Plant and Cell Physiology
1959-ISSN: 0032-0781 (1471-9053)
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602715
Light energy is essential for photosynthetic energy production and plant growth. Chloroplasts in green tissues convert energy from sunlight into chemical energy via the electron transport chain. When the level of light energy exceeds the capacity of the photosynthetic apparatus, chloroplasts undergo a process known as photoinhibition. Since photoinhibition leads to the overaccumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the spreading of cell death, plants have developed multiple systems to protect chloroplasts from strong light. Recent studies have shown that autophagy, a system that functions in eukaryotes for the intracellular degradation of cytoplasmic components, participates in the removal of damaged chloroplasts. Previous findings also demonstrated an important role for autophagy in chloroplast turnover during leaf senescence. In this review, we describe the turnover of whole chloroplasts, which occurs via a type of autophagy termed chlorophagy. We discuss a possible regulatory mechanism for the induction of chlorophagy based on current knowledge of photoinhibition, leaf senescence and mitophagy—the autophagic turnover of mitochondria in yeast and mammals.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602716
Alternative splicing (AS) is the main source of proteome diversity that in large part contributes to the complexity of eukaryotes. Recent global analysis of AS with RNA sequencing has revealed that AS is prevalent in plants, particularly when responding to environmental changes. Light is one of the most important environmental factors for plant growth and development. To optimize light absorption, plants evolve complex photoreceptors and signaling systems to regulate gene expression and biological processes in the cell. Genome-wide analyses have shown that light induces intensive AS in plants. However, the biochemical mechanisms of light regulating AS remain poorly understood. In this review, we aim to discuss recent progress in investigating the functions of AS, discovery of cross-talk between AS and light signaling, and the potential mechanism of light-regulated AS. Understanding how light signaling regulates the efficiency of AS and the biological significance of light-regulated AS in plant systems will provide new insights into the adaptation of plants to their environment and, ultimately, crop improvement.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602717
Monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) and digalactosyldiacylglycerol (DGDG) together constitute approximately 80% of chloroplast lipids. Apart from facilitating the photosynthesis light reaction in the thylakoid membrane, these two lipids are important for maintaining chloroplast morphology and for plant survival under abiotic stresses such as phosphate starvation and freezing. Recently it was shown that severe growth retardation phenotypes of the DGDG-deficient mutant dgd1 were due to jasmonate overproduction, linking MGDG and DGDG homeostasis with phytohormone production and suggesting MGDG as a major substrate for jasmonate biosynthesis. Induction of jasmonate synthesis and jasmonic acid (JA) signaling was also observed under conditions of phosphate starvation. We hypothesize that when DGDG is recruited to substitute for phospholipids in extraplastidic membranes during phosphate deficiency, the altered MGDG to DGDG ratio in the chloroplast envelope triggers the conversion of galactolipids into jasmonates. The conversion may contribute to rebalancing the MGDG to DGDG ratio rapidly to maintain chloroplast shape, and jasmonate production can reduce the growth rate and enhance predator deterrence. We also hypothesize that other conditions, such as suppression of dgd1 phenotypes by trigalactosyldiacylglycerol (tgd) mutations, may all be linked to altered jasmonate production, indicating that caution should be exercised when interpreting phenotypes caused by conditions that may alter the MGDG to DGDG ratio at the chloroplast envelope.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602718
Endosymbiotically originated chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) encodes part of the genetic information needed to fulfill chloroplast function, including fundamental processes such as photosynthesis. In the last two decades, advances in genome analysis led to the identification of a considerable number of cpDNA sequences from various species. While these data provided the consensus features of cpDNA organization and chloroplast evolution in plants, how cpDNA is maintained through development and is inherited remains to be fully understood. In particular, the fact that cpDNA exists as multiple copies despite its limited genetic capacity raises the important question of how copy number is maintained or whether cpDNA is subjected to quantitative fluctuation or even developmental degradation. For example, cpDNA is abundant in leaves, where it forms punctate structures called nucleoids, which seemingly alter their morphologies and numbers depending on the developmental status of the chloroplast. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of ‘cpDNA dynamics’, focusing on the changes in DNA abundance. A special focus is given to the cpDNA degradation mechanism, which appears to be mediated by Defective in Pollen organelle DNA degradation 1 (DPD1), a recently discovered organelle exonuclease. The physiological significance of cpDNA degradation in flowering plants is also discussed.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602719
