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Special Issue "Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2022) | Viewed by 11747

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Ioannis-Dimosthenis Adamakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Section of Botany, Department of Biology, School of Science, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece
Interests: plant cell biology; emerging pollutant effects on plant cells; biotic stress effects on plants; phytomorphogenesis; plant biomass utilization; innovative ecological quality monitoring systems ecological quality monitoring systems
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are subjected to a wide range of environmental pressures. Here, plants encounter two types of environmental stresses, which can be categorized as (1) abiotic and (2) biotic. Abiotic stress includes radiation, salinity, floods, drought, extremes in temperature, heavy metals, etc. On the other hand, attacks by various pathogens, such as fungi, bacteria, oomycetes, nematodes and herbivores, are included in biotic stresses. As plants are sessile in nature, they have no choice to escape from these environmental cues. Therefore, plants have developed various mechanisms in order to overcome these threats of biotic and abiotic stresses. The plant responses are dependent on the tissue or organ affected. They sense the external stress, get stimulated and then generate appropriate cellular responses that are reflected in the plant organ’s structural changes. They do this by stimuli received from the sensors located on the cell surface or cytoplasm and transferred to the transcriptional machinery situated in the nucleus, with the help of various signal transduction pathways. The signaling pathways act as a connecting link and play an important role between sensing the stress and generating an appropriate biochemical and physiological response. There is an urgent need for a change of focus in plant stress research, in order to understand the nature of multiple stress responses and to create avenues for developing plants that are resistant to multiple stresses yet maintain high yields. This Special Issue focuses on the effects of biotic and abiotic stress interaction in plants, with an emphasis on elucidating the molecular/cellular mechanisms involved. We encourage novices and experienced scientists to contribute original research papers and reviews on the effects of any environmental pressurant on plants. Contributions at the organism, cellular, molecular and any -omic level are highly welcome.

Dr. Ioannis-Dimosthenis Adamakis
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • environmental extremes
  • heavy metals
  • herbivores
  • pollutants
  • photosynthesis
  • pathogens
  • parasites
  • ROS
  • structural integrity

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

Article
Visualization of the Crossroads between a Nascent Infection Thread and the First Cell Division Event in Phaseolus vulgaris Nodulation
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5267; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23095267 - 09 May 2022
Viewed by 475
Abstract
The development of a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodule in legumes involves infection and organogenesis. Infection begins when rhizobia enter a root hair through an inward structure, the infection thread (IT), which guides the bacteria towards the cortical tissue. Concurrently, organogenesis takes place by inducing [...] Read more.
The development of a symbiotic nitrogen-fixing nodule in legumes involves infection and organogenesis. Infection begins when rhizobia enter a root hair through an inward structure, the infection thread (IT), which guides the bacteria towards the cortical tissue. Concurrently, organogenesis takes place by inducing cortical cell division (CCD) at the infection site. Genetic analysis showed that both events are well-coordinated; however, the dynamics connecting them remain to be elucidated. To visualize the crossroads between IT and CCD, we benefited from the fact that, in Phaseolus vulgaris nodulation, where the first division occurs in subepidermal cortical cells located underneath the infection site, we traced a Rhizobium etli strain expressing DsRed, the plant cytokinesis marker YFP-PvKNOLLE, a nuclear stain and cell wall auto-fluorescence. We found that the IT exits the root hair to penetrate an underlying subepidermal cortical (S-E) cell when it is concluding cytokinesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Responses of Growth, Oxidative Injury and Chloroplast Ultrastructure in Leaves of Lolium perenne and Festuca arundinacea to Elevated O3 Concentrations
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 5153; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23095153 - 05 May 2022
Viewed by 409
Abstract
The effects of increasing atmospheric ozone (O3) concentrations on cool-season plant species have been well studied, but little is known about the physiological responses of cool-season turfgrass species such as Lolium perenne and Festuca arundinacea exposed to short-term acute pollution with [...] Read more.
