Special Issue "Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction"

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A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Charles Neal Stewart Jr.

Department of Plant Sciences, 2431 Joe Johnson Dr., Room 252 Ellington Plant Sciences, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-4561, USA
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +1 865 946 1989
Interests: biosensors; biotechnology; bioenergy; environmental stress; GFP; phytosensors; plants; promoters; remote sensing; whole organisms; synthetic biology transgenic plants; weedy plants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sexual plant reproduction plays a key role in many aspects in agriculture; most prominently by producing grains, which are staple foods throughout the world. In addition, floral development is key also to the evolution and diversification of angiosperms and gymnosperms. Therefore, understanding the regulators of floral development unlocks important limiters in agriculture and also sheds light on how plants reproduce. Biotechnological improvements of crop plants can also benefit from understanding floral development and its control. There are certain circumstances in which the prevention or alteration of floral development, or some aspect of reproduction such as in pollen formation or viability, is desirable. One example is male sterility, or conditional male sterility, which could be an aid in plant breeding and transgene bioconfinement. We might envisage 21st century crop agriculture turning to plant synthetic biology approaches for conditional allocation to plant floral reproduction, wherein humans could drastically alter the reproductive programming of crops.

In this special issue, research and review papers on the developmental biology of spatial and temporal molecular control of flowers and their subcomponents are formed. Also of interest in this issue is the control of aspects of sexual reproduction using biotechnology and synthetic biology innovations that could be used in bioconfinement of transgenes. This latter aspect could take many forms; ranging from delay of flowering to ablation of pollen to other innovations. Therefore, of interest also are short technical reports or method papers that describe new tools for flower developmental control.

Prof. Dr. Charles Neal Stewart, Jr.
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • bioconfinement
  • flower initiation
  • male sterility
  • ovules
  • pollen
  • synthetic biology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle The Arabidopsis Plant Intracellular Ras-group LRR (PIRL) Family and the Value of Reverse Genetic Analysis for Identifying Genes that Function in Gametophyte Development
Plants 2013, 2(3), 507-520; doi:10.3390/plants2030507
Received: 26 April 2013 / Revised: 2 July 2013 / Accepted: 24 July 2013 / Published: 9 August 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (428 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Arabidopsis thaliana has proven a powerful system for developmental genetics, but identification of gametophytic genes with developmental mutants can be complicated by factors such as gametophyte-lethality, functional redundancy, or poor penetrance. These issues are exemplified by the Plant Intracellular Ras-group LRR (PIRL
[...] Read more.
Arabidopsis thaliana has proven a powerful system for developmental genetics, but identification of gametophytic genes with developmental mutants can be complicated by factors such as gametophyte-lethality, functional redundancy, or poor penetrance. These issues are exemplified by the Plant Intracellular Ras-group LRR (PIRL) genes, a family of nine genes encoding a class of leucine-rich repeat proteins structurally related to animal and fungal LRR proteins involved in developmental signaling. Previous analysis of T-DNA insertion mutants showed that two of these genes, PIRL1 and PIRL9, have an essential function in pollen formation but are functionally redundant. Here, we present evidence implicating three more PIRLs in gametophyte development. Scanning electron microscopy revealed that disruption of either PIRL2 or PIRL3 results in a low frequency of pollen morphological abnormalities. In addition, molecular analysis of putative pirl6 insertion mutants indicated that knockout alleles of this gene are not represented in current Arabidopsis mutant populations, suggesting gametophyte lethality may hinder mutant recovery. Consistent with this, available microarray and RNA-seq data have documented strongest PIRL6 expression in developing pollen. Taken together, these results now implicate five PIRLs in gametophyte development. Systematic reverse genetic analysis of this novel LRR family has therefore identified gametophytically active genes that otherwise would likely be missed by forward genetic screens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)
