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Annals of Botany Current Issue





Published: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2018 07:47:41 GMT

 



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Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT




Plant Cuttings: news in Botany

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 00:00:00 GMT




Sorghum root-system classification in contrasting P environments reveals three main rooting types and root-architecture-related marker–trait associations

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Roots facilitate acquisition of macro- and micronutrients, which are crucial for plant productivity and anchorage in the soil. Phosphorus (P) is rapidly immobilized in the soil and hardly available for plants. Adaptation to P scarcity relies on changes in root morphology towards rooting systems well suited for topsoil foraging. Root-system architecture (RSA) defines the spatial organization of the network comprising primary, lateral and stem-derived roots and is important for adaptation to stress conditions. RSA phenotyping is a challenging task and essential for understanding root development.
Methods
In this study, 19 traits describing RSA were analysed in a diversity panel comprising 194 sorghum genotypes, fingerprinted with a 90-k single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) array and grown under low and high P availability.
Key Results
Multivariate analysis was conducted and revealed three different RSA types: (1) a small root system; (2) a compact and bushy rooting type; and (3) an exploratory root system, which might benefit plant growth and development if water, nitrogen (N) or P availability is limited. While several genotypes displayed similar rooting types in different environments, others responded to P scarcity positively by developing more exploratory root systems, or negatively with root growth suppression. Genome-wide association studies revealed significant quantitative trait loci (P < 2.9 × 10−6) on chromosomes SBI-02, SBI-03, SBI-05 and SBI-09. Co-localization of significant and suggestive (P < 5.7 × 10−5) associations for several traits indicated hotspots controlling root-system development on chromosomes SBI-02 and SBI-03.
Conclusions
Sorghum genotypes with a compact, bushy and shallow root system provide potential adaptation to P scarcity in the field by allowing thorough topsoil foraging, while genotypes with an exploratory root system may be advantageous if N or water is the limiting factor, although such genotypes showed highest P uptake levels under the artificial conditions of the present study.



Soil microbial species loss affects plant biomass and survival of an introduced bacterial strain, but not inducible plant defences

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) strains can influence plant–insect interactions. However, little is known about the effect of changes in the soil bacterial community in general and especially the loss of rare soil microbes on these interactions. Here, the influence of rare soil microbe reduction on induced systemic resistance (ISR) in a wild ecotype of Arabidopsis thaliana against the aphid Myzus persicae was investigated.
Methods
To create a gradient of microbial abundances, soil was inoculated with a serial dilution of a microbial community and responses of Arabidopsis plants that originated from the same site as the soil microbes were tested. Plant biomass, transcription of genes involved in plant defences, and insect performance were measured. In addition, the effects of the PGPR strain Pseudomonas fluorescens SS101 on plant and insect performance were tested under the influence of the various soil dilution treatments.
Key Results
Plant biomass showed a hump-shaped relationship with soil microbial community dilution, independent of aphid or Pseudomonas treatments. Both aphid infestation and inoculation with Pseudomonas reduced plant biomass, and led to downregulation of PR1 (salicylic acid-responsive gene) and CYP79B3 (involved in synthesis of glucosinolates). Aphid performance and gene transcription were unaffected by soil dilution.
Conclusions
Neither the loss of rare microbial species, as caused by soil dilution, nor Pseudomonas affect the resistance of A. thaliana against M. persicae. However, both Pseudomonas survival and plant biomass respond to rare species loss. Thus, loss of rare soil microbial species can have a significant impact on both above- and below-ground organisms.