The effects of increasing atmospheric ozone (O3) concentrations on cool-season plant species have been well studied, but little is known about the physiological responses of cool-season turfgrass species such as Lolium perenne and Festuca arundinacea exposed to short-term acute pollution with elevated O3 concentrations (80 ppb and 160 ppb, 9 h d−1) for 14 days, which are widely planted in urban areas of Northern China. The current study aimed to investigate and compare O3 sensitivity and differential changes in growth, oxidative injury, antioxidative enzyme activities, and chloroplast ultrastructure between the two turf-type plant species. The results showed that O3 decreased significantly biomass regardless of plant species. Under 160 ppb O3, total biomass of L. perenne and F. arundinacea significantly decreased by 55.3% and 47.8% (p < 0.05), respectively. No significant changes were found in visible injury and photosynthetic pigment contents in leaves of the two grass species exposed to 80 ppb O3, except for 160 ppb O3. However, both 80 ppb and 160 ppb O3 exposure induced heavily oxidative stress by high accumulation of malondialdehyde and reactive oxygen species in leaves and damage in chloroplast ultrastructure regardless of plant species. Elevated O3 concentration (80 ppb) increased significantly the activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and peroxidaseby 77.8%, 1.14-foil and 34.3% in L. perenne leaves, and 19.2%, 78.4% and 1.72-fold in F. arundinacea leaves, respectively. These results showed that F. arundinacea showed higher O3 tolerance than L. perenne. The damage extent by elevated O3 concentrations could be underestimated only by evaluating foliar injury or chlorophyll content without considering the internal physiological changes, especially in chloroplast ultrastructure and ROS accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Cross−Talk between Transcriptome Analysis and Physiological Characterization Identifies the Genes in Response to the Low Phosphorus Stress in Malus mandshurica
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 4896; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23094896 - 28 Apr 2022
Viewed by 356
Abstract
Phosphorus (Pi) is a macronutrient essential for plant growth, development, and reproduction. However, there is not an efficient available amount of Pi that can be absorbed by plants in the soil. Previously, an elite line, MSDZ 109, selected from Malus mandshurica, was [...] Read more.
Phosphorus (Pi) is a macronutrient essential for plant growth, development, and reproduction. However, there is not an efficient available amount of Pi that can be absorbed by plants in the soil. Previously, an elite line, MSDZ 109, selected from Malus mandshurica, was justified for its excellent tolerance to low phosphorus (low−Pi) stress. To date, however, the genes involved in low−Pi stress tolerance have not yet been unraveled in this species. Currently, the physiological responses of this line for different days to low−Pi stress were characterized, and their roots as well as leaves were used to carry out transcriptome analysis, so as to illuminate the potential molecular pathways and identify the genes involved in low−Pi stress−response. After exposure to low−Pi treatment (32 µmol/L KH2PO4) for 20 day after treatment (DAF) the biomass of shoots was significantly reduced in comparison with that of the stress−free (control), and root architecture diversely changed. For example, the root growth parameters e.g., length, surface area, and total volume somewhat increase in comparison with those of the control. The activity of acid phosphatase (ACP) increased with the low−Pi treatment, whereas the photosynthetic rate and biomass were declining. The activity of antioxidant enzymes, e.g., superoxide dismutase (SOD), peroxidase (POD), and catalase (CAT), were substantially elevated in response to low−Pi treatment. Many enzyme−related candidate genes e.g., MmCAT1, MmSOD1 and MmPOD21 were up−regulated to low−Pi treatment. Furthermore, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway analysis indicated that the processes of photosynthesis, plant hormone signal transduction, and MAPK signaling pathway were affected in the low−Pi response. In combination with the physiological characterization, several low−Pi−responsive genes, e.g., PHT, PHO, were identified, and the genes implicated in Pi uptake and transport, such as MmPHT1;5, MmPHO1, MmPAP1, etc., were also obtained since their expression status varied among the exposure times, which probably notifies the candidates involved in low−Pi−responsive tolerance in this line. Interestingly, low−Pi treatment activated the expression of transcription factors including the WRKY family, MYB family, etc. The available evidences will facilitate a better understanding of the roles of this line underlying the high tolerance to low−Pi stress. Additionally, the accessible data are helpful for the use of the apple rootstock M. mandshurica under low−Pi stress. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
STN7 Kinase Is Essential for Arabidopsis thaliana Fitness under Prolonged Darkness but Not under Dark-Chilling Conditions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(9), 4531; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23094531 - 20 Apr 2022
Viewed by 437
Abstract
Reversible phosphorylation of photosystem II light harvesting complexes (LHCII) is a well-established protective mechanism enabling efficient response to changing light conditions. However, changes in LHCII phosphorylation were also observed in response to abiotic stress regardless of photoperiod. This study aimed to investigate the [...] Read more.
