Special Issue "Ethylene Signaling and Crosstalk in Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Professor Irina Vaseva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria
Interests: plant hormones; ethylene; cytokinins; cell type specificity of hormonal signaling and crosstalk; dehydrins; expression of stress-inducible proteins

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ethylene plays an important role in controlling the morphological and molecular processes observed in plants subjected to environmental stress. Besides being a major stress hormone, it modulates virtually every stage in plant development as a response to developmental cues. The characterization of a number of ethylene mutants has revealed the major players in the ethylene signaling cascade, providing tools to elucidate its molecular mechanism and sites of action. It should be marked that the undoubted progress made in understanding the function of ethylene signals under stress has also put in focus some new research questions. For example, there are still many gaps in knowledge regarding the role of ethylene-responsive transcription factors (AP2/ERF) as a source to target ethylene crosstalk with other hormones under unfavorable environment. A mechanistic understanding of how different hormones coordinate their action in order to help the plants to adapt to different environmental conditions could be useful in crop management and improvement. Another hot topic is the role of the ethylene precursor 1-Aminocyclopropane 1-Carboxylic Acid (ACC) under abiotic stress since an increasing number of studies have established that ACC acts as a signaling molecule beyond its function in ethylene biosynthesis.

Plant growth and development depend on signals perceived in distinct cell types where hormonal inputs are transformed into orchestrated responses. In this line of thought, the cell type-specific ethylene signal transduction and its role in various adaptive mechanisms remain relatively unexplored. A limited number of studies are dealing with the involvement of ethylene signals in epigenetic regulation of stress responses and epigenetic stress memory.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions from research teams working in the field of ethylene signaling and crosstalk under abiotic stress. Submission of articles featuring original studies addressing the aforementioned topics in different plant model species, economically important crops, ornamental and medicinal plants are encouraged.

Professor Irina Vaseva
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • abiotic stress
  • ethylene signaling
  • 1-Aminocyclopropane 1-Carboxylic Acid (ACC)
  • ethylene-responsive transcription factors
  • ethylene-regulated stress-inducible proteins
  • hormonal crosstalk
  • cell type specificity
  • model and medicinal plants
  • ornamentals
  • economically important crops

