AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that has been publishing peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of basic and applied plant biology since 2010.

Description

AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that has been publishing peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of basic and applied plant biology since 2010. The journal has an intensifying focus on environmental biology, but will continue to welcome papers on all subjects in plant biology. Published by Oxford University Press, this journal is dedicated to rapid publication of research articles, reviews, commentaries and short communications. The taxonomic scope of the journal spans the full gamut of vascular and non-vascular plants, as well as other taxa that impact these organisms. AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research in an open-access environment, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge.

latest article added on August 2015

ArticleFirst AuthorPublished
Sodium nitroprusside-mediated alleviation of iron deficiency and modulation of antioxidant responses in maize plantsKumar, Praveen2010

Sodium nitroprusside-mediated alleviation of iron deficiency and modulation of antioxidant responses in maize plants

Keywords

No keywords available

Abstract

The nitric oxide donor sodium nitroprusside (SNP) promotes regreening of Fe-deficient maize plants. The effect is not the outcome of increased tissue Fe but of NO-modulation of oxidative changes that may favour conversions of internal Fe to more readily available ferrous iron. Background and aims Nitric oxide (NO) has been reported to alleviate Fe-deficiency effects, possibly by enhancing the functional Fe status of plants. This study examines changes in tissue Fe status and oxidative metabolism in Fe-deficient maize (Zea mays L.) plants enriched with NO using sodium nitroprusside (SNP) as a source. Methodology Measurements included changes in concentrations of H2O2, non-protein thiols, levels of lipid peroxidation and activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and of the Fe-requiring antioxidant haem enzymes catalase, peroxidase and ascorbate peroxidases. Internal NO in Fe-deficient maize plants was manipulated with SNP and the NO scavenger, methylene blue (MB). A key control was treatment with sodium ferrocyanide (SF), a non-NO-supplying analogue of SNP. Principal results SNP but not SF caused re-greening of leaves in Fe-deficient maize plants over 10–20 days, increased in vivo NO content, raised chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations, promoted growth in dry weight, increased the activities of H2O2-scavenging haem enzymes and enhanced lipid peroxidation, while decreasing SOD activity and H2O2 concentrations. The NO scavenger, MB, blocked the effects of the SNP. Although SNP and SF each donated Fe and increased active Fe, only SNP increased leaf chlorophyll. Conclusions NO plays a role in Fe nutrition, independently of its effect on total or active Fe status. The most probable mechanism of NO involvement is to increase the intracellular availability of Fe by means of modulating redox. This is likely to be achieved by enhancing the chemical reduction of foliar Fe(III) to Fe(II).

Authors

Kumar, Praveen, Tewari, Rajesh Kumar and Sharma, Parma Nand

Year Published

2010

Publication

AoB PLANTS

Locations
    DOI

    10.1093/aobpla/plq002

    This article contributed by:

    Oxford University Press

    Effect of salinity on water relations of wild barley plants differing in salt toleranceVysotskaya, Lidia2010

    Effect of salinity on water relations of wild barley plants differing in salt tolerance

    Keywords

    No keywords available

    Abstract

    Root hydraulic conductivity was decreased by salinity in barley plants in parallel with slower transpiration rates and a down-regulation of aquaporin expression in the roots. The effects were larger and faster in a more salinity-tolerant line. Background and aims Certain lines of wild barley (Hordeum spontaneum) are more tolerant of salinity than others. The physiological basis of this difference is examined in a comparative study of a saline-tolerant and saline-intolerant line that emphasizes plant water relations. Methodology Effects of salt-treatment (75 mM maximum) extending from a few hours to 3 weeks were quantified in 8-day-old seedlings of a saline-sensitive wild barley line (‘T-1’) and a less saline-sensitive line (‘20-45’). Plants were grown in nutrient culture. Levels of mRNA of the HtPIP2;4 aquaporin (AQP) gene were determined together with a range of physiological responses including root hydraulic conductivity, osmotic potential of root xylem sap, transpiration, leaf relative water content, root water content, leaf water potential, leaf sap osmolality, leaf length, leaf area and chlorophyll content. Principal results Salt treatment inhibited transpiration and hydraulic conductivity more in salt-tolerant ‘20-45’ plants than in salt-sensitive ‘T-1’. In ‘20-45’, the effect was paralleled by a fast (within a few hours) and persistent (3 days) down-regulation of aquaporin. In salt-sensitive ‘T-1’ plants, aquaporin down-regulation was delayed for up to 24 h. Greater tolerance in ‘20-45’ plants was characterized by less inhibition of leaf area, root fresh weight, leaf water content and chlorophyll concentration. Leaf water potentials were similar in both lines. Conclusions (i) Decline in hydraulic conductivity in salt-treated barley plants is important for stomatal closure, (ii) lowered transpiration rate is beneficial for salt tolerance, at least at the seedling stage and (iii) changes in AQP expression are implicated in the control of whole plant hydraulic conductivity and the regulation of shoot water relations.

