Known elicitors of plant defenses against eggs of herbivorous insects are low-molecular-weight organic compounds associated with the eggs. However, previous studies provided evidence that also proteinaceous compounds present in secretion associated with eggs of the herbivorous sawfly Diprion pini can elicit defensive responses in Pinus sylvestris. Pine responses induced by the proteinaceous secretion are known to result in enhanced emission of (E)-β-farnesene, which attracts egg parasitoids killing the eggs. Here, we aimed to identify the defense-eliciting protein and elucidate its function. After isolating the defense-eliciting protein from D. pini egg secretion by ultrafiltration and gel electrophoresis, we identified it by MALDI-ToF mass spectrometry as an annexin-like protein, which we named “diprionin”. Further GC-MS analyses showed that pine needles treated with heterologously expressed diprionin released enhanced quantities of (E)-β-farnesene. Our bioassays confirmed attractiveness of diprionin-treated pine to egg parasitoids. Expression of several pine candidate genes involved in terpene biosynthesis and regulation of ROS homeostasis was similarly affected by diprionin and natural sawfly egg deposition. However, the two treatments had different effects on expression of pathogenesis related genes (PR1, PR5). Diprionin is the first egg-associated proteinaceous elicitor of indirect plant defense against insect eggs described so far.
The Antarctic green alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241 is an obligate psychrophile that thrives in the cold (4-6°C) but is unable to survive at temperatures ≥18°C. Little is known how exposure to heat affects its physiology or whether it mounts a heat stress response in a manner comparable to mesophiles. Here, we dissect the responses of UWO241 to temperature stress by examining its growth, primary metabolome and transcriptome under steady-state low temperature and heat stress conditions. In comparison with Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, UWO241 constitutively accumulates metabolites and proteins commonly considered as stress markers, including soluble sugars, antioxidants, polyamines, and heat shock proteins to ensure efficient protein folding at low temperatures. We propose that this permanent stress metabolism is an adaptive advantage to life at extreme conditions. A shift from 4°C to a non-permissive temperature of 24°C alters the UWO241 primary metabolome and transcriptome, but growth of UWO241 at higher permissive temperatures (10°C and 15°C) does not provide enhanced heat protection. UWO241 also fails to induce the accumulation of HSPs when exposed to heat, suggesting that it has lost the ability to fine-tune its heat stress response. Our work adds to the growing body of research on temperature stress in psychrophiles, many of which are threatened by climate change.
The flagellin epitope flg22, a pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP), binds to the receptor-like kinase FLAGELLIN SENSING2 (FLS2), and triggers Ca2+ influx across the plasma membrane (PM). The flg22-induced increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) (FICA) play a crucial role in plant innate immunity. It’s well established that the receptor FLS2 and the key downstream component, reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst, undergoes sensitivity adaptation after flg22 stimulation, referred to as desensitization and resensitization, to prevent over responses to pathogens. However, whether FICA also mount adaptation mechanisms to ensure appropriate and efficient responses against pathogens remains poorly understood. Here, we carried out detailed analyses of [Ca2+]i increases upon two successive flg22 treatments, recorded and characterized, for the first time, rapid desensitization but slow resensitization of FICA in Arabidopsis thaliana. Pharmacological analyses showed that the rapid desensitization might be synergistically regulated by ligand-induced FLS2 endocytosis as well as the PM depolarization. The recovery of desensitized FICA might require to de novo FLS2 protein synthesis. FICA resensitization appeared significantly slower than FLS2 protein recovery, suggesting additional regulatory mechanisms of other components, such as flg22-related Ca2+ permeable channels. Taken together, we have carefully defined the FICA sensitivity adaptation, which will facilitate further molecular and genetic dissection of the Ca2+-mediated adaptive mechanisms in PAMP-triggered immunity.
