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Plants, Volume 4, Issue 2 (June 2015) – 12 articles , Pages 167-355

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Review
Root Traits and Phenotyping Strategies for Plant Improvement
Plants 2015, 4(2), 334-355; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020334 - 15 Jun 2015
Cited by 144 | Viewed by 8997
Abstract
Roots are crucial for nutrient and water acquisition and can be targeted to enhance plant productivity under a broad range of growing conditions. A current challenge for plant breeding is the limited ability to phenotype and select for desirable root characteristics due to [...] Read more.
Roots are crucial for nutrient and water acquisition and can be targeted to enhance plant productivity under a broad range of growing conditions. A current challenge for plant breeding is the limited ability to phenotype and select for desirable root characteristics due to their underground location. Plant breeding efforts aimed at modifying root traits can result in novel, more stress-tolerant crops and increased yield by enhancing the capacity of the plant for soil exploration and, thus, water and nutrient acquisition. Available approaches for root phenotyping in laboratory, greenhouse and field encompass simple agar plates to labor-intensive root digging (i.e., shovelomics) and soil boring methods, the construction of underground root observation stations and sophisticated computer-assisted root imaging. Here, we summarize root architectural traits relevant to crop productivity, survey root phenotyping strategies and describe their advantages, limitations and practical value for crop and forage breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Development)
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Review
Molecular Composition of Plant Vacuoles: Important but Less Understood Regulations and Roles of Tonoplast Lipids
Plants 2015, 4(2), 320-333; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020320 - 11 Jun 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3280
Abstract
The vacuole is an essential organelle for plant growth and development. It is the location for the storage of nutrients; such as sugars and proteins; and other metabolic products. Understanding the mechanisms of vacuolar trafficking and molecule transport across the vacuolar membrane is [...] Read more.
The vacuole is an essential organelle for plant growth and development. It is the location for the storage of nutrients; such as sugars and proteins; and other metabolic products. Understanding the mechanisms of vacuolar trafficking and molecule transport across the vacuolar membrane is of great importance in understanding basic plant development and cell biology and for crop quality improvement. Proteins play important roles in vacuolar trafficking; such proteins include Rab GTPase signaling proteins; cargo recognition receptors; and SNAREs (Soluble NSF Attachment Protein Receptors) that are involved in membrane fusion. Some vacuole membrane proteins also serve as the transporters or channels for transport across the tonoplast. Less understood but critical are the roles of lipids in vacuolar trafficking. In this review, we will first summarize molecular composition of plant vacuoles and we will then discuss our latest understanding on the role of lipids in plant vacuolar trafficking and a surprising connection to ribosome function through the study of ribosomal mutants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Vacuole)
Article
Hormonal Regulation and Expression Profiles of Wheat Genes Involved during Phytic Acid Biosynthesis Pathway
Plants 2015, 4(2), 298-319; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020298 - 11 Jun 2015
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4336
Abstract
Phytic acid (PA) biosynthesis pathway genes were reported from multiple crop species. PA accumulation was enhanced during grain filling and at that time, hormones like Abscisic acid (ABA) and Gibberellic acid (GA3) interplay to control the process of seed development. Regulation [...] Read more.
Phytic acid (PA) biosynthesis pathway genes were reported from multiple crop species. PA accumulation was enhanced during grain filling and at that time, hormones like Abscisic acid (ABA) and Gibberellic acid (GA3) interplay to control the process of seed development. Regulation of wheat PA pathway genes has not yet been reported in seeds. In an attempt to find the clues for the regulation by hormones, the promoter region of wheat PA pathway genes was analyzed for the presence of cis-elements. Multiple cis-elements of those known to be involved for ABA, GA3, salicylic acid (SA), and cAMP sensing were identified in the promoters of PA pathway genes. Eight genes (TaIMP, TaITPK1-4, TaPLC1, TaIPK2 and TaIPK1) involved in the wheat PA biosynthesis pathway were selected for the expression studies. The temporal expression response was studied in seeds treated with ABA and GA3 using quantitative real time PCR. Our results suggested that exogenous application of ABA induces few PA pathway genes in wheat grains. Comparison of expression profiles for PA pathway for GA3 and ABA suggested the antagonistic regulation of certain genes. Additionally, to reveal stress responses of wheat PA pathway genes, expression was also studied in the presence of SA and cAMP. Results suggested SA specific differential expression of few genes, whereas, overall repression of genes was observed in cAMP treated samples. This study is an effort to understand the regulation of PA biosynthesis genes in wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Article
Effects of PEG-Induced Water Deficit in Solanum nigrum on Zn and Ni Uptake and Translocation in Split Root Systems
Plants 2015, 4(2), 284-297; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020284 - 05 Jun 2015
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 5467
Abstract
Drought strongly influences root activities in crop plants and weeds. This paper is focused on the performance of the heavy metal accumulator Solanum nigrum, a plant which might be helpful for phytoremediation. The water potential in a split root system was decreased [...] Read more.
