Plants2015, 4(2), 267-283; doi:10.3390/plants4020267 (registering DOI) - published 29 May 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Methods used to quantify inositol phosphates in seeds lack the sensitivity and specificity necessary to accurately detect the lower concentrations of these compounds contained in the leaves of many plants. In order to measure inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6) and inositol pentakisphosphate (InsP5) levels in leaves of different plants, a method was developed to concentrate and pre-purify these compounds prior to analysis. Inositol phosphates were extracted from leaves with diluted HCl and concentrated on small anion exchange columns. Reversed-phase solid phase extraction cartridges were used to remove compounds that give peaks that sometimes interfere during HPLC. The method permitted the determination of InsP6 and InsP5 concentrations in leaves as low as 10 µM and 2 µM, respectively. Most plants analyzed contained a high ratio of InsP6 to InsP5. In contrast, certain members of the Malvaceae family, such as cotton (Gossypium) and some hibiscus (Hibiscus) species, had a preponderance of InsP5. Radiolabeling of cotton seedlings also showed increased amounts of InsP5 relative to InsP6. Why some Malvaceae species exhibit a reversal of the typical ratios of these inositol phosphates is an intriguing question for future research.
Abstract: Phosphate (P) fixation to the soil solid phase is considered to be important for P availability and is often attributed to the strong binding of orthophosphate anion species. However, the fixation and subsequent immobilization of inositolhexa and pentaphosphate isomers (phytate) in soil is often much stronger than that of the orthosphate anion species. The result is that phytate is a main organic P form in soil and the dominating form of identifiable organic P. The reasons for the accumulation are not fully clear. Two hypothesis can be found in the literature in the last 20 years, the low activity of phytase (phosphatases) in soil, which makes phytate P unavailable to the plant roots, and, on the other hand, the strong binding of phytate to the soil solid phase with its consequent stabilization and accumulation in soil. The hypothesis that low phytase activity is responsible for phytate accumulation led to the development of genetically modified plant genotypes with a higher expression of phytase activity at the root surface and research on the effect of a higher phytate activity on P acquisition. Obviously, this hypothesis has a basic assumption, that the phytate mobility in soil is not the limiting step for P acquisition of higher plants from soil phytate. This assumption is, however, not justified considering the results on the sorption, immobilization and fixation of phytate to the soil solid phase reported in the last two decades. Phytate is strongly bound, and the P sorption maximum and probably the sorption strength of phytate P to the soil solid phase is much higher, compared to that of orthophosphate P. Mobilization of phytate seems to be a promising step to make it available to the plant roots. The excretion of organic acid anions, citrate and to a lesser extend oxalate, seems to be an important way to make phytate P available to the plants. Phytase activity at the root surface seems not be the limiting step in P acquisition from phytate. Phytate is not only bound to inorganic surfaces in soil but can also be bound, similar to orthophosphate, to humic surfaces via Fe or Al bridges. Humic-metal-phytate complexes may be transported in the soil solution to the roots where hydrolysis and uptake of the liberated P may occur. Research on this topic is strongly required.
Abstract: The free radical molecule, nitric oxide (NO), is present in the principal organs of plants, where it plays an important role in a wide range of physiological functions. Root growth and development are highly regulated by both internal and external factors such as nutrient availability, hormones, pattern formation, cell polarity and cell cycle control. The presence of NO in roots has opened up new areas of research on the role of NO, including root architecture, nutrient acquisition, microorganism interactions and the response mechanisms to adverse environmental conditions, among others. Additionally, the exogenous application of NO throughout the roots has the potential to counteract specific damages caused by certain stresses. This review aims to provide an up-to-date perspective on NO functions in the roots of higher plants.
Abstract: The potential benefits of the low phytic acid (lpa) seed trait for human and animal nutrition, and for phosphorus management in non-ruminant animal production, are well documented. However, in many cases the lpa trait is associated with impaired seed or plant performance, resulting in reduced yield. This has given rise to the perception that the lpa trait is tightly correlated with reduced yield in diverse crop species. Here we report a powerful test of this correlation. We measured grain yield in lines homozygous for each of six barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) lpa mutations that greatly differ in their seed phytic acid levels. Performance comparisons were between sibling wild-type and mutant lines obtained following backcrossing, and across two years in five Idaho (USA) locations that greatly differ in crop yield potential. We found that one lpa mutation (Hvlpa1-1) had no detectable effect on yield and a second (Hvlpa4-1) resulted in yield losses of only 3.5%, across all locations. When comparing yields in three relatively non-stressful production environments, at least three lpa mutations (Hvlpa1-1, Hvlpa3-1, and Hvlpa4-1) typically had yields similar to or within 5% of the wild-type sibling isoline. Therefore in the case of barley, lpa mutations can be readily identified that when simply incorporated into a cultivar result in adequately performing lines, even with no additional breeding for performance within the lpa line. In conclusion, while some barley lpa mutations do impact field performance, a substantial fraction appears to have little or no effect on yield.
Abstract: Nodulation is energetically costly to the host: legumes balance the nitrogen demand with the energy expense by limiting the number of nodules through long-distance signaling. A split root system was used to investigate systemic autoregulation of nodulation (AON) in Medicago truncatula and the role of the AON genes RDN1 and SUNN in the regulatory circuit. Developing nodule primordia did not trigger AON in plants carrying mutations in RDN1 and SUNN genes, while wild type plants had fully induced AON within three days. However, despite lacking an early suppression response, AON mutants suppressed nodulation when roots were inoculated 10 days or more apart, correlated with the maturation of nitrogen fixing nodules. In addition to correlation between nitrogen fixation and suppression of nodulation, suppression by extreme nutrient stress was also observed in all genotypes and may be a component of the observed response due to the conditions of the assay. These results suggest there is more than one systemic regulatory circuit controlling nodulation in M. truncatula. While both signals are present in wild type plants, the second signal can only be observed in plants lacking the early repression (AON mutants). RDN1 and SUNN are not essential for response to the later signal.
Abstract: The manipulation of seed phosphorus is important for seedling growth and environmental P sustainability in agriculture. The mechanism of regulating P content in seed, however, is poorly understood. To study regulation of total P, we focused on phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate; InsP6) biosynthesis-related genes, as InsP6 is a major storage form of P in seeds. The rice (Oryza sativa L.) low phytic acid mutant lpa1-1 has been identified as a homolog of archael 2-phosphoglycerate kinase. The homolog might act as an inositol monophosphate kinase, which catalyzes a key step in InsP6 biosynthesis. Overexpression of the homolog in transgenic rice resulted in a significant increase in total P content in seed, due to increases in InsP6 and inorganic phosphates. On the other hand, overexpression of genes that catalyze the first and last steps of InsP6 biosynthesis could not increase total P levels. From the experiments using developing seeds, it is suggested that the activation of InsP6 biosynthesis in both very early and very late periods of seed development increases the influx of P from vegetative organs into seeds. This is the first report from a study attempting to elevate the P levels of seed through a transgenic approach.