Reversible phosphorylation of photosystem II light harvesting complexes (LHCII) is a well-established protective mechanism enabling efficient response to changing light conditions. However, changes in LHCII phosphorylation were also observed in response to abiotic stress regardless of photoperiod. This study aimed to investigate the impact of dark-chilling on LHCII phosphorylation pattern in chilling-tolerant Arabidopsis thaliana and to check whether the disturbed LHCII phosphorylation process will impact the response of Arabidopsis to the dark-chilling conditions. We analyzed the pattern of LHCII phosphorylation, the organization of chlorophyll–protein complexes, and the level of chilling tolerance by combining biochemical and spectroscopy techniques under dark-chilling and dark conditions in Arabidopsis mutants with disrupted LHCII phosphorylation. Our results show that during dark-chilling, LHCII phosphorylation decreased in all examined plant lines and that no significant differences in dark-chilling response were registered in tested lines. Interestingly, after 24 h of darkness, a high increase in LHCII phosphorylation was observed, co-occurring with a significant FV/FM parameter decrease. The highest drop of FV/FM was detected in the stn7-1 line–mutant, where the LHCII is not phosphorylated, due to the lack of STN7 kinase. Our results imply that STN7 kinase activity is important for mitigating the adverse effects of prolonged darkness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Glutathione Modulation in PVYNTN Susceptible and Resistant Potato Plant Interactions
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(7), 3797; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23073797 - 30 Mar 2022
Viewed by 371
Abstract
Glutathione is a metabolite that plays an important role in plant response to biotic stress through its ability to remove reactive oxygen species, thereby limiting the degree of potential oxidative damage. It can couple changes in the intracellular redox state to the development, [...] Read more.
Glutathione is a metabolite that plays an important role in plant response to biotic stress through its ability to remove reactive oxygen species, thereby limiting the degree of potential oxidative damage. It can couple changes in the intracellular redox state to the development, especially the defense responses, of plants. Several studies have focused on measuring glutathione levels in virus infected plants, but have not provided complete information. Therefore, we analyzed, for the first time, the content of glutathione as well as its ultrastructural distribution related to susceptible and hypersensitive potato–Potato virus Y NTN (PVYNTN) interaction, with an aim of providing new insight into interactive responses to PVYNTN stress. Our findings reported that the inoculation of PVYNTN caused a dynamic increase in the content of glutathione, not only in resistance but also in susceptible reaction, especially at the first steps of plant–virus interaction. Moreover, the increase in hypersensitive response was much more dynamic, and accompanied by a significant reduction in the content of PVYNTN. By contrast, in susceptible potato Irys, the content of glutathione decreased between 7 and 21 days after virus inoculation, which led to a significant increase in PVYNTN concentration. Additionally, our findings clearly indicated the steady induction of two selected potato glutathione S-transferase StGSTF1 and StGSTF2 genes after PVYNTN inoculation, regardless of the interaction type. However, the relative expression level of StGSTF1 did not significantly differ between resistant and susceptible plants, whereas the relative expression levels of StGSTF2 