Carbonate-rich soils limit plant performance and crop production. Previously, local adaptation to carbonated soils was detected in wild Arabidopsis thaliana accessions, allowing the selection of two demes with contrasting phenotypes: A1 (carbonate tolerant, c+) and T6 (carbonate sensitive, c-). Here, A1 (c+) and T6 (c-) seedlings were grown hydroponically under control (pH 5.9) and bicarbonate conditions (10 mM NaHCO 3, pH 8.3) to obtain ionomic profiles and conduct transcriptomic analysis. In parallel, A1 (c+) and T6 (c-) parental lines and their progeny were cultivated on carbonated soil to evaluate fitness and segregation patterns. To understand the genetic architecture beyond the contrasted phenotypes a bulk segregant analysis sequencing (BSA-Seq) was performed. Transcriptomics revealed 208 root and 2503 leaf differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in A1 (c+) vs T6 (c-) comparison under bicarbonate stress, mainly involved in iron, nitrogen and carbon metabolism, hormones, and glycosylates biosynthesis. Based on A1 (c+) and T6 (c-) genome contrasts and BSA-Seq analysis, 69 genes were associated with carbonate tolerance. Comparative analysis of genomics and transcriptomics discovered a final set of 18 genes involved in bicarbonate stress responses that may have relevant roles in soil carbonate tolerance.
The hypersensitive response (HR) characterizes monogenic qualitative resistance traits in several pathosystems. Knowledge on its role in plant resistance to insects is so far limited to a few resistance ( R) gene-based resistances against piercing-sucking insects. Egg deposition by cabbage white butterflies ( Pieris spp.), pests of cabbage crops ( Brassica spp.), can trigger an HR-like cell death, which reduces egg survival and represents an effective plant resistance trait before feeding damage occurs. Here, we identified natural variation of HR-like to Pieris egg deposition in the black mustard ( B. nigra L.) and performed genetic mapping. HR-like segregated as a Mendelian trait and a single dominant locus on chromosome B3, named PEK ( P ieris e gg- k illing) was identified. In the ~50 kb region, eleven candidate genes, are located, including a cluster of genes encoding intracellular receptor proteins, TIR-NBS-LRR (TNLs). The PEK locus was found to be highly polymorphic between the parental accessions of our mapping populations and among B. nigra reference genomes. Our study is the first that identifies a single locus potentially involved in HR-like cell death induced by insect eggs. Further fine-mapping, comparative genomics and validation of the PEK locus will shed light on the role of TNL receptors in egg-induced HR-like cell death.
Climate change is often associated with increasing vapor pressure deficit (VPD) and changes in soil moisture (SM). While atmospheric and soil drying often co-occur, their differential effects on plant functioning and productivity remain uncertain. We investigated the divergent effects and underlying mechanisms of soil and atmospheric drought based on continuous, in situ measurements of branch gas exchange with automated chambers in a mature semiarid Aleppo pine forest. We investigated the response of control trees exposed to combined soil‒atmospheric drought (low SM, high VPD) during the rainless Mediterranean summer and that of trees experimentally unconstrained by soil dryness (high SM; using supplementary dry season water supply) but subjected to atmospheric drought (high VPD). During the seasonal dry period, branch conductance (g br), transpiration rate (E) and net photosynthesis (A net) decreased in low-SM trees but greatly increased in high-SM trees. The response of E and g br to the massive rise in VPD (to 7 kPa) was negative in low-SM trees and positive in high-SM trees. These observations were consistent with predictions based on a simple plant hydraulic model showing the importance of plant water potential in the g br and E response to VPD. These results demonstrate that avoiding drought on the supply side (soil moisture) and relying on plant hydraulic regulation constrains the effects of atmospheric drought (VPD) as a stressor on canopy gas exchange in mature pine trees under field conditions.