Virtually all chloroplasts in extant photosynthetic eukaryotes derive from a single endosymbiotic event that probably occurred more than a billion years ago between a host eukaryotic cell and a cyanobacterium-like ancestor. Many endosymbiont genes were subsequently transferred to the host nuclear genome, concomitant with the establishment of a system for protein transport through the chloroplast double-membrane envelope. Presently, 2,000–3,000 different nucleus-encoded chloroplast proteins must be imported into the chloroplast following their synthesis in the cytosol. The TOC (translocon at the outer envelope membrane of chloroplasts) and TIC (translocon at the inner envelope membrane of chloroplasts) complexes are protein translocation machineries at the outer and inner envelope membranes, respectively, that facilitate this chloroplast protein import with the aid of a TIC-associated ATP-driven import motor. All the essential components of this protein import system seemed to have been identified through biochemical analyses and subsequent genetic studies that initiated in the late 1990s. However, in 2013, the Nakai group reported a novel inner envelope membrane TIC complex, for which a novel ATP-driven import motor associated with this TIC complex is likely to exist. In this mini review, I will summarize these recent discoveries together with new, or reanalyzed, data presented by other groups in recent years. Whereas the precise concurrent view of chloroplast protein import is still a matter of some debate, it is anticipated that the entire TOC/TIC/ATP motor system, including any novel components, will be conclusively established in the next decade. Such findings may lead to an extensively revised view of the evolution and molecular mechanisms of chloroplast protein import.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602720ChloroplastElectron transferMitochondrionPhotoreceptorPhotosynthesisProtein import
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602721
The S-RNase-based gametophytic self-incompatibility (GSI) reproduction barrier is important for maintaining genetic diversity in species of the families Solanaceae, Plantaginaceae and Rosaceae. Among the plant taxa with S-RNase-based GSI, Prunus species in the family Rosaceae exhibit Prunus-specific self-incompatibility (SI). Although pistil S and pollen S determinants have been identified, the mechanism underlying SI remains uncharacterized in Prunus species. A putative pollen-part modifier was identified in this study. Disruption of this modifier supposedly confers self-compatibility (SC) to sweet cherry (Prunus avium) ‘Cristobalina’. To identify the modifier, genome re-sequencing experiments were completed involving sweet cherry individuals from 18 cultivars and 43 individuals in two segregating populations. Cataloging of subsequences (35 bp kmers) from the obtained genomic reads, while referring to the mRNA sequencing data, enabled the identification of a candidate gene [M locus-encoded GST (MGST)]. Additionally, the insertion of a transposon-like sequence in the putative MGST promoter region in ‘Cristobalina’ down-regulated MGST expression levels, probably leading to the SC of this cultivar. Phylogenetic, evolutionary and gene expression analyses revealed that MGST may have undergone lineage-specific evolution, and the encoded protein may function differently from the corresponding proteins encoded by GST orthologs in other species, including members of the subfamily Maloideae (Rosaceae). Thus, MGST may be important for Prunus-specific SI. The identification of this novel modifier will expand our understanding of the Prunus-specific GSI system. We herein discuss the possible functions of MGST in the Prunus-specific GSI system.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602722
The double mutant ΔkatG/tpx of cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. strain PCC 6803, defective in the anti-oxidative enzymes catalase (KatG) and thioredoxin peroxidase (Tpx), is unable to grow in the presence of exogenous H2O2. The ΔkatG/tpx mutant is shown to be extremely sensitive to very low concentrations of H2O2, especially when intensified with cold stress. Analysis of gene expression in both wild-type and ΔkatG/tpx mutant cells treated by combined cold/oxidative stress revealed that H2O2 participates in regulation of expression of cold-responsive genes, affecting either signal perception or transduction. The central role of a transmembrane stress-sensing histidine kinase Hik33 in the cold/oxidative signal transduction pathway is discussed.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602723