differed between susceptible and resistant reactions. Therefore, we proposed that StGSTF2 can act as a marker of the type of response to PVYNTN. Our observations indicated that glutathione is an important component of signaling as well as the regulatory network in the PVYNTN–potato pathosystem. In resistance responses to PVYNTN, this metabolite activates plant defenses by reducing potential damage to the host plant cell, causing a reduction in virus concentration, while it can also be involved in the development of PVYNTN elicited symptoms, as well as limiting oxidative stress, leading to systemic infection in susceptible potato plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Full-Length Transcriptome and RNA-Seq Analyses Reveal the Mechanisms Underlying Waterlogging Tolerance in Kiwifruit (Actinidia valvata)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(6), 3237; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23063237 - 17 Mar 2022
Viewed by 598
Abstract
Actinidia valvata possesses waterlogging tolerance; however, the mechanisms underlying this trait are poorly characterized. Here, we performed a transcriptome analysis by combining single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and Illumina RNA sequencing and investigated the physiological responses of the roots of KR5 (A. valvata [...] Read more.
Actinidia valvata possesses waterlogging tolerance; however, the mechanisms underlying this trait are poorly characterized. Here, we performed a transcriptome analysis by combining single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing and Illumina RNA sequencing and investigated the physiological responses of the roots of KR5 (A. valvata, a tolerant genotype) after 0, 12, 24 and 72 h of waterlogging stress. KR5 roots responded to waterlogging stress mainly via carbohydrate and free amino acids metabolism and reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging pathways. Trehalose-6-phosphate synthase (TPS) activity, alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) activity and the total free amino acid content increased significantly under waterlogging stress. The nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent glutamate synthase/alanine aminotransferase (NADH-GOGAT/AlaAT) cycle was correlated with alanine accumulation. Levels of genes encoding peroxidase (POD) and catalase (CAT) decreased and enzyme activity increased under waterlogging stress. Members of the LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES (LOB), AP2/ERF-ERF, Trihelix and C3H transcription factor families were identified as potential regulators of the transcriptional response. Several hub genes were identified as key factors in the response to waterlogging stress by a weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). Our results provide insights into the factors contributing to waterlogging tolerance in kiwifruit, providing a basis for further studies of interspecific differences in an important plant trait and for molecular breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Changing Temperature Conditions during Somatic Embryo Maturation Result in Pinus pinaster Plants with Altered Response to Heat Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(3), 1318; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23031318 - 24 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1011
Abstract
Under the global warming scenario, obtaining plant material with improved tolerance to abiotic stresses is a challenge for afforestation programs. In this work, maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) plants were produced from somatic embryos matured at different temperatures (18, 23, or 28 [...] Read more.
