing [Se](agar) increased both [Se](shoot) and [S](shoot), but reduced shoot FW. The reduction in shoot FW in the presence of Se was linearly related to the shoot Se/S concentration ratio. These data suggest (i) that Se and S enter Arabidopsis through multiple transport pathways with contrasting sulphate/selenate selectivities, whose activities vary between plants of contrasting nutritional status, (ii) that rhizosphere sulphate inhibits selenate uptake, (iii) that rhizosphere selenate promotes sulphate uptake, possibly by preventing the reduction in the abundance and/or activity of sulphate transporters by sulphate and/or its metabolites, and (iv) that Se toxicity occurs because Se and S compete for a biochemical process, such as assimilation into amino acids of essential proteins.
TL;DR: The ovary rescue with sucrose feeding indicates either that the changes identified in the profiling are of no consequence for inhibiting ovary development or that gene expression reverts to control levels when the sugar stream recovers.
Abstract: Plant reproduction is sensitive to water deficits, especially during the early phases when development may cease irreversibly even though the parent remains alive. Grain numbers decrease because of several developmental changes, especially ovary abortion in maize (Zea mays L.) or pollen sterility in small grains. In maize, the water deficits inhibit photosynthesis, and the decrease in photosynthate flux to the developing organs appears to trigger abortion. Abscisic acid also increases in the parent and may play a role, perhaps by inhibiting photosynthesis through stomatal closure. Recent work indicates that invertase activity is inhibited and starch is diminished in the ovaries or affected pollen. Also, sucrose fed to the stems rescues many of the ovaries otherwise destined to abort. The feeding restores some of the ovary starch and invertase activity. These studies implicate invertase as a limiting enzyme step for grain yields during a water deficit, and transcript profiling with microarrays has identified genes that are up- or down-regulated during water deficit-induced abortion in maize. However, profiling studies to date have not reported changes in invertase or starch synthesizing genes in water-deficient ovaries, perhaps because there were too few sampling times. The ovary rescue with sucrose feeding indicates either that the changes identified in the profiling are of no consequence for inhibiting ovary development or that gene expression reverts to control levels when the sugar stream recovers. Careful documentation of tissue- and developmentally specific gene expression are needed to resolve these issues and link metabolic changes to the decreased sugar flux affecting the reproductive organs.
TL;DR: The results show both similarities, as well as distinct features, in Cd toxicity expression in genotypes of one species, suggesting that independent and multi-factorial reactions modulate Cd sensitivity on the low-tolerance level of plants.
Abstract: This work evaluates the (cor-)relations between selected biochemical responses to toxic Cd and the degree of Cd sensitivity in a set of pea genotypes. Ten genotypes were analysed that differ in their growth response to Cd when expressed as root or shoot tolerance indices (TIs). Concentrations of non-protein thiols (NPTs) and malondialdehyde (MDA), activity of chitinase, peroxidase (POX), and catalase significantly increased in all pea genotypes treated with Cd. Cd-sensitivity of genotypes was correlated with relative increases in MDA concentration as well as activities of chitinase and POX, suggesting similar Cd stress effects. Activities of ascorbate peroxidase (APX) decreased, but concentrations of glutathione (GSH) increased in the less Cd-sensitive genotypes. Differences in root and leaf contents of Cd revealed no correlation with TI, metabolic parameters, and enzyme activities in Cd-treated plants, respectively, except that shoot Cd concentration positively correlated with shoot chitinase activity. Toxic Cd levels inhibited uptake of nutrient elements such as P, K, S, Ca, Zn, Mn, and B by plants in an organ- and genotype-specific manner. Cd-sensitivity was significantly correlated with decreased root Zn concentrations. The results show both similarities, as well as distinct features, in Cd toxicity expression in genotypes of one species, suggesting that independent and multi-factorial reactions modulate Cd sensitivity on the low-tolerance level of plants. The study illustrates the biochemical basis of earlier detected genotypic variation in Cd response.