Centella asiatica is widely used as a medicinal plant due to accumulation of the ursane-type triterpene saponins asiaticoside and madecassoside. The molecular structure of both compounds suggests that they are biosynthesized from α-amyrin via three hydroxylations, and the respective Cyt P450-dependent monooxygenases (P450 enzymes) oxidizing the C-28 and C-2α positions have been reported. However, a third enzyme hydroxylating C-23 remained elusive. We previously identified 40,064 unique sequences in the transcriptome of C. asiatica elicited by methyl jasmonate, and among them we have now found 149 unigenes encoding putative P450 enzymes. In this set, 23 full-length cDNAs were recognized, 13 of which belonged to P450 subfamilies previously implicated in secondary metabolism. Four of these genes were highly expressed in response to jasmonate treatment, especially in leaves, in accordance with the accumulation patterns of asiaticoside. The functions of these candidate genes were tested using heterologous expression in yeast cells. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis revealed that yeast expressing only the oxidosqualene synthase CaDDS produced the asiaticoside precursor α-amyrin (along with its isomer β-amyrin), while yeast co-expressing CaDDS and CYP716A83 also contained ursolic acid along with oleanolic acid. This P450 enzyme thus acts as a multifunctional triterpenoid C-28 oxidase converting amyrins into corresponding triterpenoid acids. Finally, yeast strains co-expressing CaDDS, CYP716A83 and CYP714E19 produced hederagenin and 23-hydroxyursolic acid, showing that CYP714E19 is a multifunctional triterpenoid oxidase catalyzing the C-23 hydroxylation of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid. Overall, our results demonstrate that CaDDS, CYP716A83 and CYP714E19 are C. asiatica enzymes catalyzing consecutive steps in asiaticoside biosynthesis.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602724
Environmental cues modulate the balance of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) which are essential elements for plant metabolism and growth. In Arabidopsis, photochemical efficiency of PSII, phosphorylation status and localization of many enzymes, and the level of total soluble sugars were affected by an unbalanced C/N ratio. Since differences in C/N affect these parameters, here we checked whether different sources of N have different effects when a high C/N ratio is imposed. NO3– and NH4+ were separately provided in C/N medium. We investigated the effects on photochemical efficiency of PSII, the level of total soluble sugars and nitrate reductase activity under stressful C/N conditions compared with control conditions. We found that treated plants accumulated more total soluble sugars when compared with control. Photochemical efficiency of PSII did not show significant differences between the two sources of nitrogen after 24 h. The actual nitrate reductase activity was the result of a combination of activity, activation state and protein level. This activity constantly decreased starting from time zero in control conditions; in contrast, the actual nitrate reductase activity showed a peak at 2 h after treatment with NO3–, and at 30 min with NH4+. This, according to the level of total soluble sugars, can be explained by the existence of a cross-talk between the sugars in excess and low nitrate in the medium that blocks the activity of nitrate reductase in stressful sugar conditions until the plant is adapted to the stress.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602725
Sulfoxidation of methionine in proteins by reactive oxygen species can cause conformational alteration or functional impairment, and can be reversed by methionine sulfoxide reductase (Msr). Currently, only a few potential Msr substrates have been confirmed in higher plants. Here, we investigated Msr-mediated sulfoxidation regulation of calmodulin (CaM) and its underlying biological significance in relation to banana fruit ripening and senescence. Expression of MaCaM1 and MaMsrA7 was up-regulated with increased ripening and senescence. We verified that MaCaM1 interacts with MaMsrA7 in vitro and in vivo, and sulfoxidated MaCaM1 could be partly repaired by MaMsrA7 (MaMsrA7 reduces oxidized residues Met77 and Met110 in MaCaM1). Furthermore, we investigated two known CaM-binding proteins, catalase (MaCAT1) and MaHY5-1. MaHY5-1 acts as a transcriptional repressor of carotenoid biosynthesis-related genes (MaPSY1, MaPSY2 and MaPSY3) in banana fruit. MaCaM1 could enhance the catalytic activity of MaCAT1 and the transcriptional repression activity of MaHY5-1 toward MaPSY2. Mimicked sulfoxidation in MaCaM1 did not affect the physical interactions of the protein with MaHY5-1 and MaCAT1, but reduced the catalytic activity of MaCAT1 and the transcriptional repression activity of MaHY5-1. Our data suggest that sulfoxidation modification in MaCaM1 by MaMsrA7 regulates antioxidant response and gene transcription, thereby being involved in regulation of ripening and senescence of banana fruit.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602726
