The small phenolic compound salicylic acid （SA） plays an important regulatory role in multiple physiological processes including plant im- mune response. Significant progress has been made during the past two decades in understanding the SA-mediated defense signaling network. Characterization of a number of genes functioning in SA biosynthesis, conjugation, accumulation, signaling, and crosstalk with other hormones such as jasmonic acid, ethylene, abscisic acid, auxin, gibberellic acid, cytokinin, brassinosteroid, and peptide hormones has sketched the finely tuned immune response network. Full understanding of the mech- anism of plant immunity will need to take advantage of fast developing genomics tools and bioinformatics techniques. However, elucidating genetic components involved in these pathways by conventional ge- netics, biochemistry, and molecular biology approaches will continue to be a major task of the community. High-throughput method for SA quantification holds the potential for isolating additional mutants related to SA-mediated defense signaling.
Plants have acquired sophisticated stress response systems to adapt to changing environments. It is important to understand plants' stress response mechanisms in the effort to improve crop productivity under stressful conditions. The AP2/ERF transcription factors are known to regulate diverse processes of plant development and stress responses. In this study, the molecular characteristics and biological functions of AP2/ERFs in a variety of plant species were analyzed. AP2/ERFs, especially those in DREB and ERF subfamilies, are ideal candidates for crop improvement because their overexpression enhances tolerances to drought, salt, freezing, as well as resistances to multiple diseases in the transgenic plants. The comprehensive analysis of physiological functions is useful in elucidating the biological roles of AP2/ERF family genes in gene interaction, pathway regulation, and defense response under stress environments, which should provide new opportunities for the crop tolerance engineering.
Potassium （K＋） is an essential macronutrient in plants and a lack of K＋ significantly reduces the potential for plant growth and development. By contrast, sodium （Na＋）, while beneficial to some extent, at high concentrations it disturbs and inhibits various physiological processes and plant growth. Due to their chemical similarities, some functions of K＋ can be undertaken by Na＋ but K＋ homeostasis is severely affected by salt stress, on the other hand. Recent advances have highlighted the fascinating regulatory mechanisms of K＋ and Na＋ transport and signaling in plants. This review summarizes three major topics： （i） the transport mechanisms of K＋ and Na＋ from the soil to the shoot and to the cellular - compartments; （ii） the mechanisms through which plants sense and respond to K＋ and Na＋ availability; and （iii） the components involved in maintenance of K＋/Na＋ homeostasis in plants under salt stress.
Reactive Oxygen Species （ROS） are continuously produced as a result of aerobic metabolism or in response to biotic and abiotic stresses. ROS are not only toxic by-products of aerobic metabolism, but are also signalling molecules involved in several developmental processes in all organisms. Previous studies have clearly shown that an oxidative burst often takes place at the site of attempted invasion during the early stages of most plant-pathogen interac- tions. Moreover, a second ROS production can be observed during certain types of plant-pathogen interactions, which triggers hyper- sensitive cell death （HR）. This second ROS wave seems absent during symbiotic interactions. This difference between these two responses is thought to play an important signalling role leading to the establishment of plant defense. In order to cope with the deleterious effects of ROS, plants are fitted with a large panel of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidant mechanisms. Thus,increasing numbers of publications report the characterisation of ROS producing and scavenging systems from plants and from microorganisms during interactions. In this review, we present the current knowledge on the ROS signals and their role during plant-microorganism interactions.
Phospholipids, including phosphatidic acid (PA), phosphatidylcholine (PC), phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylglycerol (PG), phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphoinositides, have emerged as an important class of cellular messenger molecules in various cellular and physiological processes, of which PA attracts much attention of researchers. In addition to its effect on stimulating vesicle trafficking, many studies have demonstrated that PA plays a crucial role in various signaling pathways by binding target proteins and regulating their activity and subcellular localization. Here, we summarize the functional mechanisms and target proteins underlying PA‐mediated regulation of cellular signaling, development, hormonal responses, and stress responses in plants. Phosphatidic acid has emerged as an important cellular messenger in various cellular and physiological processes, which functions by binding target proteins and regulating their activities and subcellular localizations. In this review, we summarize the functional mechanisms underlying PA‐mediated regulation of cellular signaling, development, hormonal responses, and stress responses in plants.
