Friday, February 11, 2011

Hot off the presses! Feb 01 Trends Plant Sci

The Feb 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 16(2):i (2011)
  • Is plant ecology more siliceous than we realise?
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):61-68 (2011)
    Although silicon occurs in all plants, it is an element that is largely overlooked by many plant ecologists and most plant-related research on silicon comes from agronomy, archaeology, palaeontology and biogeochemistry. Plant silicon has many functions, acting biochemically as silicic acid and physically as amorphous silica. It contributes to cell and plant strength and enables plants to respond adaptively to environmental stresses. Consequently, plant silicon can increase plant fitness in many fundamental aspects of ecology, including plant–herbivore interactions, light interception, pathogen resistance and alleviation of abiotic stresses. Here, we provide an ecological perspective to research outcomes from diverse disciplines, showing that silicon is an important element in plant ecology that is worthy of greater attention.
  • Little evidence for fire-adapted plant traits in Mediterranean climate regions
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):69-76 (2011)
    As climate change increases vegetation combustibility, humans are impacted by wildfires through loss of lives and property, leading to an increased emphasis on prescribed burning practices to reduce hazards. A key and pervading concept accepted by most environmental managers is that combustible ecosystems have traditionally burnt because plants are fire adapted. In this opinion article, we explore the concept of plant traits adapted to fire in Mediterranean climates. In the light of major threats to biodiversity conservation, we recommend caution in deliberately increasing fire frequencies if ecosystem degradation and plant extinctions are to be averted as a result of the practice.
  • Crop genome sequencing: lessons and rationales
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):77-88 (2011)
    2010 marks the 10th anniversary of the completion of the first plant genome sequence (Arabidopsis thaliana). Triggered by advancements in sequencing technologies, many crop genome sequences have been produced, with eight published since 2008. To date, however, only the rice (Oryza sativa) genome sequence has been finished to a quality level similar to that of the Arabidopsis sequence. This trend to produce draft genomes could affect the ability of researchers to address biological questions of speciation and recent evolution or to link sequence variation accurately to phenotypes. Here, we review the current crop genome sequencing activities, discuss how variability in sequence quality impacts utility for different studies and provide a perspective for a paradigm shift in selecting crops for sequencing in the future.
  • MADS: the missing link between identity and growth?
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):89-97 (2011)
    Size and shape are intrinsic characteristics of any given plant organ and, therefore, are inherently connected with its identity. How the connection between identity and growth is established at the molecular level remains one of the key questions in developmental biology. The identity of floral organs is determined by a hierarchical combination of transcription factors, most of which belong to the MADS box family. Recent progress in finding the target genes of these master regulators reopened the debate about the missing link between identity and floral organ growth. Here, we review these novel findings and integrate them into a model, to show how MADS proteins, in concert with co-factors, could fulfill their role at later stages of floral organ development when size and shape are established.
  • Galactoglycerolipid metabolism under stress: a time for remodeling
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):98-107 (2011)
    Galactoglycerolipids are the predominant lipid building blocks of chloroplast membranes and are essential for plant growth. Plant chloroplasts harbor a constitutive set of UDP-Gal-dependent lipid galactosyltransferases that are responsible for the bulk of galactoglycerolipid biosynthesis. A set of paralogs is induced in response to phosphate deprivation, which leads to the remodeling of extraplastidic membranes with a partial replacement of phosphoglycerolipid by digalactosyldiacylglycerol. A third type of galactoglycerolipid biosynthetic enzyme, a UDP-Gal-independent galactoglycerolipid galactosyltransferase, was recently shown to be involved in freezing tolerance. Here, we look at how understanding of the regulation of galactoglycerolipid biosynthesis in chloroplasts by these multiple enzyme sets is rapidly evolving and discuss the increasingly recognized role of lipid remodeling in response to diverse abiotic stresses.
  • Cabbage family affairs: the evolutionary history of Brassicaceae
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(2):108-116 (2011)
    Life without the mustard family (Brassicaceae) would be a world without many crop species and the model organism Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) that has revolutionized our knowledge in almost every field of modern plant biology. Despite this importance, research breakthroughs in understanding family-wide evolutionary patterns and processes within this flowering plant family were not achieved until the past few years. In this review, we examine recent outcomes from diverse botanical disciplines (taxonomy, systematics, genomics, paleobotany and other fields) to synthesize for the first time a holistic view on the evolutionary history of the mustard family.

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