    Authors

    Vysotskaya, Lidia, Hedley, Peter E., Sharipova, Guzel, Veselov, Dmitry, Kudoyarova, Guzel, Morris, Jennifer and Jones, Hamlyn G.

    Year Published

    2010

    Publication

    AoB PLANTS

    Locations
    DOI

    10.1093/aobpla/plq006

    This article contributed by:

    Oxford University Press

    Biogeography and divergence times of genus Macroptilium (Leguminosae)Espert, Shirley M.2010

    Biogeography and divergence times of genus Macroptilium (Leguminosae)

    Keywords

    No keywords available

    Abstract

    The biogeographic history pattern for Macroptilium, a legume genus closely related to Phaseolus, is proposed. By using ITS sequences, molecular analysis revealed that the genus has its origin on South America, with an estimate age of 2.9 to 4 My. Background and aims Macroptilium is a herbaceous legume genus with 18 currently accepted species, seven of them with economic importance due to their use as forage, green fertilizer and in medicine. The genus is strictly American, with an unknown biogeographic history. The aim of this study was to infer a biogeographic pattern of Macroptilium and to estimate its divergence times, using sequences from the nuclear ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacers. Methodology To study the historical biogeography of Macroptilium, two approaches were used: area optimization on a previously obtained phylogeny and a dispersal–vicariance analysis. Divergence times were calculated by Bayesian methods. Principal results The analyses revealed that Macroptilium has its origin in the middle Pliocene, with an estimated age that ranges from 2.9 to 4 million years. The biogeographic analyses placed its origin in South America, specifically on the Chaquean sub-region, where most of the cladogenetic events of the genus took place. Conclusions Macroptilium constitutes a further example of the geographic pattern displayed by numerous Neotropical taxa that moved north from South America to dominate the Central American lowlands after the land connection across the Isthmus of Panama was established.

    Authors

    Espert, Shirley M. and Burghardt, Alicia D.

    Year Published

    2010

    Publication

    AoB PLANTS

    Locations
      DOI

      10.1093/aobpla/plq018

      This article contributed by:

      Oxford University Press

      Limited plasticity of shoot preformation in response to light by understorey saplings of common walnut (Juglans regia)Taugourdeau, Olivier2010

      Limited plasticity of shoot preformation in response to light by understorey saplings of common walnut (Juglans regia)

      Keywords

      No keywords available

      Abstract

      Analysis of the variability of primary growth is needed to improve our understanding of architectural plasticity in trees. From measurements of light and the growth of understory saplings of common walnut (Juglans regia), we show that shoot pre-formation within buds does not contribute to the subsequent phenotypical plasticity in shoot dimensions. Background and aims Analysis of the variability of organogenesis and extension (two basic processes of primary growth) is needed to improve our understanding of architectural plasticity in trees. An example of such plasticity is the difference in size between fully grown shoots found at different positions on the tree. The contribution of preformation processes to these differences was explored by determining the intraspecific variability of shoot preformation of main stems of understorey saplings of Juglans regia. Methodology In 2007, two samples of annual shoots that differentiated in 2006 were taken from saplings growing in a Mediterranean mixed forest in the south of France. At the first sampling, the terminal winter bud of each parent shoot was dissected and the nodes of these buds were counted. For the second sampling, annual shoot growth was measured after the 2008 growing season. The percentage of light transmitted through the understorey was determined by hemispherical photographs. Principal results The effect of plant development (ontogeny) on the number of preformed leaves and the annual shoot extension was strong. Light availability also contributed to explaining differences in the length of annual shoots. The impact of light on the number of preformed leaves was minimal. Conclusions Ontogeny (onset of branching) and reduced irradiance both affected leaf preformation in buds of annual shoots, with ontogeny being the more influential. The results suggest that the shoot preformation did not contribute to the plasticity of morphology of annual shoots. Light availability was more influential and promoted annual shoot extension.

