Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hot off the presses! Aug 01 Trends Plant Sci

The Aug 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(8):i (2011)
  • Response to Keeley et al.: Fire as an evolutionary pressure shaping plant traits
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):405 (2011)
  • Fire as an evolutionary pressure shaping plant traits
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):406-411 (2011)
    Traits, such as resprouting, serotiny and germination by heat and smoke, are adaptive in fire-prone environments. However, plants are not adapted to fire per se but to fire regimes. Species can be threatened when humans alter the regime, often by increasing or decreasing fire frequency. Fire-adaptive traits are potentially the result of different evolutionary pathways. Distinguishing between traits that are adaptations originating in response to fire or exaptations originating in response to other factors might not always be possible. However, fire has been a factor throughout the history of land-plant evolution and is not strictly a Neogene phenomenon. Mesozoic fossils show evidence of fire-adaptive traits and, in some lineages, these might have persisted to the present as fire adaptations.
  • Tree seasonality in a warming climate
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):412-416 (2011)
    Climate warming has increased researchers' interest in plant phenology and its modelling. Although the main focus is on projections of accelerated springtime phenological events, also a further extension of the growing season by delayed growth cessation is often projected. However, ecophysiological studies indicate that, for boreal and temperate trees, such generalisations are precluded owing to differential climatic conditions and inter- and intraspecific genetic differences. The annual cycle of these trees is an integrated system, where one phase affects subsequent phases, resulting in delayed impacts, which are only partially addressed in current ecophysiological models. Here, we outline an updated integrated conceptual model of the annual cycle by identifying ecophysiological phenomena that are particularly significant under climate warming.
  • Phytochrome signaling: solving the Gordian knot with microbial relatives
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):417-426 (2011)
    Phytochromes encompass a diverse collection of biliproteins that regulate numerous photoresponses in plants and microorganisms. Whereas the plant versions have proven experimentally intractable for structural studies, the microbial forms have recently provided important insights into how these photoreceptors work at the atomic level. Here, we review the current understanding of these microbial phytochromes, which shows that they have a modular dimeric architecture that propagates light-driven rotation of the bilin to distal contacts between adjacent signal output domains. Surprising features underpinning this signaling include: a deeply buried chromophore; a knot and hairpin loop that stabilizes the photosensing domain; and an extended helical spine that translates conformational changes in the photosensing domain to the output domain. Conservation within the superfamily both in modular construction and sequence strongly suggests that higher plant phytochromes work sim! ilarly as light-regulated toggle switches.
  • Expanding the solar spectrum used by photosynthesis
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):427-431 (2011)
    A limiting factor for photosynthetic organisms is their light-harvesting efficiency, that is the efficiency of their conversion of light energy to chemical energy. Small modifications or variations of chlorophylls allow photosynthetic organisms to harvest sunlight at different wavelengths. Oxygenic photosynthetic organisms usually utilize only the visible portion of the solar spectrum. The cyanobacterium Acaryochloris marina carries out oxygenic photosynthesis but contains mostly chlorophyll d and only traces of chlorophyll a. Chlorophyll d provides a potential selective advantage because it enables Acaryochloris to use infrared light (700–750 nm) that is not absorbed by chlorophyll a. Recently, an even more red-shifted chlorophyll termed chlorophyll f has been reported. Here, we discuss using modified chlorophylls to extend the spectral region of light that drives photosynthetic organisms.
  • Fibrillin protein function: the tip of the iceberg?
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):432-441 (2011)
    Fibrillins are nuclear-encoded, plastid proteins associated with chromoplast fibrils and chloroplast plastoglobules, thylakoids, photosynthetic antenna complexes, and stroma. There are 12 sub-families of fibrillins. However, only three of these sub-families have been characterized genetically or functionally. We review evidence indicating that fibrillins are involved in plastoglobule structural development, chromoplast pigment accumulation, hormonal responses, protection of the photosynthetic apparatus from photodamage, and plant resistance to a range of biotic and abiotic stresses. The area of fibrillin research has substantial growth potential and will contribute to better understanding of mechanisms of plant stress tolerance and plastid structure and function.
  • Root developmental adaptation to phosphate starvation: better safe than sorry
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):442-450 (2011)
    Phosphorus is a crucial component of major organic molecules such as nucleic acids, ATP and membrane phospholipids. It is present in soils in the form of inorganic phosphate (Pi), which has low availability and poor mobility. To cope with Pi limitations, plants have evolved complex adaptive responses that include morphological and physiological modifications. This review describes how the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana adapts its root system architecture to phosphate deficiency through inhibition of primary root growth, increase in lateral root formation and growth and production of root hairs, which all promote topsoil foraging. A better understanding of plant adaptation to low phosphate will open the way to increased phosphorus use efficiency by crops. Such an improvement is needed in order to adjust how we manage limited phosphorus stocks and to reduce the disastrous environmental effects of phosphate fertilizers overuse.
  • Innate immunity in rice
    - Trends Plant Sci 16(8):451-459 (2011)
    Advances in studies of rice innate immunity have led to the identification and characterization of host sensors encoding receptor kinases that perceive conserved microbial signatures. Receptor kinases that carry the non-orginine-aspartate domain, are highly expanded in rice (Oryza sativa) compared with Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Researchers have also identified a diverse array of microbial effectors from bacterial and fungal pathogens that triggers immune responses upon perception. These include effectors that indirectly target host Nucleotide binding site/Leucine rich repeat proteins and transcription activator-like effectors that directly bind promoters of host genes. Here we review the recognition and signaling events that govern rice innate immunity.

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