A stoma forms by a series of asymmetric divisions of a stomatal lineage precursor cell and the terminal division of a guard mother cell (GMC). The symmetric division of the GMC is rigidly restricted to only once through complex genetic regulation mechanisms. Here, we show that nitric oxide (NO) is involved in the regulation of the GMC terminal division. NO donor treatment results in the formation of single guard cells (SGCs). SGCs are also produced in plants that accumulate high NO, whereas clustered guard cells (GCs) appear in plants with low NO accumulation. NO treatment promotes the formation of SGCs in the stomatal cell signaling mutants sdd1, epf1 epf2, tmm1, erl2 and yda-1, reduces the cell number per stomatal cluster in the fama-1 and flp-1 myb88, but has no effect on stomatal cells of cdkb1;1 cyca2;2 cyca2;3 cyca2;4 quadruple mutants. Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), a positive regulator of GMC division, reduces the NO-induced SGC formation. Further investigation found that NO inhibits ACC synthesis by repressing the expression of several ACC SYNTHASE ( ACS) genes, and in turn ACC represses NO accumulation by promoting the expression of HEMOGLOBIN 1 ( HB1) which encodes a NO scavenger. This work shows that NO plays a role in the regulation of the GMC terminal division by modulating ACC accumulation in the Arabidopsis cotyledon.
Examining how plant traits respond to and affect herbivory is a common approach to exploring plant-herbivore interactions and their impact on ecosystem processes and functioning. Despite plants being potentially exposed to both vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores simultaneously, fundamental differences in the ecology and evolution of these two herbivore guilds results in them often being studied separately. A synthesis of the literature is needed to understand the types of plant traits examined and their response to, and effect on (in terms of forage selection) vertebrate and invertebrate herbivory, and to identify associated knowledge gaps. Focusing on grassland systems and species, we found 139 articles that met our criteria: 40 invertebrate, 97 vertebrate and 2 focussed on both vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores. Invertebrate focussed research, research conducted in the Southern Hemisphere and research on non-domesticated herbivores was significantly underrepresented based on our search. Differences in study focus (trait response or trait affect), along with considerable differences in the types of traits examined, led to limited capacity for comparison between the two herbivore guilds. For both invertebrates and vertebrates however, plant traits related to growth, such as leaf nitrogen and photosynthetic capacity, were often positively associated with herbivory. Future research should prioritise understanding how invertebrates, and the combined impact of both invertebrates and vertebrates’ respond to and affect plant traits. This review can be used as a guide for future research to select plant traits which are commonly measured either within one, or across both guild/s, as to help improve comparability and the broader significance of results, while also extending research breadth and knowledge.
Hydathodes are usually associated with water exudation in plants. However, foliar water uptake (FWU) through the hydathodes has long been suspected in the leaf-succulent genus Crassula (Crassulaceae), a highly diverse group in southern Africa, and, to our knowledge, no empirical observations exist in the literature that unequivocally link FWU to hydathodes in this genus. FWU is expected to be particularly beneficial on the arid western side of southern Africa, where up to 50% of Crassula species occur and where periodically high air humidity leads to fog and/or dew formation. To investigate if FWU is operational in different Crassula species we used the apoplastic fluorescent tracer Lucifer Yellow in combination with different imaging techniques. Our images of dye-treated leaves confirm that hydathode-mediated FWU does indeed occur in Crassula and that it is probably widespread across the genus. Hydathodes in Crassula have been repurposed as moisture-harvesting structures, besides their more common purpose of guttation, an adaptation that has likely played an important role in the evolutionary history of the genus. Our observations suggest that FWU ability is independent of geographical distribution and its associated environmental conditions, as FWU is possible in species occurring within the fog belt of western southern Africa but also in those from the rather humid eastern side. We did not find a strong apparent link between FWU ability and leaf surface wettability. Instead, the hierarchically sculptured leaf surfaces of several Crassula species may facilitate FWU due to hydrophilic leaf surface microdomains, even in seemingly hydrophobic species. Overall, these results confirm the ecophysiological relevance of FWU in Crassula and reassert the importance of atmospheric humidity for some arid-adapted plant groups.
For many fruit crops, the colour of the fruit outwardly defines its eating quality. Fruit pigments provide reproductive advantage for the plant as well as providing protection against unfavourable environmental conditions and pathogens. For consumers these colours are considered attractive and provide many of the dietary benefits derived from fruits. In the majority of species, the main pigments are either carotenoids and/or anthocyanins. They are produced in the fruit as part of the ripening process, orchestrated by phytohormones and an ensuing transcriptional cascade, culminating in pigment biosynthesis. Whilst this is a controlled developmental process, the production of pigments is also attuned to environmental conditions such as light quantity and quality, availability of water and ambient temperature. If these factors intensify to stress levels, fruit tissues respond by increasing (or ceasing) pigment production. In many cases, if the stress is not severe, this can have a positive outcome for fruit quality. Here, we focus on the principal environmental factors (light, temperature and water) that can influence fruit colour.
