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Updated Friday, 17 September 2021

2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Christopher R. Dumigan ◽  
Jade Muileboom ◽  
Jake Gregory ◽  
Anuja Shrestha ◽  
Omar Hewedy ◽  
...  

Plants can adapt to their surroundings by hosting beneficial bacteria that confer a selective advantage in stressful conditions. Endophytes are a class of beneficial bacteria that exist within the internal spaces of plants and many species can improve plant nitrogen use efficiency. Nitrogen is an essential plant macronutrient, and is often a limiting factor to plant growth, especially in cereal crops such as maize. Every year farmers apply over 100 million metric tonnes of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer to meet the growing demand for stable food crops. Breeding efforts in maize over the past several decades has focused heavily on yield in response to nitrogen inputs, and so may have selected against adaptations that allow plants to survive in nitrogen stressed conditions. Data suggests that our heavy dependence on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer is not sustainable in the long term, and so there is on-going research efforts to reduce and replace this currently essential part of modern agriculture. Bacteria that improve plant tolerance to nitrogen stressed environments would allow farmers to reduce the amount of fertilizer they apply. The selection of maize under high nitrogen conditions to create modern varieties may have caused the plant to lose these beneficial bacteria that allowed wild maize ancestors to thrive in low nitrogen soil. Here in this study, we examine the root and shoot microbiomes of the wild ancestor of all maize, Parviglumis, and an ancient Mexican landrace (Mixteco) from Oaxaca, the area of early maize diversification. Both of these maize genotypes have thrived for thousands of years with little to no nitrogen inputs and so we hypothesized that they host beneficial bacteria that allow them to thrive in nitrogen stressed conditions. We identified multiple root endophyte species from each ancient maize relative that increased the growth of annual ryegrass (model maize relative) under nitrogen starvation. Furthermore, research infers these strains were vertically transmitted to new generations of plants, potentially through seed, indicating selection pressure for Parviglumis and Mixteco to maintain them in their microbiome.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Savio S. Ferreira ◽  
Mauricio S. Antunes

Phenylpropanoids comprise a large class of specialized plant metabolites with many important applications, including pharmaceuticals, food nutrients, colorants, fragrances, and biofuels. Therefore, much effort has been devoted to manipulating their biosynthesis to produce high yields in a more controlled manner in microbial and plant systems. However, current strategies are prone to significant adverse effects due to pathway complexity, metabolic burden, and metabolite bioactivity, which still hinder the development of tailor-made phenylpropanoid biofactories. This gap could be addressed by the use of biosensors, which are molecular devices capable of sensing specific metabolites and triggering a desired response, as a way to sense the pathway’s metabolic status and dynamically regulate its flux based on specific signals. Here, we provide a brief overview of current research on synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches to control phenylpropanoid synthesis and phenylpropanoid-related biosensors, advocating for the use of biosensors and genetic circuits as a step forward in plant synthetic biology to develop autonomously-controlled phenylpropanoid-producing plant biofactories.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Irsa Ejaz ◽  
Siyang He ◽  
Wei Li ◽  
Naiyue Hu ◽  
Chaochen Tang ◽  
...  

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) is a non-destructive, fast, and low-cost method to measure the grain quality of different cereals. However, the feasibility for determining the critical biochemicals, related to the classifications for food, feed, and fuel products are not adequately investigated. Fourier-transform (FT) NIR was applied in this study to determine the eight biochemicals in four types of sorghum samples: hulled grain flours, hull-less grain flours, whole grains, and grain flours. A total of 20 hybrids of sorghum grains were selected from the two locations in China. Followed by FT-NIR spectral and wet-chemically measured biochemical data, partial least squares regression (PLSR) was used to construct the prediction models. The results showed that sorghum grain morphology and sample format affected the prediction of biochemicals. Using NIR data of grain flours generally improved the prediction compared with the use of NIR data of whole grains. In addition, using the spectra of whole grains enabled comparable predictions, which are recommended when a non-destructive and rapid analysis is required. Compared with the hulled grain flours, hull-less grain flours allowed for improved predictions for tannin, cellulose, and hemicellulose using NIR data. This study aimed to provide a reference for the evaluation of sorghum grain biochemicals for food, feed, and fuel without destruction and complex chemical analysis.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Haiyue Yu ◽  
Shengke Tian ◽  
Qianbin Huang ◽  
Jiuzhou Chen ◽  
Yuping Wu ◽  
...  

Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra) is a popular, nutrient- and antioxidant-rich fruit in Asia. However, it is susceptible to Drosophila during ripening, which disrupts production and causes economic loss. This study compared the effects of insecticides, insect-proof nets (IPNs), and insect- and rain-proof nets (IRPNs) on Chinese bayberry production and quality. Drosophila was absent in fruits from IPN- or IRPN-treated trees but only significantly reduced by insecticides. IPNs and IRPNs significantly increased fruit diameter, weight, edible rate and the Brix/acid ratio, and IRPNs had the strongest effect. Analysis of 16S rDNA showed that fruits collected from differently treated trees had unique bacterial communities. In IRPN fruits, Acetobacter and Gluconobacter were significantly decreased, reducing sugar consumption and disease; in addition, PICRUSt analysis predicted imputed functional profiles related to carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism and mineral transport for fruit growth and development. This study proposed the use of IRPNs for improving Chinese bayberry production and quality.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Wilton Mbinda ◽  
Asunta Mukami

Salinity stress is a major environmental impediment affecting the growth and production of crops. Finger millet is an important cereal grown in many arid and semi-arid areas of the world characterized by erratic rainfall and scarcity of good-quality water. Finger millet salinity stress is caused by the accumulation of soluble salts due to irrigation without a proper drainage system, coupled with the underlying rocks having a high salt content, which leads to the salinization of arable land. This problem is projected to be exacerbated by climate change. The use of new and efficient strategies that provide stable salinity tolerance across a wide range of environments can guarantee sustainable production of finger millet in the future. In this review, we analyze the strategies that have been used for salinity stress management in finger millet production and discuss potential future directions toward the development of salt-tolerant finger millet varieties. This review also describes how advanced biotechnological tools are being used to develop salt-tolerant plants. The biotechnological techniques discussed in this review are simple to implement, have design flexibility, low cost, and highly efficient. This information provides insights into enhancing finger millet salinity tolerance and improving production.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Shengdong Li ◽  
Zhao Liu ◽  
Guoquan Chen ◽  
Ghulam Qanmber ◽  
Lili Lu ◽  
...  

Brassinosteroids (BRs), an efficient plant endogenous hormone, significantly promotes plant nutrient growth adapting to biological and abiotic adversities. BRs mainly promote plant cell elongation by regulating gene expression patterns. EXORDIUM (EXO) genes have been characterized as the indicators of BR response genes. Cotton, an ancient crop, is of great economic value and its fibers can be made into all kinds of fabrics. However, EXO gene family genes have not been full identified in cotton. 175 EXO genes were identified in nine plant species, of which 39 GhEXO genes in Gossypium hirsutum in our study. A phylogenetic analysis grouped all of the proteins encoded by the EXO genes into five major clades. Sequence identification of conserved amino acid residues among monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous species showed a high level of conservation across the N and C terminal regions. Only 25% the GhEXO genes contain introns besides conserved gene structure and protein motifs distribution. The 39 GhEXO genes were unevenly distributed on the 18 At and Dt sub-genome chromosomes. Most of the GhEXO genes were derived from gene duplication events, while only three genes showed evidence of tandem duplication. Homologous locus relationships showed that 15 GhEXO genes are located on collinear blocks and that all orthologous/paralogous gene pairs had Ka > Ks values, indicating purifying selection pressure. The GhEXO genes showed ubiquitous expression in all eight tested cotton tissues and following exposure to three phytohormones, IAA, GA, and BL. Furthermore, GhEXO7_At was mainly expressed in response to BL treatment, and was predominantly expressed in the fibers. GhEXO7_At was found to be a plasma membrane protein, and its ectopic expression in Arabidopsis mediated BR-regulated plant growth and development with altered expression of DWF4, CPD, KCS1, and EXP5. Additionally, the functions of GhEXO7_At were confirmed by virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in cotton. This study will provide important genetic resources for future cotton breeding programs.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Weikai Yan

The goal of a plant breeding program is to develop new cultivars of a crop kind with improved yield and quality for a target region and end-use. Improved yield across locations and years means better adaptation to the climatic, soil, and management conditions in the target region. Improved or maintained quality renders and adds value to the improved yield. Both yield and quality must be considered simultaneously, which constitutes the greatest challenge to successful cultivar development. Cultivar development consists of two stages: the development of a promising breeding population and the selection of the best genotypes out of it. A complete breeder's equation was presented to cover both stages, which consists of three key parameters for a trait of interest: the population mean (μ), the population variability (σG), and the achieved heritability (h2 or H), under the multi-location, multi-year framework. Population development is to maximize μσG and progeny selection is to improve H. Approaches to improve H include identifying and utilizing repeatable genotype by environment interaction (GE) through mega-environment analysis, accommodating unrepeatable GE through adequate testing, and reducing experimental error via replication and spatial analysis. Related concepts and procedures were critically reviewed, including GGE (genotypic main effect plus genotype by environment interaction) biplot analysis, GGE + GGL (genotypic main effect plus genotype by location interaction) biplot analysis, LG (location-grouping) biplot analysis, stability analysis, spatial analysis, adequate testing, and optimum replication. Selection on multiple traits includes independent culling and index selection, for the latter GYT (genotype by yield*trait) biplot analysis was recommended. Genomic selection may provide an alternative and potentially more effective approach in all these aspects. Efforts were made to organize and comment on these concepts and procedures in a systematic manner.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Aakanksha ◽  
Satish Kumar Yadava ◽  
Bal Govind Yadav ◽  
Vibha Gupta ◽  
Arundhati Mukhopadhyay ◽  
...  