From rhizoids to roots? Experimental evidence of mutualism between liverworts and ascomycete fungi

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
The rhizoids of leafy liverworts (Jungermanniales, Marchantiophyta) are commonly colonized by the ascomycete fungus Pezoloma ericae. These associations are hypothesized to be functionally analogous to the ericoid mycorrhizas (ErMs) formed by P. ericae with the roots of Ericaceae plants in terms of bi-directional phosphorus for carbon exchange; however, this remains unproven. Here, we test whether associations between the leafy liverwort Cephalozia bicuspidata and P. ericae are mutualistic.
Methods
We measured movement of phosphorus and carbon between C. bicuspidata and P. ericae using [33P]orthophosphate and 14CO2 isotope tracers in monoxenic cultures. We also measured leafy liverwort growth, with and without P. ericae.
Key Results
We present the first demonstration of nutritionally mutualistic symbiosis between a non-vascular plant and an ErM-forming fungus, showing transfer of fungal-acquired P to the liverwort and of liverwort-fixed C to the fungus alongside increased growth in fungus-colonized liverworts.
Conclusions
Thus, this ascomycete–liverwort symbiosis can now be described as mycorrhiza-like, providing further insights into ericoid mycorrhizal evolution and adding Ascomycota fungi to mycorrhizal fungal groups engaging in mutualisms with plants across the land plant phylogeny. As P. ericae also colonizes the rhizoids of Schistochilaceae liverworts, which originated in the Triassic and are sister to all other jungermannialean liverworts associated with fungi, our findings point toward an early origin of ascomycete–liverwort symbioses, possibly pre-dating their evolution in the Ericales by some 150 million years.



Changes in orchid populations and endophytic fungi with rainfall and prescribed burning in Pterostylis revoluta in Victoria, Australia

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Wildfires are common in seasonally dry parts of the world with a Mediterranean climate. Prescribed burning is used to reduce fuel load and fire risk, but often without reliable information on its effects. This study investigated the effects of prescribed burns in different seasons on Pterostylis revoluta, an autumn-flowering Australian terrestrial orchid, and its orchid mycorrhizal fungi (OMFs) to find the least damaging season for a prescribed burn.
Methods
Burns were conducted mid-season in spring and summer 2011 and autumn and winter 2012. Orchids were enumerated and measured during their flowering season in autumn 2011–2014 and mycorrhizal fungi were isolated before and after the burns in autumn 2011, 2012 and 2014. Micro-organisms isolated were characterized. DNA was extracted from the OMFs, and the internal transcribed spacer region was amplified by PCR. Amplicons were clustered by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP), and representative amplicons were sequenced. OMF were tested for sensitivity to smoke water.
Key Results
The number of plants increased up to 4-fold and 90 % of plants became vegetative during this study. Isolation of mycorrhizal fungi increased and isolation of bacteria decreased. Before the burns, the main OMF isolated was unexpectedly Tulasnella calospora (Boud.) Juel. By 2014, after the burns, the expected Ceratobasidium sp. D.P. Rogers was the only OMF isolated in most burnt quadrats, whereas T. calospora was confined to a minority of unburnt ‘control’ and the ‘spring burn’ quadrats, which were also the only ones with flowering plants.
Conclusions
The decline in rainfall during 2010–2012 probably caused the switch from mainly flowering to mainly vegetative plants and the change in OMFs. Burning in spring to summer was less damaging to this orchid than burning in autumn to winter, which should be noted by authorities in fire management plans for fire-prone areas in which this orchid occurs.



Diversification in continental island archipelagos: new evidence on the roles of fragmentation, colonization and gene flow on the genetic divergence of Aegean Nigella (Ranunculaceae)

