Special Issue "Advances in Plant Sulfur Research"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Dimitris L. Bouranis

Plant Physiology Laboratory, Crop Science Department, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens, Greece
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Interests: sulfur physiology; sulfur nutrition; sulfur use efficiency; fertilization with sulfur containing fertilizers, sulfur interactions with iron, nitrogen, and phosphorus, focussing on graminaceous species
Guest Editor
Dr. Elke Bloem

Institute for Crop and Soil Science, Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI), Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Bundesallee 69 (Gebäude 250), D-38116 Braunschweig, Germany
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Interests: sulfur nutrition; glucosinolates; sulfur-containing metabolites; gaseous S compounds; hydrogensulfide; cysteine; glutathione; biotic stress; abiotic stress; sulfur and fungal pathogens; medicinal plants
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Mario Malagoli

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural resources, Animals and Environment (DAFNAE), University of Padova, Italy
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Interests: plant sulfur nutrition; sulfur in plant and soil interactions; sulfur availability and accumulation of sulfur metabolites; sulfur and heavy metals accumulation; sulfur and drought tolerance; sulfur and plant biofortification
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe Avice

UMR INRA-UCBN 950 Ecophysiologie Végétale, Agronomie & Nutritions N.C.S., UFR des Sciences, FED 4277 Normandie Végétal, Université de Caen Normandie, F-14032 Caen, France
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Interests: nutrient use efficiency; plant nutrition; nitrogen and sulfur fertilization; plant responses to abiotic stress; plant senescence; seed quality; remobilization of nutrients; proteolytic mechanisms

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sulfur is an essential nutrient required for plant growth and development, therefore sulfur containing fertilizers are nowadays used worldwide to increase crop yield and quality. Crops can suffer from sulfur deficiency due to environmental protection and decreased emission of sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere which limited the availability of sulfate as input in the large scale agriculture. The emergence of sulfur deficiency in such productive systems attracted the scientific attention and triggered significant research interest. As a consequence, in the last 25 years a tremendous boost has taken place in all aspects of plant sulfur research. Milestones in this field include so far the central role of sulfate transporters in response to sulfur availability, sulfur as a part of plant metabolic network, sulfotranferases, impact of sulfur on N2 fixation of legumes, role of sulfur-compounds in abiotic and biotic stress tolerance, sulfur nutrition and assimilation in crop plants, sulfur interactions in crop ecosystems, sulfur in biotic interactions of plant, the concept of sulfur-induced-resistance, the molecular links between metals in the environment and plant sulfur metabolism, role of sulfate and sulfur-rich compounds in heavy metal tolerance and accumulation.

Despite the amazing amount of the rapidly accumulating information, there are still open questions and challenges on this fascinating field. For example, the regulation of gene expression in response to sulfur regime is an important aspect of sulfur metabolism in plants and it is still subject of intense research. On the other hand, S contributes to plant tolerance under stressful agricultural conditions. For instance, NO acts as a signal molecule and induces salt tolerance in plants by enhancing S assimilation and synthesis of S compounds and modulating the activity of antioxidant enzymes. Interactions between NO and S assimilation regulates GSH synthesis for the adaptation of plants to stressful environments. The physiological and molecular mechanisms with which NO induces S assimilation and how it interacts with other plant hormones and nutrients to achieve plant salt tolerance are among the open research topics.

Therefore, in this special issue articles (original research papers, perspectives, hypotheses, opinions, reviews, modeling approaches and methods) that focus on S metabolism and its regulation including biochemistry, physiology, genes, proteins, metabolites, nutrition and environment, at all levels comprising transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and epigenome studies, plant microbiome, sulfur use efficiency, sulfur interaction with nutrients and/or hormones, sulfur-status and plant health, senescence, whole plant studies, field trials and agronomics in model plants, crop plants, trees, aquatic plants and native species are most welcome.

Prof. Dr. Dimitris L. Bouranis
Prof. Dr. Mario Malagoli
Prof. Dr. Jean-Christophe Avice
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • sulfur metabolism
  • regulation of sulfur metabolism
  • sulfur in signalling systems
  • sulfur deficiency
  • sulfur nutrition physiology
  • reactive sulfur species
  • sulfur use efficiency
  • sulfur uptake efficiency
  • sulfur utilization efficiency
  • sulfur remobilization
  • sulfur interactions