Open AccessArticle Molecular Mapping of D1, D2 and ms5 Revealed Linkage between the Cotyledon Color Locus D2 and the Male-Sterile Locus ms5 in Soybean
Plants 2013, 2(3), 441-454; doi:10.3390/plants2030441
Received: 2 May 2013 / Revised: 15 June 2013 / Accepted: 26 June 2013 / Published: 5 July 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (718 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In soybean, genic male sterility can be utilized as a tool to develop hybrid seed. Several male-sterile, female-fertile mutants have been identified in soybean. The male-sterile, female-fertile ms5 mutant was selected after fast neutron irradiation. Male-sterility due to ms5 was associated with the
[...] Read more.
In soybean, genic male sterility can be utilized as a tool to develop hybrid seed. Several male-sterile, female-fertile mutants have been identified in soybean. The male-sterile, female-fertile ms5 mutant was selected after fast neutron irradiation. Male-sterility due to ms5 was associated with the “stay-green” cotyledon color mutation. The cotyledon color trait in soybean is controlled by two loci, D1 and D2. Association between cotyledon color and male-sterility can be instrumental in early phenotypic selection of sterility for hybrid seed production. The use of such selection methods saves time, money, and space, as fewer seeds need to be planted and screened for sterility. The objectives of this study were to compare anther development between male-fertile and male-sterile plants, to investigate the possible linkages among the Ms5, D1 and D2 loci, and to determine if any of the d1 or d2 mutations can be applied in hybrid seed production. The cytological analysis during anther development displayed optically clear, disintegrating microspores and enlarged, engorged pollen in the male-sterile, female-fertile ms5ms5 plants, a common characteristic of male-sterile mutants. The D1 locus was mapped to molecular linkage group (MLG) D1a and was flanked by Satt408 and BARCSOYSSR_01_1622. The ms5 and D2 loci were mapped to MLG B1 with a genetic distance ~12.8 cM between them. These results suggest that use of the d2 mutant in the selection of male-sterile line may attenuate the cost hybrid seed production in soybean. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)
Open AccessArticle SPL8 Acts Together with the Brassinosteroid-Signaling Component BIM1 in Controlling Arabidopsis thaliana Male Fertility
Plants 2013, 2(3), 416-428; doi:10.3390/plants2030416
Received: 22 April 2013 / Revised: 22 May 2013 / Accepted: 18 June 2013 / Published: 25 June 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (969 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The non-miR156 targeted SBP-box gene SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE 8 (SPL8), plays an important role in Arabidopsis anther development, where its loss-of-function results in a semi-sterile phenotype. Fully male-sterile plants are obtained when a spl8 loss-of-function mutation is introduced into a
[...] Read more.
The non-miR156 targeted SBP-box gene SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE 8 (SPL8), plays an important role in Arabidopsis anther development, where its loss-of-function results in a semi-sterile phenotype. Fully male-sterile plants are obtained when a spl8 loss-of-function mutation is introduced into a 35S:MIR156 genetic background, thereby revealing functional redundancy between SPL8 and miR156-targeted SBP-box genes. Here, we show that BIM1, a gene encoding a bHLH protein involved in brassinosteroid signaling and embryonic patterning, functions redundantly with SPL8 in its requirement for male fertility. Although bim1 single mutants displayed a mild fertility problem due to shortened filaments in some flowers, mutation of BIM1 significantly enhanced the semi-sterile phenotype of the spl8 mutant. Expression of both SPL8 and BIM1 was detected in overlapping expression domains during early anther developmental stages. Our data suggest that in regulating anther development, SPL8 and BIM1 function cooperatively in a common complex or in synergistic pathways. Phylogenetic analysis supports the idea of an evolutionary conserved function for both genes in angiosperm anther development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)
Figures

