Open AccessArticle
Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.) Harms., a Fading Genetic Resource in a Changing Climate: Prerequisite for Conservation and Sustainability
Plants 2017, 6(3), 30; doi:10.3390/plants6030030 -
Abstract
The southeastern part of Nigeria is one of the major hotspots of useful plant genetic resources. These endemic species are associated with a rich indigenous knowledge and cultural diversity in relation to their use and conservation. Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.)
[...] Read more.
The southeastern part of Nigeria is one of the major hotspots of useful plant genetic resources. These endemic species are associated with a rich indigenous knowledge and cultural diversity in relation to their use and conservation. Sphenostylis stenocarpa (ex. A. Rich.) Harms., (African Yam Bean (AYB)), is one such crop within the family of Fabaceae. Its nutritional and eco-friendly characteristics have value in ameliorating malnutrition, hidden hunger and environmental degradation inherent in resource-poor rural and semi-rural communities throughout Africa. However, lack of information from the custodians of this crop is limiting its sustainable development. Therefore, ethnobotanical surveys on the diversity, uses, and constraints limiting the cultivation and use of the crop in southeastern Nigeria were carried out. Five-hundred respondents were randomly selected and data collected through oral interviews and focused group discussion (FGD). Semi-structured questionnaires (SSQ) were also used to elicit information from a spectrum of AYB users comprising community leaders, farmers, market women and consumers in five States. Results showed that the majority of the respondents lacked formal education and were of the age group of 40–50 years, while the female gender dominated with limited access to land and extension officers. Seed coat colour largely determined utilization. Long cooking time, requirement for staking materials, aging of farmers and low market demand were among the major constraints limiting further cultivation and utilization of AYB. In-situ conservation was by hanging dried fruits by the fireside, beside the house, storing in earthenware, calabash gourds, cans and bottles. It is concluded that there is urgent need to scale up conservation through robust linkages between contemporary scientific domains and indigenous peoples in order to harness and incorporate the rich indigenous knowledge in local communities for enhanced scientific knowledge, biodiversity conservation and its sustainable utilization for food security. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Alfalfa Responses to Gypsum Application Measured Using Undisturbed Soil Columns
Plants 2017, 6(3), 29; doi:10.3390/plants6030029 -
Abstract
Gypsum is an excellent source of Ca and S, both of which are required for crop growth. Large amounts of by-product gypsum [Flue gas desulfurization gypsum-(FGDG)] are produced from coal combustion in the United States, but only 4% is used for agricultural purposes.
[...] Read more.
Gypsum is an excellent source of Ca and S, both of which are required for crop growth. Large amounts of by-product gypsum [Flue gas desulfurization gypsum-(FGDG)] are produced from coal combustion in the United States, but only 4% is used for agricultural purposes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of (1) untreated, (2) short-term (4-year annual applications of gypsum totaling 6720 kg ha−1), and (3) long-term (12-year annual applications of gypsum totaling 20,200 kg ha−1) on alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) growth and nutrient uptake, and gypsum movement through soil. The study was conducted in a greenhouse using undisturbed soil columns of two non-sodic soils (Celina silt loam and Brookston loam). Aboveground growth of alfalfa was not affected by gypsum treatments when compared with untreated (p > 0.05). Total root biomass (0–75 cm) for both soils series was significantly increased by gypsum application (p = 0.04), however, increased root growth was restricted to 0–10 cm depth. Soil and plant analyses indicated no unfavorable environmental impact from of the 4-year and 12-year annual application of FGDG. We concluded that under sufficient water supply, by-product gypsum is a viable source of Ca and S for land application that might benefit alfalfa root growth, but has less effect on aboveground alfalfa biomass production. Undisturbed soil columns were a useful adaptation of the lysimeter method that allowed detailed measurements of alfalfa nutrient uptake, root biomass, and yield and nutrient movement in soil. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
The Polyketide Components of Waxes and the Cer-cqu Gene Cluster Encoding a Novel Polyketide Synthase, the β-Diketone Synthase, DKS
Plants 2017, 6(3), 28; doi:10.3390/plants6030028 -
Abstract
The primary function of the outermost, lipophilic layer of plant aerial surfaces, called the cuticle, is preventing non-stomatal water loss. Its exterior surface is often decorated with wax crystals, imparting a blue–grey color. Identification of the barley Cer-c, -q and -u genes
[...] Read more.