Recent research has shown that plants can distinguish genetically-related individuals from strangers (kin recognition) and exhibit more cooperative behaviours towards these more related individuals (kin discrimination). The first evidence for this was found when Cakile edentula plants growing with half-sibs allocated relatively less biomass to roots than plants growing with unrelated individuals, indicating that kin recognition can reduce the intensity of competition (Dudley & File, 2007). Since then, kin discrimination has been shown to result in reduced competition for soil resources (Semchenko, Saar, & Lepik, 2014), light (Crepy & Casal, 2015) and pollinators (Torices, Gómez, & Pannell, 2018). On the other hand, allelopathy, plants producing chemical compounds that negatively affect performance of neighbour plants, has also been widely documented (Inderjit & Duke, 2003) and shown to profoundly affect local species coexistence and plant community structure (Meiners, Kong, Ladwig, Pisula, & Lang, 2012). In crops allelopathy can also be beneficial in suppressing weeds (Macías, Mejías, & Molinillo, 2019). In the current issue, Xu, Cheng, Kong, and Meiners (2021) published the first study to show that kin discrimination can also affect the balance between direct competition for resources and allelopathy, and this together may lead to improved weed suppression in rice.
Human activity and natural processes have led to widespread dissemination of metals and metalloids, many of which are toxic and have a negative impact on agronomic production. Roots, as the first point of contact, are essential in endowing plants with tolerance to excess metal(loid) in the soil. The most important root responses include: adaptation of transport processes that affect uptake, efflux and long distance transport of metal(loid)s; metal(loid) detoxification within root cells via conjugation to thiol rich compounds and subsequent sequestration in the vacuole; plasticity in root architecture; the presence of bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere that impact on metal(loid) bioavailability; the role of root exudates. In this review we will provide details on these processes and assess their relevance for the detoxification of arsenic, cadmium, mercury and zinc. Furthermore, we will assess if any of these methodologies has been tested in field conditions and whether they are effective in terms of improving crop metal(loid) tolerance.
Plants transitioned from an aquatic to a terrestrial lifestyle during their evolution. On land, fluctuations on water availability in the environment became one of the major problems they encountered. The appearance of morpho-physiological adaptations to cope with and tolerate water loss from the cells was undeniably useful to survive on dry land. Some of these adaptations, such as carbon concentrating mechanisms (CCMs), desiccation tolerance (DT) and root impermeabilization, appeared in multiple plant lineages. Despite being crucial for evolution on land, it has been unclear how these adaptations convergently evolved in the various plant lineages. Recent advances on whole genome and transcriptome sequencing are revealing that co-option of genes and gene regulatory networks (GRNs) is a common feature underlying the convergent evolution of these adaptations. In this review we address how the study of CCMs and DT have provided insight into convergent evolution of GRNs underlying plant adaptation to dry environments, and how these insights could be applied to currently emerging understanding of evolution of root impermeabilization through different barrier cell types. We discuss examples of co-option, conservation, and innovation of genes and GRNs at the cell, tissue and organ levels revealed by recent phylogenomic (comparative genomic) and comparative transcriptomic studies.
Iron toxicity is a major constraint to rice production, particularly in highly-weathered soils of inland valleys in sub-Saharan Africa where the rice area is rapidly expanding. Although there is wide variation in tolerance in the rice germplasm, progress in introgressing tolerance traits into high-yielding germplasm has been slow owing to the complexity of tolerance mechanisms and large genotype by environment effects. We review current understanding of tolerance mechanisms, particularly those involving below-ground plant-soil interactions, which to date have been less studied than above-ground mechanisms. We cover processes in the rhizosphere linked to exclusion of toxic ferrous iron by oxidation, and resulting effects on the mobility of nutrient ions. We also cover the molecular physiology of below-ground processes controlling Fe retention in roots and root-shoot transport, and also plant Fe sensing. We conclude that future breeding programs should be based on well-characterised molecular markers for tolerance traits. To successfully identify such markers, the complex tolerance response should be broken down into its components based on understanding of tolerance mechanisms, and tailored screening methods developed for individual mechanisms.