Drought strongly influences root activities in crop plants and weeds. This paper is focused on the performance of the heavy metal accumulator Solanum nigrum, a plant which might be helpful for phytoremediation. The water potential in a split root system was decreased by the addition of polyethylene glycol (PEG 6000). Rubidium, strontium and radionuclides of heavy metals were used as markers to investigate the uptake into roots, the release to the shoot via the xylem, and finally the basipetal transport via the phloem to unlabeled roots. The uptake into the roots (total contents in the plant) was for most makers more severely decreased than the transport to the shoot or the export from the shoot to the unlabeled roots via the phloem. Regardless of the water potential in the labeling solution, 63Ni and 65Zn were selectively redistributed within the plant. From autoradiographs, it became evident that 65Zn accumulated in root tips, in the apical shoot meristem and in axillary buds, while 63Ni accumulated in young expanded leaves and roots but not in the meristems. Since both radionuclides are mobile in the phloem and are, therefore, well redistributed within the plant, the unequal transfer to shoot and root apical meristems is most likely caused by differences in the cell-to-cell transport in differentiation zones without functional phloem (immature sieve tubes). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Development)
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Article
Certain Malvaceae Plants Have a Unique Accumulation of myo-Inositol 1,2,4,5,6-Pentakisphosphate
Plants 2015, 4(2), 267-283; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020267 - 29 May 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2898
Abstract
Methods used to quantify inositol phosphates in seeds lack the sensitivity and specificity necessary to accurately detect the lower concentrations of these compounds contained in the leaves of many plants. In order to measure inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6) and inositol pentakisphosphate (InsP [...] Read more.
Methods used to quantify inositol phosphates in seeds lack the sensitivity and specificity necessary to accurately detect the lower concentrations of these compounds contained in the leaves of many plants. In order to measure inositol hexakisphosphate (InsP6) and inositol pentakisphosphate (InsP5) levels in leaves of different plants, a method was developed to concentrate and pre-purify these compounds prior to analysis. Inositol phosphates were extracted from leaves with diluted HCl and concentrated on small anion exchange columns. Reversed-phase solid phase extraction cartridges were used to remove compounds that give peaks that sometimes interfere during HPLC. The method permitted the determination of InsP6 and InsP5 concentrations in leaves as low as 10 µM and 2 µM, respectively. Most plants analyzed contained a high ratio of InsP6 to InsP5. In contrast, certain members of the Malvaceae family, such as cotton (Gossypium) and some hibiscus (Hibiscus) species, had a preponderance of InsP5. Radiolabeling of cotton seedlings also showed increased amounts of InsP5 relative to InsP6. Why some Malvaceae species exhibit a reversal of the typical ratios of these inositol phosphates is an intriguing question for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Review
Phytate (Inositol Hexakisphosphate) in Soil and Phosphate Acquisition from Inositol Phosphates by Higher Plants. A Review
Plants 2015, 4(2), 253-266; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020253 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 46 | Viewed by 4077
Abstract
Phosphate (P) fixation to the soil solid phase is considered to be important for P availability and is often attributed to the strong binding of orthophosphate anion species. However, the fixation and subsequent immobilization of inositolhexa and pentaphosphate isomers (phytate) in soil is [...] Read more.
Phosphate (P) fixation to the soil solid phase is considered to be important for P availability and is often attributed to the strong binding of orthophosphate anion species. However, the fixation and subsequent immobilization of inositolhexa and pentaphosphate isomers (phytate) in soil is often much stronger than that of the orthosphate anion species. The result is that phytate is a main organic P form in soil and the dominating form of identifiable organic P. The reasons for the accumulation are not fully clear. Two hypothesis can be found in the literature in the last 20 years, the low activity of phytase (phosphatases) in soil, which makes phytate P unavailable to the plant roots, and, on the other hand, the strong binding of phytate to the soil solid phase with its consequent stabilization and accumulation in soil. The hypothesis that low phytase activity is responsible for phytate accumulation led to the development of genetically modified plant genotypes with a higher expression of phytase activity at the root surface and research on the effect of a higher phytate activity on P acquisition. Obviously, this hypothesis has a basic assumption, that the phytate mobility in soil is not the limiting step for P acquisition of higher plants from soil phytate. This assumption is, however, not justified considering the results on the sorption, immobilization and fixation of phytate to the soil solid phase reported in the last two decades. Phytate is strongly bound, and the P sorption maximum and probably the sorption strength of phytate P to the soil solid phase is much higher, compared to that of orthophosphate P. Mobilization of phytate seems to be a promising step to make it available to the plant roots. The excretion of organic acid anions, citrate and to a lesser extend oxalate, seems to be an important way to make phytate P available to the plants. Phytase activity at the root surface seems not be the limiting step in P acquisition from phytate. Phytate is not only bound to inorganic surfaces in soil but can also be bound, similar to orthophosphate, to humic surfaces via Fe or Al bridges. Humic-metal-phytate complexes may be transported in the soil solution to the roots where hydrolysis and uptake of the liberated P may occur. Research on this topic is strongly required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Review
Functions of Nitric Oxide (NO) in Roots during Development and under Adverse Stress Conditions
Plants 2015, 4(2), 240-252; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020240 - 22 May 2015
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3532
Abstract
The free radical molecule, nitric oxide (NO), is present in the principal organs of plants, where it plays an important role in a wide range of physiological functions. Root growth and development are highly regulated by both internal and external factors such as [...] Read more.