The primary function of the outermost, lipophilic layer of plant aerial surfaces, called the cuticle, is preventing non-stomatal water loss. Its exterior surface is often decorated with wax crystals, imparting a blue–grey color. Identification of the barley Cer-c, -q and -u genes forming the 101 kb Cer-cqu gene cluster encoding a novel polyketide synthase—the β-diketone synthase (DKS), a lipase/carboxyl transferase, and a P450 hydroxylase, respectively, establishes a new, major pathway for the synthesis of plant waxes. The major product is a β-diketone (14,16-hentriacontane) aliphatic that forms long, thin crystalline tubes. A pathway branch leads to the formation of esterified alkan-2-ols. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Cuticular Waxes of Arabidopsis thaliana Shoots: Cell-Type-Specific Composition and Biosynthesis
Plants 2017, 6(3), 27; doi:10.3390/plants6030027 -
Abstract
It is generally assumed that all plant epidermis cells are covered with cuticles, and the distinct surface geometries of pavement cells, guard cells, and trichomes imply functional differences and possibly different wax compositions. However, experiments probing cell-type-specific wax compositions and biosynthesis have been
[...] Read more.
It is generally assumed that all plant epidermis cells are covered with cuticles, and the distinct surface geometries of pavement cells, guard cells, and trichomes imply functional differences and possibly different wax compositions. However, experiments probing cell-type-specific wax compositions and biosynthesis have been lacking until recently. This review summarizes new evidence showing that Arabidopsis trichomes have fewer wax compound classes than pavement cells, and higher amounts of especially long-chain hydrocarbons. The biosynthesis machinery generating this characteristic surface coating is discussed. Interestingly, wax compounds with similar, long hydrocarbon chains had been identified previously in some unrelated species, not all of them bearing trichomes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Variation in Yield Responses to Elevated CO2 and a Brief High Temperature Treatment in Quinoa
Plants 2017, 6(3), 26; doi:10.3390/plants6030026 -
Abstract
Intraspecific variation in crop responses to global climate change conditions would provide opportunities to adapt crops to future climates. These experiments explored intraspecific variation in response to elevated CO2 and to high temperature during anthesis in Chenopodium quinoa Wild. Three cultivars of
[...] Read more.
Intraspecific variation in crop responses to global climate change conditions would provide opportunities to adapt crops to future climates. These experiments explored intraspecific variation in response to elevated CO2 and to high temperature during anthesis in Chenopodium quinoa Wild. Three cultivars of quinoa were grown to maturity at 400 (“ambient”) and 600 (“elevated”) μmol·mol−1 CO2 concentrations at 20/14 °C day/night (“control”) temperatures, with or without exposure to day/night temperatures of 35/29 °C (“high” temperatures) for seven days during anthesis. At control temperatures, the elevated CO2 concentration increased the total aboveground dry mass at maturity similarly in all cultivars, but by only about 10%. A large down-regulation of photosynthesis at elevated CO2 occurred during grain filling. In contrast to shoot mass, the increase in seed dry mass at elevated CO2 ranged from 12% to 44% among cultivars at the control temperature. At ambient CO2, the week-long high temperature treatment greatly decreased (0.30 × control) or increased (1.70 × control) seed yield, depending on the cultivar. At elevated CO2, the high temperature treatment increased seed yield moderately in all cultivars. These quinoa cultivars had a wide range of responses to both elevated CO2 and to high temperatures during anthesis, and much more variation in harvest index responses to elevated CO2 than other crops that have been examined. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Occurrence and Biosynthesis of Alkyl Hydroxycinnamates in Plant Lipid Barriers
Plants 2017, 6(3), 25; doi:10.3390/plants6030025 -
Abstract
The plant lipid barriers cuticle and suberin represent one of the largest biological interfaces on the planet. They are comprised of an insoluble polymeric domain with associated organic solvent-soluble waxes. Suberin-associated and plant cuticular waxes contain mixtures of aliphatic components that may include
[...] Read more.