TL;DR: Recently discovered aspects of the fine control of starch metabolism indicate that a number of key reactions are controlled by post-translational modifications of enzymes, including redox modulation and protein phosphorylation.
Abstract: This article reviews current knowledge of starch metabolism in higher plants, and focuses on the control and regulation of the biosynthetic and degradative pathways. The major elements comprising the synthetic and degradative pathways in plastids are discussed, and show that, despite present knowledge of the core reactions within each pathway, understanding of how these individual reactions are co-ordinated within different plastid types and under different environmental conditions, is far from complete. In particular, recently discovered aspects of the fine control of starch metabolism are discussed, which indicate that a number of key reactions are controlled by post-translational modifications of enzymes, including redox modulation and protein phosphorylation. In some cases, enzymes of the pathway may form protein complexes with specific functional significance. It is suggested that some of the newly discovered aspects of fine control of the biosynthetic pathway may well apply to many other proteins which are directly and indirectly involved in polymer synthesis and degradation.
TL;DR: It was concluded that EBR increases the capacity of CO(2) assimilation in the Calvin cycle, which was mainly attributed to an increase in the initial activity of Rubisco.
Abstract: The effects of 24-epibrassinolide (EBR) spray application on gas-exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence characteristics, Rubisco activity, and carbohydrate metabolism were investigated in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinchun No. 3) plants grown in a greenhouse. EBR significantly increased the light-saturated net CO(2) assimilation rate (A(sat)) from 3 h to 7d after spraying, with 0.1 mg l(-1) EBR proving most effective. Increased A(sat) in EBR-treated leaves was accompanied by increases in the maximum carboxylation rate of Rubisco (V(c,max)) and in the maximum rate of RuBP regeneration (J(max)). EBR-treated leaves also had a higher quantum yield of PSII electron transport (phi(PSII)) than the controls, which was mainly due to a significant increase in the photochemical quenching (q(P)), with no change in the efficiency of energy capture by open PSII reaction centres (F'(v)/F'(m)). EBR did not influence photorespiration. In addition, significant increases in the initial activity of Rubisco and in the sucrose, soluble sugars, and starch contents were observed followed by substantial increases in sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS), sucrose synthase (SS), and acid invertase (AI) activities after EBR treatment. It was concluded that EBR increases the capacity of CO(2) assimilation in the Calvin cycle, which was mainly attributed to an increase in the initial activity of Rubisco.
TL;DR: The GS locus on chromosome 5 appears to be a good candidate gene which can, at least partially, explain the variation in nitrogen use efficiency.
Abstract: To study the genetic variability and the genetic basis of nitrogen (N) use efficiency in maize, a set of recombinant inbred lines crossed with a tester was studied at low input (N-) and high input (N+) for grain yield and its components, grain protein content, and post-anthesis nitrogen uptake and remobilization. Other physiological traits, such as nitrate content, nitrate reductase, glutamine synthetase (GS), and glutamate dehydrogenase activities were studied at the level of the lines. Genotypexnitrogen (GxN) interaction was significant for yield and explained by variation in kernel number. In N-, N-uptake, the nitrogen nutrition index, and GS activity in the vegetative stage were positively correlated with grain yield, whereas leaf senescence was negatively correlated. Whatever N-input, post-anthesis N-uptake was highly negatively related to N-remobilization. As a whole, genetic variability was expressed differently in N+ and N-. This was confirmed by the detection of QTLs. More QTLs were detected in N+ than in N- for traits of vegetative development, N-uptake, and grain yield and its components, whereas it was the reverse for grain protein content and N-utilization efficiency. Several coincidences between genes encoding for enzymes of N metabolism and QTLs for the traits studied were observed. In particular, coincidences in three chromosome regions of QTLs for yield and N-remobilization, QTLs for GS activity and a gene encoding cytosolic GS were observed. This may have a physiological meaning. The GS locus on chromosome 5 appears to be a good candidate gene which can, at least partially, explain the variation in nitrogen use efficiency.