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
An Exploration of the Roles of Ferric Iron Chelation-Strategy Components in the Leaves and Roots of Maize Plants
Received: 25 February 2019 / Revised: 8 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
Plants have developed sophisticated mechanisms for acquiring iron from the soil. In the graminaceous species, a chelation strategy is in charge, in order to take up ferric iron from the rhizosphere. The ferric iron chelation-strategy components may also be present in the aerial [...] Read more.
Plants have developed sophisticated mechanisms for acquiring iron from the soil. In the graminaceous species, a chelation strategy is in charge, in order to take up ferric iron from the rhizosphere. The ferric iron chelation-strategy components may also be present in the aerial plant parts. The aim of this work was to search for possible roles of those components in maize leaves. To this end, the expression patterns of ferric iron chelation-strategy components were monitored in the leaves and roots of mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal sulfur-deprived maize plants, both before and after sulfate supply. The two levels of sulfur supply were chosen due to the strong impact of this nutrient on iron homeostasis, whilst mycorrhizal symbiosis was chosen as a treatment that forces the plant to optimize its photosynthetic efficiency, in order to feed the fungus. The results, in combination with the findings of our previous works, suggest a role for the aforementioned components in ferric chelation and/or unloading from the xylem vessels to the aerial plant parts. It is proposed that the gene expression of the DMA exporter ZmTOM1 can be used as an early indicator for the establishment of a mycorrhizal symbiotic relationship in maize. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Common Bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) Accumulates Most S-Methylcysteine as Its γ-Glutamyl Dipeptide
Received: 26 March 2019 / Revised: 1 May 2019 / Accepted: 12 May 2019 / Published: 14 May 2019
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Abstract
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) constitutes an excellent source of vegetable dietary protein. However, there are sub-optimal levels of the essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. On the other hand, P. vulgaris accumulates large amounts of the γ-glutamyl dipeptide of S [...] Read more.
The common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) constitutes an excellent source of vegetable dietary protein. However, there are sub-optimal levels of the essential amino acids, methionine and cysteine. On the other hand, P. vulgaris accumulates large amounts of the γ-glutamyl dipeptide of S-methylcysteine, and lower levels of free S-methylcysteine and S-methylhomoglutathione. Past results suggest two distinct metabolite pools. Free S-methylcysteine levels are high at the beginning of seed development and decline at mid-maturation, while there is a biphasic accumulation of γ-glutamyl-S-methylcysteine, at early cotyledon and maturation stages. A possible model involves the formation of S-methylcysteine by cysteine synthase from O-acetylserine and methanethiol, whereas the majority of γ-glutamyl-S-methylcysteine may arise from S-methylhomoglutathione. Metabolite profiling during development and in genotypes differing in total S-methylcysteine accumulation showed that γ-glutamyl-S-methylcysteine accounts for most of the total S-methylcysteine in mature seed. Profiling of transcripts for candidate biosynthetic genes indicated that BSAS4;1 expression is correlated with both the developmental timing and levels of free S-methylcysteine accumulated, while homoglutathione synthetase (hGS) expression was correlated with the levels of γ-glutamyl-S-methylcysteine. Analysis of S-methylated phytochelatins by liquid chromatography and high resolution tandem mass spectrometry revealed only small amounts of homophytochelatin-2 with a single S-methylcysteine. The mitochondrial localization of phytochelatin synthase 2—predominant in seed, determined by confocal microscopy of a fusion with the yellow fluorescent protein—and its spatial separation from S-methylhomoglutathione may explain the lack of significant accumulation of S-methylated phytochelatins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Contribution of Root Hair Development to Sulfate Uptake in Arabidopsis
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 15 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 19 April 2019
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Abstract
Root hairs often contribute to nutrient uptake from environments, but the contribution varies among nutrients. In Arabidopsis, two high-affinity sulfate transporters, SULTR1;1 and SULTR1;2, are responsible for sulfate uptake by roots. Their increased expression under sulfur deficiency (−S) stimulates sulfate uptake. Inspired [...] Read more.
Root hairs often contribute to nutrient uptake from environments, but the contribution varies among nutrients. In Arabidopsis, two high-affinity sulfate transporters, SULTR1;1 and SULTR1;2, are responsible for sulfate uptake by roots. Their increased expression under sulfur deficiency (−S) stimulates sulfate uptake. Inspired by the higher and lower expression, respectively, of SULTR1;1 in mutants with more (werwolf [wer]) and fewer (caprice [cpc]) root hairs, we examined the contribution of root hairs to sulfate uptake. Sulfate uptake rates were similar among plant lines under both sulfur sufficiency (+S) and −S. Under −S, the expression of SULTR1;1 and SULTR1;2 was negatively correlated with the number of root hairs. These results suggest that both −S-induced SULTR expression and sulfate uptake rates were independent of the number of root hairs. In addition, we observed (1) a negative correlation between primary root lengths and number of root hairs and (2) a greater number of root hairs under −S than under +S. These observations suggested that under both +S and −S, sulfate uptake was influenced by the root biomass rather than the number of root hairs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
CLE-CLAVATA1 Signaling Pathway Modulates Lateral Root Development under Sulfur Deficiency