As an important second messenger, calcium is involved in plant cold stress response, including chilling (<20 °C) and freezing (<0 °C). In this study, exogenous application of calcium chloride (CaCl2) improved both chilling and freezing stress tolerances, while ethylene glycol‐bis‐(β‐aminoethyl) ether‐N,N,N,N‐tetraacetic acid (EGTA) reversed CaCl2 effects in bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.). Physiological analyses showed that CaCl2 treatment alleviated the reactive oxygen species (ROS) burst and cell damage triggered by chilling stress, via activating antioxidant enzymes, non‐enzymatic glutathione antioxidant pool, while EGTA treatment had the opposite effects. Additionally, comparative proteomic analysis identified 51 differentially expressed proteins that were enriched in redox, tricarboxylicacid cycle, glycolysis, photosynthesis, oxidative pentose phosphate pathway, and amino acid metabolisms. Consistently, 42 metabolites including amino acids, organic acids, sugars, and sugar alcohols were regulated by CaCl2 treatment under control and cold stress conditions, further confirming the common modulation of CaCl2 treatment in carbon metabolites and amino acid metabolism. Taken together, this study reported first evidence of the essential and protective roles of endogenous and exogenous calcium in bermudagrass response to cold stress, partially via activation of the antioxidants and modulation of several differentially expressed proteins and metabolic homeostasis in the process of cold acclimation.
Protective role of hydrogen sulfide （H2S） on seed germination and seedling growth was studied in wheat （Triticum） seeds subjected to aluminum （Al3＋） stress. We show that germination and seedling growth of wheat is inhibited by high concentrations of AICI3. At 30 mmol/L AICI3 germination is reduced by about 50% and seedling growth is more dramatically inhibited by this treatment. Pre-incubation of wheat seeds in the H2S donor NaHS alleviates AICI3-induced stress in a dose-dependant manner at an optimal concentration of 0.3 mmol/L. We verified that the role of NaHS in alleviating Al3＋ stress could be attributed to H2S/HS- by showing that the level of endogenous H2S increased following NaHS treatment. Furthermore, other sodium salts containing sulfur were ineffective in alleviating Al3＋ stress. NaHS pretreatment significantly increased the activities of amylases and esterases and sustained much lower levels of MDA and H2O2 in germinating seeds under Al3＋ stress. Moreover, NaHS pretreatment increased the activities of guaiacol peroxidase, ascorbate peroxidase, superoxide dismutase and catalase and decreased that of lipoxygenase. NaHS pretreatment also decreased the uptake of Al3＋ in AICI3-treated seed. Taken together these results suggest that H2S could increase antioxidant capability in wheat seeds leading to the alleviation of Al3＋ stress.
During photosynthesis, photosynthetic electron transport generates a proton motive force （pmf） across the thylakoid membrane, which is used for ATP biosynthesis via ATP synthase in the chloroplast. The pmf is composed of an electric potential （△φ） and an osmotic component （△pH）. Partitioning between these components in chloroplasts is strictly regulated in response to fluctuating environments. However, our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate pmf partitioning is limited. Here, we report a bestrophin-like protein （AtBest）, which is critical for pmf partitioning. While the △pH component was slightly reduced in atbest, the △φ component was much greater in this mutant than in the wild type, resulting in less efficient activation of nonphotochemical quenching （NPQ） upon both illumination and a shift from low light to high light. Although no visible phenotype was observed in the atbest mutant in the greenhouse, this mutant exhibited stronger photoinhibition than the wild type when grown in the field. AtBest belongs to the bestrophin family proteins, which are believed to function as chloride （Cl^-） channels. Thus, our findings reveal an important Cl^- channel required for ion transport and homeo- stasis across the thylakoid membrane in higher plants. These processes are essential for fine-tuning photosynthesis under fluctuating environmental conditions.
