Physiological Aspects of Plant Response to Pathogens and Abiotic Stress—2nd Edition

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Physiology and Metabolism".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 October 2024 | Viewed by 4117

Special Issue Editors


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Laboratory of Plant Physiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Bialystok, 15-245 Bialystok, Poland
Interests: abiotic stress; plant growth and development; phosphorus and nitrogen deficiency; sugar metabolism under stress
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The reprogramming of metabolic pathways during regular plant growth and development is well documented in the literature; however, environmental biotic and abiotic stimuli cause changes in plant primary and secondary metabolites and the functioning of various physiological processes. Plant pathogens, i.e., viruses, bacteria, and fungi-causing diseases, trigger different immune responses and influence the physiological state of host plants. Similarly, abiotic stresses, such as heavy metals, fluctuations in temperature, light intensity, or deficiencies in macro- and micronutrients can cause changes in plant physiological processes, redirecting them to a defensive mode. Moreover, so-called cross-stress or multi-stress, caused by the simultaneous influence of more than one stress factor, e.g., a combination of biotic and abiotic stresses, can also affect plant physiology, triggering various host responses at the qualitative and quantitative metabolome levels.

In this Special Issue, we welcome original research papers and reviews on all aspects of plant physiology under the influence of various biotic and/or abiotic stresses.

Dr. Violetta Katarzyna Macioszek
Prof. Dr. Iwona Ciereszko
Prof. Dr. Andrzej K. Kononowicz
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • biotic and abiotic stresses
  • plant physiology
  • plant disease
  • photosynthesis
  • primary and secondary metabolites
  • plant hormones
  • plant pathogens

