Abstract: Developing reproductive organs within a flower are sensitive to environmental stress. A higher incidence of environmental stress during this stage of a crop plants’ developmental cycle will lead to major breaches in food security. Clearly, we need to understand this sensitivity and try and overcome it, by agricultural practices and/or the breeding of more tolerant cultivars. Although passion fruit vines initiate flowers all year round, flower primordia abort during warm summers. This restricts the season of fruit production in regions with warm summers. Previously, using controlled chambers, stages in flower development that are sensitive to heat were identified. Based on genetic analysis and physiological experiments in controlled environments, gibberellin activity appeared to be a possible point of horticultural intervention. Here, we aimed to shield flowers of a commercial cultivar from end of summer conditions, thus allowing fruit production in new seasons. We conducted experiments over three years in different settings, and our findings consistently show that a single application of an inhibitor of gibberellin biosynthesis to vines in mid-August can cause precocious flowering of ~2–4 weeks, leading to earlier fruit production of ~1 month. In this case, knowledge obtained on phenology, environmental constraints and genetic variation, allowed us to reach a practical solution.
Abstract: Together with the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Borneo (Indonesia, Malaysia), the Philippines are the main center of diversity for carnivorous pitcher plants of the genus, Nepenthes L. Nepenthes are the largest of all carnivorous plants, and the species with the biggest pitchers are capable of trapping and digesting small amphibians and even mammals. The central cordillera of Mindanao Island in the south of the Philippines is mostly covered with old, primary forest and is the largest remaining cohesive, untouched area of wilderness in the Philippines. In a recent field exploration of two areas of the central cordillera, namely Mount Sumagaya and a section of the Pantaron range, four new taxa of Nepenthes were discovered. These four remarkable new species, N. pantaronensis, N. cornuta, N. talaandig and N. amabilis, are described, illustrated and assessed.
Abstract: Interest in management of native warm-season grasses for multiple uses is growing in southeastern USA. Forage quality response of early-succession mixed stands of big bluestem (BB, Andropogon gerardii), indiangrass (IG, Sorghastrum nutans), andlittle bluestem (SG, Schizachyrium scoparium) to harvest intervals (30-, 40-, 60-, 90 or 120-d) and durations (one or two years) were assessed in crop-field buffers. Over three years, phased harvestings were initiated in May, on sets of randomized plots, ≥90 cm apart, in five replications (blocks) to produce one-, two-, and three-year-old stands, by the third year. Whole-plot regrowths were machine-harvested after collecting species (IG and LB) sample tillers for leafiness estimates. Species-specific leaf area (SLA) and leaf-to-stem ratio (LSR) were greater for early-season harvests and shorter intervals. In a similar pattern, whole-plot crude protein concentrations were greatest for the 30-d (74 g·kg−1 DM) and the least (40 g·kg−1 DM) for the 120-d interval. Corresponding neutral detergent fiber (NDF) values were the lowest (620 g·kg−1 DM) and highest (710 g·kg−1 DM), respectively. In vitro dry matter and NDF digestibility were greater for early-season harvests at shorter intervals (63 and 720 g·kg−1 DM). With strategic harvesting, similar stands may produce quality hay for beef cattle weight gain.
Abstract: The plant specific transcription factor LEAFY (LFY) plays a pivotal role in the developmental switch to floral meristem identity in Arabidopsis. Our recent study revealed that LFY additionally acts downstream of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR5/MONOPTEROS to promote flower primordium initiation. LFY also promotes initiation of the floral organ and floral organ identity. To further investigate the interplay between LFYand auxin during flower development, we examined the phenotypic consequence of disrupting polar auxin transport in lfy mutants by genetic means. Plants with compromised LFY activity exhibit increased sensitivity to disruption of polar auxin transport. Compromised polar auxin transport activity in the lfy mutant background resulted in formation of fewer floral organs, abnormal gynoecium development, and fused sepals. In agreement with these observations, expression of the auxin response reporter DR5rev::GFP as well as of the direct LFY target CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON2 were altered in lfy mutantflowers. We also uncovered reduced expression of ETTIN, a regulator of gynoecium development and a direct LFY target. Our results suggest that LFY and polar auxin transport coordinately modulate flower development by regulating genes required for elaboration of the floral organs.
Abstract: Branching determines the final shape of plants, which influences adaptation, survival and the visual quality of many species. It is an intricate process that includes bud outgrowth and shoot extension, and these in turn respond to environmental cues and light conditions. Light is a powerful environmental factor that impacts multiple processes throughout plant life. The molecular basis of the perception and transduction of the light signal within buds is poorly understood and undoubtedly requires to be further unravelled. This review is based on current knowledge on bud outgrowth-related mechanisms and light-mediated regulation of many physiological processes. It provides an extensive, though not exhaustive, overview of the findings related to this field. In parallel, it points to issues to be addressed in the near future.
Abstract: Auxin is one of the crucial regulators of plant growth and development. The discovered auxin cytosolic receptor (TIR1) is not involved in the perception of the hormone signal at the plasma membrane. Instead, another receptor, related to the ABP1, auxin binding protein1, is supposed to be responsible for the perception at the plasma membrane. One of the fast and sensitive auxin-induced reactions is an increase of Ca2+ cytosolic concentration, which is suggested to be dependent on the activation of Ca2+ influx through the plasma membrane. This investigation was carried out with a plasmalemma enriched vesicle fraction, obtained from etiolated maize coleoptiles. The magnitude of Ca2+ efflux through the membrane vesicles was estimated according to the shift of potential dependent fluorescent dye diS-C3-(5). The obtained results showed that during coleoptiles ageing (3rd, 4th and 5th days of seedling etiolated growth) the magnitude of Ca2+ efflux from inside-out vesicles was decreased. Addition of ABP1 led to a recovery of Ca2+ efflux to the level of the youngest and most sensitive cells. Moreover, the efflux was more sensitive, responding from 10−8 to 10−6 M 1-NAA, in vesicles containing ABP1, whereas native vesicles showed the highest efflux at 10−6 M 1-NAA. We suggest that auxin increases plasma membrane permeability to Ca2+ and that ABP1 is involved in modulation of this reaction.