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vegetative function [keywords]
- Phenology of plants in relation to ambient environment in a subalpine forest of Uttarakhand, western Himalaya. [Journal Article]
- Physiol Mol Biol Plants 2014 Jul; 20(3):399-403.
Observations on phenology of some representative trees, shrubs, under-shrubs and herbs in a subalpine forest of Uttarakhand, western Himalaya were recorded. With the commencement of favorable growth season in April, occurrence of leaf fall was indicatory growth phenomenon in Quercus semecarpifolia, Q. floribunda and Abies spectabilis. However, active vegetative growth in herbaceous species starts onward April and fruit maturation and seed dehiscence are completed from mid of September to October. In general, vegetative growth and reproductive stages in majority of the studied species seems to be dependent on adequate moisture content and also flowering and fruiting in subalpine plants correlate ambient temperature.
- Herbivores Influence the Growth, Reproduction, and Morphology of a Widespread Arctic Willow. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- PLoS One 2014; 9(7):e101716.
Shrubs have expanded in Arctic ecosystems over the past century, resulting in significant changes to albedo, ecosystem function, and plant community composition. Willow and rock ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus, L. muta) and moose (Alces alces) extensively browse Arctic shrubs, and may influence their architecture, growth, and reproduction. Furthermore, these herbivores may alter forage plants in such a way as to increase the quantity and accessibility of their own food source. We estimated the effect of winter browsing by ptarmigan and moose on an abundant, early-successional willow (Salix alaxensis) in northern Alaska by comparing browsed to unbrowsed branches. Ptarmigan browsed 82-89% of willows and removed 30-39% of buds, depending on study area and year. Moose browsed 17-44% of willows and browsed 39-55% of shoots. Browsing inhibited apical dominance and activated axillary and adventitious buds to produce new vegetative shoots. Ptarmigan- and moose-browsed willow branches produced twice the volume of shoot growth but significantly fewer catkins the following summer compared with unbrowsed willow branches. Shoots on browsed willows were larger and produced 40-60% more buds compared to unbrowsed shoots. This process of shoot production at basal parts of the branch is the mechanism by which willows develop a highly complex "broomed" architecture after several years of browsing. Broomed willows were shorter and more likely to be re-browsed by ptarmigan, but not moose. Ptarmigan likely benefit from the greater quantity and accessibility of buds on previously browsed willows and may increase the carrying capacity of their own habitat. Despite the observed tolerance of willows to browsing, their vertical growth and reproduction were strongly inhibited by moose and ptarmigan. Browsing by these herbivores therefore needs to be considered in future models of shrub expansion in the Arctic.
- Extreme Environments. [EDITORIAL]
- Acta Physiol (Oxf) 2014 Jul 14.
As a physiologist, one can often not help but marvel at the versatility of the mammalian body with regard to its adaptability to changing environments. In an earlier contribution to the Exacta series, we have discussed the latest developments in research on thermoregulation, introducing the tiny water bear (tardigrade), which is equipped with resources to not only withstand temperatures near absolute zero or centuries without any water, but also being shot into outer space (Bondke Persson and Persson, 2012). With increasing structural complexity, organisms become, obviously, more restricted to certain environmental conditions. Mammals, nevertheless, survive and often thrive in environments ranging from tropical rainforests to eternal ice, but are, however, more limited than small eukaryotes when it comes to pressure, radiation or toxin exposure, to name but a few. Changing climatic conditions induce a change in the spectrum of mammals inhabiting certain regions of the globe (World Wildlife Fund, 2014); mammals try to migrate or adapt - if they can (Schloss et al., 2012). This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- The EAR Motif Controls the Early Flowering and Senescence Phenotype Mediated by Over-Expression of SlERF36 and Is Partly Responsible for Changes in Stomatal Density and Photosynthesis. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2014; 9(7):e101995.
The EAR motif is a small seven amino acid motif associated with active repression of several target genes. We had previously identified SlERF36 as an EAR motif containing gene from tomato and shown that its over-expression results in early flowering and senescence and a 25-35% reduction of stomatal density, photosynthesis and stomatal conductance in transgenic tobacco. In order to understand the role of the EAR motif in governing the phenotypes, we have expressed the full-length SlERF36 and a truncated form, lacking the EAR motif under the CaMV35S promoter, in transgenic Arabidopsis. Plants over-expressing the full-length SlERF36 show prominent early flowering under long day as well as short day conditions. The early flowering leads to an earlier onset of senescence in these transgenic plants which in turn reduces vegetative growth, affecting rosette, flower and silique sizes. Stomatal number is reduced by 38-39% while photosynthesis and stomatal conductance decrease by about 30-40%. Transgenic plants over-expressing the truncated version of SlERF36 (lacking the C-terminal EAR motif), show phenotypes largely matching the control with normal flowering and senescence indicating that the early flowering and senescence is governed by the EAR motif. On the other hand, photosynthetic rates and stomatal number were also reduced in plants expressing SlERF36ΔEAR although to a lesser degree compared to the full- length version indicating that these are partly controlled by the EAR motif. These studies show that the major phenotypic changes in plant growth caused by over-expression of SlERF36 are actually mediated by the EAR motif.