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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22 pages, 11387 KiB  
Article
Overexpression of AcWRKY31 Increases Sensitivity to Salt and Drought and Improves Tolerance to Mealybugs in Pineapple
by Myat Hnin Wai, Tiantian Luo, S. V. G. N. Priyadarshani, Qiao Zhou, Mohammad Aqa Mohammadi, Han Cheng, Mohammad Aslam, Chang Liu, Gaifeng Chai, Dongping Huang, Yanhui Liu, Hanyang Cai, Xiaomei Wang, Yuan Qin and Lulu Wang
Plants 2024, 13(13), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13131850 - 5 Jul 2024
Viewed by 304
Abstract
Pineapple is a globally significant tropical fruit, but its cultivation faces numerous challenges due to abiotic and biotic stresses, affecting its quality and quantity. WRKY transcription factors are known regulators of stress responses, however, their specific functions in pineapple are not fully understood. [...] Read more.
Pineapple is a globally significant tropical fruit, but its cultivation faces numerous challenges due to abiotic and biotic stresses, affecting its quality and quantity. WRKY transcription factors are known regulators of stress responses, however, their specific functions in pineapple are not fully understood. This study investigates the role of AcWRKY31 by overexpressing it in pineapple and Arabidopsis. Transgenic pineapple lines were obtained using Agrobacterium-mediated transformation methods and abiotic and biotic stress treatments. Transgenic AcWRKY31-OE pineapple plants showed an increased sensitivity to salt and drought stress and an increased resistance to biotic stress from pineapple mealybugs compared to that of WT plants. Similar experiments in AcWRKY31-OE, AtWRKY53-OE, and the Arabidopsis Atwrky53 mutant were performed and consistently confirmed these findings. A comparative transcriptomic analysis revealed 5357 upregulated genes in AcWRKY31-OE pineapple, with 30 genes related to disease and pathogen response. Notably, 18 of these genes contained a W-box sequence in their promoter region. A KEGG analysis of RNA-Seq data showed that upregulated DEG genes are mostly involved in translation, protein kinases, peptidases and inhibitors, membrane trafficking, folding, sorting, and degradation, while the downregulated genes are involved in metabolism, protein families, signaling, and cellular processes. RT-qPCR assays of selected genes confirmed the transcriptomic results. In summary, the AcWRKY31 gene is promising for the improvement of stress responses in pineapple, and it could be a valuable tool for plant breeders to develop stress-tolerant crops in the future. Full article
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12 pages, 2465 KiB  
Communication
Diurnal High Temperatures Affect the Physiological Performance and Fruit Quality of Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) cv. Legacy
by Jorge González-Villagra, Kevin Ávila, Humberto A. Gajardo, León A. Bravo, Alejandra Ribera-Fonseca, Emilio Jorquera-Fontena, Gustavo Curaqueo, Cecilia Roldán, Priscilla Falquetto-Gomes, Adriano Nunes-Nesi and Marjorie M. Reyes-Díaz
Plants 2024, 13(13), 1846; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13131846 - 4 Jul 2024
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Abstract
In this study, the physiological performance and fruit quality responses of the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) cultivar Legacy to high temperatures (HTs) were evaluated in a field experiment. Three-year-old V. corymbosum plants were exposed to two temperature treatments between fruit load [...] Read more.
In this study, the physiological performance and fruit quality responses of the highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) cultivar Legacy to high temperatures (HTs) were evaluated in a field experiment. Three-year-old V. corymbosum plants were exposed to two temperature treatments between fruit load set and harvest during the 2022/2023 season: (i) ambient temperature (AT) and (ii) high temperature (HT) (5 °C ± 1 °C above ambient temperature). A chamber covered with transparent polyethylene (100 µm thick) was used to apply the HT treatment. In our study, the diurnal temperature was maintained with a difference of 5.03 °C ± 0.12 °C between the AT and HT treatments. Our findings indicated that HT significantly decreased CO2 assimilation (Pn) by 45% and stomatal conductance (gs) by 35.2% compared to the AT treatment. By contrast, the intercellular CO2 concentration (Ci) showed higher levels (about 6%) in HT plants than in AT plants. Fruit quality analyses revealed that the fruit weight and equatorial diameter decreased by 39% and 13%, respectively, in the HT treatment compared to the AT treatment. By contrast, the firmness and total soluble solids (TSS) were higher in the HT treatment than in the AT treatment. Meanwhile, the titratable acidity showed no changes between temperature treatments. In our study, Pn reduction could be associated with stomatal and non-stomatal limitations under HT treatment. Although these findings improve our understanding of the impact of HTs on fruit growth and quality in V. corymbosum, further biochemical and molecular studies are need. Full article
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18 pages, 7722 KiB  
Article
Melatonin-Induced Chromium Tolerance Requires Hydrogen Sulfide Signaling in Maize
by Xiaoxiao Yang, Qifeng Shi, Xinru Wang, Tao Zhang, Ke Feng, Guo Wang, Juan Zhao, Xiangyang Yuan and Jianhong Ren
Plants 2024, 13(13), 1763; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13131763 - 26 Jun 2024
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Abstract
Both melatonin and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) mitigate chromium (Cr) toxicity in plants, but the specific interaction between melatonin and H2S in Cr detoxification remains unclear. In this study, the interaction between melatonin and H2S in Cr detoxification [...] Read more.
Both melatonin and hydrogen sulfide (H2S) mitigate chromium (Cr) toxicity in plants, but the specific interaction between melatonin and H2S in Cr detoxification remains unclear. In this study, the interaction between melatonin and H2S in Cr detoxification was elucidated by measuring cell wall polysaccharide metabolism and antioxidant enzyme activity in maize. The findings revealed that exposure to Cr stress (100 μM K2Cr2O7) resulted in the upregulation of L-/D-cysteine desulfhydrase (LCD/DCD) gene expression, leading to a 77.8% and 27.3% increase in endogenous H2S levels in maize leaves and roots, respectively. Similarly, the endogenous melatonin system is activated in response to Cr stress. We found that melatonin had a significant impact on the relative expression of LCD/DCD, leading to a 103.3% and 116.7% increase in endogenous H2S levels in maize leaves and roots, respectively. In contrast, NaHS had minimal effects on the relative mRNA expression of serotonin-Nacetyltransferase (SNAT) and endogenous melatonin levels. The production of H2S induced by melatonin is accompanied by an increase in Cr tolerance, as evidenced by elevated gene expression, elevated cell wall polysaccharide content, increased pectin methylesterase activity, and improved antioxidant enzyme activity. The scavenging of H2S decreases the melatonin-induced Cr tolerance, while the inhibitor of melatonin synthesis, p-chlorophenylalanine (p-CPA), has minimal impact on H2S-induced Cr tolerance. In conclusion, our findings suggest that H2S serves as a downstream signaling molecule involved in melatonin-induced Cr tolerance in maize. Full article
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12 pages, 2610 KiB  
Article
Supplemental Silicon and Boron Alleviates Aluminum-Induced Oxidative Damage in Soybean Roots
by Shuwei Wang, Haijing Cheng and Yunmin Wei
Plants 2024, 13(6), 821; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13060821 - 13 Mar 2024
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Abstract
Aluminum (Al) toxicity in acidic soils is a major abiotic stress that negatively impacts plant growth and development. The toxic effects of Al manifest primarily in the root system, leading to inhibited root elongation and functionality, which impairs the above-ground organs of the [...] Read more.
Aluminum (Al) toxicity in acidic soils is a major abiotic stress that negatively impacts plant growth and development. The toxic effects of Al manifest primarily in the root system, leading to inhibited root elongation and functionality, which impairs the above-ground organs of the plant. Recent research has greatly improved our understanding of the applications of small molecule compounds in alleviating Al toxicity. This study aimed to investigate the role of boron (B), silicon (Si), and their combination in alleviating Al toxicity in soybeans. The results revealed that the combined application significantly improved the biomass and length of soybean roots exposed to Al toxicity compared to B and Si treatments alone. Our results also indicated that Al toxicity causes programmed cell death (PCD) in soybean roots, while B, Si, and their combination all alleviated the PCD induced by Al toxicity. The oxidative damage induced by Al toxicity was noticeably alleviated, as evidenced by lower MAD and H2O2 accumulation in the soybean roots treated with the B and Si combination. Moreover, B, Si, and combined B and Si significantly enhanced plant antioxidant systems by up-regulating antioxidant enzymes including CAT, POD, APX, and SOD. Overall, supplementation with B, Si, and their combination was found to alleviate oxidative damage and reduce PCD caused by Al toxicity, which may be one of the mechanisms by which they alleviate root growth inhibition due to Al toxicity. Our results suggest that supplementation with B, Si, and their combination may be an effective strategy to improve soybean growth and productivity against Al toxicity. Full article
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14 pages, 2925 KiB  
Article
A Physiological and Molecular Focus on the Resistance of “Filippo Ceo” Almond Tree to Xylella fastidiosa
by Mariarosaria De Pascali, Davide Greco, Marzia Vergine, Giambattista Carluccio, Luigi De Bellis and Andrea Luvisi
Plants 2024, 13(5), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13050576 - 20 Feb 2024
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Abstract
The impact of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) subsp. pauca on the environment and economy of Southern Italy has been devastating. To restore the landscape and support the local economy, introducing new crops is crucial for restoring destroyed olive groves, and the almond [...] Read more.
The impact of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) subsp. pauca on the environment and economy of Southern Italy has been devastating. To restore the landscape and support the local economy, introducing new crops is crucial for restoring destroyed olive groves, and the almond tree (Prunus dulcis Mill. D. A. Webb) could be a promising candidate. This work focused on the resistance of the cultivar “Filippo Ceo” to Xf and evaluated its physiological and molecular responses to individual stresses (drought or pathogen stress) and combined stress factors under field conditions over three seasons. Filippo Ceo showed a low pathogen concentration (≈103 CFU mL−1) and a lack of almond leaf scorch symptoms. Physiologically, an excellent plant water status was observed (RWC 82–89%) regardless of the stress conditions, which was associated with an increased proline content compared to that of the control plants, particularly in response to Xf stress (≈8-fold). The plant’s response did not lead to a gene modulation that was specific to different stress factors but seemed more indistinct: upregulation of the LEA and DHN gene transcripts by Xf was observed, while the PR transcript was upregulated by drought stress. In addition, the genes encoding the transcription factors (TFs) were differentially induced by stress conditions. Filippo Ceo could be an excellent cultivar for coexistence with Xf subps. pauca, confirming its resistance to both water stress and the pathogen, although this similar health status was achieved differently due to transcriptional reprogramming that results in the modulation of genes directly or indirectly involved in defence strategies. Full article
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Review

