ResearchPad - fronds Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Response of cytokinins and nitrogen metabolism in the fronds of <i>Pteris</i> sp. under arsenic stress]]> Given the close relationship between cytokinins (CKs), photosynthesis and nitrogen metabolism, this study assessed the effect of arsenic (As) contamination on these metabolic components in the As-hyperaccumulators Pteris cretica L. var. Albo-lineata (Pc-A) and var. Parkerii (Pc-P) as well as the As-non-hyperaccumulator Pteris straminea Mett. ex Baker (Ps). The ferns were cultivated in a pot experiment for 23 weeks in soil spiked with As at the levels 20 and 100 mg·kg-1. For the purpose of this study, the CKs were placed into five functionally different groups according to their structure and physiological roles: bioactive forms (bCKs; CK free bases); inactive or weakly active forms (dCKs; CK N-glucosides); transport forms (tCKs; CK ribosides); storage forms (sCKs; O-glucosides); and primary products of CK biosynthesis (ppbCKs; CK nucleotides). An important finding was higher CKs total content, accumulation of sCKs and reduction of dCKs in As-hyperaccumulators in contrast to non-hyperaccumulator ferns. A significant depletion of C resources was confirmed in ferns, especially Ps, which was determined by measuring the photosynthetic rate and chlorophyll fluorescence. A fluorescence decrease signified a reduction in the C/N ratio, inducing an increase of bioactive CKs forms in Pc-P and Ps. The impact of As on N utilization was significant in As-hyperaccumulators. The glutamic acid/glutamine ratio, an indicator of primary N assimilation, diminished in all ferns with increased As level in the soil. In conclusion, the results indicate a large phenotypic diversity of Pteris species to As and suggest that the CKs composition and the glutamic acid/glutamine ratio can be used as a tool to diagnose As stress in plants.

<![CDATA[Genome-Scale Transcriptome Analysis of the Alpine “Glasshouse” Plant Rheum nobile (Polygonaceae) with Special Translucent Bracts]]>


Rheum nobile is an alpine plant with translucent bracts concealing the inflorescence which produce a “glasshouse” effect promoting the development of fertile pollen grains in such conditions. The current understanding of the adaptation of such bracts to alpine environments mainly focuses on the phenotypic and physiological changes while the genetic basis is very limited. By sequencing the upper bract and the lower rosulate leaf from the same R. nobile stem, we identified candidate genes that may be involved in alpine adaption of the translucent bract in “glasshouse” plants and illustrated the changes in gene expression underlying the adaptive and complex evolution of the bracts phenotype.


A total of 174.2 million paired-end reads from each transcriptome were assembled into 25,249 unigenes. By comparing the gene expression profiles, we identified 1,063 and 786 genes up-regulated respectively in the upper bract and the lower leaf. Functional enrichment analyses of these genes recovered a number of differential important pathways, including flavonoid biosynthesis, mismatch repair and photosynthesis related pathways. These pathways are mainly involved in three types of functions: 9 genes in the UV protective process, 9 mismatch repair related genes and 88 genes associated with photosynthesis.


This study provides the first comprehensive dataset characterizing Rheum nobile gene expression at the transcriptomic scale, and provides novel insights into the gene expression profiles associated with the adaptation of the “glasshouse” plant bracts. The dataset will be served as a public genetic resources for further functional and evolutionary studies of “glasshouse” plants.

<![CDATA[New Species of the Fern Genus Lindsaea (Lindsaeaceae) from New Guinea with Notes on the Phylogeny of L. sect. Synaphlebium]]>

To determine the taxonomic identities and the systematic positions of some collections of Lindsaea sect. Synaphlebium (Lindsaeaceae) from Papua New Guinea, we conducted morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analyses on the whole section. A total of 22 morphological characters were selected and coded for each of all known taxa in L. sect. Synaphlebium, and were analyzed using maximum parsimony. The datasets containing either of or combined two plastid DNA sequences (trnL-trnF spacer and trnH-psbA spacer) of 37 taxa were analyzed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. Morphological comparisons revealed two new species which are formally published here as L. subobscura and L. novoguineensis. Lindsaea subobscura is similar to sympatric L. obscura and L. modesta but differs in the obviously reduced upper pinnules and other characters. Lindsaea novoguineensis is most similar to L. pacifica from Melanesia but differs in having rhomboid pinnules with truncate apices and concave soral receptacles. Molecular analyses resolved L. sect. Synaphlebium and allied species into five well-supported clades, namely L. rigida clade, L. obtusa clade, L. pulchella clade, L. multisora clade, and L. cultrata clade. The new species L. novoguineensis is included in L. obtusa clade; L. subobscura is in L. pulchella clade; whereas the majority of L. sect. Synaphlebium is clustered in L. cultrata clade. As the section Synaphlebium sensu Kramer is strongly suggested as polyphyletic, we propose the concept of a monophyletic L. sect. Synaphlebium in a broad sense that comprises five lineages. The morphological circumscription of L. sect. Synaphlebium sensu lato and the divergence in morphology, habit, and distribution between the five lineages are briefly discussed. Further molecular study is needed to test the systematic positions of 16 other species which are supposed to be within L. sect. Synaphlebium sensu lato but have not been included in this and previous molecular analyses.