- Transport of Boron by the tassel-less1 Aquaporin Is Critical for Vegetative and Reproductive Development in Maize. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Plant Cell 2014 Jul 17.
The element boron (B) is an essential plant micronutrient, and B deficiency results in significant crop losses worldwide. The maize (Zea mays) tassel-less1 (tls1) mutant has defects in vegetative and inflorescence development, comparable to the effects of B deficiency. Positional cloning revealed that tls1 encodes a protein in the aquaporin family co-orthologous to known B channel proteins in other species. Transport assays show that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B and water into Xenopus laevis oocytes. B content is reduced in tls1 mutants, and application of B rescues the mutant phenotype, indicating that the TLS1 protein facilitates the movement of B in planta. B is required to cross-link the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II (RG-II) in the cell wall, and the percentage of RG-II dimers is reduced in tls1 inflorescences, indicating that the defects may result from altered cell wall properties. Plants heterozygous for both tls1 and rotten ear (rte), the proposed B efflux transporter, exhibit a dosage-dependent defect in inflorescence development under B-limited conditions, indicating that both TLS1 and RTE function in the same biological processes. Together, our data provide evidence that TLS1 is a B transport facilitator in maize, highlighting the importance of B homeostasis in meristem function.
- There's more than one way to skin a fruit: formation and functions of fruit cuticles. [REVIEW]
- J Exp Bot 2014 Jul 15.
As with all aerial plant organs, fleshy fruits are encased in a hydrophobic cuticle that must fulfil multiple functions, including limiting desiccation and preventing microbial infection, which in the case of fruits maintains palatability and promotes seed dispersal. Fruit cuticles have many features in common with those of vegetative organs, but also have unique characteristics, including the fact that they are often astomatous, thicker than those of most leaves, and can be relatively easily isolated. These attributes provide a valuable experimental system to address questions related to cuticle structure, function, and the relationships between composition, architecture, permeability, and biomechanical properties. Here we provide an overview of insights into cuticle biology that have resulted from studies of those of fleshy fruits, as well as the diversity and dynamic nature of fruit cuticle composition and architecture, the environmental factors that influence those features, and the roles that they play in fruit ontogeny.
- The Cinnamyl Alcohol Dehydrogenase Gene Family in Melon (Cucumis melo L.): Bioinformatic Analysis and Expression Patterns. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2014; 9(7):e101730.
Cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (CAD) is a key enzyme in lignin biosynthesis. However, little was known about CADs in melon. Five CAD-like genes were identified in the genome of melons, namely CmCAD1 to CmCAD5. The signal peptides analysis and CAD proteins prediction showed no typical signal peptides were found in all CmCADs and CmCAD proteins may locate in the cytoplasm. Multiple alignments implied that some motifs may be responsible for the high specificity of these CAD proteins, and may be one of the key residues in the catalytic mechanism. The phylogenetic tree revealed seven groups of CAD and melon CAD genes fell into four main groups. CmCAD1 and CmCAD2 belonged to the bona fide CAD group, in which these CAD genes, as representative from angiosperms, were involved in lignin synthesis. Other CmCADs were distributed in group II, V and VII, respectively. Semi-quantitative PCR and real time qPCR revealed differential expression of CmCADs, and CmCAD5 was expressed in different vegetative tissues except mature leaves, with the highest expression in flower, while CmCAD2 and CmCAD5 were strongly expressed in flesh during development. Promoter analysis revealed several motifs of CAD genes involved in the gene expression modulated by various hormones. Treatment of abscisic acid (ABA) elevated the expression of CmCADs in flesh, whereas the transcript levels of CmCAD1 and CmCAD5 were induced by auxin (IAA); Ethylene induced the expression of CmCADs, while 1-MCP repressed the effect, apart from CmCAD4. Taken together, these data suggested that CmCAD4 may be a pseudogene and that all other CmCADs may be involved in the lignin biosynthesis induced by both abiotic and biotic stresses and in tissue-specific developmental lignification through a CAD genes family network, and CmCAD2 may be the main CAD enzymes for lignification of melon flesh and CmCAD5 may also function in flower development.
- Management practices impact vine carbohydrate status to a greater extent than vine productivity. [Journal Article]
- Front Plant Sci 2014.:283.