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Disentangling the relative roles of past fragmentation (vicariance), colonization (dispersal) and post-divergence gene flow in the genetic divergence of continental island organisms remains a formidable challenge. Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were used to (1) gain further insights into the biogeographical processes underlying the Pleistocene diversification of the Aegean Nigella arvensis complex; (2) evaluate the role of potential key factors driving patterns of population genetic variability (mating system, geographical isolation and historical contingencies); and (3) test the robustness of conclusions previously drawn from chloroplast (cp) DNA.
Methods
Genetic diversity was analysed for 235 AFLP markers from 48 populations (497 individuals) representing 11 taxa of the complex using population genetic methods and Bayesian assignment tests.
Key Results
Most designated taxa are identifiable as genetically distinct units. Both fragmentation and dispersal-driven diversification processes occurred at different geological time scales, from Early to Late Pleistocene, specifically (1) sea barrier-induced vicariant speciation in the Cyclades, the Western Cretan Strait and Ikaria; and (2) bi-regional colonizations of the ‘Southern Aegean Island Arc’ from the Western vs. Eastern Aegean mainland, followed by allopatric divergences in Crete vs. Rhodos and Karpathos/Kasos. Outcrossing island taxa experienced drift-related demographic processes that are magnified in the two insular selfing species. Population genetic differentiation on the mainland seems largely driven by dispersal limitation, while in the Central Aegean it may still be influenced by historical events (island fragmentation and sporadic long-distance colonization).
Conclusions
The biogeographical history of Aegean Nigella is more complex than expected for a strictly allopatric vicariant model of divergence. Nonetheless, the major phylogeographical boundaries of this radiation are largely congruent with the geography and history of islands, with little evidence for ongoing gene exchange between divergent taxa. The present results emphasize the need to investigate further biological and landscape features and contemporary vs. historical processes in driving population divergence and taxon diversification in Aegean plant radiations.



Physiological basis of chilling tolerance and early-season growth in miscanthus

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
The high productivity of Miscanthus × giganteus has been at least partly ascribed to its high chilling tolerance compared with related C4 crops, allowing for a longer productive growing season in temperate climates. However, the chilling tolerance of M. × giganteus has been predominantly studied under controlled environmental conditions. The understanding of the underlying mechanisms contributing to chilling tolerance in the field and their variation in different miscanthus genotypes is largely unexplored.
Methods
Five miscanthus genotypes with different sensitivities to chilling were grown in the field and scored for a comprehensive set of physiological traits throughout the spring season. Chlorophyll fluorescence was measured as an indication of photosynthesis, and leaf samples were analysed for biochemical traits related to photosynthetic activity (chlorophyll content and pyruvate, Pi dikinase activity), redox homeostasis (malondialdehyde, glutathione and ascorbate contents, and catalase activity) and water-soluble carbohydrate content.
Key Results
Chilling-tolerant genotypes were characterized by higher levels of malondialdehyde, raffinose and sucrose, and higher catalase activity, while the chilling-sensitive genotypes were characterized by higher concentrations of glucose and fructose, and higher pyruvate, Pi dikinase activity later in the growing season. On the early sampling dates, the biochemical responses of M. × giganteus were similar to those of the chilling-tolerant genotypes, but later in the season they became more similar to those of the chilling-sensitive genotypes.
Conclusions
The overall physiological response of chilling-tolerant genotypes was distinguishable from that of chilling-sensitive genotypes, while M. × giganteus was intermediate between the two. There appears to be a trade-off between high and efficient photosynthesis and chilling stress tolerance. Miscanthus × giganteus is able to overcome this trade-off and, while it is more similar to the chilling-sensitive genotypes in early spring, its photosynthetic capacity is similar to that of the chilling-tolerant genotypes later on.



The Arabidopsis thaliana non-specific phospholipase C2 is involved in the response to Pseudomonas syringae attack

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
The non-specific phospholipase C (NPC) is a new member of the plant phospholipase family that reacts to abiotic environmental stresses, such as phosphate deficiency, high salinity, heat and aluminium toxicity, and is involved in root development, silicon distribution and brassinolide signalling. Six NPC genes (NPC1NPC6) are found in the Arabidopsis genome. The NPC2 isoform has not been experimentally characterized so far.
Methods
The Arabidopsis NPC2 isoform was cloned and heterologously expressed in Escherichia coli. NPC2 enzyme activity was determined using fluorescent phosphatidylcholine as a substrate. Tissue expression and subcellular localization were analysed using GUS- and GFP-tagged NPC2. The expression patterns of NPC2 were analysed via quantitative real-time PCR. Independent homozygous transgenic plant lines overexpressing NPC2 under the control of a 35S promoter were generated, and reactive oxygen species were measured using a luminol-based assay.
Key Results
The heterologously expressed protein possessed phospholipase C activity, being able to hydrolyse phosphatidylcholine to diacylglycerol. NPC2 tagged with GFP was predominantly localized to the Golgi apparatus in Arabidopsis roots. The level of NPC2 transcript is rapidly altered during plant immune responses and correlates with the activation of multiple layers of the plant defence system. Transcription of NPC2 decreased substantially after plant infiltration with Pseudomonas syringae, flagellin peptide flg22 and salicylic acid treatments and expression of the effector molecule AvrRpm1. The decrease in NPC2 transcript levels correlated with a decrease in NPC2 enzyme activity. NPC2-overexpressing mutants showed higher reactive oxygen species production triggered by flg22.
Conclusions
This first experimental characterization of NPC2 provides new insights into the role of the non-specific phospholipase C protein family. The results suggest that NPC2 is involved in the response of Arabidopsis to P. syringae attack.