The biosynthesis of anthocyanins has been shown to be influenced by light quality. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the light-mediated regulation of fruit anthocyanin biosynthesis are not well understood. In this study, we analyzed the effects of supplemental red and blue light on the anthocyanin biosynthesis in non-climacteric bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus L.). After six days of continuous irradiation during fruit ripening, both red and blue light elevated concentration of total anthocyanins, but especially red light promoted accumulation of delphinidins. Transcriptomic analysis of ripening berries showed that both light treatments up-regulated all the major anthocyanin structural genes, the key regulatory MYB transcription factors and abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthetic genes. However, higher induction of specific genes of anthocyanin and delphinidin biosynthesis alongside ABA signal perception and metabolism were found in red light. The difference in red and blue light signaling was found in NCED, ABA receptor PYL and catabolic ABA-8’hydroxylase gene expression. Red light also up-regulated expression of SNARE domain transporters, which may indicate involvement of these proteins in vesicular trafficking of anthocyanins during fruit ripening. Our results suggest differential signal transduction and transport mechanisms between red and blue light in in ABA- regulated anthocyanin and delphinidin biosynthesis during non-climacteric fruit ripening.
Translocation of metabolites between different plant species provides important hints in understanding the fate of bioactive root exudates. In the present study, targeted and untargeted mass spectrometry-based metabolomics was applied to elucidate the transfer of bioactive compounds between rye and several crops and weed species. Our results demonstrated that benzoxinoids (BXs) synthesized by rye were taken up by roots of neighboring plant species and translocated into their shoots. Furthermore, we showed roots of the rye plant took up compounds originating from neighboring plants. Among the compounds taken up by rye roots, wogonin was detected in the rye shoot, which indicates the root-to-shoot translocation of this compound. Elucidating the transfer of bioactive compounds between plants is essential for understanding plant-plant interactions, developing natural pesticides and understanding their modes of action.
How variations in carbon supply affect wood formation remains poorly understood in particular in mature forest trees. To elucidate how carbon supply affects carbon allocation and wood formation, we attempted to manipulate carbon supply to the cambial region by phloem girdling and compression during the mid- and late-growing season and measured effects on structural development, CO2 efflux, and nonstructural carbon reserves in stems of mature white pines. Wood formation and stem CO2 efflux varied with location relative to treatment (i.e., above or below the restriction). We observed up to twice as many tracheids formed above versus below the treatment after the phloem transport manipulation, whereas cell-wall area decreased only slightly below the treatments, and cell size did not change relative to the control. Nonstructural carbon reserves in the xylem, needles, and roots were largely unaffected by the treatments. Our results suggest that low and high carbon supply affects wood formation, primarily through a strong effect on cell proliferation, and respiration, but local nonstructural carbon concentrations appear to be maintained homeostatically. This contrasts with reports of a decoupling of source activity and wood formation at the whole-tree or ecosystem level, highlighting the need to better understand organ-specific responses, within-tree feedbacks, as well as phenological and ontological effects on sink-source dynamics.
The counteractive influence of atmospheric CO2 enrichment and drought stress on tree growth results in great uncertainty in growth patterns of planted forests in cold semi-arid regions. We used tree-ring chronology and carbon isotope analysis to track ecophysiological processes in reaction to environmental factors over the past four decades of Populus simonii plantations in cold semi-arid areas in northern China. Our results showed that the boosting effect of the rising atmospheric CO2 concentration (Ca) on iWUE and stem growth was more significant in declined stands. However, the increased iWUE did not negate tree dieback when water stress was present. Therefore, the BAI and iWUE deviation of different health status trees started from a very early age. Climatic factors showed limited influences on the stem growth of the poplar plantations. The inaccessibility of deep soil water due to site-specific soil conditions rendered the trees exposed to chronic soil water stress and constrained stomatal conductance and reduced the CO2 fertilization effect. Consequently, these stands experienced a lower stem growth rate. In summary, we suggest that soil moisture conditions the iWUE and growth sensitivity to global warming and thus portrays site-specific decline episodes of different degrees in drought-prone areas.