Under the global warming scenario, obtaining plant material with improved tolerance to abiotic stresses is a challenge for afforestation programs. In this work, maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) plants were produced from somatic embryos matured at different temperatures (18, 23, or 28 °C, named after M18, M23, and M28, respectively) and after 2 years in the greenhouse a heat stress treatment (45 °C for 3 h/day for 10 days) was applied. Temperature variation during embryo development resulted in altered phenotypes (leaf histology, proline content, photosynthetic rates, and hormone profile) before and after stress. The thickness of chlorenchyma was initially larger in M28 plants, but was significantly reduced after heat stress, while increased in M18 plants. Irrespective of their origin, when these plants were subjected to a heat treatment, relative water content (RWC) and photosynthetic carbon assimilation rates were not significantly affected, although M18 plants increased net photosynthesis rate after 10 days recovery (tR). M18 plants showed proline contents that increased dramatically (2.4-fold) when subjected to heat stress, while proline contents remained unaffected in M23 and M28 plants. Heat stress significantly increased abscisic acid (ABA) content in the needles of maritime pine plants (1.4-, 3.6- and 1.9-fold in M18, M23, and M28 plants, respectively), while indole-3-acetic acid content only increased in needles from M23 plants. After the heat treatment, the total cytokinin contents of needles decreased significantly, particularly in M18 and M28 plants, although levels of active forms (cytokinin bases) did not change in M18 plants. In conclusion, our results suggest that maturation of maritime pine somatic embryos at lower temperature resulted in plants with better performance when subjected to subsequent high temperature stress, as demonstrated by faster and higher proline increase, lower increases in ABA levels, no reduction in active cytokinin, and a better net photosynthesis rate recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Molecular Basis to Integrate Microgravity Signals into the Photoperiodic Flowering Pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana under Spaceflight Condition
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2022, 23(1), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms23010063 - 22 Dec 2021
Viewed by 1021
Abstract
Understanding the effects of spaceflight on plant flowering regulation is important to setup a life support system for long-term human space exploration. However, the way in which plant flowering is affected by spaceflight remains unclear. Here, we present results from our latest space [...] Read more.
Understanding the effects of spaceflight on plant flowering regulation is important to setup a life support system for long-term human space exploration. However, the way in which plant flowering is affected by spaceflight remains unclear. Here, we present results from our latest space experiments on the Chinese spacelab Tiangong-2, in which Arabidopsis wild-type and transgenic plants pFT::GFP germinated and grew as normally as their controls on the ground, but the floral initiation under the long-day condition in space was about 20 days later than their controls on the ground. Time-course series of digital images of pFT::GFP plants showed that the expression rhythm of FT in space did not change, but the peak appeared later in comparison with those of their controls on the ground. Whole-genome microarray analysis revealed that approximately 16% of Arabidopsis genes at the flowering stage changed their transcript levels under spaceflight conditions in comparison with their controls on the ground. The GO terms were enriched in DEGs with up-regulation of the response to temperature, wounding, and protein stabilization and down-regulation of the function in circadian rhythm, gibberellins, and mRNA processes. FT and SOC1 could act as hubs to integrate spaceflight stress signals into the photoperiodic flowering pathway in Arabidopsis in space. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
An ABA Functional Analogue B2 Enhanced Salt Tolerance by Inducing the Root Elongation and Reducing Peroxidation Damage in Maize Seedlings
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12986; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312986 - 30 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 564
Abstract
Salt stress negatively affects maize growth and yield. Application of plant growth regulator is an effective way to improve crop salt tolerance, therefore reducing yield loss by salt stress. Here, we used a novel plant growth regulator B2, which is a functional analogue [...] Read more.
Salt stress negatively affects maize growth and yield. Application of plant growth regulator is an effective way to improve crop salt tolerance, therefore reducing yield loss by salt stress. Here, we used a novel plant growth regulator B2, which is a functional analogue of ABA. With the aim to determine whether B2 alleviates salt stress on maize, we studied its function under hydroponic conditions. When the second leaf was fully developed, it was pretreated with 100 µM ABA, 0.01 µM B2, 0.1 µM B2, and 1 µM B2, independently. After 5 days treatment, NaCl was added into the nutrient solution for salt stress. Our results showed that B2 could enhance salt tolerance in maize, especially when the concentration was 1.0 µMol·L−1. Exogenous application of B2 significantly enhanced root growth, and the root/shoot ratio increased by 7.6% after 6 days treatment under salt stress. Compared with control, the ABA level also decreased by 31% after 6 days, which might have resulted in the root development. What is more, B2 maintained higher photosynthetic capacity in maize leaves under salt stress conditions and increased the activity of antioxidant enzymes and decreased the generation rate of reactive oxygen species by 16.48%. On the other hand, B2 can enhance its water absorption ability by increasing the expression of aquaporin genes ZmPIP1-1 and ZmPIP1-5. In conclusion, the novel plant growth regulator B2 can effectively improve the salt tolerance in maize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Homo- and Hetero-Dimers of CAD Enzymes Regulate Lignification and Abiotic Stress Response in Moso Bamboo
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312917 - 29 Nov 2021
Viewed by 688
Abstract
Lignin biosynthesis enzymes form complexes for metabolic channelling during lignification and these enzymes also play an essential role in biotic and abiotic stress response. Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) is a vital enzyme that catalyses the reduction of aldehydes to alcohols, which is the [...] Read more.