The plant lipid barriers cuticle and suberin represent one of the largest biological interfaces on the planet. They are comprised of an insoluble polymeric domain with associated organic solvent-soluble waxes. Suberin-associated and plant cuticular waxes contain mixtures of aliphatic components that may include alkyl hydroxycinnamates (AHCs). The canonical alkyl hydroxycinnamates are comprised of phenylpropanoids, typically coumaric, ferulic, or caffeic acids, esterified with long chain to very long chain fatty alcohols. However, many related structures are also present in the plant kingdom. Although their functions remain elusive, much progress has been made on understanding the distribution, biosynthesis, and deposition of AHCs. Herein a summary of the current state of knowledge on plant AHCs is provided. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
The Unique Role of the ECERIFERUM2-LIKE Clade of the BAHD Acyltransferase Superfamily in Cuticular Wax Metabolism
Plants 2017, 6(2), 23; doi:10.3390/plants6020023 -
Abstract
The elongation of very-long-chain fatty acids is a conserved process used for the production of many metabolites, including plant cuticular waxes. The elongation of precursors of the most abundant cuticular wax components of some plants, however, is unique in requiring ECERIFERUM2-LIKE (CER2-LIKE) proteins.
[...] Read more.
The elongation of very-long-chain fatty acids is a conserved process used for the production of many metabolites, including plant cuticular waxes. The elongation of precursors of the most abundant cuticular wax components of some plants, however, is unique in requiring ECERIFERUM2-LIKE (CER2-LIKE) proteins. CER2-LIKEs are a clade within the BAHD superfamily of acyltransferases. They are known to be required for cuticular wax production in both Arabidopsis and maize based on mutant studies. Heterologous expression of Arabidopsis and rice CER2-LIKEs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has demonstrated that they modify the chain-length specificity of elongation when paired with particular condensing enzymes. Despite sequence homology, CER2-LIKEs are distinct from the BAHD superfamily in that they do not appear to use acyl transfer activity to fulfill their biological function. Here, we review the discovery and characterization of CER2-LIKEs, propose several models to explain their function, and explore the importance of CER2-LIKE proteins for the evolution of plant cuticles. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Comparative Phenotypical and Molecular Analyses of Arabidopsis Grown under Fluorescent and LED Light
Plants 2017, 6(2), 24; doi:10.3390/plants6020024 -
Abstract
Comparative analyses of phenotypic and molecular traits of Arabidopsis thaliana grown under standardised conditions is still a challenge using climatic devices supplied with common light sources. These are in most cases fluorescent lights, which have several disadvantages such as heat production at higher
[...] Read more.
Comparative analyses of phenotypic and molecular traits of Arabidopsis thaliana grown under standardised conditions is still a challenge using climatic devices supplied with common light sources. These are in most cases fluorescent lights, which have several disadvantages such as heat production at higher light intensities, an invariable spectral output, and relatively rapid “ageing”. This results in non-desired variations of growth conditions and lowers the comparability of data acquired over extended time periods. In this study, we investigated the growth behaviour of Arabidopsis Col0 under different light conditions, applying fluorescent compared to LED lamps, and we conducted physiological as well as gene expression analyses. By changing the spectral composition and/or light intensity of LEDs we can clearly influence the growth behaviour of Arabidopsis and thereby study phenotypic attributes under very specific light conditions that are stable and reproducible, which is not necessarily given for fluorescent lamps. By using LED lights, we can also roughly mimic the sun light emission spectrum, enabling us to study plant growth in a more natural-like light set-up. We observed distinct growth behaviour under the different light regimes which was reflected by physiological properties of the plants. In conclusion, LEDs provide variable emission spectra for studying plant growth under defined, stable light conditions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
FLOWERING LOCUS T Triggers Early and Fertile Flowering in Glasshouse Cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz)
Plants 2017, 6(2), 22; doi:10.3390/plants6020022 -
Abstract
Accelerated breeding of plant species has the potential to help challenge environmental and biochemical cues to support global crop security. We demonstrate the over-expression of ArabidopsisFLOWERING LOCUS T in Agrobacterium-mediated transformed cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz; cultivar 60444) to trigger early
[...] Read more.