      Authors

      Taugourdeau, Olivier and Sabatier, Sylvie

      Year Published

      2010

      Publication

      AoB PLANTS

      Locations
      DOI

      10.1093/aobpla/plq022

      This article contributed by:

      Oxford University Press

      Bilirubin present in diverse angiospermsPirone, Cary2010

      Bilirubin present in diverse angiosperms

      Keywords

      No keywords available

      Abstract

      Recently, we discovered bilirubin-IXα, a pigment previously known only in animals as a breakdown product of heme, in Strelitzia nicolai. Here, we show that bilirubin-IXα is present in eight species from three diverse angiosperm orders. Background and aims Bilirubin is an orange-yellow tetrapyrrole produced from the breakdown of heme by mammals and some other vertebrates. Plants, algae and cyanobacteria synthesize molecules similar to bilirubin, including the protein-bound bilins and phytochromobilin which harvest or sense light. Recently, we discovered bilirubin in the arils of Strelitzia nicolai, the White Bird of Paradise Tree, which was the first example of this molecule in a higher plant. Subsequently, we identified bilirubin in both the arils and the flowers of Strelitzia reginae, the Bird of Paradise Flower. In the arils of both species, bilirubin is present as the primary pigment, and thus functions to produce colour. Previously, no tetrapyrroles were known to generate display colour in plants. We were therefore interested in determining whether bilirubin is broadly distributed in the plant kingdom and whether it contributes to colour in other species. Methodology In this paper, we use HPLC/UV and HPLC/UV/electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC/UV/ESI-MS/MS) to search for bilirubin in 10 species across diverse angiosperm lineages. Principal results Bilirubin was present in eight species from the orders Zingiberales, Arecales and Myrtales, but only contributed to colour in species within the Strelitziaceae. Conclusions The wide distribution of bilirubin in angiosperms indicates the need to re-assess some metabolic details of an important and universal biosynthetic pathway in plants, and further explore its evolutionary history and function. Although colour production was limited to the Strelitziaceae in this study, further sampling may indicate otherwise.

      Authors

      Pirone, Cary, Johnson, Jodie V., Quirke, J. Martin E., Priestap, Horacio A. and Lee, David

      Year Published

      2010

      Publication

      AoB PLANTS

      Locations
      DOI

      10.1093/aobpla/plq020

      This article contributed by:

      Oxford University Press

      Multifunctional crop trait ontology for breeders' data: field book, annotation, data discovery and semantic enrichment of the literatureShrestha, Rosemary2010

      Multifunctional crop trait ontology for breeders' data: field book, annotation, data discovery and semantic enrichment of the literature