The free radical molecule, nitric oxide (NO), is present in the principal organs of plants, where it plays an important role in a wide range of physiological functions. Root growth and development are highly regulated by both internal and external factors such as nutrient availability, hormones, pattern formation, cell polarity and cell cycle control. The presence of NO in roots has opened up new areas of research on the role of NO, including root architecture, nutrient acquisition, microorganism interactions and the response mechanisms to adverse environmental conditions, among others. Additionally, the exogenous application of NO throughout the roots has the potential to counteract specific damages caused by certain stresses. This review aims to provide an up-to-date perspective on NO functions in the roots of higher plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Development)
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Article
A Substantial Fraction of Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Low Phytic Acid Mutations Have Little or No Effect on Yield across Diverse Production Environments
Plants 2015, 4(2), 225-239; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020225 - 29 Apr 2015
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 3240
Abstract
The potential benefits of the low phytic acid (lpa) seed trait for human and animal nutrition, and for phosphorus management in non-ruminant animal production, are well documented. However, in many cases the lpa trait is associated with impaired seed or plant [...] Read more.
The potential benefits of the low phytic acid (lpa) seed trait for human and animal nutrition, and for phosphorus management in non-ruminant animal production, are well documented. However, in many cases the lpa trait is associated with impaired seed or plant performance, resulting in reduced yield. This has given rise to the perception that the lpa trait is tightly correlated with reduced yield in diverse crop species. Here we report a powerful test of this correlation. We measured grain yield in lines homozygous for each of six barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) lpa mutations that greatly differ in their seed phytic acid levels. Performance comparisons were between sibling wild-type and mutant lines obtained following backcrossing, and across two years in five Idaho (USA) locations that greatly differ in crop yield potential. We found that one lpa mutation (Hvlpa1-1) had no detectable effect on yield and a second (Hvlpa4-1) resulted in yield losses of only 3.5%, across all locations. When comparing yields in three relatively non-stressful production environments, at least three lpa mutations (Hvlpa1-1, Hvlpa3-1, and Hvlpa4-1) typically had yields similar to or within 5% of the wild-type sibling isoline. Therefore in the case of barley, lpa mutations can be readily identified that when simply incorporated into a cultivar result in adequately performing lines, even with no additional breeding for performance within the lpa line. In conclusion, while some barley lpa mutations do impact field performance, a substantial fraction appears to have little or no effect on yield. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Article
Multiple Autoregulation of Nodulation (AON) Signals Identified through Split Root Analysis of Medicago truncatula sunn and rdn1 Mutants
Plants 2015, 4(2), 209-224; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020209 - 27 Apr 2015
Cited by 30 | Viewed by 3473
Abstract
Nodulation is energetically costly to the host: legumes balance the nitrogen demand with the energy expense by limiting the number of nodules through long-distance signaling. A split root system was used to investigate systemic autoregulation of nodulation (AON) in Medicago truncatula and the [...] Read more.
Nodulation is energetically costly to the host: legumes balance the nitrogen demand with the energy expense by limiting the number of nodules through long-distance signaling. A split root system was used to investigate systemic autoregulation of nodulation (AON) in Medicago truncatula and the role of the AON genes RDN1 and SUNN in the regulatory circuit. Developing nodule primordia did not trigger AON in plants carrying mutations in RDN1 and SUNN genes, while wild type plants had fully induced AON within three days. However, despite lacking an early suppression response, AON mutants suppressed nodulation when roots were inoculated 10 days or more apart, correlated with the maturation of nitrogen fixing nodules. In addition to correlation between nitrogen fixation and suppression of nodulation, suppression by extreme nutrient stress was also observed in all genotypes and may be a component of the observed response due to the conditions of the assay. These results suggest there is more than one systemic regulatory circuit controlling nodulation in M. truncatula. While both signals are present in wild type plants, the second signal can only be observed in plants lacking the early repression (AON mutants). RDN1 and SUNN are not essential for response to the later signal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Root Development)
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Article
Overexpression of a Gene Involved in Phytic Acid Biosynthesis Substantially Increases Phytic Acid and Total Phosphorus in Rice Seeds
Plants 2015, 4(2), 196-208; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020196 - 24 Apr 2015
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3384
Abstract
The manipulation of seed phosphorus is important for seedling growth and environmental P sustainability in agriculture. The mechanism of regulating P content in seed, however, is poorly understood. To study regulation of total P, we focused on phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate; InsP6 [...] Read more.