Light pruning and deficit irrigation regimes are practices which are widely used in high yielding commercial vineyards in the warm climate regions of Australia. Little information is available on their impacts on carbohydrate dynamics in vegetative organs within and between seasons, and on the resulting plant capacity to maintain productivity and ripen fruits. This study was conducted to address this gap in knowledge over five vintages on Vitis vinifera L. cv. Cabernet Franc, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon in the Sunraysia region of Victoria, Australia. Lighter pruning did not change the total carbohydrates concentration and composition in wood and roots within seasons in Cabernet Franc and Shiraz. However, the total carbohydrate pool (starch and soluble sugars) at the end of dormancy increased under lighter pruning, due to higher vine size, associated with retention and growth of old-wood (trunk and cordons). Water deficit negatively impacted trunk and leaf starch concentrations, over the day and within seasons in Cabernet Sauvignon. Soluble sugars concentrations in these tissues tended to be higher under limited water supply, possibly due to higher sugar mobilization as photosynthesis decreased. Trunk carbohydrate concentrations markedly varied within and between seasons, highlighting the importance of interactive factors such as crop load and climate on carbon status. The period between fruit-set and véraison was shown to be critical for its impact on the balance between carbon accretion and depletion, especially under water deficit. The lower leaf and trunk starch concentration under water deficit resulted in a decrease of yield components at harvest, while similar yields were reached for all pruning systems. The sugar allocated to berries at harvest remained remarkably stable for all practices and seasons, irrespective of vine yield and carbohydrate status in vegetative organs in Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Role of nitric oxide synthase isoforms for ophthalmic artery reactivity in mice. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Exp Eye Res 2014 Jul 10.
Nitric oxide synthases (NOS) are involved in regulation of ocular vascular tone and blood flow. While endothelial NOS (eNOS) has recently been shown to mediate endothelium-dependent vasodilation in mouse retinal arterioles, the contribution of individual NOS isoforms to vascular responses is unknown in the retrobulbar vasculature. Moreover, it is unknown whether the lack of a single NOS isoform affects neuron survival in the retina. Thus, the goal of the present study was to examine the hypothesis that the lack of individual nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isoforms affects the reactivity of mouse ophthalmic arteries and neuron density in the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) layer. Mice deficient in one of the three NOS isoforms (nNOS-/-, iNOS-/- and eNOS-/-) were compared to respective wild type controls. Intraocular pressure (IOP) was measured in conscious mice using rebound tonometry. To examine the role of each NOS isoform for mediating vascular responses, ophthalmic arteries were studied in vitro using video microscopy. Neuron density in the RGC layer was calculated from retinal wholemounts stained with cresyl blue. IOP was similar in all NOS-deficient genotypes and respective wild type controls. In ophthalmic arteries, phenylephrine, nitroprusside and acetylcholine evoked concentration-dependent responses that did not differ between individual NOS-deficient genotypes and their respective controls. In all genotypes except eNOS-/- mice, vasodilation to acetylcholine was markedly reduced after incubation with L-NAME, a non-isoform-selective inhibitor of NOS. In contrast, pharmacological inhibition of nNOS and iNOS had no effect on acetylcholine-induced vasodilation in any of the mouse genotypes. Neuron density in the RGC layer was similar in all NOS-deficient genotypes and respective controls. Our findings suggest that eNOS contributes to endothelium-dependent dilation of murine ophthalmic arteries. However, the chronic lack of eNOS is functionally compensated by NOS-independent vasodilator mechanisms. The lack of a single NOS isoform does not appear to affect IOP or neuron density in the RGC layer.
- Genome-wide expression analysis of rice ABC transporter family across spatio-temporal samples and in response to abiotic stresses. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Plant Physiol 2014 Jun 10; 171(14):1276-1288.
Although the super family of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins plays key roles in the physiology and development of plants, the functions of members of this interesting family mostly remain to be clarified, especially in crop plants. Thus, systematic analysis of this family in rice (Oryza sativa), a major model crop plant, will be helpful in the design of effective strategies for functional analysis. Phylogenomic analysis that integrates anatomy and stress meta-profiling data based on a large collection of rice Affymetrix array data into the phylogenic context provides useful clues into the functions for each of the ABC transporter family members in rice. Using anatomy data, we identified 17 root-preferred and 16-shoot preferred genes at the vegetative stage, and 3 pollen, 2 embryo, 2 ovary, 2 endosperm, and 1 anther-preferred gene at the reproductive stage. The stress data revealed significant up-regulation or down-regulation of 47 genes under heavy metal treatment, 16 genes under nutrient deficient conditions, and 51 genes under abiotic stress conditions. Of these, we confirmed the differential expression patterns of 14 genes in root samples exposed to drought stress using quantitative real-time PCR. Network analysis using RiceNet suggests a functional gene network involving nine rice ABC transporters that are differentially regulated by drought stress in root, further enhancing the prediction of biological function. Our analysis provides a molecular basis for the study of diverse biological phenomena mediated by the ABC family in rice and will contribute to the enhancement of crop yield and stress tolerance.