      Keywords

      No keywords available

      Abstract

      The ‘Crop Ontology’ database we describe provides a controlled vocabulary for several economically important crops. It facilitates data integration and discovery from global databases and digital literature. This allows researchers to exploit comparative phenotypic and genotypic information of crops to elucidate functional aspects of traits. Background and aims Agricultural crop databases maintained in gene banks of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) are valuable sources of information for breeders. These databases provide comparative phenotypic and genotypic information that can help elucidate functional aspects of plant and agricultural biology. To facilitate data sharing within and between these databases and the retrieval of information, the crop ontology (CO) database was designed to provide controlled vocabulary sets for several economically important plant species. Methodology Existing public ontologies and equivalent catalogues of concepts covering the range of crop science information and descriptors for crops and crop-related traits were collected from breeders, physiologists, agronomists, and researchers in the CGIAR consortium. For each crop, relationships between terms were identified and crop-specific trait ontologies were constructed following the Open Biomedical Ontologies (OBO) format standard using the OBO-Edit tool. All terms within an ontology were assigned a globally unique CO term identifier. Principal results The CO currently comprises crop-specific traits for chickpea (Cicer arietinum), maize (Zea mays), potato (Solanum tuberosum), rice (Oryza sativa), sorghum (Sorghum spp.) and wheat (Triticum spp.). Several plant-structure and anatomy-related terms for banana (Musa spp.), wheat and maize are also included. In addition, multi-crop passport terms are included as controlled vocabularies for sharing information on germplasm. Two web-based online resources were built to make these COs available to the scientific community: the ‘CO Lookup Service’ for browsing the CO; and the ‘Crops Terminizer’, an ontology text mark-up tool. Conclusions The controlled vocabularies of the CO are being used to curate several CGIAR centres' agronomic databases. The use of ontology terms to describe agronomic phenotypes and the accurate mapping of these descriptions into databases will be important steps in comparative phenotypic and genotypic studies across species and gene-discovery experiments.

      Authors

      Shrestha, Rosemary, Arnaud, Elizabeth, Mauleon, Ramil, Senger, Martin, Davenport, Guy F., Hancock, David, Morrison, Norman, Bruskiewich, Richard and McLaren, Graham

      Year Published

      2010

      Publication

      AoB PLANTS

      Locations
        DOI

        10.1093/aobpla/plq008

        This article contributed by:

        Oxford University Press

        Interactions between rootstock, inter-stem and scion xylem vessel characteristics of peach trees growing on rootstocks with contrasting size-controlling characteristicsTombesi, Sergio2010

        Interactions between rootstock, inter-stem and scion xylem vessel characteristics of peach trees growing on rootstocks with contrasting size-controlling characteristics

        Keywords

        No keywords available

        Abstract

        This paper documents that while characteristics of the xylem anatomy and calculated hydraulic conductance of peach rootstock genotypes differ according to their effects on vigour of the scion they do not strongly influence the xylem characteristics of the scion. Furthermore xylem characteristics of a dwarfing rootstock genotype used as an inter-stem do not substantially influence anatomical characteristics of a vigorous rootstock below the inter-stem or the scion above it. Background and aims The primary physiological mechanism influencing tree vigour in size-controlling rootstocks of peach has been related to the hydraulic conductance of the rootstock. Differences in rootstock hydraulic conductance are a function of rootstock xylem vessel characteristics. The present research examined whether the vigour and xylem vessel characteristics of the rootstock influence the xylem characteristics of the scion. We tested whether using a size-controlling rootstock genotype as an inter-stem influences the xylem vessel characteristics of either the rootstock below the inter-stem or the scion above it and vice versa. Methodology Anatomical measurements (diameter and frequency) of xylem vessels were determined above and below the graft unions of the trunks of peach trees with differing scion/rootstock combinations. The three peach rootstocks were ‘Nemaguard’ (vigorous), ‘P30-135’ (intermediate vigour) and ‘K146-43’ (dwarfing). The vigorous scion cultivar was ‘O'Henry’. The inter-stem experiment involved trees with ‘Nemaguard’ (vigorous) as the rootstock, ‘K146-43’ (dwarfing) as the inter-stem and ‘O'Henry’ as the scion. Based on anatomical measurements, we calculated the theoretical axial xylem conductance of each stem piece and rootstock genotype with the Hagen–Poiseuille law. Principal results Xylem vessel dimensions of rootstocks varied in conjunction with tree vigour. Scion xylem vessel dimensions of different scion/rootstock combinations were only marginally affected by rootstock genotype. The inter-stem sections from the dwarfing genotype (‘K146-43’) had narrower vessels and a lower calculated hydraulic conductance than the xylem from either the vigorous rootstock below (‘Nemaguard’) or the scion above (‘O'Henry’). Conclusions Rootstock genotype only marginally affected scion xylem vessel characteristics. Thus the xylem vessel characteristics of the dwarfing rootstock genotypes appear to influence tree growth directly rather than through an effect on the xylem characteristics of the scion. A dwarfing rootstock genotype used as an inter-stem appeared to work as a physical restriction to water movement, reducing potential xylem flow and conductance of the whole tree.