Received: 2 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 17 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
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Abstract
Plant root system architecture changes drastically in response to availability of macronutrients in the soil environment. Despite the importance of root sulfur (S) uptake in plant growth and reproduction, molecular mechanisms underlying root development in response to S availability have not been fully [...] Read more.
Plant root system architecture changes drastically in response to availability of macronutrients in the soil environment. Despite the importance of root sulfur (S) uptake in plant growth and reproduction, molecular mechanisms underlying root development in response to S availability have not been fully characterized. We report here on the signaling module composed of the CLAVATA3 (CLV3)/EMBRYO SURROUNDING REGION (CLE) peptide and CLAVATA1 (CLV1) leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase, which regulate lateral root (LR) development in Arabidopsis thaliana upon changes in S availability. The wild-type seedlings exposed to prolonged S deficiency showed a phenotype with low LR density, which was restored upon sulfate supply. In contrast, the clv1 mutant showed a higher daily increase rate of LR density relative to the wild-type under prolonged S deficiency, which was diminished to the wild-type level upon sulfate supply, suggesting that CLV1 directs a signal to inhibit LR development under S-deficient conditions. CLE2 and CLE3 transcript levels decreased under S deficiency and through CLV1-mediated feedback regulations, suggesting the levels of CLE peptide signals are adjusted during the course of LR development. This study demonstrates a fine-tuned mechanism for LR development coordinately regulated by CLE-CLV1 signaling and in response to changes in S availability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Glucosinolate Distribution in the Aerial Parts of sel1-10, a Disruption Mutant of the Sulfate Transporter SULTR1;2, in Mature Arabidopsis thaliana Plants
Received: 26 February 2019 / Revised: 3 April 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 10 April 2019
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Abstract
Plants take up sulfur (S), an essential element for all organisms, as sulfate, which is mainly attributed to the function of SULTR1;2 in Arabidopsis. A disruption mutant of SULTR1;2, sel1-10, has been characterized with phenotypes similar to plants grown under sulfur deficiency [...] Read more.
Plants take up sulfur (S), an essential element for all organisms, as sulfate, which is mainly attributed to the function of SULTR1;2 in Arabidopsis. A disruption mutant of SULTR1;2, sel1-10, has been characterized with phenotypes similar to plants grown under sulfur deficiency (−S). Although the effects of −S on S metabolism were well investigated in seedlings, no studies have been performed on mature Arabidopsis plants. To study further the effects of −S on S metabolism, we analyzed the accumulation and distribution of S-containing compounds in different parts of mature sel1-10 and of the wild-type (WT) plants grown under long-day conditions. While the levels of sulfate, cysteine, and glutathione were almost similar between sel1-10 and WT, levels of glucosinolates (GSLs) differed between them depending on the parts of the plant. GSLs levels in the leaves and stems were generally lower in sel1-10 than those in WT. However, sel1-10 seeds maintained similar levels of aliphatic GSLs to those in WT plants. GSL accumulation in reproductive tissues is likely to be prioritized even when sulfate supply is limited in sel1-10 for its role in S storage and plant defense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Sulfate-Induced Stomata Closure Requires the Canonical ABA Signal Transduction Machinery
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 16 January 2019
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Abstract
Phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is the canonical trigger for stomatal closure upon abiotic stresses like drought. Soil-drying is known to facilitate root-to-shoot transport of sulfate. Remarkably, sulfate and sulfide—a downstream product of sulfate assimilation—have been independently shown to promote stomatal closure. For induction [...] Read more.
Phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) is the canonical trigger for stomatal closure upon abiotic stresses like drought. Soil-drying is known to facilitate root-to-shoot transport of sulfate. Remarkably, sulfate and sulfide—a downstream product of sulfate assimilation—have been independently shown to promote stomatal closure. For induction of stomatal closure, sulfate must be incorporated into cysteine, which triggers ABA biosynthesis by transcriptional activation of NCED3. Here, we apply reverse genetics to unravel if the canonical ABA signal transduction machinery is required for sulfate-induced stomata closure, and if cysteine biosynthesis is also mandatory for the induction of stomatal closure by the gasotransmitter sulfide. We provide genetic evidence for the importance of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by the plasma membrane-localized NADPH oxidases, RBOHD, and RBOHF, during the sulfate-induced stomatal closure. In agreement with the established role of ROS as the second messenger of ABA-signaling, the SnRK2-type kinase OST1 and the protein phosphatase ABI1 are essential for sulfate-induced stomata closure. Finally, we show that sulfide fails to close stomata in a cysteine-biosynthesis depleted mutant. Our data support the hypothesis that the two mobile signals, sulfate and sulfide, induce stomatal closure by stimulating cysteine synthesis to trigger ABA production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Germinative and Post-Germinative Behaviours of Brassica napus Seeds Are Impacted by the Severity of S Limitation Applied to the Parent Plants
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 5 January 2019
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Abstract
In oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.), sulphur (S) limitation leads to a reduction of seed yield and nutritional quality, but also to a reduction of seed viability and vigour. S metabolism is known to be involved in the control of germination sensu [...] Read more.
In oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.), sulphur (S) limitation leads to a reduction of seed yield and nutritional quality, but also to a reduction of seed viability and vigour. S metabolism is known to be involved in the control of germination sensu stricto and seedling establishment. Nevertheless, how the germination and the first steps of plant growth are impacted in seeds produced by plants subjected to various sulphate limitations remains largely unknown. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the impact of various S-limited conditions applied to the mother plants on the germination indexes and the rate of viable seedlings in a spring oilseed rape cultivar (cv. Yudal). Using a 34S-sulphate pulse method, the sulphate uptake capacity during the seedling development was also investigated. The rate of viable seedlings was significantly reduced for seeds produced under the strongest S-limited conditions. This is related to a reduction of germination vigour and to perturbations of post-germinative events. Compared to green seedlings obtained from seeds produced by well-S-supplied plants, the viable seedlings coming from seeds harvested on plants subjected to severe S-limitation treatment showed nonetheless a higher dry biomass and were able to enhance the sulphate uptake by roots and the S translocation to shoots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Granular Commercial Fertilizers Containing Elemental Sulfur on Wheat Yield under Mediterranean Conditions
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
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Abstract
The demand to develop fertilizers with higher sulfur use efficiency has intensified over the last decade, since sulfur deficiency in crops has become more widespread. The aim of this study was to investigate whether fertilizers enriched with 2% elemental sulfur (ES) via a [...] Read more.
The demand to develop fertilizers with higher sulfur use efficiency has intensified over the last decade, since sulfur deficiency in crops has become more widespread. The aim of this study was to investigate whether fertilizers enriched with 2% elemental sulfur (ES) via a binding material of organic nature improve yield when compared to the corresponding conventional ones. Under the scanning electron microscope, the granules of the ES-containing fertilizer were found to be covered by a layer of crystal-like particles, the width of which was found to be up to 60 μm. Such a layer could not be found on the corresponding conventional fertilizer granules. Several fertilization schemes with or without incorporated ES were tested in various durum wheat varieties, cultivated in commercial fields. The P-Olsen content of each commercial field was found to be correlated with the corresponding relative change in the yields (YF/YFBES) with a strong positive relationship. The content of 8 ppm of available soil phosphorus was a turning point. At higher values the incorporation of ES in the fertilization scheme resulted in higher yield, while at lower values it resulted in lower yield, compared with the conventional one. The experimental field trials that established following a randomized block design, were separated in two groups: One with P-Olsen ranging between 18–22 ppm and the other between 12–15 ppm, the results of which corroborated the aforementioned finding. The use of ES in all portions of fertilization schemes provided higher relative yields. The coexistence of ES with sulfate in the granule was more efficient in terms of yield, when compared to the granule enriched with ES alone under the same fertilization scheme and agronomic practice. The application of fertilizer mixtures containing the urease inhibitor N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), ES and ammonium sulfate resulted in even higher relative yields. Yield followed a positive linear relationship with the number of heads per square meter. In this correlation, the P-Olsen content separated the results of the two groups of blocks, where the applied linear trend line in each group presented the same slope. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Sulfur Deficiency under Field Conditions by Single Measurements of Sulfur, Chloride and Phosphorus in Mature Leaves
Received: 6 April 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 28 April 2018
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Abstract
Determination of S status is very important to detect S deficiency and prevent losses of yield and seed quality. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of using the ([Cl]+[NO3]+[PO43−]):[SO42− [...] Read more.
Determination of S status is very important to detect S deficiency and prevent losses of yield and seed quality. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibility of using the ([Cl]+[NO3]+[PO43−]):[SO42−] ratio as an indicator of S nutrition under field conditions in Brassica napus and whether this could be applied to other species. Different S and nitrogen (N) fertilizations were applied on a S deficient field of oilseed rape to harvest mature leaves and analyze their anion and element contents in order to evaluate a new S nutrition indicator and useful threshold values. Large sets of commercial varieties were then used to test S deficiency scenarios. As main results, this study shown that, under field conditions, leaf ([Cl]+[NO3]+[PO43−]):[SO42−] ratio was increased by lowering S fertilization, indicating S deficiency. The usefulness of this ratio was also found for other species grown under controlled conditions and it could be simplified by using the elemental ([Cl]+[P]):[S] ratio. Threshold values were determined and used for the clustering of commercial varieties within three groups: S deficient, at risk of S deficiency and S sufficient. The ([Cl]+[P]):[S] ratio quantified under field conditions, can be used as an early and accurate diagnostic tool to manage S fertilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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