Chenopodium quinoa (quinoa) is considered a superfood, as it has favourable nutrient composition and is gluten free. Quinoa has high tolerance to several abiotic stresses, i.e. salinity, water deficit (drought) and cold. The tolerance mechanisms are yet to be elucidated. Quinoa has Epidermal Bladder Cells (EBCs) that densely cover the shoot surface, particularly the younger parts of the plant. Here, we report on the EBC’s primary and secondary metabolomes, as well as the lipidome in response to abiotic stresses. EBCs were isolated from plants after cold, heat, high-light, water deficit and salt treatments. We used untargeted Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyse metabolites and untargeted and targeted Liquid Chromatography-MS (LC-MS) for lipids and secondary metabolite analyses. We identified 64 primary metabolites, including sugars, organic acids and amino acids, 19 secondary metabolites, including phenolic compounds, betanin and saponins and 240 lipids categorized in five groups including glycerolipids and phospholipids. Although we found only few changes in the metabolic composition of bladders in response to abiotic stresses, metabolites related with heat, cold and high-light treatments, but not salt stress, were changed significantly. Na+ concentrations were low in EBCs with all treatments, and approximately two orders of magnitude lower than K+ concentrations.
While many phenylpropanoid pathway-derived molecules act as physical and chemical barriers to pests and pathogens, comparatively little is known about their role in regulating plant immunity. To explore this research field, we transiently perturbed the phenylpropanoid pathway through application of the CINNAMIC ACID-4-HYDROXYLASE (C4H) inhibitor piperonylic acid (PA). Using bioassays involving diverse pests and pathogens, we show that transient C4H inhibition triggers systemic, broad-spectrum resistance in higher plant without affecting growth. PA treatment enhances tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) resistance in field and laboratory conditions, thereby illustrating the potential of phenylpropanoid pathway perturbation in crop protection. At the molecular level, transcriptome and metabolome analyses reveal that transient C4H inhibition in tomato reprograms phenylpropanoid and flavonoid metabolism, systemically induces immune signaling and pathogenesis-related genes, and locally affects reactive oxygen species metabolism. Furthermore, C4H inhibition primes cell wall modification and phenolic compound accumulation in response to root-knot nematode infection. Although PA treatment induces local accumulation of the phytohormone salicylic acid, the PA resistance phenotype is preserved in tomato plants expressing the salicylic acid-degrading NahG construct. Together, our results demonstrate that transient phenylpropanoid pathway perturbation is a conserved inducer of plant resistance and thus highlight the crucial regulatory role of this pathway in plant immunity.
Early signaling events in response to elicitation include reversible protein phosphorylation and re-localization of plasma membrane (PM) proteins. Oligogalacturonides (OGs) are a class of Damage-Associated Molecular Patterns (DAMPs) that act as endogenous signals to activate the plant immune response. Previous data on early phosphoproteome changes in Arabidopsis thaliana upon OG perception uncovered the immune-related phospho-regulation of several membrane proteins, among which PCaP1, a PM-anchored protein with actin filament-severing activity, was chosen for its potential involvement in OG- as well as flagellin-triggered responses. Here we demonstrate that PCaP1 is required for late, but not early, responses induced by OGs and flagellin. Moreover, pcap1 mutants, unlike the wild type, are impaired in the recovery of full responsiveness to a second treatment with OGs performed 24 h after the first one. Localization studies on PCaP1 upon OG treatment in plants expressing a functional PCaP1-GFP fusion under the control of PCaP1 promoter revealed fluorescence on the PM, organized in densely packed punctate structures, previously reported as microdomains. Fluorescence was found to be associated also with endocytic vesicles, the number of which rapidly increased after OG treatment, suggesting both an endocytic turnover of PCaP1 for maintaining its homeostasis at the PM and an OG-induced endocytosis.