Accelerated breeding of plant species has the potential to help challenge environmental and biochemical cues to support global crop security. We demonstrate the over-expression of ArabidopsisFLOWERING LOCUS T in Agrobacterium-mediated transformed cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz; cultivar 60444) to trigger early flowering in glasshouse-grown plants. An event seldom seen in a glasshouse environment, precocious flowering and mature inflorescence were obtained within 4–5 months from planting of stem cuttings. Manual pollination using pistillate and staminate flowers from clonal propagants gave rise to viable seeds that germinated into morphologically typical progeny. This strategy comes at a time when accelerated crop breeding is of increasing importance to complement progressive genome editing techniques. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Metabolomic Profiling of Soybeans (Glycine max L.) Reveals the Importance of Sugar and Nitrogen Metabolism under Drought and Heat Stress
Plants 2017, 6(2), 21; doi:10.3390/plants6020021 -
Abstract
Soybean is an important crop that is continually threatened by abiotic stresses, especially drought and heat stress. At molecular levels, reduced yields due to drought and heat stress can be seen as a result of alterations in metabolic homeostasis of vegetative tissues. At
[...] Read more.
Soybean is an important crop that is continually threatened by abiotic stresses, especially drought and heat stress. At molecular levels, reduced yields due to drought and heat stress can be seen as a result of alterations in metabolic homeostasis of vegetative tissues. At present an incomplete understanding of abiotic stress-associated metabolism and identification of associated metabolites remains a major gap in soybean stress research. A study with a goal to profile leaf metabolites under control conditions (28/24 °C), drought [28/24 °C, 10% volumetric water content (VWC)], and heat stress (43/35 °C) was conducted in a controlled environment. Analyses of non-targeted metabolomic data showed that in response to drought and heat stress, key metabolites (carbohydrates, amino acids, lipids, cofactors, nucleotides, peptides and secondary metabolites) were differentially accumulated in soybean leaves. The metabolites for various cellular processes, such as glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, the pentose phosphate pathway, and starch biosynthesis, that regulate carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid metabolism, peptide metabolism, and purine and pyrimidine biosynthesis, were found to be affected by drought as well as heat stress. Computationally based regulatory networks predicted additional compounds that address the possibility of other metabolites and metabolic pathways that could also be important for soybean under drought and heat stress conditions. Metabolomic profiling demonstrated that in soybeans, keeping up with sugar and nitrogen metabolism is of prime significance, along with phytochemical metabolism under drought and heat stress conditions. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Attenuation of Drought Stress in Brassica Seedlings with Exogenous Application of Ca2+ and H2O2
Plants 2017, 6(2), 20; doi:10.3390/plants6020020 -
Abstract
Drought is one of the most common abiotic stresses, affecting the growth and productivity of crop plants globally, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Different strategies are used to mitigate the impact of drought among crop plants. Exogenous application of different substances are
[...] Read more.
Drought is one of the most common abiotic stresses, affecting the growth and productivity of crop plants globally, particularly in arid and semi-arid regions. Different strategies are used to mitigate the impact of drought among crop plants. Exogenous application of different substances are known to decrease the effects of various abiotic stresses, including drought stress. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Ca2+ and H2O2 in developing drought stress tolerance in Brassica napus “Bulbul-98” seedlings. Brassica napus “Bulbul-98” seedlings were exposed to 5, 10 and 15 mM Ca2+ and 2, 5 and 10 μM H2O2 concentrations twice at an interval of two days for up to 20 days after germination. Drought stress decreased relative water content (RWC), chlorophyll content and increased proline, H2O2, soluble protein and electrolyte leakage in Brassica seedlings. Exogenous Ca2+ (5, 10,15 mM) and H2O2 (2, 5, 10 μM) supplementations, during drought stress induction, showed a significant increase in RWC by 5.4%, 18.06%, 26.2% and 6.87%, 13.9%, 18.3% respectively. Similarly, with the exogenous application of Ca2+ (5, 10, 15 mM) and H2O2 (2, 5, 10 μM), chlorophyll content was increased by 15.03%, 22.2%, and 28.4%, and 9.6%, 23.3%, and 27.5% respectively. It was confirmed that the seedlings under drought stress that were supplemented with Ca2+ and H2O2 recovered from water content reduction and chlorosis, and were able to grow normally. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Pastoralism versus Agriculturalism—How Do Altered Land-Use Forms Affect the Spread of Invasive Plants in the Degraded Mutara Rangelands of North-Eastern Rwanda?
Plants 2017, 6(2), 19; doi:10.3390/plants6020019 -
Abstract
Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) originates from tropical Central and South America and has become invasive in about 50 countries. It causes problems when invading rangelands due to its toxicity to livestock and its tendency to form dense, monotonous thickets. Its invasiveness can partly
[...] Read more.
Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) originates from tropical Central and South America and has become invasive in about 50 countries. It causes problems when invading rangelands due to its toxicity to livestock and its tendency to form dense, monotonous thickets. Its invasiveness can partly be explained by the high tannin content largely protecting the species from being browsed, its tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions, as well as its general preference for anthropogenically disturbed habitats. The dispersal of L. camara is facilitated by birds and other animals consuming its drupes (endozoochory), and so both wild and domestic ungulates could contribute to its spread. In our study, we investigated the distribution of L. camara in the Mutara rangelands of north-eastern Rwanda, an area that faced dramatic landscape changes in recent decades. We assessed 23 ecological factors and factors related to land-use and conservation-political history. Major effects on the local abundance of L. camara were found in that the relative canopy cover of L. camara was negatively correlated with the occurrence of other shrubs (suggesting competition for space and nutrients), while encounter rates of houses, ‘living fences’ (Euphorbia tirucalli L.) and cattle tracks were positively correlated with L. camara cover. Hence, the spread of non-native L. camara in the Mutara rangelands appears to be linked to landscape alterations arising from the transformation of rangelands supporting traditional pastoralist communities to other agricultural land-use forms. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle
Effect of Gamma Irradiation on 2-Acetyl-1-pyrroline Content, GABA Content and Volatile Compounds of Germinated Rice (Thai Upland Rice)
Plants 2017, 6(2), 18; doi:10.3390/plants6020018 -
Abstract
Aroma intensity in rice is related to the level of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2AP). The accumulation of 2AP in rice has been synthesized via l-proline metabolism by inactive betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme (BADH2), which activates 2AP accumulation. Meanwhile, active BADH2 inhibits 2AP accumulation but
[...] Read more.
Aroma intensity in rice is related to the level of 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline (2AP). The accumulation of 2AP in rice has been synthesized via l-proline metabolism by inactive betaine aldehyde dehydrogenase enzyme (BADH2), which activates 2AP accumulation. Meanwhile, active BADH2 inhibits 2AP accumulation but activates γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) accumulation. The improvement of 2AP content in rice has been reported under certain conditions, such as high salinity, water treatment, and reduction of high intensity solar exposure. In this study, we conducted the effects of gamma irradiation on 2AP content, GABA content and volatile compounds of germinated rice (Thai upland rice). Our results showed that the GABA content was highest when rice seeds germinated within a 24-h. The 2AP content of irradiated rice (germinated within a 24-h duration) was higher than non-irradiated rice for all gamma doses, particularly at 20 Gy, which showed a 23-fold higher level of 2AP than non-irradiated rice. On the other hand, the reduction of the GABA content of irradiated rice was caused by an increase in the gamma dose. At 300 Gy, irradiated rice had a GABA content approximately 2.6-fold lower than non-irradiated rice. Moreover, we observed that a reduction of volatile compounds occurred when increasing gamma dose. However, some volatile compounds appeared in the irradiated rice at gamma doses of 60 Gy, 80 Gy, 100 Gy and 300 Gy. Furthermore, we observed that the level of Octanal, which is the compound most related to aroma intensity, of irradiated rice was stronger than that of non-irradiated rice. Our results demonstrate for the first time that 2AP and GABA contents are sensitive to gamma irradiation conditions. Moreover, the results indicate that the gamma irradiation technique can be used to improve the aroma intensity of rice. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Pollen Grain Preservation and Fertility in Valuable Commercial Rose Cultivars
Plants 2017, 6(2), 17; doi:10.3390/plants6020017 -
Abstract
In the cut flower market, traditional breeding is still the best way to achieve new rose cultivars. The geographical delocalization of cultivar constitution (generally made in Europe and North America) and plant cultivation (large areas in Africa and South America) represents a limit
[...] Read more.
