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) 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.
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 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.
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 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).
Abstract: This review focuses on the responses of the plant cell wall to several abiotic stresses including drought, flooding, heat, cold, salt, heavy metals, light, and air pollutants. The effects of stress on cell wall metabolism are discussed at the physiological (morphogenic), transcriptomic, proteomic and biochemical levels. The analysis of a large set of data shows that the plant response is highly complex. The overall effects of most abiotic stress are often dependent on the plant species, the genotype, the age of the plant, the timing of the stress application, and the intensity of this stress. This shows the difficulty of identifying a common pattern of stress response in cell wall architecture that could enable adaptation and/or resistance to abiotic stress. However, in most cases, two main mechanisms can be highlighted: (i) an increased level in xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase (XTH) and expansin proteins, associated with an increase in the degree of rhamnogalacturonan I branching that maintains cell wall plasticity and (ii) an increased cell wall thickening by reinforcement of the secondary wall with hemicellulose and lignin deposition. Taken together, these results show the need to undertake large-scale analyses, using multidisciplinary approaches, to unravel the consequences of stress on the cell wall. This will help identify the key components that could be targeted to improve biomass production under stress conditions.
Abstract: Extensins are members of the cell wall hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein (HRGP) superfamily that form covalently cross-linked networks in primary cell walls. A knockout mutation in EXT3 (AT1G21310), the gene coding EXTENSIN 3 (EXT3) in Arabidopsis Landsberg erecta resulted in a lethal phenotype, although about 20% of the knockout plants have an apparently normal phenotype (ANP). In this study the root cell wall HRGP components of wild-type, ANP and the ext3 mutant seedlings were characterized by peptide fractionation of trypsin digested anhydrous hydrogen fluoride deglycosylated wall residues and by sequencing using LC-MS/MS. Several HRGPs, including EXT3, were identified in the wild-type root walls but not in walls of the ANP and lethal mutant. Indeed the ANP walls and walls of mutants displaying the lethal phenotype possessed HRGPs, but the profiles suggest that changes in the amount and perhaps type may account for the corresponding phenotypes.
Abstract: A considerable amount of research has been conducted to determine how cell walls are loosened to produce irreversible wall deformation and expansive growth in plant and algal cells. The same cannot be said about fungal cells. Almost nothing is known about how fungal cells loosen their walls to produce irreversible wall deformation and expansive growth. In this study, anoxia is used to chemically isolate the wall from the protoplasm of the sporangiophores of Phycomyces blakesleeanus. The experimental results provide direct evidence of the existence of chemistry within the fungal wall that is responsible for wall loosening, irreversible wall deformation and elongation growth. In addition, constant-tension extension experiments are conducted on frozen-thawed sporangiophore walls to obtain insight into the wall chemistry and wall loosening mechanism. It is found that a decrease in pH to 4.6 produces creep extension in the frozen-thawed sporangiophore wall that is similar, but not identical, to that found in frozen-thawed higher plant cell walls. Experimental results from frozen-thawed and boiled sporangiophore walls suggest that protein activity may be involved in the creep extension.