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16 pages, 1245 KiB  
Review
Insights into Plant Sensory Mechanisms under Abiotic Stresses
by Songsong Jin, Mengting Wei, Yunmin Wei and Zhonghao Jiang
Plants 2024, 13(14), 1907; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13141907 - 10 Jul 2024
Viewed by 224
Abstract
As sessile organisms, plants cannot survive in harmful environments, such as those characterized by drought, flood, heat, cold, nutrient deficiency, and salt or toxic metal stress. These stressors impair plant growth and development, leading to decreased crop productivity. To induce an appropriate response [...] Read more.
As sessile organisms, plants cannot survive in harmful environments, such as those characterized by drought, flood, heat, cold, nutrient deficiency, and salt or toxic metal stress. These stressors impair plant growth and development, leading to decreased crop productivity. To induce an appropriate response to abiotic stresses, plants must sense the pertinent stressor at an early stage to initiate precise signal transduction. Here, we provide an overview of recent progress in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying plant abiotic stress sensing. Numerous biomolecules have been found to participate in the process of abiotic stress sensing and function as abiotic stress sensors in plants. Based on their molecular structure, these biomolecules can be divided into four groups: Ca2+-permeable channels, receptor-like kinases (RLKs), sphingolipids, and other proteins. This improved knowledge can be used to identify key molecular targets for engineering stress-resilient crops in the field. Full article
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