Little is known about the sources and age of C respired from tree roots. Previous research in tree stems has identified two functional pools of non-structural carbohydrates (NSC): an ‘active’ pool supplied directly from canopy photo-assimilates that supports metabolism and a ‘stored’ pool used when fresh C supplies are limited. We compared the C isotope composition of water soluble NSC and respired CO2 for aspen roots (Populus tremula hybrids) that were cut off fresh C supply via stem-girdling and prolonged incubation of excised roots. We used bomb radiocarbon to estimate the time elapsed since C fixation for respired CO2, water-soluble C, and structural α-cellulose. While freshly excised roots respired CO2 with mean age <1 yr, within a week the age increased to 1.6-2.9 yr. Freshly excised roots from trees girdled ~3 months previously had similar respiration rates and NSC stocks as un-girdled trees, but respired older C (~1.2 yr). We estimate the NSC in girdled roots must be replaced 5-7 times by reserves remobilized from root-external sources. Using a mixing model and observed correlations between Δ14C of water-soluble C and α-cellulose, we estimate ~30% of C is ‘active’ (~5 mg C g-1).
Phosphate (Pi) and jasmonic acid (JA) play critical roles in plant growth and development. In particular, crosstalk between JA and Pi starvation signaling has been reported to mediate insect herbivory resistance in dicot plants. However, its roles and mechanism in monocot-bacterial defense systems remain obscure. Here, we report that Pi starvation in rice activates the JA signaling and enhances resistance to Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) infection. The direct regulation of OsPHR2 on the OsMYC2 promoter was confirmed by yeast one-hybrid, electrophoretic mobility shift, dual-luciferase, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Molecular analyses and infection studies using OsPHR2-Ov1 and phr2 mutants further demonstrated that OsPHR2 enhances JA response and antibacterial resistance via transcriptional regulation of OsMYC2 expression, indicating a positive role of OsPHR2-OsMYC2 crosstalk in modulating the JA response and Xoo infection. Genetic analysis and infection assays using myc2 mutants revealed that Pi starvation-induced JA signaling activation and consequent Xoo resistance depends on the regulation of OsMYC2. Together, these results reveal a clear interlink between Pi starvation signaling and the JA signaling in monocot plants, and provide new insight into how plants balance growth and defense by integrating nutrient deficiency and phytohormone signaling.
CO2 responsive CCT protein (CRCT) is a positive regulator of starch synthesis related genes such as ADP-glucose pyrophosphorylase large subunit 1 and starch branching enzyme I particularly in the leaf sheath of rice (Oryza sativa L.). The promoter GUS analysis revealed that CRCT expressed exclusively in the vascular bundle, whereas starch synthesis related genes were expressed in different sites such as mesophyll cell and starch storage parenchyma cell. However, the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) using a FLAG-CRCT overexpression line and subsequent qPCR analyses showed that the 5’-flanking regions of these starch synthesis-related genes tended to be enriched by ChIP, suggesting that CRCT can bind to the promoter regions of these genes. The monomer of CRCT is 34.2 kDa, however CRCT was detected at 270 kDa via gel filtration chromatography, suggesting that CRCT forms a complex in vivo. Immunoprecipitation and subsequent MS analysis pulled down several 14-3-3-like proteins. A yeast two-hybrid analysis and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays confirmed the interaction between CRCT and 14-3-3-like proteins. Although there is an inconsistency in the place of expression, this study provide important findings regarding the molecular function of CRCT to control the expression of key starch synthesis-related genes.
Species interactions and mechanisms affect plant coexistence and community assembly. Despite increasing knowledge of kin recognition and allelopathy in regulating interspecific and intraspecific interactions among plants, little is known about whether kin recognition mediates allelopathic interference. We used allelopathic rice cultivars with the ability for kin recognition grown in kin vs. non-kin mixtures to determine their impacts on paddy weeds in field trials and a series of controlled experiments. We experimentally tested potential mechanisms of the interaction via altered root behavior, allelochemical production, and soil microbial community composition, as well as carbon and nitrogen partitioning in the weeds. We consistently found that the establishment and growth of paddy weeds were more inhibited by kin mixtures compared to non-kin mixtures. The effect was driven by kin recognition that induced altered root placement, established similar soil microbial communities, and altered weed carbon and nitrogen partitioning. Importantly, genetic relatedness enhanced the production of intrusive roots towards weeds and reduced the production of rice allelochemicals. These findings suggest that relatedness allows allelopathic plants to discriminate their neighboring collaborators (kin) or competitors and then adjust their growth, competitiveness and chemical defense accordingly.