Winter is coming: plant freezing resistance as a key functional trait for the assembly of annual Mediterranean communities

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
In Mediterranean annual plants, germination mainly occurs during the autumn and only those seedlings that survive winter freezing can flower and produce seedlings in spring. Surprisingly, the effect of freezing events as an abiotic determinant of these communities remains unexplored. The present study aimed to investigate how freezing events affect annual Mediterranean communities and whether their functional structure as related to freezing resistance is linked to the main biotic and abiotic determinants of these communities.
Methods
In 120 plots located on a semi-arid Mediterranean steppe (Spain), the community functional structure related to the lethal temperature causing 50 % frost damage (LT50 trait) in seedlings was estimated and summarized as the community-weighted mean (CWM-LT50) and its functional diversity (FD-LT50). Plots were stratified according to distance to rabbit shelters and latrines as a proxy for rabbit density, proximity to Stipa tenacissima and spring water availability, where annual species abundance was recorded in all plots over three consecutive years.
Key Results
Annual species were able to resist a threshold temperature of –4 °C and most had LT50 values around the absolute minimum temperature (–9.5 °C) in the three years. Higher rabbit densities led to lower CWM-LT50 and higher FD-LT50 values. Plots close to Stipa tussocks had higher CWM-LT50 values whereas water availability had no effects.
Conclusions
High freezing resistance was extended among winter annual species, suggesting the presence of an association between historical environmental filtering and low winter temperatures. However, the community functional structure related to freezing resistance remained variable among scenarios with differences in herbivory pressure and distance to perennial vegetation. The trends observed indicate that traits that allow plants to deal with herbivory may also promote freezing resistance, and that tussocks can act as nurses via microclimatic amelioration of harsher winter conditions.



The enigma of sex allocation in Selaginella

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
The division of resource investment between male and female functions is poorly known for land plants other than angiosperms. The ancient lycophyte genus Selaginella is similar in some ways to angiosperms (in heterospory and in having sex allocation occur in the sporophyte generation, for example) but lacks the post-fertilization maternal investments that angiosperms make via fruit and seed tissues. One would therefore expect Selaginella to have sex allocation values less female-biased than in flowering plants and closer to the theoretical prediction of equal investment in male and female functions. Nothing is currently known of sex allocation in the genus, so even the simplest predictions have not been tested.
Methods
Volumetric measurements of microsporangial and megasporangial investment were made in 14 species of Selaginella from four continents. In five of these species the length of the main above-ground axis of each plant was measured to determine whether sex allocation is related to plant size.
Key Results
Of the 14 species, 13 showed male-biased allocations, often extreme, in population means and among the great majority of individual plants. There was some indication from the five species with axis length measurements that relative male allocation might be related to the release height of spores, but this evidence is preliminary.
Conclusions
Sex allocation in Selaginella provides a phylogenetic touchstone showing how the innovations of fruit and seed investment in the angiosperm life cycle lead to typically female-biased allocations in that lineage. Moreover, the male bias we found in Selaginella requires an evolutionary explanation. The bias was often greater than what would occur from the mere absence of seed and fruit investments, and thus poses a challenge to sex allocation theory. It is possible that differences between microspores and megaspores in their dispersal ecology create selective effects that favour male-biased sexual allocation. This hypothesis remains tentative.