In plants, the phloem is the component of the vascular system that delivers nutrients and transmits signals from mature leaves to developing sink tissues. Recent studies have identified proteins, mRNA, and small RNA within the phloem sap of several plant species. It is now of considerable interest to elucidate the biological functions of these potential long-distance signal agents, to further our understanding of how plants coordinate their developmental programs at the whole-plant level. In this study, we developed a strategy for the functional analysis of phloem-mobile mRNA by focusing on IAA transcripts, whose mobility has previously been reported in melon (Cucumis melo cv. Hale's Best Jumbo). Indoleacetic acid (IAA) proteins are key transcriptional regulators of auxin signaling, and are involved in a broad range of developmental processes including root development. We used a combination of vasculature-enriched sampling and hetero-grafting techniques to identify IAA18 and IAA28 as phloem-mobile transcripts in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Micro-grafting experiments were used to confirm that these IAA transcripts, which are generated in vascular tissues of mature leaves, are then transported into the root system where they negatively regulate lateral root formation. Based on these findings, we present a model in which auxin distribution, in combination with phloem-mobile Aux/IAA transcripts, can determine the sites of auxin action.
The initiation of flowering is tightly regulated by the endogenous and environment signals, which is crucial for the reproductive success of flowering plants. It is well known that autonomous and vernalization pathways repress transcription of FLOWERING LOCUS C（FLC）, a focal floral repressor, but how its protein stability is regulated remains largely unknown. Here, we found that mutations in a novel Arabidopsis SUMO protease 1（ASP1） resulted in a strong late-flowering phenotype under long-days, but to a lesser extent under short-days. ASP1 localizes in the nucleus and exhibited a SUMO protease activity in vitro and in vivo. The conserved Cys-577 in ASP1 is critical for its enzymatic activity, as well as its physiological function in the regulation of flowering time. Genetic and gene expression analyses demonstrated that ASP1 promotes transcription of positive regulators of flowering, such as FT,SOC1 and FD, and may function in both CO-dependent photoperiod pathway and FLC-dependent pathways.Although the transcription level of FLC was not affected in the loss-of-function asp1 mutant, the protein stability of FLC was increased in the asp1 mutant. Taken together, this study identified a novel bona fide SUMO protease, ASP1,which positively regulates transition to flowering at least partly by repressing FLC protein stability.
Mutagenized populations have provided important materials for introducing variation and identifying gene function in plants. In this study, an ethyl methanesulfonate（EMS）-induced soybean（Glycine max） population,consisting of 21,600 independent M_2 lines, was developed.Over 1,000 M_（4（5））families, with diverse abnormal phenotypes for seed composition, seed shape, plant morphology and maturity that are stably expressed across different environments and generations were identified. Phenotypic analysis of the population led to the identification of a yellow pigmentation mutant, gyl, that displayed significantly decreased chlorophyll（Chl） content and abnormal chloroplast development. Sequence analysis showed that gyl is allelic to Minn Gold, where a different single nucleotide polymorphism variation in the Mg-chelatase subunit gene（ChlI1a） results in golden yellow leaves. A cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence marker was developed and may be applied to marker-assisted selection for the golden yellow phenotype in soybean breeding. We show that the newly developed soybean EMS mutant population has potential for functional genomics research and genetic improvement in soybean.
Auxin and cytokinin direct cell proliferation and differentiation during the in vitro culture of plant cells, but the molecular basis of these processes, especially de novo shoot regeneration, has not been fully elucidated. Here, we describe the regulatory control of shoot regeneration in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh, based on the interaction of ARABIDOPSIS RESPONSE REGULATOR12 (ARR12) and WUSCHEL (WUS). The major site of ARR12 expression coincided with the location where the shoot apical meristem (SAM) initiated. The arr12 mutants showed severely impaired shoot regeneration and reduced responsiveness to cytokinin; consistent with this, the overexpression of ARR12 enhanced shoot regeneration. Certain shoot meristem specification genes, notably WUSCHEL (WUS) and CLAVATA3, were significantly downregulated in the arr12 explants. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and transient activation assays demonstrated that ARR12 binds to the promoter of WUS. These observations indicate that during shoot regeneration, in vitro, ARR12 functions as a molecular link between cytokinin signaling and the expression of shoot meristem specification genes. In the arr12 mutant, shoot regeneration was severely impaired and its responsiveness to cytokinin was greatly reduced. ARR12 can directly activate WUS via binding WUS promoter in in vitro culture. Thus ARR12 functions as a link connecting cytokinin signaling with the specification of apical/shoot fate during shoot regeneration.
