Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jun 01 Trends Pl Sci

The Jun 01 issue of the Trends Pl Sci is now up on Pubget (About Trends Pl 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 Pl Sci 16(6):i (2011)
  • Challenges in breeding for yield increase for drought
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):289-293 (2011)
    Crop genetic improvement for environmental stress at the molecular and physiological level is very complex and challenging. Unlike the example of the current major commercial transgenic crops for which biotic stress tolerance is based on chemicals alien to plants, the complex, redundant and homeostatic molecular and physiological systems existing in plants must be altered for drought tolerance improvement. Sophisticated tools must be developed to monitor phenotype expression at the crop level to characterize variation among genotypes across a range of environments. Once stress-tolerant cultivars are developed, regional probability distributions describing yield response across years will be necessary. This information can then aid in identifying environmental conditions for positive and negative responses to genetic modification to guide farmer selection of stress-tolerant cultivars.
  • Herbivore-associated elicitors: FAC signaling and metabolism
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):294-299 (2011)
    The recognition of insect and pathogen attack requires the plant's ability to perceive chemical cues generated by the attacker. In contrast to the recognition of microbe-associated molecular patterns and effectors, little is known about the molecular recognition of herbivore-associated elicitors (HAEs) and the signaling mechanisms operating in plants after their perception. HAE perception depends strongly on the natural history of both plants and insects and it is therefore expected that many of the responses induced by different HAEs are specific to the species involved in the interaction. The interaction between Nicotiana attenuata and the specialist lepidopteran Manduca sexta presents a relevant biological system to understand HAE perception and signal transduction systems in plants.
  • ROS signaling: the new wave?
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):300-309 (2011)
    Reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a multitude of signaling roles in different organisms from bacteria to mammalian cells. They were initially thought to be toxic byproducts of aerobic metabolism, but have now been acknowledged as central players in the complex signaling network of cells. In this review, we will attempt to address several key questions related to the use of ROS as signaling molecules in cells, including the dynamics and specificity of ROS signaling, networking of ROS with other signaling pathways, ROS signaling within and across different cells, ROS waves and the evolution of the ROS gene network.
  • Plants under continuous light
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):310-318 (2011)
    Continuous light is an essential tool for understanding the plant circadian clock. Additionally, continuous light might increase greenhouse food production. However, using continuous light in research and practice has its challenges. For instance, most of the circadian clock-oriented experiments were performed under continuous light; consequently, interactions between the circadian clock and the light signaling pathway were overlooked. Furthermore, in some plant species continuous light induces severe injury, which is only poorly understood so far. In this review paper, we aim to combine the current knowledge with a modern conceptual framework. Modern genomic tools and rediscovered continuous light-tolerant tomato species (Solanum spp.) could boost the understanding of the physiology of plants under continuous light.
  • The role of QTLs in the breeding of high-yielding rice
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):319-326 (2011)
    Food shortages have once again become a serious problem, not only because of world population growth but also as a result of escalating demand for crops as a substrate for biofuels. The production of improved plant varieties, especially major crops such as rice, is urgently required to increase yield. The completion of the sequencing of the rice genome has made it possible to clone and analyze quantitative trait loci (QTLs). Furthermore, the development of high-throughput sequencing and genotyping technologies has improved spectacularly the accuracy of QTL analysis. In this review article, we focus on the potential roles of major QTLs in the selection for agronomic traits in rice and discuss the application of high-throughput technologies for high-resolution genetic analysis.
  • Natural genetic variation in plant photosynthesis
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):327-335 (2011)
    Natural genetic variation in plant photosynthesis is a largely unexplored and as a result an underused genetic resource for crop improvement. Numerous studies show genetic variation in photosynthetic traits in both crop and wild species, and there is an increasingly detailed knowledge base concerning the interaction of photosynthetic phenotypes with their environment. The genetic factors that cause this variation remain largely unknown. Investigations into natural genetic variation in photosynthesis will provide insights into the genetic regulation of this complex trait. Such insights can be used to understand evolutionary processes that affect primary production, allow greater understanding of the genetic regulation of photosynthesis and ultimately increase the productivity of our crops.
  • Uncovering the post-embryonic functions of gametophytic- and embryonic-lethal genes
    - Trends Pl Sci 16(6):336-345 (2011)
    An estimated 500–1 000 Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) genes mutate to embryonic lethality. In addition, several hundred mutations have been identified that cause gametophytic lethality. Thus, a significant fraction of the 25 000 protein-coding genes in Arabidopsis are indispensable to the early stages of the diploid phase or to the haploid gametophytic phase. The expression patterns of many of these genes indicate that they also act later in development but, because the mutants die at such early stages, conventional methods limit the study of their roles in adult diploid plants. Here, we describe the toolset that allows researchers to assess the post-embryonic functions of plant genes for which only gametophytic- and embryonic-lethal alleles have been isolated.

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