<![CDATA[Non-linear growth in tree ferns, Dicksonia antarctica and Cyathea australis]]>

Tree ferns are an important structural component of forests in many countries. However, because their regeneration is often unrelated to major disturbances, their age is often difficult to determine. In addition, rates of growth may not be uniform, which further complicates attempts to determine their age. In this study, we measured 5 years of growth of Cyathea australis and Dicksonia antarctica after a large wildfire in 2009 in south-eastern Australia. We found growth rates of these two species were unaffected by aspect and elevation but slope had a minor effect with D. antarctica growing 0.3mm faster for each additional degree of slope. Geographic location influenced growth in both species by up to 12 – 14mm/yr. The most consistent factor influencing growth rate, however, was initial height at the time of the 2009 fire; a finding consistent in both species and all geographic locations. For both tree fern species, individuals that were taller at the commencement of the study had greater overall growth for the duration of the study. This effect did not decrease even among the tallest tree ferns in our study (up to 6 metres tall). Overall, Cyathea australis averaged 73 (± 22)mm/year of growth (± 1SD), with the rate increasing 5mm/yr per metre of additional height. Dicksonia antarctica averaged 33 (± 13)mm/year, increasing by 6mm/yr/m. Growth rates dependent on initial height were unexpected and we discuss possible reasons for this finding. Variable growth rates also suggest that common age estimation methods of dividing height by average growth rate are likely to underestimate the age of short tree ferns, while overestimating the age of tall tree ferns, particularly if they have been subject to a fire.

<![CDATA[Functional Response (FR) and Relative Growth Rate (RGR) Do Not Show the Known Invasiveness of Lemna minuta (Kunth)]]>

Growing travel and trade threatens biodiversity as it increases the rate of biological invasions globally, either by accidental or intentional introduction. Therefore, avoiding these impacts by forecasting invasions and impeding further spread is of utmost importance. In this study, three forecasting approaches were tested and combined to predict the invasive behaviour of the alien macrophyte Lemna minuta in comparison with the native Lemna minor: the functional response (FR) and relative growth rate (RGR), supplemented with a combined biomass-based nutrient removal (BBNR). Based on the idea that widespread invasive species are more successful competitors than local, native species, a higher FR and RGR were expected for the invasive compared to the native species. Five different nutrient concentrations were tested, ranging from low (4 mgN.L-1 and 1 mgP.L-1) to high (70 mgN.L-1 and 21 mgP.L-1). After four days, a significant amount of nutrients was removed by both Lemna spp., though significant differences among L. minor and L. minuta were only observed at lower nutrient concentrations (lower than 17 mgN.L-1 and 6 mgP.L-1) with higher nutrient removal exerted by L. minor. The derived FR did not show a clear dominance of the invasive L. minuta, contradicting field observations. Similarly, the RGR ranged from 0.4 to 0.6 d-1, but did not show a biomass-based dominance of L. minuta (0.5 ± 0.1 d-1 versus 0.63 ± 0.09 d-1 for L. minor). BBNR showed similar results as the FR. Contrary to our expectations, all three approaches resulted in higher values for L. minor. Consequently, based on our results FR is sensitive to differences, though contradicted the expectations, while RGR and BBNR do not provide sufficient power to differentiate between a native and an invasive alien macrophyte and should be supplemented with additional ecosystem-based experiments to determine the invasion impact.