The interaction between plants and pathogens represents a dynamic competition between a robust immune system and efficient infectious strategies. Plant innate immunity is composed of complex and highly regulated molecular networks, which can be triggered by the perception of either conserved or race-specific pathogenic molecular signatures. Small RNAs are emerging as versatile regulators of plant development, growth and response to biotic and abiotic stresses. They act in different tiers of plant immunity, including the pathogen-associated molecular pattern-triggered and the effector-triggered immunity. On the other hand, pathogens have evolved effector molecules to suppress or hijack the host small RNA pathways. This leads to an arms race between plants and pathogens at the level of small RNA-mediated defense. Here, we review recent advances in small RNA-mediated defense responses and discuss the challenging questions in this area.
Argonaute（AGO） proteins play a key role in regulation of gene expression through small RNA‐directed RNA cleavage and translational repression, and are essential for multiple developmental processes. In the present study, 17 AGO genes of maize（Zea mays L., ZmAGOs） were identified using a Hidden Markov Model and validated by rapid amplification of cDNA ends assay. Subsequently, quantitative PCR revealed that expressions of these genes were higher in reproductive than in vegetative tissues. AGOs presented five temporal and spatial expression patterns, which were likely modulated by DNA methylation, 50‐untranslated exons and microRNA‐mediated feedback loops. Intriguingly, ZmAGO18 b was highly expressed in tassels during meiosis. Furthermore, in situ hybridization and immunofluorescence showed that ZmAResearchGO18b was enriched in the tapetum and germ cells in meiotic anthers. We hypothesized that ZmAGOs are highly expressed in reproductive tissues, and that ZmAGO18 b is a tapetum and germ cell‐specific member of the AGO family in maize.
Degradation of proteins via the ubiquitin system is an important step in many stress signaling pathways in plants. E3 ligases recognize ligand proteins and dictate the high specificity of protein degradation, and thus, play a pivotal role in ubiquitination. Here, we identified a gene, named Arabidopsis thaliana abscisic acid (ABA)‐insensitive RING protein 4 (AtAIRP4), which is induced by ABA and other stress treatments. AtAIRP4 encodes a cellular protein with a C3HC4‐RING finger domain in its C‐terminal side, which has in vitro E3 ligase activity. Loss of AtAIRP4 leads to a decrease in sensitivity of root elongation and stomatal closure to ABA, whereas overexpression of this gene in the T‐DNA insertion mutant atairp4 effectively recovered the ABA‐associated phenotypes. AtAIRP4 overexpression plants were hypersensitive to salt and osmotic stresses during seed germination, and showed drought avoidance compared with the wild‐type and atairp4 mutant plants. In addition, the expression levels of ABA‐ and drought‐induced marker genes in AtAIRP4 overexpression plants were markedly higher than those in the wild‐type and atairp4 mutant plants. Hence, these results indicate that AtAIRP4 may act as a positive regulator of ABA‐mediated drought avoidance and a negative regulator of salt tolerance in Arabidopsis. Protein degradation mediated by ubiquitin plays a primary role in plant stress signaling transduction. E3 ligases recognize the acceptor protein and play a pivotal role in ubiquitination. Here, we identified that AtAIRP4, a C3HC4‐RING finger E3 ligase, is a positive regulator of ABA‐mediated drought and salt tolerance in Arabidopsis.
Summary LHP1 mediates recruitment of the PRC2 histone methyltransferase complex to chromatin and thereby facilitates maintenance of H3K27me3 on FLC, a key flowering repressor gene. Here, we report that the PWWP domain proteins (PDPs) interact with FVE and MSI5 to suppress FLC expression and thereby promote flowering. We demonstrated that FVE, MSI5, and PDP3 were co‐purified with LHP1. The H3K27me3 level on FLC was decreased in the pdp mutants as well as in the fve/msi5 double mutant. This study suggests that PDPs function together with FVE and MSI5 to regulate the function of the PRC2 complex on FLC. We demonstrate that PWWP domain proteins are previously uncharacterized flowering time regulators in Arabidopsis. The PWWP domain proteins interact with the known flowering time regulators FVE and MSI5 and thus facilitate histone H3K27 trimethylation on the key flowering time repressor gene FLC to promote flowering.