        Authors

        Tombesi, Sergio, Johnson, R. Scott, Day, Kevin R. and DeJong, Theodore M.

        Year Published

        2010

        Publication

        AoB PLANTS

        Locations
        DOI

        10.1093/aobpla/plq013

        This article contributed by:

        Oxford University Press

        Mechanisms of plant adaptation/memory in rice seedlings under arsenic and heat stress: expression of heat-shock protein gene HSP70Goswami, Alakananda2010

        Mechanisms of plant adaptation/memory in rice seedlings under arsenic and heat stress: expression of heat-shock protein gene HSP70

        Keywords

        No keywords available

        Abstract

        Imprints of stress response by rice seedlings in terms of expression levels of stress response gene HSP70 are characterised . The response to arsenic and/or heat shock are shown to be additive for the same stress or the combined stresses, indicating a commonality of signalling pathways. Background and aims Plants can withstand many abiotic stresses. Stress adaptation through retention of imprints of previous stress exposure has also been described in plants. We have characterized the imprint or memory of adaptive stress responses of rice seedlings to arsenic (As) and heat stress. Methodology Two-week-old rice seedlings (both with and without As) were given a 45 °C heat shock for 3 h. While under heat shock, the leafy portion of the seedlings was harvested at regular intervals. Subsequently, the seedlings were kept at room temperature for recovery and sampling continued over 3 h. Total RNA and protein were extracted from the leafy portion of the seedlings and complementary DNA (cDNA) was prepared from total RNA. The cDNA was used as a template for the polymerase chain reaction to identify the transcription level of HSP70. Protein extracted from the seedlings was western-blotted. HSP70 and actin (loading control) antibodies were used to recognize the proteins on the same blot. Principal results Our studies reveal that HSP70, a cellular chaperone gene, is over-expressed at the mRNA and protein levels when rice seedlings are exposed to As and heat. The effect is cumulative and increases with the duration of stress for 3 h. During 3 h recovery from heat stress at ambient temperatures for 3 h, the chaperone remains expressed at higher levels in plants pre-exposed to As. Conclusions Our findings demonstrate a retention of the imprint of previous stress exposure, perhaps through sustained activation of the signalling pathways upstream of over-expression of HSP70. Furthermore, stress-induced HSP70 expression was additive/cumulative for continued exposure to similar or different kinds of stress, indicating that a commonality of signal transduction networks is adopted when plants experience more than one stress.

        Authors

        Goswami, Alakananda, Banerjee, Rahul and Raha, Sanghamitra

        Year Published

        2010

        Publication

        AoB PLANTS

        Locations
        DOI

        10.1093/aobpla/plq023

        This article contributed by:

        Oxford University Press

        Morphological, photosynthetic and water relations traits underpin the contrasting success of two tropical lichen groups at the interior and edge of forest fragmentsPardow, Alexandra2010

        Morphological, photosynthetic and water relations traits underpin the contrasting success of two tropical lichen groups at the interior and edge of forest fragments

