Abstract: Two collections of Arabidopsis GAL4 enhancer trap lines were screened for light-intensity dependent reporter gene activation. Line N9313 was isolated for its strong light-intensity regulation. The T-DNA element trapped distant enhancers of the SIG5 promoter, which drives expression of a sigma factor involved in regulation of chloroplast genes for photosystem II core proteins. The T-DNA insertion 715 bp upstream of the transcription initiation site splits the promoter in a distal and proximal part. Both parts are sensitive to blue and red light and depend on photosynthetic electron transport activity between photosystem II and the plastoquinone pool. The mainblue-light sensitivity is localized within a 196-bp sequence (–887 to –691 bp) in the proximal promoter region It is preferentially CRY1 and PHYB controlled. Type-I and type-II phytochromes mediate red-light sensitivity via various promoter elements spread over the proximal and distal upstream region. This work characterizes SIG5 as an anterograde control factor of chloroplast gene expression, which is controlled by chloroplast signals in a retrograde manner.
Abstract: Flowers are vital for attracting pollinators to plants and in horticulture for humans. Petal morphogenesis is a central process of floral development. Petal development can be divided into three main processes: the establishment of organ identity in a concentric pattern, primordia initiation at fixed positions within a whorl, and morphogenesis, which includes petal elongation through the narrow spaces within the bud. Here, we show that the FOLDED PETALS 2 (FOP2) gene, encoding a member of the half-size ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter family ABCG13, is involved in straight elongation of petals in Arabidopsis thaliana. In fop2 mutants, flowers open with folded petals, instead of straight-elongated ones found in the wild type. The epicuticular nanoridge structures are absent in many abaxial epidermal cells of fop2 petals, and surgical or genetic generation of space in young fop2 buds restores the straight elongation of petals, suggesting that the physical contact of sepals and petals causes the petal folding. Similar petal folding has been reported in the fop1 mutant, and the petals of fop2 fop1 double mutants resemble those of both the fop1 and fop2 single mutants, although the epidermal structure and permeability of the petal surface is more affected in fop2. Our results suggest that synthesis and transport of cutin or wax in growing petals play an important role for their smooth elongation through the narrow spaces of floral buds.
Abstract: Amidases [EC 220.127.116.11] capable of converting indole-3-acetamide (IAM) into the major plant growth hormone indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) are assumed to be involved in auxin de novo biosynthesis. With the emerging amount of genomics data, it was possible to identify over forty proteins with substantial homology to the already characterized amidases from Arabidopsis and tobacco. The observed high conservation of amidase-like proteins throughout the plant kingdom may suggest an important role of theses enzymes in plant development. Here, we report cloning and functional analysis of four, thus far, uncharacterized plant amidases from Oryza sativa, Sorghum bicolor, Medicago truncatula, and Populus trichocarpa. Intriguingly, we were able to demonstrate that the examined amidases are also capable of converting phenyl-2-acetamide (PAM) into phenyl-2-acetic acid (PAA), an auxin endogenous to several plant species including Arabidopsis. Furthermore, we compared the subcellular localization of the enzymes to that of Arabidopsis AMI1, providing further evidence for similar enzymatic functions. Our results point to the presence of a presumably conserved pathway of auxin biosynthesis via IAM, as amidases, both of monocot, and dicot origins, were analyzed.
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.