Cyanobacteria respond to nitrogen deprivation by changing cellular metabolism. Glycogen is accumulated within cells to assimilate excess carbon and energy during nitrogen starvation, and inhibition of glycogen synthesis results in impaired nitrogen response and decreased ability to survive. In spite of glycogen accumulation, genes related to glycogen catabolism are up-regulated by nitrogen deprivation. In this study, we found that glycogen catabolism was also involved in acclimation to nitrogen deprivation in the cyanobacterium Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002. The glgP2 gene, encoding glycogen phosphorylase, was induced by nitrogen deprivation, and its expression was regulated by the nitrogen-regulated response regulator A (NrrA), which is a highly conserved transcriptional regulator in cyanobacteria. Activation of glycogen phosphorylase under nitrogen-deprived conditions was abolished by disruption of the nrrA gene, and survival of the nrrA mutant declined. In addition, a glgP2 mutant was highly susceptible to nitrogen starvation. NrrA also regulated expression of the tal-zwf-opcA operon, encoding enzymes of the oxidative pentose phosphate (OPP) pathway, and inactivation of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, the first enzyme of the OPP pathway, decreased the ability to survive under nitrogen starvation. It was concluded that NrrA facilitates cell survival by activating glycogen degradation and the OPP pathway under nitrogen-deprived conditions.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602727
Limiting nitrogen (N) supply contributes to improved resistance to bacterial blight (BB) caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) in susceptible rice (Oryza sativa). To understand the regulatory roles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in this phenomenon, 63 differentially expressed overlapping miRNAs in response to Xoo infection and N limitation stress in rice were identified through deep RNA sequencing and stem–loop quantitative real-time PCR. Among these, miR169o was further assessed as a typical overlapping miRNA through the overexpression of the miR169o primary gene. Osa-miR169o-OX plants were taller, and had more biomass accumulation with significantly increased nitrate and total amino acid contents in roots than the wild type (WT). Transcript level assays showed that under different N supply conditions, miR169o oppositely regulated NRT2, and this is reduced under normal N supply conditions but remarkably induced under N-limiting stress. On the other hand, osa-miR169o-OX plants also displayed increased disease lesion lengths and reduced transcriptional levels of defense gene (PR1b, PR10a, PR10b and PAL) compared with the WT after inoculation with Xoo. In addition, miR169o impeded Xoo-mediated NRT transcription. Therefore, the overlapping miR169o contributes to increase N use efficiency and negatively regulates the resistance to BB in rice. Consistently, transient expression of NF-YA genes in rice protoplasts promoted the transcripts of PR genes and NRT2 genes, while it reduced the transcripts of NRT1 genes. Our results provide novel and additional insights into the co ordinated regulatory mechanisms of cross-talk between Xoo infection and N deficiency responses in rice.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602728
Todo-matsu (Abies sachalinensis) is one of the most important forestry species in Hokkaido, Japan and is distributed from near sea level to the alpine zone. Due to its wide spatial distribution, the species adapts to its environment, displaying phenotypes of ecological relevance. In order to identify candidate genes under natural selection, we collected the transcriptome from the female and male flower, leaf and inner bark. De novo assembly with 34.7 Gb of sequencing reads produced 158,542 transcripts from 69,618 loci, whose estimated coverage reached 95.6% of conserved eukaryotic genes. Homology searches against publicly available databases identified 134,190 (84.6%) transcripts with at least one hit. In total, 28,944 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) and 80,758 single nucleotide variants (SNVs) were detected from 23,570 (14.9%) and 25,366 (16.0%) transcripts, which were valuable for use in genetic analysis of the species. All the annotations were included in a relational database, TodoFirGene, which provides an interface for various queries and homology search, and can be accessed at http://plantomics.mind.meiji.ac.jp/todomatsu/. This database hosts not only the A. sachalinensis transcriptome but also links to the proteomes of 13 other species, allowing a comparative genomic study of plant species.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602729
Leaves are the major plant organs with a primary function for photosynthesis. Auxin controls various aspects of plant growth and development, including leaf initiation, expansion and differentiation. Unique and intriguing auxin features include its polar transport, which is mainly controlled by the AUX1/LAX and PIN gene families as influx and efflux carriers, respectively. The role of AUX1/LAX genes in root development is well documented, but the role of these genes in leaf morphogenesis remains unclear. Moreover, most studies have been conducted in the plant model Arabidopsis thaliana, while studies in tomato are still scarce. In this study, we isolated six lines of the allelic curly leaf phenotype ‘curl’ mutants from a γ-ray and EMS (ethyl methanesulfonate) mutagenized population. Using a map-based cloning strategy combined with exome sequencing, we observed that a mutation occurred in the SlLAX1 gene (Solyc09g014380), which is homologous to an Arabidopsis auxin influx carrier gene, AUX1 (AtAUX1). Characterization of six alleles of single curl mutants revealed the pivotal role of SlLAX1 in controlling tomato leaf flatness by balancing adaxial and abaxial pavement cell growth, which has not been reported in tomato. Using TILLING (Targeting Induced Local Lesions IN Genome) technology, we isolated an additional mutant allele of the SlLAX1 gene and this mutant showed a curled leaf phenotype similar to other curl mutants, suggesting that Solyc09g014380 is responsible for the curl phenotype. These results showed that SlLAX1 is required for normal leaf development mediated by balanced adaxial and abaxial pavement cell growth in tomato.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602730