Ecological niche and bet-hedging strategies for Triodia (R.Br.) seed germination

Wed, 27 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Regeneration dynamics in many arid zone grass species are regulated by innate seed dormancy mechanisms and environmental cues (temperature, moisture and fire) that result in infrequent germination following rainfall. This study investigated bet-hedging strategies associated with dormancy and germination in arid zone Triodia species from north-west Australia, by assessing (1) the effects of the mechanical restriction imposed by the indehiscent floral bracts (i.e. floret) covering the seed and (2) the impact of dormancy alleviation on florets and cleaned seeds (i.e. florets removed) when germinated under water stress.
Methods
The initial dormancy status and germination for six species were tested on intact florets and cleaned seeds, across temperatures (10–40 °C) with and without the fire-related stimulant karrikinolide (KAR1), and under alternating light or constant dark conditions. Physiological dormancy alleviation was assessed by wet/dry cycling florets over a period of 10 weeks, and germination was compared against untreated florets, and cleaned seeds across a water potential gradient between 0 and –1.5 MPa.
Key Results
Florets restricted germination (<45 %) at all temperatures and, despite partial alleviation of physiological dormancy (wet/dry cycling for 8 weeks), intact florets germinated only at high water potentials. Cleaned seeds showed the highest germination (40–90 %) across temperatures when treated with KAR1, and germinated at much lower water potentials (–0.4 and –0.9 MPa). Triodia pungens was the most responsive to KAR1, with both seeds and florets responding, while for the remaining five species, KAR1 had a positive effect for seeds only.
Conclusions
Only after seed dormancy was alleviated by removing florets and when KAR1 was applied did germination under water stress increase. This suggests that seeds of these Triodia species are cued to recruit following fire and during periods of high precipitation. Climate change, driven by large shifts in rainfall patterns, is likely to impact Triodia recruitment further in arid zone grasslands.



Large contribution of clonal reproduction to the distribution of deciduous liana species (Wisteria floribunda) in an old-growth cool temperate forest: evidence from genetic analysis

Mon, 25 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Extensive clonal (vegetative) reproduction in lianas is a common and important life history strategy for regeneration and colonization success. However, few studies have evaluated the contribution of clonal reproduction to stand-level distribution of lianas in their natural habitat using genetic tools. The objectives of the present study were to investigate (1) the contribution of clonal reproduction to the distribution of Wisteria floribunda, (2) the size of clonal patches and (3) how the distribution patterns of W. floribunda clones are affected by micro-topography.
Methods
The contribution of clonal reproduction to the distribution of the deciduous liana species W. floribunda was evaluated using genetic analysis across a 6-ha plot of an old-growth temperate forest in Japan and preference in landform between clonal ramets and non-clonal ramets was assessed.
Key Results
Of the 391 ramets sampled, clonal reproduction contributed to 71 and 62 % of the total abundance and basal area, respectively, or 57 and 31 % when the largest ramet within a genet was excluded. The large contribution of clonal reproduction to the density and basal area of W. floribunda was consistent with previous observational studies. The largest genet included a patch size of 0.47 ha and ranged over 180 m. Preferred landforms of clonal and non-clonal ramets were significantly different when evaluated by both abundance and basal area. Non-clonal ramets distributed more on lower part of the slope than other landforms in comparison with clonal ramets and trees, possibly reflecting the limitation of clonal growth by stolons.
Conclusions
Using genetic analysis, the present study found evidence of a large contribution of clonal reproduction on the distribution of W. floribunda in its natural habitat. The results indicate that clonal reproduction plays an important role not only in the formation of populations but also in determining the distribution patterns of liana species.