In the cut flower market, traditional breeding is still the best way to achieve new rose cultivars. The geographical delocalization of cultivar constitution (generally made in Europe and North America) and plant cultivation (large areas in Africa and South America) represents a limit point for crossing and selection. Rose breeders often need to overcome geographical distances, resulting in asynchrony in flowering among crossing parents, by storing and sending pollen. Hence, a key aspect in breeding programs is linked to pollen availability and conservation, jointly with the identification of parameters related to pollen fertility. In this study we present the results of three different trials. In the first, pollen diameter and pollen viability were chosen as fertility predictors of 10 Rosa hybrida commercial cultivars. In the second trial, aliquots of dried pollen grains of six R. hybrida cultivar were stored under two different temperatures (freezer at T = −20 °C and deep freezer at T = −80 °C) and after a wide range of conservation period, their viability was measured. In the third trial, the effective fertilization capacity of frozen pollen of 19 pollen donor cultivars was evaluated during 2015 crossing breeding plan, performing 44 hybridizations and correlating the number of seeds and the ratio seeds/crossing, obtained by each cultivar, with in vitro pollen germination ability. Full article
Figures

Open AccessReview
Antimicrobial Resistance and the Alternative Resources with Special Emphasis on Plant-Based Antimicrobials—A Review
Plants 2017, 6(2), 16; doi:10.3390/plants6020016 -
Abstract
Indiscriminate and irrational use of antibiotics has created an unprecedented challenge for human civilization due to microbe’s development of antimicrobial resistance. It is difficult to treat bacterial infection due to bacteria’s ability to develop resistance against antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents are categorized according
[...] Read more.
Indiscriminate and irrational use of antibiotics has created an unprecedented challenge for human civilization due to microbe’s development of antimicrobial resistance. It is difficult to treat bacterial infection due to bacteria’s ability to develop resistance against antimicrobial agents. Antimicrobial agents are categorized according to their mechanism of action, i.e., interference with cell wall synthesis, DNA and RNA synthesis, lysis of the bacterial membrane, inhibition of protein synthesis, inhibition of metabolic pathways, etc. Bacteria may become resistant by antibiotic inactivation, target modification, efflux pump and plasmidic efflux. Currently, the clinically available treatment is not effective against the antibiotic resistance developed by some bacterial species. However, plant-based antimicrobials have immense potential to combat bacterial, fungal, protozoal and viral diseases without any known side effects. Such plant metabolites include quinines, alkaloids, lectins, polypeptides, flavones, flavonoids, flavonols, coumarin, terpenoids, essential oils and tannins. The present review focuses on antibiotic resistance, the resistance mechanism in bacteria against antibiotics and the role of plant-active secondary metabolites against microorganisms, which might be useful as an alternative and effective strategy to break the resistance among microbes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Lipid Raft, Regulator of Plasmodesmal Callose Homeostasis
Plants 2017, 6(2), 15; doi:10.3390/plants6020015 -
Abstract
Abstract: The specialized plasma membrane microdomains known as lipid rafts are enriched by sterols and sphingolipids. Lipid rafts facilitate cellular signal transduction by controlling the assembly of signaling molecules and membrane protein trafficking. Another specialized compartment of plant cells, the plasmodesmata (PD),
[...] Read more.
Abstract: The specialized plasma membrane microdomains known as lipid rafts are enriched by sterols and sphingolipids. Lipid rafts facilitate cellular signal transduction by controlling the assembly of signaling molecules and membrane protein trafficking. Another specialized compartment of plant cells, the plasmodesmata (PD), which regulates the symplasmic intercellular movement of certain molecules between adjacent cells, also contains a phospholipid bilayer membrane. The dynamic permeability of plasmodesmata (PDs) is highly controlled by plasmodesmata callose (PDC), which is synthesized by callose synthases (CalS) and degraded by β-1,3-glucanases (BGs). In recent studies, remarkable observations regarding the correlation between lipid raft formation and symplasmic intracellular trafficking have been reported, and the PDC has been suggested to be the regulator of the size exclusion limit of PDs. It has been suggested that the alteration of lipid raft substances impairs PDC homeostasis, subsequently affecting PD functions. In this review, we discuss the substantial role of membrane lipid rafts in PDC homeostasis and provide avenues for understanding the fundamental behavior of the lipid raft–processed PDC. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Combined Effects of Ozone and Drought on the Physiology and Membrane Lipids of Two Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) Cultivars
Plants 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/plants6010014 -
Abstract
The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did
[...] Read more.