Lignin biosynthesis enzymes form complexes for metabolic channelling during lignification and these enzymes also play an essential role in biotic and abiotic stress response. Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) is a vital enzyme that catalyses the reduction of aldehydes to alcohols, which is the final step in the lignin biosynthesis pathway. In the present study, we identified 49 CAD enzymes in five Bambusoideae species and analysed their phylogenetic relationships and conserved domains. Expression analysis of Moso bamboo PheCAD genes in several developmental tissues and stages revealed that among the PheCAD genes, PheCAD2 has the highest expression level and is expressed in many tissues and PheCAD1, PheCAD6, PheCAD8 and PheCAD12 were also expressed in most of the tissues studied. Co-expression analysis identified that the PheCAD2 positively correlates with most lignin biosynthesis enzymes, indicating that PheCAD2 might be the key enzyme involved in lignin biosynthesis. Further, more than 35% of the co-expressed genes with PheCADs were involved in biotic or abiotic stress responses. Abiotic stress transcriptomic data (SA, ABA, drought, and salt) analysis identified that PheCAD2, PheCAD3 and PheCAD5 genes were highly upregulated, confirming their involvement in abiotic stress response. Through yeast two-hybrid analysis, we found that PheCAD1, PheCAD2 and PheCAD8 form homo-dimers. Interestingly, BiFC and pull-down experiments identified that these enzymes form both homo- and hetero- dimers. These data suggest that PheCAD genes are involved in abiotic stress response and PheCAD2 might be a key lignin biosynthesis pathway enzyme. Moreover, this is the first report to show that three PheCAD enzymes form complexes and that the formation of PheCAD homo- and hetero- dimers might be tissue specific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Sandbur Drought Tolerance Reflects Phenotypic Plasticity Based on the Accumulation of Sugars, Lipids, and Flavonoid Intermediates and the Scavenging of Reactive Oxygen Species in the Root
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(23), 12615; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222312615 - 23 Nov 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 654
Abstract
The perennial grass Cenchrus spinifex (common sandbur) is an invasive species that grows in arid and semi-arid regions due to its remarkable phenotypic plasticity, which confers the ability to withstand drought and other forms of abiotic stress. Exploring the molecular mechanisms of drought [...] Read more.
The perennial grass Cenchrus spinifex (common sandbur) is an invasive species that grows in arid and semi-arid regions due to its remarkable phenotypic plasticity, which confers the ability to withstand drought and other forms of abiotic stress. Exploring the molecular mechanisms of drought tolerance in common sandbur could lead to the development of new strategies for the protection of natural and agricultural environments from this weed. To determine the molecular basis of drought tolerance in C. spinifex, we used isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) to identify proteins differing in abundance between roots growing in normal soil and roots subjected to moderate or severe drought stress. The analysis of these proteins revealed that drought tolerance in C. spinifex primarily reflects the modulation of core physiological activities such as protein synthesis, transport and energy utilization as well as the accumulation of flavonoid intermediates and the scavenging of reactive oxygen species. Accordingly, plants subjected to drought stress accumulated sucrose, fatty acids, and ascorbate, shifted their redox potential (as determined by the NADH/NAD ratio), accumulated flavonoid intermediates at the expense of anthocyanins and lignin, and produced less actin, indicating fundamental reorganization of the cytoskeleton. Our results show that C. spinifex responds to drought stress by coordinating multiple metabolic pathways along with other adaptations. It is likely that the underlying metabolic plasticity of this species plays a key role in its invasive success, particularly in semi-arid and arid environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Genome-Wide Characterization of Salt-Responsive miRNAs, circRNAs and Associated ceRNA Networks in Tomatoes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(22), 12238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222212238 - 12 Nov 2021
Viewed by 650
Abstract
Soil salinization is a major environmental stress that causes crop yield reductions worldwide. Therefore, the cultivation of salt-tolerant crops is an effective way to sustain crop yield. Tomatoes are one of the vegetable crops that are moderately sensitive to salt stress. Global market [...] Read more.
