Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hot off the presses! Nov 01 Trends Plant Sci

The Nov 01 issue of the Trends Plant Sci is now up on Pubget (About Trends Plant Sci): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • Editorial Board
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):i (2010)
  • Shootward and rootward: peak terminology for plant polarity
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):593-594 (2010)
  • The Rice Kinase Phylogenomics Database: a guide for systematic analysis of the rice kinase super-family
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):595-599 (2010)
    Determination of gene function is particularly problematic when studying large-gene families because redundancy limits the ability to assess the contributions of individual genes experimentally. Phylogenomics is a phylogenetic approach used in comparative genomics to predict the biological functions of members of large gene-families by assessing the similarity among gene products. In this report, we describe the application of the Rice Kinase Database for elucidating functions of individual members of this gene family.
  • The roots of a new green revolution
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):600-607 (2010)
    A significant increase in shoot biomass and seed yield has always been the dream of plant biologists who wish to dedicate their fundamental research to the benefit of mankind; the first green revolution about half a century ago represented a crucial step towards contemporary agriculture and the development of high-yield varieties of cereal grains. Although there has been a steady rise in our food production from then onwards, the currently applied technology and the available crop plants will not be sufficient to feed the rapidly growing world population. In this opinion article, we highlight several below-ground characteristics of plants such as root architecture, nutrient uptake and nitrogen fixation as promising features enabling a very much needed new green revolution.
  • A new concept for ferredoxin–NADP(H) oxidoreductase binding to plant thylakoids
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):608-613 (2010)
    During the evolution of photosynthesis, regulatory circuits were established that allow the precise coupling of light-driven electron transfer chains with downstream processes such as carbon fixation. The ferredoxin (Fd):ferredoxin–NADP+ oxidoreductase (FNR) couple is an important mediator for these processes because it provides the transition from exclusively membrane-bound light reactions to the mostly stromal metabolic pathways. Recent progress has allowed us to revisit how FNR is bound to thylakoids and to revaluate the current view that only membrane-bound FNR is active in photosynthetic reactions. We argue that the vast majority of thylakoid-bound FNR of higher plants is not necessary for photosynthesis. We furthermore propose that the correct distribution of FNR between stroma and thylakoids is used to efficiently regulate Fd-dependent electron partitioning in the chloroplast.
  • Chlorophyll biosynthesis: spotlight on protochlorophyllide reduction
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):614-624 (2010)
    Photosynthetic organisms require chlorophyll or bacteriochlorophyll for their light trapping and energy transduction activities. The biosynthetic pathways of chlorophyll and bacteriochlorophyll are similar in most of their early steps, except for the reduction of protochlorophyllide (Pchlide) to chlorophyllide. Whereas angiosperms make use of a light-dependent enzyme, cyanobacteria, algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes and gymnosperms contain an additional, light-independent enzyme dubbed dark-operative Pchlide oxidoreductase (DPOR). Anoxygenic photosynthetic bacteria such as Rhodobacter capsulatus and Rhodobacter sphaeroides rely solely on DPOR. Recent atomic resolution of reductase and catalytic components of DPOR from R. sphaeroides and R. capsulatus, respectively, have revealed their similarity to nitrogenase components. In this review, we discuss the two fundamentally different mechanisms of Pchlide reduction in photosynthetic organisms.
  • Evolutionary conservation of the transcriptional network regulating secondary cell wall biosynthesis
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):625-632 (2010)
    The ability to make secondary cell walls was a pivotal step for vascular plants in their conquest of dry land. Here, we review recent molecular and genetic studies that reveal that a group of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) secondary wall-associated NAC domain transcription factors are master switches regulating a cascade of downstream transcription factors, leading to activation of the secondary wall biosynthetic program. Close homologs of the Arabidopsis secondary wall NACs and their downstream transcription factors exist in diverse taxa of vascular plants and some are functional orthologs of their Arabidopsis counterparts. There is evidence to suggest that the secondary wall NAC-mediated transcriptional regulation of secondary wall biosynthesis is a conserved mechanism throughout vascular plants.
  • Algal diseases: spotlight on a black box
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):633-640 (2010)
    Like any other living organisms, algae are plagued by diseases caused by fungi, protists, bacteria or viruses. As aquaculture continues to rise worldwide, pathogens of nori or biofuel sources are becoming a significant economic burden. Parasites are also increasingly being considered of equal importance with predators for ecosystem functioning. Altered disease patterns in disturbed environments are blamed for sudden extinctions, regime shifts, and spreading of alien species. Here we review the biodiversity and impact of pathogens and parasites of aquatic primary producers in freshwater and marine systems. We also cover recent advances on algal defence reactions, and discuss how emerging technologies can be used to reassess the profound, multi-faceted, and so far broadly-overlooked influence of algal diseases on ecosystem properties.
  • Root hair systems biology
    - Trends Plant Sci 15(11):641-650 (2010)
    Plant functional genomic studies have largely measured the response of whole plants, organs and tissues, resulting in the dilution of the signal from individual cells. Methods are needed where the full repertoire of functional genomic tools can be applied to a single plant cell. Root hair cells are an attractive model to study the biology of a single, differentiated cell type because of their ease of isolation, polar growth, and role in water and nutrient uptake, as well as being the site of infection by nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This review highlights the recent advances in our understanding of plant root hair biology and examines whether the root hair has potential as a model for plant cell systems biology.

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