TL;DR: Microarray analysis was used to identify a number of genes that were consistently up- or down-regulated in transgenic crtB tubers compared with empty vector controls, and the implications from a nutritional standpoint and for further modifications of tuber carotenoid content are discussed.
Abstract: In order to enhance the carotenoid content of potato tubers, transgenic potato plants have been produced expressing an Erwinia uredovora crtB gene encoding phytoene synthase, specifically in the tuber of Sola- num tuberosum L. cultivar Desiree which normally produces tubers containing c. 5.6 lg carotenoid g 21 DW and also in Solanum phureja L. cv. Mayan Gold which has a tuber carotenoid content of typically 20 lg carotenoid g 21 DW. In developing tubers of transgenic crtB Desiree lines, carotenoid levels reached 35 lg carotenoid g 21 DW and the balance of carotenoids changed radically compared with controls: b-carotene levels in the transgenic tubers reached c. 11 l gg 21 DW, whereas control tubers contained negligible amounts and lutein accumulated to a level 19-fold higher than empty-vector transformed controls. The crtB gene was also transformed into S. phureja (cv. Mayan Gold), again resulting in an increase in total carotenoid content to 78 lg carotenoid g 21 DW in the most affected transgenic line. In these tubers, the major carotenoids were violaxanthin, lutein, antherax- anthin, and b-carotene. No increases in expression levels of the major carotenoid biosynthetic genes could be detected in the transgenic tubers, despite the large increase in carotenoid accumulation. Micro- array analysis was used to identify a number of genes that were consistently up- or down-regulated in trans- genic crtB tubers compared with empty vector con- trols. The implications of these data from a nutritional standpoint and for further modifications of tuber ca- rotenoid content are discussed.
TL;DR: The main portion of the transpiration barrier is located in the intracuticular wax layer, largely determined by the aliphatic constituents, but modified by the presence of triterpenoids, whereas epicuticular aliphatics play a minor role.
Abstract: Cuticular waxes play a pivotal role in limiting transpirational water loss across the plant surface. The correlation between the chemical composition of the cuticular waxes and their function as a transpiration barrier is still unclear. In the present study, intact tomato fruits (Lycopersicon esculentum) are used, due to their astomatous surface, as a novel integrative approach to investigate this composition- function relationship: wax amounts and compositions of tomato were manipulated before measuring unbiased cuticular transpiration. First, successive mechanical and extractive wax-removal steps allowed the selective modification of epi- and intracuticular wax layers. The epicuticular film consisted exclusively of very-long-chain aliphatics, while the intracuticular compartment contained large quantities of pentacyclic triterpenoids as well. Second, applying reverse genetic techniques, a loss-of-function mutation with a transposon insertion in a very-long-chain fatty acid elongase beta-ketoacyl-CoA synthase was isolated and characterized. Mutant leaf and fruit waxes were deficient in n-alkanes and aldehydes with chain lengths beyond C30, while shorter chains and branched hydrocarbons were not affected. The mutant fruit wax also showed a significant increase in intracuticular triterpenoids. Removal of the epicuticular wax layer, accounting for one-third of the total wax coverage on wild-type fruits, had only moderate effects on transpiration. By contrast, reduction of the intracuticular aliphatics in the mutant to approximately 50% caused a 4-fold increase in permeability. Hence, the main portion of the transpiration barrier is located in the intracuticular wax layer, largely determined by the aliphatic constituents, but modified by the presence of triterpenoids, whereas epicuticular aliphatics play a minor role.
TL;DR: The PsbS protein of photosystem II functions in the regulation of photosynthetic light harvesting and is necessary for photoprotective thermal dissipation (qE) of excess absorbed light energy in plants, measured as non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence.
Abstract: The PsbS protein of photosystem II functions in the regulation of photosynthetic light harvesting. Along with a low thylakoid lumen pH and the presence of de-epoxidized xanthophylls, PsbS is necessary for photoprotective thermal dissipation (qE) of excess absorbed light energy in plants, measured as non-photochemical quenching of chlorophyll fluorescence. What is known about PsbS in relation to the hypothesis that this protein is the site of qE is reviewed here.