Soil salinization is a major environmental stress that causes crop yield reductions worldwide. Therefore, the cultivation of salt-tolerant crops is an effective way to sustain crop yield. Tomatoes are one of the vegetable crops that are moderately sensitive to salt stress. Global market demand for tomatoes is huge and growing. In recent years, the mechanisms of salt tolerance in tomatoes have been extensively investigated; however, the molecular mechanism through which non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) respond to salt stress is not well understood. In this study, we utilized small RNA sequencing and whole transcriptome sequencing technology to identify salt-responsive microRNAs (miRNAs), messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and circular RNAs (circRNAs) in roots of M82 cultivated tomato and Solanum pennellii (S. pennellii) wild tomato under salt stress. Based on the theory of competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA), we also established several salt-responsive ceRNA networks. The results showed that circRNAs could act as miRNA sponges in the regulation of target mRNAs of miRNAs, thus participating in the response to salt stress. This study provides insights into the mechanisms of salt tolerance in tomatoes and serves as an effective reference for improving the salt tolerance of salt-sensitive cultivars. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
AvNAC030, a NAC Domain Transcription Factor, Enhances Salt Stress Tolerance in Kiwifruit
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11897; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111897 - 02 Nov 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 747
Abstract
Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis Planch) is suitable for neutral acid soil. However, soil salinization is increasing in kiwifruit production areas, which has adverse effects on the growth and development of plants, leading to declining yields and quality. Therefore, analyzing the salt tolerance regulation mechanism [...] Read more.
Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis Planch) is suitable for neutral acid soil. However, soil salinization is increasing in kiwifruit production areas, which has adverse effects on the growth and development of plants, leading to declining yields and quality. Therefore, analyzing the salt tolerance regulation mechanism can provide a theoretical basis for the industrial application and germplasm improvement of kiwifruit. We identified 120 NAC members and divided them into 13 subfamilies according to phylogenetic analysis. Subsequently, we conducted a comprehensive and systematic analysis based on the conserved motifs, key amino acid residues in the NAC domain, expression patterns, and protein interaction network predictions and screened the candidate gene AvNAC030. In order to study its function, we adopted the method of heterologous expression in Arabidopsis. Compared with the control, the overexpression plants had higher osmotic adjustment ability and improved antioxidant defense mechanism. These results suggest that AvNAC030 plays a positive role in the salt tolerance regulation mechanism in kiwifruit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Bean and Pea Plastoglobules Change in Response to Chilling Stress
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11895; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111895 - 02 Nov 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
Plastoglobules (PGs) might be characterised as microdomains of the thylakoid membrane that serve as a platform to recruit proteins and metabolites in their spatial proximity in order to facilitate metabolic channelling or signal transduction. This study provides new insight into changes in PGs [...] Read more.
