Abstract: Plant cells are surrounded by the primary cell wall, a rigid framework that needs to be modified in order to allow cell growth. Recent data suggest that in addition to the cellulose-hemicellulose network, the pectin matrix plays a critical role in determining the elasticity of the primary cell wall. Polygalacturonases are key homogalacturonan-hydrolyzing enzymes that function in a wide range of developmental processes. In this review, we present recent progress in understanding the role of polygalacturonases during cell elongation and separation. In discussing the specificities and possible redundancies of polygalacturonases, we focus particularly on newly discovered Arabidopsis mutants that have measurable loss-of-function phenotypes. However, data from other species are included when necessary.
Abstract: Sex expression of dioecious buffalograss [Bouteloua dactyloides Columbus (syn. Buchloë dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.)] is known to be environmentally stable with approximate 1:1, male to female, sex ratios. Here we show that infection by the pistil smut fungus [Salmacisiabuchloëana Huff & Chandra (syn. Tilletia buchloëana Kellerman and Swingle)] shifts sex ratios of buffalograss to be nearly 100% phenotypically hermaphroditic. In addition, pistil smut infection decreased vegetative reproductive allocation, increased most seed yield components, and increased pseudosexual reproductive allocation in both sex forms compared to uninfected clones. In female sex forms, pistil smut infection resulted in a 26 fold increase in ovary production and a 35 fold increase in potential harvest index. In male sex forms, pistil smut infection resulted in 2.37 fold increase in floret number and over 95% of these florets contained a well-developed pistil. Although all ovaries of infected plants are filled with fungal teliospores and hence reproductively sterile, an average male-female pair of infected plants exhibited an 87 fold increase in potential harvest index compared to their uninfected clones. Acquiring an ability to mimic the effects of pistil smut infection would enhance our understanding of the flowering process in grasses and our efforts to increase seed yield of buffalograss and perhaps other grasses.
Abstract: Plasmolysis is a typical response of plant cells exposed to hyperosmotic stress. The loss of turgor causes the violent detachment of the living protoplast from the cell wall. The plasmolytic process is mainly driven by the vacuole. Plasmolysis is reversible (deplasmolysis) and characteristic to living plant cells. Obviously, dramatic structural changes are required to fulfill a plasmolytic cycle. In the present paper, the fate of cortical microtubules and actin microfilaments is documented throughout a plasmolytic cycle in living cells of green fluorescent protein (GFP) tagged Arabidopsis lines. While the microtubules became wavy and highly bundled during plasmolysis, cortical filamentous actin remained in close vicinity to the plasma membrane lining the sites of concave plasmolysis and adjusting readily to the diminished size of the protoplast. During deplasmolysis, cortical microtubule re-organization progressed slowly and required up to 24 h to complete the restoration of the original pre-plasmolytic pattern. Actin microfilaments, again, recovered faster and organelle movement remained intact throughout the whole process. In summary, the hydrostatic skeleton resulting from the osmotic state of the plant vacuole “overrules” the stabilization by cortical cytoskeletal elements.
Abstract: Glutaredoxins (GRXs) are small ubiquitous glutathione (GSH)-dependent oxidoreductases that catalyze the reversible reduction of protein disulfide bridges or protein-GSH mixed disulfide bonds via a dithiol or monothiol mechanism, respectively. Three major classes of GRXs, with the CPYC-type, the CGFS-type or the CC-type active site, have been identified in many plant species. In spite of the well-characterized roles for GRXs in Escherichia coli, yeast and humans, the biological functions of plant GRXs have been largely enigmatic. The CPYC-type and CGFS-type GRXs exist in all organisms, from prokaryotes to eukaryotes, whereas the CC-type class has thus far been solely identified in land plants. Only the number of the CC-type GRXs has enlarged dramatically during the evolution of land plants, suggesting their participation in the formation of more complex plants adapted to life on land. A growing body of evidence indicates that plant GRXs are involved in numerous cellular pathways. In this review, emphasis is placed on the recently emerging functions for GRXs in floral organ development and disease resistance. Notably, CC-type GRXs have been recruited to participate in these two seemingly unrelated processes. Besides, the current knowledge of plant GRXs in the assembly and delivery of iron-sulfur clusters, oxidative stress responses and arsenic resistance is also presented. As GRXs require GSH as an electron donor to reduce their target proteins, GSH-related developmental processes, including the control of flowering time and the development of postembryonic roots and shoots, are further discussed. Profiling the thiol redox proteome using high-throughput proteomic approaches and measuring cellular redox changes with fluorescent redox biosensors will help to further unravel the redox-regulated physiological processes in plants.
Abstract: Penium margaritaceum is a new and valuable unicellular model organism for studying plant cell wall structure and developmental dynamics. This charophyte has a cell wall composition remarkably similar to the primary cell wall of many higher plants and clearly-defined inclusive zones containing specific polymers. Penium has a simple cylindrical phenotype with a distinct region of focused wall synthesis. Specific polymers, particularly pectins, can be identified using monoclonal antibodies raised against polymers of higher plant cell walls. Immunofluorescence-based labeling is easily performed using live cells that subsequently can be returned to culture and monitored. This feature allows for rapid assessment of wall expansion rates and identification of multiple polymer types in the wall microarchitecture during the cell cycle. Cryofixation by means of spray freezing provides excellent transmission electron microscopy imaging of the cell, including its elaborate endomembrane and cytoskeletal systems, both integral to cell wall development. Penium’s fast growth rate allows for convenient microarray screening of various agents that alter wall biosynthesis and metabolism. Finally, recent successful development of transformed cell lines has allowed for non-invasive imaging of proteins in cells and for RNAi reverse genetics that can be used for cell wall biosynthesis studies.
Abstract: Xyloglucan (XyG) is a hemicellulose found in the cell walls of all land plants including early-divergent groups such as liverworts, hornworts and mosses. The basic structure of XyG, a xylosylated glucan, is similar in all of these plants but additional substituents can vary depending on plant family, tissue, and developmental stage. A comprehensive list of known XyG sidechain substituents is assembled including their occurrence within plant families, thereby providing insight into the evolutionary origin of the various sidechains. Recent advances in DNA sequencing have enabled comparative genomics approaches for the identification of XyG biosynthetic enzymes in Arabidopsis thaliana as well as in non-model plant species. Characterization of these biosynthetic genes not only allows the determination of their substrate specificity but also provides insights into the function of the various substituents in plant growth and development.