Comparative in situ analysis reveals the dynamic nature of sclerenchyma cell walls of the fern Asplenium rutifolium

Sat, 23 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
A key structural adaptation of vascular plants was the evolution of specialized vascular and mechanical tissues, innovations likely to have generated novel cell wall architectures. While collenchyma is a strengthening tissue typically found in growing organs of angiosperms, a similar tissue occurs in the petiole of the fern Asplenium rutifolium.
Methods
The in situ cell wall (ultra)structure and composition of this tissue was investigated and characterized mechanically as well as structurally through nano-indentation and wide-angle X-ray diffraction, respectively.
Key Results
Structurally the mechanical tissue resembles sclerenchyma, while its biomechanical properties and molecular composition both share more characteristics with angiosperm collenchyma. Cell wall thickening only occurs late during cell expansion or after cell expansion has ceased.
Conclusions
If the term collenchyma is reserved for walls that thicken during expansive growth, the mechanical tissue in A. rutifolium represents sclerenchyma that mimics the properties of collenchyma and has the ability to modify its mechanical properties through sclerification. These results support the view that collenchyma does not occur in ferns and most probably evolved in angiosperms.



To be serrate or pinnate: diverse leaf forms of yarrows (Achillea) are linked to differential expression patterns of NAM genes

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
To understand the link between species diversity and phenotype developmental evolution is an important issue in evolutionary biology. Yarrows in the genus Achillea (Asteraceae) show a great diversity in leaf serrate or pinnate dissection patterns. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the development of leaf serration requires the activity of the transcription factor CUC2. Does this regulator also work for leaf dissections of the Asteraceae plants? If so, how do the conserved regulatory ‘tools’ work differently to produce diverse leaf forms?
Methods
Seedling leaf morphology was observed, and morphogenesis of leaf serration or lobes was examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). NAM genes, orthologues of arabidopsis CUC2, were isolated from A. acuminata with serrate leaves and A. asiatica with three-pinnatisect leaves, respectively. By means of whole-mount in situ mRNA hybridization and two quantitative gene expression assays, the droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), expression patterns of the NAM genes during leaf dissection development were checked in both species for comparison.
Key Results
For both species, the development of leaf dissection initiated when a leaf blade was about 300–400 µm long. In A. acuminata, in situ hybridization showed NAM expression signals at leaf margins where teeth are growing, or later on, in the sinuses of the teeth, whilst in A. asiatica, hybridization signals appear not only on leaf margins but further on the margins of leaf lobes. Both ddPCR and qPCR revealed a continuous decline of AacNAM expression from the early to the late developmental stages of a single leaf of A. acuminata, whereas a relatively long maintenance and fluctuation of AasNAM expression was seen in a leaf of A. asiatica.
Conclusions
Differential spatiotemporal patterns of NAM expression were found between the two yarrow species during development of leaf dissection. This study provides the first evidence for NAM activity in the development of leaf dissection of the Asteraceae plants, and demonstrates that leaf form diversity is correlated to the altered NAM expression dynamic.



Introgression of Aegilops speltoides segments in Triticum aestivum and the effect of the gametocidal genes

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background and Aims
Bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has been through a severe genetic bottleneck as a result of its evolution and domestication. It is therefore essential that new sources of genetic variation are generated and utilized. This study aimed to generate genome-wide introgressed segments from Aegilops speltoides. Introgressions generated from this research will be made available for phenotypic analysis.
Methods
Aegilops speltoides was crossed as the male parent to T. aestivum ‘Paragon’. The interspecific hybrids were then backcrossed to Paragon. Introgressions were detected and characterized using the Affymetrix Axiom Array and genomic in situ hybridization (GISH).
Key Results
Recombination in the gametes of the F1 hybrids was at a level where it was possible to generate a genetic linkage map of Ae. speltoides. This was used to identify 294 wheat/Ae. speltoides introgressions. Introgressions from all seven linkage groups of Ae. speltoides were found, including both large and small segments. Comparative analysis showed that overall macro-synteny is conserved between Ae. speltoides and T. aestivum, but that Ae. speltoides does not contain the 4A/5A/7B translocations present in wheat. Aegilops speltoides has been reported to carry gametocidal genes, i.e. genes that ensure their transmission through the gametes to the next generation. Transmission rates of the seven Ae. speltoides linkage groups introgressed into wheat varied. A 100 % transmission rate of linkage group 2 demonstrates the presence of the gametocidal genes on this chromosome.
Conclusions
A high level of recombination occurs between the chromosomes of wheat and Ae. speltoides, leading to the generation of large numbers of introgressions with the potential for exploitation in breeding programmes. Due to the gametocidal genes, all germplasm developed will always contain a segment from Ae. speltoides linkage group 2S, in addition to an introgression from any other linkage group.