Plastoglobules (PGs) might be characterised as microdomains of the thylakoid membrane that serve as a platform to recruit proteins and metabolites in their spatial proximity in order to facilitate metabolic channelling or signal transduction. This study provides new insight into changes in PGs isolated from two plant species with different responses to chilling stress, namely chilling-tolerant pea (Pisum sativum) and chilling-sensitive bean (Phaseolus coccineus). Using multiple analytical methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography and visualisation techniques including transmission electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, we determined changes in PGs’ biochemical and biophysical characteristics as a function of chilling stress. Some of the observed alterations occurred in both studied plant species, such as increased particle size and plastoquinone-9 content, while others were more typical of a particular type of response to chilling stress. Additionally, PGs of first green leaves were examined to highlight differences at this stage of development. Observed changes appear to be a dynamic response to the demands of photosynthetic membranes under stress conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
Grape Small Auxin Upregulated RNA (SAUR) 041 Is a Candidate Regulator of Berry Size in Grape
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(21), 11818; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms222111818 - 30 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 654
Abstract
Grape (Vitis vinifera) is an important horticultural crop that can be used to make juice and wine. However, the small size of the berry limits its yield. Cultivating larger berry varieties can be an effective way to solve this problem. As [...] Read more.
Grape (Vitis vinifera) is an important horticultural crop that can be used to make juice and wine. However, the small size of the berry limits its yield. Cultivating larger berry varieties can be an effective way to solve this problem. As the largest family of auxin early response genes, SAUR (small auxin upregulated RNA) plays an important role in the growth and development of plants. Berry size is one of the important factors that determine grape quality. However, the SAUR gene family’s function in berry size of grape has not been studied systematically. We identified 60 SAUR members in the grape genome and divided them into 12 subfamilies based on phylogenetic analysis. Subsequently, we conducted a comprehensive and systematic analysis on the SAUR gene family by analyzing distribution of key amino acid residues in the domain, structural features, conserved motifs, and protein interaction network, and combined with the heterologous expression in Arabidopsis and tomato. Finally, the member related to grape berry size in SAUR gene family were screened. This genome-wide study provides a systematic analysis of grape SAUR gene family, further understanding the potential functions of candidate genes, and provides a new idea for grape breeding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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Article
CaFtsH06, A Novel Filamentous Thermosensitive Protease Gene, Is Involved in Heat, Salt, and Drought Stress Tolerance of Pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2021, 22(13), 6953; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22136953 - 28 Jun 2021
Viewed by 939
Abstract
Harsh environmental factors have continuous negative effects on plant growth and development, leading to metabolic disruption and reduced plant productivity and quality. However, filamentation temperature-sensitive H protease (FtsH) plays a prominent role in helping plants to cope with these negative impacts. In the [...] Read more.
Harsh environmental factors have continuous negative effects on plant growth and development, leading to metabolic disruption and reduced plant productivity and quality. However, filamentation temperature-sensitive H protease (FtsH) plays a prominent role in helping plants to cope with these negative impacts. In the current study, we examined the transcriptional regulation of the CaFtsH06 gene in the R9 thermo-tolerant pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) line. The results of qRT-PCR revealed that CaFtsH06 expression was rapidly induced by abiotic stress treatments, including heat, salt, and drought. The CaFtsH06 protein was localized to the mitochondria and cell membrane. Additionally, silencing CaFtsH06 increased the accumulation of malonaldehyde content, conductivity, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) content, and the activity levels of superoxide dismutase and superoxide (·O2), while total chlorophyll content decreased under these abiotic stresses. Furthermore, CaFtsH06 ectopic expression enhanced tolerance to heat, salt, and drought stresses, thus decreasing malondialdehyde, proline, H2O2, and ·O2 contents while superoxide dismutase activity and total chlorophyll content were increased in transgenic Arabidopsis. Similarly, the expression levels of other defense-related genes were much higher in the transgenic ectopic expression lines than WT plants. These results suggest that CaFtsH06 confers abiotic stress tolerance in peppers by interfering with the physiological indices through reducing the accumulation of reactive oxygen species, inducing the activities of stress-related enzymes and regulating the transcription of defense-related genes, among other mechanisms. The results of this study suggest that CaFtsH06 plays a very crucial role in the defense mechanisms of pepper plants to unfavorable environmental conditions and its regulatory network with other CaFtsH genes should be examined across variable environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology)
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