The small ubiquitin‐related modifier (SUMO) modification plays an important role in the regulation of abscisic acid (ABA) signaling, but the function of the SUMO protease, in ABA signaling, remains largely unknown. Here, we show that the SUMO protease, ASP1 positively regulates ABA signaling. Mutations in ASP1 resulted in an ABA‐insensitive phenotype, during early seedling development. Wild‐type ASP1 successfully rescued, whereas an ASP1 mutant (C577S), defective in SUMO protease activity, failed to rescue, the ABA‐insensitive phenotype of asp1‐1. Expression of ABI5 and MYB30 target genes was attenuated in asp1‐1 and our genetic analyses revealed that ASP1 may function upstream of ABI5 and MYB30. Interestingly, ASP1 accumulated upon ABA treatment, and ABA‐induced accumulation of ABI5 (a positive regulator of ABA signaling) was abolished, whereas ABA‐induced accumulation of MYB30 (a negative regulator of ABA signaling) was increased in asp1‐1. These findings support the hypothesis that increased levels of ASP1, upon ABA treatment, tilt the balance between ABI5 and MYB30 towards ABI5‐mediated ABA signaling. SUMO E3 ligase‐mediated SUMO conjugation negatively regulates ABA signaling, but SUMO protease(s) regulating ABA signaling remains unknown. This paper established that the SUMO protease ASP1‐mediated deSUMOylation positively regulates ABA signaling during early seedling development by positively and negatively regulating ABA‐induced accumulation of ABI5 and MYB30 respectively.
The endoplasmic reticulum forms the first compart- ment in a series of organelles which comprise the secretory pathway, it takes the form of an extremely dynamic and pleomorphic membrane-bounded network of tubules and cisternae which have numerous different cellular functions. In this review, we discuss the nature of endoplasmic reticulum structure and dynamics, its relationship with closely associated organelles, and its possible function as a highway for the distribution and delivery of a diverse range of structures from metabolic complexes to viral particles.
Affordable and easy-to-use methods for assessing biomass and leaf area index （LAI） would be of interest in most breeding programs. Here, we describe the evaluation of a protocol for photographic sampling and image analysis aimed at providing low-labor yet robust indicators of biomass and LAI. In this trial, two genotypes of triticale, two of bread wheat, and four of tritordeum were studied. At six dates during the growing cycle, biomass and LAI were measured destructively, and digital photography was taken on the same dates. Several vegetation indices were calculated from each image. The results showed that repeatable and consistent values of the indices were obtained in consecutive photographic samplings on the same plots. The photographic indices were highly correlated with the destructive measure-ments, though the magnitude of the correlation was lower after anthesis. This work shows that photographic assess-ment of biomass and LAI can be fast, affordable, have good repeatability, and can be used under bright and overcast skies. A practical vegetation index derived from pictures is the fraction of green pixels over the total pixels of the image, and as it shows good correlations with all biomass variables, is the most robust to lighting conditions and has easy interpretation.
Legume plants are capable of entering into a symbiotic relationship with rhizobia bacteria.This results in the formation of novel organs on their roots,called nodules,in which the bacteria capture atmospheric nitrogen and provide it as ammonium to the host plant.Complex molecular and physiological changes are involved in the formation and establishment of such nodules.Several phytohormones are known to play key roles in this process.Gibberellins（gibberellic acids;GAs）,a class of phytohormones known to be involved in a wide range of biological processes（i.e.,cell elongation,germination）are reported to be involved in the formation and maturation of legume nodules,highlighted by recent transcriptional analyses of early soybean symbiotic steps.Here,we summarize what is currently known about GAs in legume nodulation and propose a model of GA action during nodule development.Results from a wide range of studies,including GA application,mutant phenotyping,and gene expression studies,indicate that GAs are required at different stages,with an optimum,tightly regulated level being key to achieve successful nodulation.Gibberellic acids appear to be required at two distinct stages of nodulation：（i）early stages of rhizobia infection and nodule primordium establishment;and（ii）later stages of nodule maturation.