The direct effects of plant polyploidy on the legume–rhizobia mutualism

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Polyploidy is known to significantly alter plant genomes, phenotypes and interactions with the abiotic environment, yet the impacts of polyploidy on plant–biotic interactions are less well known. A particularly important plant–biotic interaction is the legume–rhizobia mutualism, in which rhizobia fix atmospheric nitrogen in exchange for carbon provided by legume hosts. This mutualism regulates nutrient cycles in natural ecosystems and provides nitrogen to agricultural environments. Despite the ecological, evolutionary and agricultural importance of plant polyploidy and the legume–rhizobia mutualism, it is not yet fully understood whether plant polyploidy directly alters mutualism traits or the consequences on plant growth.
Scope
The aim was to propose a conceptual framework to understand how polyploidy might directly enhance the quantity and quality of rhizobial symbionts hosted by legume plants, resulting in increased host access to fixed nitrogen (N). Mechanistic hypotheses have been devised to examine how polyploidy can directly alter traits that impact the quantity (e.g. nodule number, nodule size, terminal bacteroid differentiation) and quality of symbionts (e.g. nodule environment, partner choice, host sanctions). To evaluate these hypotheses, an exhaustive review of studies testing the effects of plant polyploidy on the mutualism was conducted. In doing so, overall trends were synthesized, highlighting the limited understanding of the mechanisms that underlie variation in results achieved thus far, revealing striking gaps in knowledge and uncovering areas ripe for future research.
Conclusions
Plant polyploidy can immediately alter nodule size, N fixation rate and the identity of rhizobial symbionts hosted by polyploid legumes, but many of the mechanistic hypotheses proposed here, such as bacteroid number and enhancements of the nodule environment, remain unexplored. Although current evidence supports a role of plant polyploidy in enhancing key aspects of the legume–rhizobia mutualism, the underlying mechanisms and effects on host benefit from the mutualism remain unresolved.



Melatonin and its relationship to plant hormones

Sat, 21 Oct 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Abstract
Background
Plant melatonin appears to be a multi-regulatory molecule, similar to those observed in animals, with many specific functions in plant physiology. In recent years, the number of studies on melatonin in plants has increased significantly. One of the most studied actions of melatonin in plants is its effect on biotic and abiotic stress, such as that produced by drought, extreme temperatures, salinity, chemical pollution and UV radiation, among others.
Scope
This review looks at studies in which some aspects of the relationship between melatonin and the plant hormones auxin, cytokinin, gibberellins, abscisic acid, ethylene, jasmonic acid and salicylic acid are presented. The effects that some melatonin treatments have on endogenous plant hormone levels, their related genes (biosynthesis, catabolism, receptors and transcription factors) and the physiological actions induced by melatonin, mainly in stress conditions, are discussed.
Conclusions
Melatonin is an important modulator of gene expression related to plant hormones, e.g. in auxin carrier proteins, as well as in metabolism of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), gibberellins, cytokinins, abscisic acid and ethylene. Most of the studies performed have dealt with the auxin-like activity of melatonin which, in a similar way to IAA, is able to induce growth in shoots and roots and stimulate root generation, giving rise to new lateral and adventitious roots. Melatonin is also able to delay senescence, protecting photosynthetic systems and related sub-cellular structures and processes. Also, its role in fruit ripening and post-harvest processes as a gene regulator of ethylene-related factors is relevant. Another decisive aspect is its role in the pathogen–plant interaction. Melatonin appears to act as a key molecule in the plant immune response, together with other well-known molecules such as nitric oxide and hormones, such as jasmonic acid and salicylic acid. In this sense, the discovery of elevated levels of melatonin in endophytic organisms associated with plants has thrown light on a possible novel form of communication between beneficial endophytes and host plants via melatonin.