The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did not cause leaf injury but restricted growth through stomatal closure. In contrast, the short-term ozone treatment (130 ppb 12 h daily during 14 day) had a limited impact at the whole-plant level but caused leaf injury, hydrogen peroxide accumulation and galactolipid degradation. These effects were stronger in the IT83-D cultivar, which also showed specific ozone responses such as a higher digalactosyl-diacylglycerol (DGDG):monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) ratio and the coordinated up-regulation of DGDG synthase (VuDGD2) and ω-3 fatty acid desaturase 8 (VuFAD8) genes, suggesting that membrane remodeling occurred under ozone stress in the sensitive cultivar. When stresses were combined, ozone did not modify the stomatal response to drought and the observed effects on whole-plant physiology were essentially the same as when drought was applied alone. Conversely, the drought-induced stomatal closure appeared to alleviate ozone effects through the reduction of ozone uptake. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication
First Report on the Ethnopharmacological Uses of Medicinal Plants by Monpa Tribe from the Zemithang Region of Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Himalayas, India
Plants 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/plants6010013 -
Abstract
The Himalayas are well known for high diversity and ethnobotanical uses of the region’s medicinal plants. However, not all areas of the Himalayan regions are well studied. Studies on ethnobotanical uses of plants from the Eastern Himalayas are still lacking for many tribes.
[...] Read more.
The Himalayas are well known for high diversity and ethnobotanical uses of the region’s medicinal plants. However, not all areas of the Himalayan regions are well studied. Studies on ethnobotanical uses of plants from the Eastern Himalayas are still lacking for many tribes. Past studies have primarily focused on listing plants’ vernacular names and their traditional medicinal uses. However, studies on traditional ethnopharmacological practices on medicine preparation by mixing multiple plant products of different species has not yet been reported in published literature from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, Eastern Himalayas. In this study, we are reporting for the first time the ethnopharmacological uses of 24 medicines and their procedures of preparation, as well as listing 53 plant species used for these medicines by the Monpa tribe. Such documentations are done first time in Arunachal Pradesh region of India as per our knowledge. Our research emphasizes the urgent need to document traditional medicine preparation procedures from local healers before traditional knowledge of tribal people living in remote locations are forgotten in a rapidly transforming country like India. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Plasmodesmata-Mediated Cell-to-Cell Communication in the Shoot Apical Meristem: How Stem Cells Talk
Plants 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/plants6010012 -
Abstract
Positional information is crucial for the determination of plant cell fates, and it is established based on coordinated cell-to-cell communication, which in turn is essential for plant growth and development. Plants have evolved a unique communication pathway, with tiny channels called plasmodesmata (PD)
[...] Read more.
Positional information is crucial for the determination of plant cell fates, and it is established based on coordinated cell-to-cell communication, which in turn is essential for plant growth and development. Plants have evolved a unique communication pathway, with tiny channels called plasmodesmata (PD) spanning the cell wall. PD interconnect most cells in the plant and generate a cytoplasmic continuum, to mediate short- and long-distance trafficking of various molecules. Cell-to-cell communication through PD plays a role in transmitting positional signals, however, the regulatory mechanisms of PD-mediated trafficking are still largely unknown. The induction and maintenance of stem cells in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) depends on PDmediated cell-to-cell communication, hence, it is an optimal model for dissecting the regulatory mechanisms of PD-mediated cell-to-cell communication and its function in specifying cell fates. In this review, we summarize recent knowledge of PD-mediated cell-to-cell communication in the SAM, and discuss mechanisms underlying molecular trafficking through PD and its role in plant development. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Ethnopharmacology, Chemistry and Biological Properties of Four Malian Medicinal Plants
Plants 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/plants6010011 -
Abstract
The ethnopharmacology, chemistry and pharmacology of four Malian medicinal plants, Biophytum umbraculum, Burkea africana, Lannea velutina and Terminalia macroptera are reviewed. These plants are used by traditional healers against numerous ailments: malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, wounds, sexually transmitted diseases, insect bites and
[...] Read more.
The ethnopharmacology, chemistry and pharmacology of four Malian medicinal plants, Biophytum umbraculum, Burkea africana, Lannea velutina and Terminalia macroptera are reviewed. These plants are used by traditional healers against numerous ailments: malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, wounds, sexually transmitted diseases, insect bites and snake bites, etc. The scientific evidence for these uses is, however, limited. From the chemical and pharmacological evidence presented here, it seems possible that the use in traditional medicine of these plants may have a rational basis, although more clinical studies are needed. Full article
Figures