Liverworts, a section of the bryophyte plants which pioneered the colonization of terrestrial habitats, produce cyclic bisbibenzyls as secondary metabolites. These compounds are generated via the phenylpropanoid pathway, similar to flavonoid biosynthesis, for which basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factors have been identified as one of the important regulators in higher plants. Here, a bHLH gene homolog (PabHLH) was isolated from the liverwort species Plagiochasma appendiculatum and its contribution to bisbibenzyl biosynthesis was explored. Variation in the abundance of PabHLH transcript mirrored that of tissue bisbibenzyl content in three different liverwort tissues. A phylogenetic analysis based on the bHLH domain sequence suggested that the gene encodes a member of bHLH subgroup IIIf, which clusters proteins involved in flavonoid synthesis. The gene’s transient expression in onion epidermal cells implied that its product localized to the nucleus, and a transactivation assays in yeast showed that it was able to activate transcription. In both callus and thallus, the overexpression of PabHLH boosted bisbibenzyl accumulation, while also up-regulating PaPAL, Pa4CL1, PaSTCS1 and two genes encoding P450 cytochromes, and its RNA interference (RNAi)-induced suppression down-regulated the same set of genes and reduced the accumulation of bisbibenzyls. The abundance of PaCHS and PaFNSI transcript was related to flavonoid accumulation in transgenic thallus. PabHLH represents a candidate for the metabolic engineering of bisbibenzyl content.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602731
Cellulose is the most characteristic component of plant cell walls, and plays a central role in plant mechanical strength and morphogenesis. Despite the fact that cellulose synthase (CesA) mutants exhibit a reduction in cellulose level, much remains unknown about their impacts on cell growth (elongation and division) and cell wall integrity that fundamentally determine plant growth. Here, we examined three major types of AtCesA mutants (rsw1, an AtCesA1 mutant; prc1-1 and cesa6, AtCesA6-null mutants; and IRX3, an AtCesA7 mutant) and transgenic mutants that overexpressed AtCesA genes in the background of AtCesA6-null mutants. We found that AtCesA6-null mutants showed a reduced cell elongation of young seedlings with little impact on cell division, which consequently affected cell wall integrity and biomass yield of mature plants. In comparison, rsw1 seedlings exhibited a strong defect in both cell elongation and division at restrictive temperature, whereas the IRX3 mutant showed normal seedling growth. Analyses of transgenic mutants indicated that primary wall AtCesA2, AtCesA3, AtCesA5 and AtCesA9 genes played a partial role in restoration of seedling growth. However, co-overexpression of AtCesA2 and AtCesA5 in AtCesA6-null mutants could greatly enhance cell division and fully restore wall integrity, leading to a significant increase in secondary wall thickness and biomass production in mature plants. Hence, this study has demonstrated distinct functions of AtCesA genes in plant cell growth and cell wall deposition for biomass production, which helps to expalin our recent finding that only three AtCesA6-like genes, rather than other AtCesA genes of the AtCesA family, could greatly enhance biomass production in transgenic Arabidopsis plants.
0032-0781 * 1471-9053 * 26602732
Despite the essential role of phosphate (Pi) in plant growth and development, how plants sense and signal the change of Pi supply to adjust its uptake and utilization is not yet well understood. Pi itself has been proposed to be a signaling molecule that regulates Pi starvation responses (PSRs) because phosphite (Phi), a non-metabolized Pi analog, suppresses several PSRs. In this study, we identified a phosphite-insensitive1 (phi1) mutant which retained anthocyanin, a visible PSR, in Phi-containing but Pi-deficient medium. phi1 mutants were impaired in the gene encoding an FAd subunit of mitochondrial F1Fo-ATP synthase and showed a reduced mitochondrial ATP level in roots, growth hypersensitivity to oligomycin and an increased mitochondrial membrane potential, suggesting that this gene has a crucial role in mitochondrial ATP synthesis. phi1 mutants accumulated a high level of sugars in shoots, which may account for the increased accumulation of anthocyanin and starch in Phi-containing conditions. Gene expression analysis showed that a subset of genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism in phi1 was misregulated in response to Phi. The majority of genes were repressed by Pi starvation and, unlike wild-type plants, their repression in phi1 was not affected by the addition of Phi. Our findings show that defective mitochondrial ATP synthesis results in sugar accumulation, leading to alteration of Phi-mediated suppression of PSRs. This study reinforces the role of sugars, and also reveals a cross-talk among ATP, sugars and Pi/Phi molecules in mediating PSRs.
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