Phloem sap transport, velocity and allocation have been proposed to play a role in physiological limitations of crop yield, along with photosynthetic activity or water use efficiency. Although there is clear evidence that carbon allocation to grains effectively drives yield in cereals like wheat (as reflected by the harvest index), the influence of phloem transport rate and velocity is less clear. Here, we took advantage of previously published data on yield, respiration, carbon isotope composition, nitrogen content and water consumption in winter wheat cultivars grown across several sites with or without irrigation, to express grain production in terms of phloem sucrose transport and compare with xylem water transport. Our results suggest that phloem sucrose transport rate follows the same relationship with phloem N transport regardless of irrigation conditions and cultivars, and seems to depend mostly on grain weight (i.e. mg per grain). When compared to xylem sap water movement, phloem sap velocity (in m s -1) was 5.8 to 7.7 times lower. Depending on the assumption made for phloem sap sucrose concentration, either phloem sap velocity or its proportionality coefficient to xylem velocity change little with environmental conditions. Taken as a whole, phloem transport from leaves to grains seems to be homeostatic within a narrow range of values and following relationships with other plant physiological parameters across cultivars and conditions. This suggests that phloem transport per se is not a limitation for yield in wheat but rather, is controlled to sustain grain filling.
Control of plant virus diseases largely depends on the induced plant defense achieved by the external application of synthetic chemical inducers with the ability to modify defense-signaling pathways. However, most of the molecular mechanisms underlying these chemical inducers remain unknown. Here, we developed a lentinan-loaded hydrogel with a core-shell structure and discovered how it protects plants from different virus infections. The hydrogel was synthesized by adding a chitosan shell on the surface of the polyanion sodium alginate-Ca 2+-lentinan (LNT) hydrogel (SL-gel) to form a CSL-gel. CSL-gels exhibit the capacity to prolong the stable release of lentinan and promote Ca 2+ release. Application of CSL-gels on the root of plants induces broad-spectrum resistance against TMV, TRV, PVX and TuMV). RNA-seq analysis identified that the calmodulin-like protein 19 gene ( NbCML19) is upregulated by the sustained release of Ca 2+ from the CSL-gel, and silencing and overexpression of NbCML19 alter the susceptibility and resistance of tobacco to TMV. Our findings provide evidence that this novel and synthetic CSL-gel strongly inhibits the infection of plant viruses by the sustainable release of LNT and Ca 2+. This study uncovers a novel mode of action by which CSL-gels trigger NbCML19 expression through the stable and sustained release of Ca 2+.
In cellular circumstances where carbohydrates are scarce, plants can use alternative substrates for cellular energetic maintenance. In plants, the main protein reserve is present in the chloroplast, which contains most of the total leaf proteins and represents a rich source of nitrogen and amino acids. Autophagy plays a key role in chloroplast breakdown, a well-recognized symptom of both natural and stress-induced plant senescence. Remarkably, an autophagic-independent route of chloroplast degradation associated with Chloroplast Vesiculation (CV) gene was recently demonstrated. During extended darkness, CV is highly induced in the absence of autophagy, contributing to the early senescence phenotype of atg mutants. To further investigate the role of CV under dark-induced senescence conditions, mutants with low expression of CV ( amircv) and double mutants amircv1xatg5 were characterized. Following darkness treatment, no aberrant phenotypes were observed in amircv single mutants; however, amircv1xatg5 double mutants displayed early senescence and enhanced dismantling of chloroplast and membrane structures under these conditions. Metabolic characterization revealed that the functional lack of both CV and autophagy leads to higher impairment of amino acid release and differential organic acid accumulation during starvation conditions. The data obtained are discussed in the context of the role of CV and autophagy, both in terms of cellular metabolism and the regulation of chloroplast degradation.
