Plants2015, 4(3), 369-392; doi:10.3390/plants4030369 (registering DOI) - published 3 July 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The study, characterization, observation, and quantification of plant root growth and root systems (Rhizometrics) has been and remains an important area of research in all disciplines of plant science. In the horticultural industry, a large portion of the crops grown annually are grown in pot culture. Root growth is a critical component in overall plant performance during production in containers, and therefore it is important to understand the factors that influence and/or possible enhance it. Quantifying root growth has varied over the last several decades with each method of quantification changing in its reliability of measurement and variation among the results. Methods such as root drawings, pin boards, rhizotrons, and minirhizotrons initiated the aptitude to measure roots with field crops, and have been expanded to container-grown plants. However, many of the published research methods are monotonous and time-consuming. More recently, computer programs have increased in use as technology advances and measuring characteristics of root growth becomes easier. These programs are instrumental in analyzing various root growth characteristics, from root diameter and length of individual roots to branching angle and topological depth of the root architecture. This review delves into the expanding technologies involved with expertly measuring root growth of plants in containers, and the advantages and disadvantages that remain.
Abstract: Senescence represents the final stage of leaf development but is often inducedprematurely following exposure to biotic and abiotic stresses. Leaf senescence is manifested by color change from green to yellow (due to chlorophyll degradation) or to red (due to de novo synthesis of anthocyanins coupled with chlorophyll degradation) and frequently culminates in programmed death of leaves. However, the breakdown of chlorophyll and macromolecules such as proteins and RNAs that occurs during leaf senescence does not necessarily represent a one-way road to death but rather a reversible process whereby senescing leaves can, under certain conditions, re-green and regain their photosynthetic capacity. This phenomenon essentially distinguishes senescence from programmed cell death, leading researchers to hypothesize that changes occurring during senescence might represent a process of trans-differentiation, that is the conversion of one cell type to another. In this review, we highlight attributes common to senescence and dedifferentiation including chromatin structure and activation of transposable elements and provide further support to the notion that senescence is not merely a deterioration process leading to death but rather a unique developmental state resembling dedifferentiation.
Abstract: Roots are crucial for nutrient and water acquisition and can be targeted to enhance plant productivity under a broad range of growing conditions. A current challenge for plant breeding is the limited ability to phenotype and select for desirable root characteristics due to their underground location. Plant breeding efforts aimed at modifying root traits can result in novel, more stress-tolerant crops and increased yield by enhancing the capacity of the plant for soil exploration and, thus, water and nutrient acquisition. Available approaches for root phenotyping in laboratory, greenhouse and field encompass simple agar plates to labor-intensive root digging (i.e., shovelomics) and soil boring methods, the construction of underground root observation stations and sophisticated computer-assisted root imaging. Here, we summarize root architectural traits relevant to crop productivity, survey root phenotyping strategies and describe their advantages, limitations and practical value for crop and forage breeding programs.
Abstract: The vacuole is an essential organelle for plant growth and development. It is the location for the storage of nutrients; such as sugars and proteins; and other metabolic products. Understanding the mechanisms of vacuolar trafficking and molecule transport across the vacuolar membrane is of great importance in understanding basic plant development and cell biology and for crop quality improvement. Proteins play important roles in vacuolar trafficking; such proteins include Rab GTPase signaling proteins; cargo recognition receptors; and SNAREs (Soluble NSF Attachment Protein Receptors) that are involved in membrane fusion. Some vacuole membrane proteins also serve as the transporters or channels for transport across the tonoplast. Less understood but critical are the roles of lipids in vacuolar trafficking. In this review, we will first summarize molecular composition of plant vacuoles and we will then discuss our latest understanding on the role of lipids in plant vacuolar trafficking and a surprising connection to ribosome function through the study of ribosomal mutants.
Abstract: Phytic acid (PA) biosynthesis pathway genes were reported from multiple crop species. PA accumulation was enhanced during grain filling and at that time, hormones like Abscisic acid (ABA) and Gibberellic acid (GA3) interplay to control the process of seed development. Regulation of wheat PA pathway genes has not yet been reported in seeds. In an attempt to find the clues for the regulation by hormones, the promoter region of wheat PA pathway genes was analyzed for the presence of cis-elements. Multiple cis-elements of those known to be involved for ABA, GA3, salicylic acid (SA), and cAMP sensing were identified in the promoters of PA pathway genes. Eight genes (TaIMP, TaITPK1-4, TaPLC1, TaIPK2 and TaIPK1) involved in the wheat PA biosynthesis pathway were selected for the expression studies. The temporal expression response was studied in seeds treated with ABA and GA3 using quantitative real time PCR. Our results suggested that exogenous application of ABA induces few PA pathway genes in wheat grains. Comparison of expression profiles for PA pathway for GA3 and ABA suggested the antagonistic regulation of certain genes. Additionally, to reveal stress responses of wheat PA pathway genes, expression was also studied in the presence of SA and cAMP. Results suggested SA specific differential expression of few genes, whereas, overall repression of genes was observed in cAMP treated samples. This study is an effort to understand the regulation of PA biosynthesis genes in wheat.
Abstract: Drought strongly influences root activities in crop plants and weeds. This paper is focused on the performance of the heavy metal accumulator Solanum nigrum, a plant which might be helpful for phytoremediation. The water potential in a split root system was decreased by the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000). Rubidium, strontium and radionuclides of heavy metals were used as markers to investigate the uptake into roots, the release to the shoot via the xylem, and finally the basipetal transport via the phloem to unlabeled roots. The uptake into the roots (total contents in the plant) was for most makers more severely decreased than the transport to the shoot or the export from the shoot to the unlabeled roots via the phloem. Regardless of the water potential in the labeling solution, 63Ni and 65Zn were selectively redistributed within the plant. From autoradiographs, it became evident that 65Zn accumulated in root tips, in the apical shoot meristem and in axillary buds, while 63Ni accumulated in young expanded leaves and roots but not in the meristems. Since both radionuclides are mobile in the phloem and are, therefore, well redistributed within the plant, the unequal transfer to shoot and root apical meristems is most likely caused by differences in the cell-to-cell transport in differentiation zones without functional phloem (immature sieve tubes).