Open AccessArticle The Hybridization Barrier between Herbaceous Medicago sativa and Woody M. arborea Is Weakened by Selection of Seed Parents
Plants 2013, 2(2), 343-353; doi:10.3390/plants2020343
Received: 14 April 2013 / Revised: 12 May 2013 / Accepted: 23 May 2013 / Published: 31 May 2013
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (771 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Medicago sativa, alfalfa or lucerne, and M. arborea were considered reproductively isolated until recently. Then, in 2003, an alfalfa genotype was identified that produced a few seeds and progeny with hybrid traits after a large number of pollinations by M. arborea.
[...] Read more.
Medicago sativa, alfalfa or lucerne, and M. arborea were considered reproductively isolated until recently. Then, in 2003, an alfalfa genotype was identified that produced a few seeds and progeny with hybrid traits after a large number of pollinations by M. arborea. A derivative of this alfalfa genotype also produced a low frequency of progeny with hybrid traits. Thus, the hybridization barrier was weakened by selection of seed parents. Hybrids from both events expressed traits from M. arborea and M. arborea-specific DNA bands, although more of the M. sativa genome was retained, based on the DNA results. Thus, there was chromatin elimination during embryogenesis, resulting in partial hybrids (hereafter hybrids). However, more than 30 hybrids with an array of M. arborea traits have been obtained thus far, and research continues on the nature of the hybrids. Traits have been genetically transmitted in crosses, and selected traits are in use for alfalfa breeding. This paper reviews the first hybrids and then focuses on further weakening of the hybridization barrier with the discovery of a more efficient hybridizer derived from crossing Medicago sativa subspecies, sativa, coerulea and falcata. This genotype was found to have reproductive abnormalities associated with its complex subspecies origin that are best described as hybrid breakdown. In effect, this subspecies derivative is a bridge-cross parent that consistently produces hybrids. Reproductive abnormalities in the bridge-cross parent are reported and discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview The Role of Temperature in the Growth and Flowering of Geophytes
Plants 2013, 2(4), 699-711; doi:10.3390/plants2040699
Received: 9 September 2013 / Revised: 9 September 2013 / Accepted: 16 October 2013 / Published: 1 November 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (667 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Among several naturally occurring environmental factors, temperature is considered to play a predominant role in controlling proper growth and flowering in geophytes. Most of them require a “warm-cold-warm” sequence to complete their annual cycle. The temperature optima for flower meristem induction and the
[...] Read more.
Among several naturally occurring environmental factors, temperature is considered to play a predominant role in controlling proper growth and flowering in geophytes. Most of them require a “warm-cold-warm” sequence to complete their annual cycle. The temperature optima for flower meristem induction and the early stages of floral organogenesis vary between nine and 25 °C, followed, in the autumn, by a several-week period of lower temperature (4–9 °C), which enables stem elongation and anthesis. The absence of low temperature treatment leads to slow shoot growth in spring and severe flowering disorders. Numerous studies have shown that the effects of the temperature surrounding the underground organs during the autumn-winter period can lead to important physiological changes in plants, but the mechanism that underlies the relationship between cold treatment and growth is still unclear. In this mini-review, we describe experimental data concerning the temperature requirements for flower initiation and development, shoot elongation, aboveground growth and anthesis in bulbous plants. The physiological processes that occur during autumn-winter periods in bulbs (water status, hormonal balance, respiration, carbohydrate mobilization) and how these changes might provoke disorders in stem elongation and flowering are examined. A model describing the relationship between the cold requirement, auxin and gibberellin interactions and the growth response is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)
Open AccessReview Ensuring Reproduction at High Temperatures: The Heat Stress Response during Anther and Pollen Development
Plants 2013, 2(3), 489-506; doi:10.3390/plants2030489
Received: 3 June 2013 / Revised: 28 June 2013 / Accepted: 3 July 2013 / Published: 11 July 2013
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (1259 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sexual reproduction in flowering plants is very sensitive to environmental stresses, particularly to thermal insults which frequently occur when plants grow in field conditions in the warm season. Although abnormalities in both male and female reproductive organs due to high temperatures have been
[...] Read more.
Sexual reproduction in flowering plants is very sensitive to environmental stresses, particularly to thermal insults which frequently occur when plants grow in field conditions in the warm season. Although abnormalities in both male and female reproductive organs due to high temperatures have been described in several crops, the failure to set fruits has mainly been attributed to the high sensitivity of developing anthers and pollen grains, particularly at certain developmental stages. A global view of the molecular mechanisms involved in the response to high temperatures in the male reproductive organs will be presented in this review. In addition, transcriptome and proteomic data, currently available, will be discussed in the light of physiological and metabolic changes occurring during anther and pollen development. A deep understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the stress response to high temperatures in flowers and, particularly, in the male reproductive organs will be a major step towards development of effective breeding strategies for high and stable production in crop plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)
Open AccessReview Homeotic Genes and the ABCDE Model for Floral Organ Formation in Wheat
Plants 2013, 2(3), 379-395; doi:10.3390/plants2030379
Received: 19 April 2013 / Revised: 2 June 2013 / Accepted: 18 June 2013 / Published: 25 June 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (615 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Floral organ formation has been the subject of intensive study for over 20 years, particularly in the model dicot species Arabidopsis thaliana. These studies have led to the establishment of a general model for the development of floral organs in higher plants,
[...] Read more.
Floral organ formation has been the subject of intensive study for over 20 years, particularly in the model dicot species Arabidopsis thaliana. These studies have led to the establishment of a general model for the development of floral organs in higher plants, the so-called ABCDE model, in which floral whorl-specific combinations of class A, B, C, D, or E genes specify floral organ identity. In Arabidopsis, class A, B, C, D, E genes encode MADS-box transcription factors except for the class A gene APETALA2. Mutation of these genes induces floral organ homeosis. In this review, I focus on the roles of these homeotic genes in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum), particularly with respect to the ABCDE model. Pistillody, the homeotic transformation of stamens into pistil-like structures, occurs in cytoplasmic substitution (alloplasmic) wheat lines that have the cytoplasm of the related wild species Aegilops crassa. This phenomenon is a valuable tool for analysis of the wheat ABCDE model. Using an alloplasmic line, the wheat ortholog of DROOPING LEAF (TaDL), a member of the YABBY gene family, has been shown to regulate pistil specification. Here, I describe the current understanding of the ABCDE model for floral organ formation in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Developmental Biology and Biotechnology of Plant Sexual Reproduction)

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