        Keywords

        No keywords available

        Abstract

        Microclimatic edge effects and morpho-physiological characteristics are shaping lichen functional group distribution. Thus, lichen functional groups may be used as indicator for forest disturbance Background and aims Forest edges created by fragmentation strongly affect the abiotic and biotic environment. A rarely studied consequence is the resulting impact on non-vascular plants such as poikilohydric lichens, known to be highly sensitive to changes in the microenvironment. We evaluated the impact of forest edge and forest interior on the distribution of two groups of crustose lichens characterized by the presence or absence of a cortex and sought explanations of the outcome in terms of photosynthetic response and water relations. Methodology Microclimate, distribution patterns and physiology of cortical and non-cortical lichens were compared at the edge and in the interior of an Atlantic rainforest fragment in Alagoas, Brazil. Ecophysiological aspects of photosynthesis and water relations were studied using chlorophyll a fluorescence analysis, and hydration and rehydration characteristics. Principal results Cortical and non-cortical functional groups showed a clear preference for interior and edge habitats, respectively. The cortical lichens retained liquid water more efficiently and tolerated low light. This explains their predominance in the forest interior, where total area cover on host tree trunks reached ca. 40 % (versus ca. 5 % for non-cortical lichens). Although non-cortical lichens exchanged water vapour efficiently, they required high light intensities. Consequently, they were able to exploit well-lit edge conditions where they achieved an area cover of ca. 19 % (versus ca. 7 % for cortical lichens). We provide some of the first data for lichens giving the relative quantity of incident light absorbed by the photosystem (absorptivity). The cortical group achieved higher absorptivity and quantum efficiencies, but at the expense of physiological plasticity; non-cortical lichens showed much decreased values of Fv/Fm and electron transport rates in the forest interior. Conclusions Morphological and physiological features largely determine the ecophysiological interaction of lichen functional groups with their abiotic environment and, as a consequence, determine their habitat preference across forest habitats. In view of the distinctiveness of their distribution patterns and ecophysiological strategies, the occurrence of cortical versus non-cortical lichens can be a useful indicator of undisturbed forest interiors in tropical forest fragments.

        Authors

        Pardow, Alexandra, Hartard, Britta and Lakatos, Michael

        Year Published

        2010

        Publication

        AoB PLANTS

        Locations
        DOI

        10.1093/aobpla/plq004

        This article contributed by:

        Oxford University Press

        Morphological and physiological responses of lowland purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) to floodingFuentes, Rolly G.2010

        Morphological and physiological responses of lowland purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) to flooding

        Keywords

        No keywords available

        Abstract

        Comparing a lowland and an upland ecotype of Cyperus rotundus, the former had greater carbohydrate reserves in tubers, thicker roots and stems with larger air spaces and, under hypoxia, it maintained relatively lower activities of alcohol dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase. Background and aims Purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus L.) is a major weed of upland crops and vegetables. Recently, a flood-tolerant ecotype evolved as a serious weed in lowland rice. This study attempted to establish the putative growth and physiological features that led to this shift in adaptation. Methodology Tubers of upland C. rotundus (ULCR) and lowland C. rotundus (LLCR) ecotypes were collected from their native habitats and maintained under the respective growth conditions in a greenhouse. Five experiments were conducted to assess the variation between the two ecotypes in germination, growth and tuber morphology when grown in their native or ‘switched’ conditions. Carbohydrate storage and mobilization, and variation in anaerobic respiration under hypoxia were compared. Principal results Tubers of LLCR were larger than those of ULCR, with higher carbohydrate content, and larger tubers developed with increasing floodwater depth. Stems of LLCR had larger diameter and proportionally larger air spaces than those of ULCR: a method of aerating submerged plant parts. The LLCR ecotype can also mobilize and use carbohydrate reserves under hypoxia, and it maintained relatively lower and steadier activity of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) as a measure of sustained anaerobic respiration. In contrast, ADH activity in ULCR increased faster upon a shift to hypoxia and then sharply decreased, suggesting depletion of available soluble sugar substrates. The LLCR ecotype also maintained lower lactate dehydrogenase activity under flooded conditions, which could reduce chances of cellular acidosis. Conclusions These adaptive traits in the LLCR ecotype were expressed constitutively, but some of them, such as tuber growth and aerenchyma development, are enhanced with stress severity. The LLCR ecotype attained numerous adaptive traits that could have evolved as a consequence of natural evolution or repeated management practices, and alternative strategies are necessary because flooding is no longer a feasible management option.

        Authors

        Fuentes, Rolly G., Baltazar, Aurora M., Merca, Florinia E., Ismail, Abdelbagi M. and Johnson, David E.

        Year Published

        2010

        Publication

        AoB PLANTS

        Locations
          DOI

          10.1093/aobpla/plq010

          This article contributed by:

          Oxford University Press

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