The manipulation of seed phosphorus is important for seedling growth and environmental P sustainability in agriculture. The mechanism of regulating P content in seed, however, is poorly understood. To study regulation of total P, we focused on phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate; InsP6) biosynthesis-related genes, as InsP6 is a major storage form of P in seeds. The rice (Oryza sativa L.) low phytic acid mutant lpa1-1 has been identified as a homolog of archael 2-phosphoglycerate kinase. The homolog might act as an inositol monophosphate kinase, which catalyzes a key step in InsP6 biosynthesis. Overexpression of the homolog in transgenic rice resulted in a significant increase in total P content in seed, due to increases in InsP6 and inorganic phosphates. On the other hand, overexpression of genes that catalyze the first and last steps of InsP6 biosynthesis could not increase total P levels. From the experiments using developing seeds, it is suggested that the activation of InsP6 biosynthesis in both very early and very late periods of seed development increases the influx of P from vegetative organs into seeds. This is the first report from a study attempting to elevate the P levels of seed through a transgenic approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytic Acid Pathway and Breeding in Plants)
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Article
Determining the Composition of Lignins in Different Tissues of Silver Birch
Plants 2015, 4(2), 183-195; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020183 - 09 Apr 2015
Cited by 29 | Viewed by 3281
Abstract
Quantitative and qualitative lignin analyses were carried out on material from the trunks of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees. Two types of material were analyzed. First, whole birch trunk pieces were cryosectioned into cork cambium, non-conductive phloem, the cambial zone (conductive [...] Read more.
Quantitative and qualitative lignin analyses were carried out on material from the trunks of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) trees. Two types of material were analyzed. First, whole birch trunk pieces were cryosectioned into cork cambium, non-conductive phloem, the cambial zone (conductive phloem, cambium and differentiating xylem), lignified xylem and the previous year’s xylem; material that would show differences in lignin amount and quality. Second, clonal material from one natural birch population was analyzed to show variations between individuals and between the lignin analysis methods. The different tissues showed marked differences in lignin amount and the syringyl:guaiacyl (S/G) ratio. In the non-conductive phloem tissue containing sclereids, the S/G ratio was very low, and typical for phloem fibers and in the newly-formed xylem, as well as in the previous year’s xylem, the ratio lay between five and seven, typical for broadleaf tree xylem. Clonal material consisting of 88 stems was used to calculate the S/G ratios from the thioacidolysis and CuO methods, which correlated positively with an R2 value of 0.43. Comparisons of the methods indicate clearly that the CuO method is a good alternative to study the monomeric composition and S/G ratio of wood lignins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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Review
Measuring the Mechanical Properties of Plant Cell Walls
Plants 2015, 4(2), 167-182; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants4020167 - 25 Mar 2015
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 4881
Abstract
The size, shape and stability of a plant depend on the flexibility and integrity of its cell walls, which, at the same time, need to allow cell expansion for growth, while maintaining mechanical stability. Biomechanical studies largely vanished from the focus of plant [...] Read more.
The size, shape and stability of a plant depend on the flexibility and integrity of its cell walls, which, at the same time, need to allow cell expansion for growth, while maintaining mechanical stability. Biomechanical studies largely vanished from the focus of plant science with the rapid progress of genetics and molecular biology since the mid-twentieth century. However, the development of more sensitive measurement tools renewed the interest in plant biomechanics in recent years, not only to understand the fundamental concepts of growth and morphogenesis, but also with regard to economically important areas in agriculture, forestry and the paper industry. Recent advances have clearly demonstrated that mechanical forces play a crucial role in cell and organ morphogenesis, which ultimately define plant morphology. In this article, we will briefly review the available methods to determine the mechanical properties of cell walls, such as atomic force microscopy (AFM) and microindentation assays, and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. But we will focus on a novel methodological approach, called cellular force microscopy (CFM), and its automated successor, real-time CFM (RT-CFM). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Cell Walls: Chemical and Metabolic Analysis)
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