The 18O enrichment (Δ 18O) of leaf water affects the Δ 18O of photosynthetic products such as sucrose, generating an isotopic archive of plant function and past climate. However, uncertainty remains regarding how leaf water compartmentation between photosynthetic and non-photosynthetic tissue affects the relationship between Δ 18O of bulk leaf water (Δ 18O LW) and leaf sucrose (Δ 18O Sucrose). We grew Lolium perenne (a C 3 grass) in mesocosm-scale, replicated experiments with daytime relative humidity (RH 50 or 75%) and CO 2 level (200, 400 or 800 μmol mol -1) as factors, and determined Δ 18O LW, Δ 18O Sucrose and morpho-physiological leaf parameters, including transpiration ( E leaf), stomatal conductance ( g s) and mesophyll conductance to CO 2 ( g m). The Δ 18O of photosynthetic medium water (Δ 18O SSW) was estimated from Δ 18O Sucrose and the equilibrium fractionation between water and carbonyl groups (ε bio). Δ 18O SSW was well predicted by theoretical estimates of leaf water at the evaporative site (Δ 18O e) with adjustments that correlated with gas exchange parameters ( g s or total conductance to CO 2). Isotopic mass balance and published work indicated that non-photosynthetic tissue water was a large fraction (~0.53) of bulk leaf water. Δ 18O LW was a poor proxy for Δ 18O Sucrose, mainly due to opposite Δ 18O responses of non-photosynthetic tissue water (Δ 18O non-SSW) relative to Δ 18O SSW, driven by atmospheric conditions.
A key to achieve the goals put forward in the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it will need transformative change to our agrifood systems. We must mount to the global challenge to achieve food security in a sustainable manner in the context of climate change, population growth, urbanization, and depletion of natural resources. Rice is one of the major staple cereal crops that has contributed, is contributing, and will still contribute to the global food security. To date, rice yield has held pace with increasing demands, due to advances in both fundamental and biological studies, as well as genomic and molecular breeding practices. However, future rice production depends largely on the planting of resilient cultivars that can acclimate and adapt to changing environmental conditions. This Special Issue highlight with reviews and original research articles the exciting and growing field of rice-environment interactions that could benefit future rice breeding. We also outline open questions and propose future directions of 2050 rice research, calling for more attentions to develop environment resilient rice especially hybrid rice, upland rice and perennial rice.
The thylakoid membrane is in a temperature-sensitive equilibrium that shifts repeatedly during the life cycle in response to ambient temperature or solar irradiance. Plants respond to seasonal temperature by changing their thylakoid lipid composition, while a more rapid mechanism for short-term heat exposure is required. The emission of the small organic molecule isoprene has been postulated as one such possible rapid mechanism. The protective mechanism of isoprene is not known, but some plants emit isoprene during periods of high-temperature stress. In this work, we investigate the dynamics and structure for lipids within a thylakoid membrane at different temperatures and varied isoprene content using classical molecular dynamics simulations. The results are compared with experimental findings from across the literature for temperature-dependent changes in the lipid composition and shape of thylakoids. We find that the surface area, volume, and flexibility of the membrane, as well as the lipid diffusion, increase with temperature, while the membrane thickness decreases. Saturated thylakoid 34:3 glycolipids derived from eukaryotic synthesis pathways exhibit significantly different dynamics than lipids from prokaryotic synthesis paths, which could explain the upregulation of specific lipid synthesis pathways at different temperatures. Increasing isoprene concentration was not observed to have a significant thermoprotective effect on the thylakoid membranes, and that isoprene readily permeated the membrane models tested here.
Plants perceive environmental stresses as whole organisms via distant signals conveying danger messages through their vasculature. In parallel to vascular transport, airborne plant volatile compounds, including green leaf volatiles (GLVs), can bypass the lack of vascular connection. However, some small volatile compounds move through the vasculature; such vascular transport is little known about GLVs. Here we illustrate GLV alcohols as solutes move within xylem vessels in Zea mays. We describe GLV alcohols, including Z-3-hexenol and its isomer E-3-hexenol, which is not synthesized in maize, is mobilized through the transpiration stream via xylem vessels. Since transpiration is mediated by stomatal aperture, closing stomata by two independent methods diminishes the transport of GLV alcohol and its isomer. In addition, lower transport of GLV alcohols impairs their function in inducing terpenoid biosynthesis suggesting xylem transport of GLV alcohols plays a significant role in their systemic function. Our study not only shows that GLV alcohols can be transported in the xylem but points to stomatal regulation as a mechanism that climatic factors such as drought, heat, flooding, and high CO 2 levels affect systemic signaling functions of GLVs.
