Latest Articles Include:
- Editorial Board
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):i (2011)
- NOX or not? Evidence for algal NADPH oxidases
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):579-581 (2011)
- Plant nanotoxicology
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):582-589 (2011)
The anthropogenic release of nanoparticles (NPs) to the environment poses a potential hazard to human health and life. The interplay between NPs and biological processes is receiving increasing attention. Plants expose huge interfaces to the air and soil environment. Thus, NPs are adsorbed to the plant surfaces, taken up through nano- or micrometer-scale openings of plants and are translocated within the plant body. Persistent NPs associated with plants enter the human food chain. In this Opinion, we document the occurrence and character of NPs in the environment and evaluate the need for future research on toxicological effects. Plant nanotoxicology is introduced as a discipline that explores the effects and toxicity mechanisms of NPs in plants, including transport, surface interactions and material-specific responses.
- Mendel, 150 years on
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):590-596 (2011)
Mendel's paper 'Versuche über Pflanzen-Hybriden' is the best known in a series of studies published in the late 18th and 19th centuries that built our understanding of the mechanism of inheritance. Mendel investigated the segregation of seven gene characters of pea (Pisum sativum), of which four have been identified. Here, we review what is known about the molecular nature of these genes, which encode enzymes (R and Le), a biochemical regulator (I) and a transcription factor (A). The mutations are: a transposon insertion (r), an amino acid insertion (i), a splice variant (a) and a missense mutation (le-1). The nature of the three remaining uncharacterized characters (green versus yellow pods, inflated versus constricted pods, and axial versus terminal flowers) is discussed.
- De novo shoot organogenesis: from art to science
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):597-606 (2011)
In vitro shoot organogenesis and plant regeneration are crucial for both plant biotechnology and the fundamental study of plant biology. Although the importance of auxin and cytokinin has been known for more than six decades, the underlying molecular mechanisms of their function have only been revealed recently. Advances in identifying new Arabidopsis genes, implementing live-imaging tools and understanding cellular and molecular networks regulating de novo shoot organogenesis have helped to redefine the empirical models of shoot organogenesis and plant regeneration. Here, we review the functions and interactions of genes that control key steps in two distinct developmental processes: de novo shoot organogenesis and lateral root formation.
- Founder cell specification
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):607-613 (2011)
Lateral organs arise from individual or groups of cells either on the flanks of meristems or within defined cellular positional contexts. The first event in organogenesis is founder cell specification. Auxin is one necessary signal in different organ specification contexts, but it is difficult to distinguish between correlative and causal signals and evidence is emerging that other signals exist and that the interplay between these signals is important for organ initiation. This review analyses the progress in understanding which signals contribute to founder cell specification and outlines the emerging complexities in the perception of positional information that are context-dependent and reliant on the establishment and coordination of different types of competencies.
- The role of mitochondrial respiration in salinity tolerance
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):614-623 (2011)
NaCl is the most abundant salt in salinity-affected land. The ability of plants to sift the water table, limit NaCl uptake, compartmentalise Na+/Cl– ions and prevent negative ionic and osmotic effects on cell function, are the foundations of salinity tolerance mechanisms. In this review, we show that although the quantitative response of respiratory rate to changes in salt concentration is complex, the properties of respiratory processes are crucial for tolerance during ion exclusion and tissue tolerance. We consider whole-plant gas exchange and carbon balance analysis alongside the salt responses of mitochondrial properties and genetic studies manipulating respiratory processes. We showcase the importance of efficient ATP generation, dampened reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial osmolytes for salinity tolerance in plants.
- Molecular control and function of endoreplication in development and physiology
- Trends Plant Sci 16(11):624-634 (2011)
Endoreplication, also called endoreduplication, is a cell cycle variant of multicellular eukaryotes in which mitosis is skipped and cells repeatedly replicate their DNA, resulting in cellular polyploidy. In recent years, research results have shed light on the molecular mechanism of endoreplication control, but the function of this cell-cycle variant has remained elusive. However, new evidence is at last providing insight into the biological relevance of cellular polyploidy, demonstrating that endoreplication is essential for developmental processes, such as cell fate maintenance, and is a prominent response to physiological conditions, such as pathogen attack or DNA damage. Thus, endoreplication is being revealed as an important module in plant growth that contributes to the robustness of plant life.