The exploitation of heterosis through hybrid breeding is one of the major breeding objectives for productivity increase in crop plants. This research analyzes the genetic basis of heterosis in Brassica juncea by using a doubled haploid (DH) mapping population derived from F1 between two heterotic inbred parents, one belonging to the Indian and the other belonging to the east European gene pool, and their two corresponding sets of backcross hybrids. An Illumina Infinium Brassica 90K SNP array-based genetic map was used to identify yield influencing quantitative trait loci (QTL) related to plant architecture, flowering, and silique- and seed-related traits using five different data sets from multiple trials, allowing the estimation of additive and dominance effects, as well as digenic epistatic interactions. In total, 695 additive QTL were detected for the 14 traits in the three trials using five data sets, with overdominance observed to be the predominant type of effect in determining the expression of heterotic QTL. The results indicated that the design in the present study was efficient for identifying common QTL across multiple trials and populations, which constitute a valuable resource for marker-assisted selection and further research. In addition, a total of 637 epistatic loci were identified, and it was concluded that epistasis among loci without detectable main effects plays an important role in controlling heterosis in yield of B. juncea.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Yunshan Yang ◽  
Xiaoxia Guo ◽  
Guangzhou Liu ◽  
Wanmao Liu ◽  
Jun Xue ◽  
...  

Solar radiation is the energy source for crop growth, as well as for the processes of accumulation, distribution, and transfer of photosynthetic products that determine maize yield. Therefore, learning the effects of different solar radiation amounts on maize growth is especially important. The present study focused on the quantitative relationships between solar radiation amounts and dry matter accumulations and transfers in maize. Over two continuous years (2017 and 2018) of field experiments, maize hybrids XY335 and ZD958 were grown at densities of 4.5 × 104 (D1), 7.5 × 104 (D2), 9 × 104 (D3), 10.5 × 104 (D4), and 12 × 104 (D5) plants/ha at Qitai Farm (89°34′E, 44°12′N), Xinjiang, China. Shading levels were 15% (S1), 30% (S2), and 50% (S3) of natural light and no shading (CK). The results showed that the yields of the commonly planted cultivars XY335 and ZD958 at S1, S2, and S3 (increasing shade treatments) were 7.3, 21.2, and 57.6% and 11.7, 31.0, and 61.8% lower than the control yields, respectively. Also, vegetative organ dry matter translocation (DMT) and its contribution to grain increased as shading levels increased under different densities. The dry matter assimilation amount after silking (AADMAS) increased as solar radiation and planting density increased. When solar radiation was <580.9 and 663.6 MJ/m2, for XY335 and ZD958, respectively, the increase in the AADMAS was primarily related to solar radiation amounts; and when solar radiation was higher than those amounts for those hybrids, an increase in the AADMAS was primarily related to planting density. Photosynthate accumulation is a key determinant of maize yield, and the contributions of the vegetative organs to the grain did not compensate for the reduced yield caused by insufficient light. Between the two cultivars, XY335 showed a better resistance to weak light than ZD958 did. To help guarantee a high maize yield under weak light conditions, it is imperative to select cultivars that have great stay-green and photosynthetic efficiency characteristics.


2021 ◽  
Vol 12 ◽  
Author(s):  
Yu-Jian Shao ◽  
Qiao-Yun Zhu ◽  
Zi-Wei Yao ◽  
Jian-Xiang Liu

Plants rapidly adapt to elevated ambient temperature by adjusting their growth and developmental programs. To date, a number of experiments have been carried out to understand how plants sense and respond to warm temperatures. However, how warm temperature signals are relayed from thermosensors to transcriptional regulators is largely unknown. To identify new early regulators of plant thermo-responsiveness, we performed phosphoproteomic analysis using TMT (Tandem Mass Tags) labeling and phosphopeptide enrichment with Arabidopsis etiolated seedlings treated with or without 3h of warm temperatures (29°C). In total, we identified 13,160 phosphopeptides in 5,125 proteins with 10,700 quantifiable phosphorylation sites. Among them, 200 sites (180 proteins) were upregulated, while 120 sites (87 proteins) were downregulated by elevated temperature. GO (Gene Ontology) analysis indicated that phosphorelay-related molecular function was enriched among the differentially phosphorylated proteins. We selected ATL6 (ARABIDOPSIS TOXICOS EN LEVADURA 6) from them and expressed its native and phosphorylation-site mutated (S343A S357A) forms in Arabidopsis and found that the mutated form of ATL6 was less stable than that of the native form both in vivo and in cell-free degradation assays. Taken together, our data revealed extensive protein phosphorylation during thermo-responsiveness, providing new candidate proteins/genes for studying plant thermomorphogenesis in the future.


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