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
The Diverse Salt-Stress Response of Arabidopsis ctr1-1 and ein2-1 Ethylene Signaling Mutants Is Linked to Altered Root Auxin Homeostasis
Plants 2021, 10(3), 452; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10030452 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1115
Abstract
We explored the interplay between ethylene signals and the auxin pool in roots exposed to high salinity using Arabidopsisthaliana wild-type plants (Col-0), and the ethylene-signaling mutants ctr1-1 (constitutive) and ein2-1 (insensitive). The negative effect of salt stress was less pronounced in ctr1-1 [...] Read more.
We explored the interplay between ethylene signals and the auxin pool in roots exposed to high salinity using Arabidopsisthaliana wild-type plants (Col-0), and the ethylene-signaling mutants ctr1-1 (constitutive) and ein2-1 (insensitive). The negative effect of salt stress was less pronounced in ctr1-1 individuals, which was concomitant with augmented auxin signaling both in the ctr1-1 controls and after 100 mM NaCl treatment. The R2D2 auxin sensorallowed mapping this active auxin increase to the root epidermal cells in the late Cell Division (CDZ) and Transition Zone (TZ). In contrast, the ethylene-insensitive ein2-1 plants appeared depleted in active auxins. The involvement of ethylene/auxin crosstalk in the salt stress response was evaluated by introducing auxin reporters for local biosynthesis (pTAR2::GUS) and polar transport (pLAX3::GUS, pAUX1::AUX1-YFP, pPIN1::PIN1-GFP, pPIN2::PIN2-GFP, pPIN3::GUS) in the mutants. The constantly operating ethylene-signaling pathway in ctr1-1 was linked to increased auxin biosynthesis. This was accompanied by a steady expression of the auxin transporters evaluated by qRT-PCR and crosses with the auxin transport reporters. The results imply that the ability of ctr1-1 mutant to tolerate high salinity could be related to the altered ethylene/auxin regulatory loop manifested by a stabilized local auxin biosynthesis and transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethylene Signaling and Crosstalk in Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress)
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Article
Comparative Study of Several Fe Deficiency Responses in the Arabidopsis thaliana Ethylene Insensitive Mutants ein2-1 and ein2-5
Plants 2021, 10(2), 262; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants10020262 - 29 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 873
Abstract
Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for plants since it participates in essential processes such as photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen assimilation. Fe is an abundant element in most soils, but its availability for plants is low, especially in calcareous soils. Fe deficiency causes [...] Read more.
Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for plants since it participates in essential processes such as photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen assimilation. Fe is an abundant element in most soils, but its availability for plants is low, especially in calcareous soils. Fe deficiency causes Fe chlorosis, which can affect the productivity of the affected crops. Plants favor Fe acquisition by developing morphological and physiological responses in their roots. Ethylene (ET) and nitric oxide (NO) have been involved in the induction of Fe deficiency responses in dicot (Strategy I) plants, such as Arabidopsis. In this work, we have conducted a comparative study on the development of subapical root hairs, of the expression of the main Fe acquisition genes FRO2 and IRT1, and of the master transcription factor FIT, in two Arabidopsis thaliana ET insensitive mutants, ein2-1 and ein2-5, affected in EIN2, a critical component of the ET transduction pathway. The results obtained show that both mutants do not induce subapical root hairs either under Fe deficiency or upon treatments with the ET precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) and the NO donor S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO). By contrast, both of them upregulate the Fe acquisition genes FRO2 and IRT1 (and FIT) under Fe deficiency. However, the upregulation was different when the mutants were exposed to ET [ACC and cobalt (Co), an ET synthesis inhibitor] and GSNO treatments. All these results clearly support the participation of ET and NO, through EIN2, in the regulation of subapical root hairs and Fe acquisition genes. The results will be discussed, taking into account the role of both ET and NO in the regulation of Fe deficiency responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethylene Signaling and Crosstalk in Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress)
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Article
Expression Fluctuations of Genes Involved in Carbohydrate Metabolism Affected by Alterations of Ethylene Biosynthesis Associated with Ripening in Banana Fruit
Plants 2020, 9(9), 1120; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9091120 - 30 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 889
Abstract
The banana is a typical climacteric fruit that undergoes ethylene dependent ripening. During fruit ripening, ethylene production triggers a developmental cascade that results in a series of physiological and biochemical changes. The fruit transcriptomes of untransformated wild-type (WT) and RNAi transgenic banana plants [...] Read more.
The banana is a typical climacteric fruit that undergoes ethylene dependent ripening. During fruit ripening, ethylene production triggers a developmental cascade that results in a series of physiological and biochemical changes. The fruit transcriptomes of untransformated wild-type (WT) and RNAi transgenic banana plants for Mh-ACO1 and Mh-ACO2 have been previously sequenced and analyzed, and most of the differentially expressed genes were enriched in ‘carbon fixation in photosynthetic organism’, ‘cysteine and methionine metabolism’, ‘citrate cycle (tricarboxylic acid cycle, TCA cycle)’, and ‘starch and sucrose metabolism’ based on Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) annotation. In this research, we investigated the expression fluctuations of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism affected by alterations of ethylene biosynthesis associated with ripening in banana fruits. Expression profiles of sucrose synthase, sucrose phosphate synthase, neutral invertase, and acidic invertase/β-fructofuranosidase, as analyzed by Avadis and Trinity, showed that both analyses were complementary and consistent. The overall gene expression tendency was confirmed by the implementation of quantitative real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with mRNAs of banana fruits in Mh-ACO1 and Mh-ACO2 RNAi transgenic plants. These results indicated that altered expression of genes associated with ethylene biosynthesis strongly influenced the expression levels of genes related to starch and sucrose metabolism, as well as the glycolysis pathway in ripening banana fruits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ethylene Signaling and Crosstalk in Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Comparative study of several Fe deficiency responses in the Arabidopsis thaliana ethylene insensitive mutants ein2-1 and ein2-5
Authors: Macarena Angulo 2; Francisco Javier Romera 2; Esteban Alcántara 2; Carlos Lucena; Rafael Pérez-Vicente 1; María José García 1,*
Affiliation: 1Department of Botany, Ecology and Plant Physiology, Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario CeiA3, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Celestino Mutis, 14071 Córdoba, Spain 2Department of Agronomy, Campus de Excelencia Internacional Agroalimentario CeiA3, Universidad de Córdoba, Campus de Rabanales, Edificio Celestino Mutis, 14071 Córdoba, Spain
Abstract: Iron (Fe) is an essential micronutrient for plants since it participates in essential processes such us photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen assimilation. Fe is an abundant element in soils but its availability for plants is low. Fe deficiency causes Fe chlorosis which can affects the productivity of the affected crops. Plants favor Fe acquisition by developing morphological and physiological responses in their roots. Ethylene and nitric oxide (NO) have been involved in the up-regulation of Fe deficiency responses in dicot plants. In this work, it has been conducted a comparative study of the main morphological and physiological responses to Fe deficiency in the Arabidopsis thaliana ethylene insensitive mutants ein2-1 and ein2-5, affected in EIN2, a key protein of the ethylene transduction pathway. The differential behavior of both mutants under Fe deficiency conditions and in response to 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) or S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) treatment will be discussed.