Brassica crops include various edible vegetable and plant oil crops, and their production is limited by low temperature beyond their tolerant capability. The key regulators of low-temperature resistance in Brassica remain largely unexplored. To identify post-transcriptional regulators of plant response to low temperature, we performed small RNA profiling, and found that 16 known miRNAs were responsive to cold treatment in Brassica rapa. The cold response of seven of those miRNAs were further confirmed by qRT-PCR and/or northern blotting analyses. In parallel, a genome-wide association study of 220 accessions of Brassica napus identified four candidate MIRNA genes, all of which were cold-responsive, at the loci associated with low temperature resistance. Specifically, these large-scale data analyses revealed a link between miR1885 and the plant response to low temperature in both B. rapa and B. napus. Using 5′ rapid amplification of cDNA ends approach, we validated that miR1885 can cleave its putative target transcripts, Bn.TIR.A09 and Bn.TNL.A03, in B. napus. Furthermore, overexpression of miR1885 in Semi-winter type B. napus decreased the mRNA abundance of Bn.TIR.A09 and Bn.TNL.A03, resulting in increased sensitivity to low temperature. Knocking down of miR1885 in Spring type B. napus led to increased mRNA abundance of its targets and improved rapeseed tolerance to low temperature. Together, our results suggested that the loci of miR1885 and its targets could be potential candidates for the molecular breeding of low temperature-tolerant Spring type Brassica crops.
Plants can detect neighbouring plants through a reduction in the ratio between red and far-red light (R:FR). This provides a signal of plant-plant competition and induces rapid plant growth while inhibiting defence against biotic stress, two interlinked responses designated as the shade avoidance syndrome (SAS). Consequently, the SAS can influence plant-herbivore interactions that could cascade to higher trophic levels. However, little is known on how the expression of the SAS can influence tritrophic interactions. We investigated whether changes in R:FR affect the emission of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), and whether these changes influence the attraction of the zoophytophagous predator Macrolophus pygmaeus. We also studied how the expression of the SAS and subsequent inhibition of plant defences affects the reproduction of M. pygmaeus in both the presence and absence of the greenhouse whitefly ( Trialeurodes vaporariorum) as arthropod prey. The results show that changes in R:FR have little effect on HIPV emissions and predator attraction. However, a reduction in R:FR leads to increased reproduction of both the predator and the whiteflies. We conclude that shade avoidance responses can increase the population development of M. pygmaeus directly by reducing plant defences, and indirectly by supporting higher herbivore densities.
Heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a global increase in urban greenspace appreciation. Indoor plants are equally important for improving mental health and air quality but despite evolving in humid (sub)tropical environments with aerial root types, planting systems ignore aerial resource supply. This study directly compared nutrient uptake preferences of aerial and soil-formed roots of three common houseplant species under high and ambient relative humidities. Growth and physiology parameters were measured weekly for Anthurium andreanum, Epipremnum aureum and Philodendron scandens grown in custom made growth chambers. Both aerial and soil-formed roots were then fed mixtures of nitrate, ammonium and glycine, with one source labelled with 15N to determine uptake rates and maximum capacities. Aerial roots were consistently better at nitrogen uptake than soil roots but no species, root type or humidity condition showed a preference for a particular nitrogen source. All three species grew more in high humidity, with aerial roots demonstrating the greatest biomass increase. Higher humidities for indoor niches, together with fertiliser applications to aerial roots will support indoor plant growth, creating lush calming indoor environments for people inhabitants.
Increasing rice yield has always been one of the primary objectives of rice breeding. However, panicle degeneration, a complex phenomenon regulated by many genetic and environmental factors, often occurs in rice-growing regions and severely curbs rice yield. In this study, we obtained a new apical panicle degeneration mutant named ym48, which induces a marked degeneration rate and diminishes the final grain yield. Cellular and physiological analyses revealed that the apical panicle in ym48 undergoes programmed cell death, accompanied by excessive accumulations of peroxides. Following, the panicle degeneration gene OsCAX1a was identified, which was involved in Ca2+ transport in the ym48 mutant. In OsCAX1a, a relative conserved T to A substitution was noted at the 64th amino acid, which disrupted Ca2+ transport. Hydroponics assays and Ca2+ quantification confirmed that Ca2+ transport and distribution to apical tissues were restricted and over-accumulated in mutant sheath. Ca2+ transport between cytoplasm and vacuole was affected, and the reduced content of Ca2+ in vacuole and cell wall and the decreased of Ca2+ absorption were appeared in ym48 mutant. RNA-Seq data indicated that the abnormal CBL (calcineurin b-like proteins) pathway mediated by deficient Ca2+ might occur in mutant, resulting in the burst of ROS and programmed cell death in panicles. Our results explained the key role of OsCAX1a in Ca2+ transport and distribution and laid a foundation to further explore the genetic and molecular mechanisms of panicle degeneration and the efficiency of Ca2+ fertilization in rice.