Title: The diverse salt stress response of Arabidopsis ctr1-1 and ein2-1 ethylene signaling mutants is linked to altered root auxin homeostasis
Authors: Irina I. Vaseva 1; Kiril Mishev 1; Thomas Depaepe 2; Valya Vassileva 1; Dominique Van Der Straeten 2
Affiliation: 1Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Acad. Georgi Bonchev Str., Bldg. 21, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria 2Laboratory of Functional Plant Biology, Department of Biology, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckststraat 35, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium
Abstract: We explored the interplay between ethylene signals and the auxin pool in roots exposed to high salinity using Arabidopsis wild type plants (Col-0), and the ethylene signaling mutants ctr1-1 and ein2-1. The negative effect of salt stress on the root elongation was less pronounced in ctr1-1 individuals. They also exhibited altered gravitropic response under both normal and salt stress conditions. These ctr1-1 responses were found to be concomitant with high root auxin levels evaluated by the introduced auxin reporter pDR5::GUS. The constitutive mutant (ctr1-1)showed augmented auxin signaling both in the control conditions and when exposed to 100 mM NaCl. In contrast, the ethylene insensitive ein2-1 plants appeared depleted in active auxins. The salt stress-induced auxin signaling in pDR5::GUS (Col-0) was demonstrated to be linked to auxin accumulation using the R2D2 auxin sensor line, which allowed mapping this active auxin increase to the root epidermal cells in the Cell Division Zone (CDZ). The involvement of ethylene/auxin crosstalk in the salt stress response was evaluated by introducing auxin reporters for local biosynthesis (pTAR2::GUS) and polar transport (pLAX3::GUS, pAUX1::AUX1-YFP, pPIN1::PIN1-GFP, pPIN2::GFP, and pPIN3::GUS) in the mutants via genetic crosses and subsequent monitoring of their expression in homozygous F3 plants. In contrast to the wild type and the ethylene insensitive ein2-1 plants, the ctr1-1 individuals had a strong pTAR2::GUS expression both in the shoot and in the primary root suggesting that the constantly operating ethylene signaling pathway in the mutant was linked to increased auxin biosynthesis. The strong expression of the auxin biosynthesis reporter in ctr1-1 background remained stable 48 h after stress exposure. The higher relative abundance of AUX1, LAX3, and PIN1 transcripts in the roots of ctr1-1 plants grown on media with high salt concentration was revealed by qRT-PCR analyses. This trend was also confirmed in the crosses of the mutants with the auxin transport reporters. These results imply that the better performance of ctr1-1 mutant at high salinity could be related to the altered ethylene/auxin regulatory loop manifested by a stabilized local auxin biosynthesis and transport.

Title: To fight or to grow: the balancing role of ethylene in plant abiotic stress responses
Authors: Hao Chen; Jose M. Alonso; Anna N. Stepanova
Affiliation: Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, Program in Genetics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
Abstract: Plants often live in adverse environmental conditions and are exposed to various stresses, such as heat, cold, heavy metals, salt, radiation, poor lighting, nutrient deficiency, drought or flooding. To adapt to unfavorable environments, plants have evolved specialized molecular mechanisms that serve to balance the trade-off between abiotic stress responses and growth. These mechanisms enable plants to continue to develop and reproduce even under adverse conditions. Ethylene, as a key growth regulator, is leveraged by plants to mitigate the negative effects of some of these stresses on plant development and growth. By cooperating with other hormones, such as jasmonic acid, abscisic acid, auxin, and brassinosteroids, ethylene triggers the antioxidative defense in response to stress and coordinates the recovery of plant growth and photosynthetic efficiency. This review describes the crosstalk between ethylene and other plant hormones in tipping the balance between plant growth and abiotic stress responses.

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