<![CDATA[Allelopathy of Bracken Fern (Pteridium arachnoideum): New Evidence from Green Fronds, Litter, and Soil]]>

The neotropical bracken fern Pteridium arachnoideum (Kaulf.) Maxon. (Dennstaedtiaceae) is described as an aggressive pioneer plant species. It invades abandoned or newly burned areas and represents a management challenge at these invaded sites. Native to the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado (Tropical Savanna) Brazilian biomes, P. arachnoideum has nevertheless become very problematic in these conservation hotspots. Despite some reports suggesting a possible role of allelopathy in this plant’s dominance, until now there has been little evidence of isolated and individually identified compounds with phytotoxic activities present in its tissues or in the surrounding environment. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the allelopathic potential of P. arachnoideum by isolating and identifying any secondary metabolites with phytotoxic activity in its tissues, litter, and soil. Bioguided phytochemical investigation led to the isolation and identification of the proanthocyanidin selligueain A as the major secondary compound in the green fronds and litter of this fern. It is produced by P. arachnoideum in its green fronds, remains unaltered during the senescence process, and is the major secondary compound present in litter. Selligueain A showed phytotoxic activity against the selected target species sesame (Sesamum indicum) early development. In particular, the compound inhibited root and stem growth, and root metaxylem cell size but did not affect chlorophyll content. This compound can be considered as an allelochemical because it is present in the soil under P. arachnoideum patches as one of the major compounds in the soil solution. This is the first report of the presence of selligueain A in any member of the Dennstaedtiaceae family and the first time an isolated and identified allelochemical produced by members of the Pteridium species complex has been described. This evidence of selligueain A as a putative allelochemical of P. arachnoideum reinforces the role of allelopathy in the dominance processes of this plant in the areas where it occurs.

<![CDATA[Pollen Organ Telangiopsis sp. of Late Devonian Seed Plant and Associated Vegetative Frond]]>

Pollen organ Telangiopsis sp., associated with but not attached to vegetative fronds, has been collected from the Upper Devonian (Famennian) Wutong Formation, Dongzhi County, Anhui Province, China. Fertile axes with terminal pollen organs are dichotomous for 2–4 times and may be proximally attached by fragmentary pinnules. Pollen organs are synangiate and borne on the top of a short stalk. Synangia are radial in symmetry and each consists of 4–8 elongate microsporangia fused at base. Microsporangia have a longitudinal dehiscence line and show a tapered apex. The associated stem is spiny and bears a vegetative frond which bifurcates once at the basalmost part. Frond rachises possess one order of pinna arranged alternately. Pinnules are borne alternately, planate, highly dissected, and equally dichotomous for 2–3 times. Comparisons among Late Devonian seed plants recognize several branching patterns in the fertile fronds/axes bearing terminal pollen organs. Telangiopsis sp. reinforces that the Late Devonian pollen organs are synangiate usually with basally fused microsporangia. It is suggested that the evolutionary divergence of radial and bilateral symmetries of pollen organs may have occurred in the Famennian, when the earliest seed plants evolved planate and sometimes laminate pinnules.

<![CDATA[Diurnal biomarkers reveal key photosynthetic genes associated with increased oil palm yield]]>

To investigate limiters of photosynthate assimilation in the carbon-source limited crop, oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.), we measured differential metabolite, gene expression and the gas exchange in leaves in an open field for palms with distinct mesocarp oil content. We observed higher concentrations of glucose 1-phosphate, glucose 6-phosphate, sucrose 6-phosphate, and sucrose in high-oil content palms with the greatest difference being at 11:00 (p-value ≤0.05) immediately after the period of low morning light intensity. Three important photosynthetic genes were identified using differentially expressed gene analysis (DEGs) and were found to be significantly enriched through Gene Ontology (GO) and pathway enrichment: chlorophyll a-b binding protein (CAB-13), photosystem I (PSI), and Ferredoxin-NADP reductase (FNR), particularly for sampling points at non-peak light (11:00 and 19:00), ranging from 3.3-fold (PSI) and 5.6-fold (FNR) to 10.3-fold (CAB-13). Subsequent gas exchange measurements further supported increased carbon assimilation through higher level of internal CO2 concentration (Ci), stomatal conductance (gs) and transpiration rate (E) in high-oil content palms. The selection for higher expression of key photosynthesis genes together with CO2 assimilation under low light is likely to be important for crop improvement, in particular at full maturity and under high density planting regimes where light competition exists between palms.

<![CDATA[Hexose Oxidase-Mediated Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mechanism for the Antibacterial Activity in the Red Seaweed Ptilophora subcostata]]>

Marine algae have unique defense strategies against microbial infection. However, their mechanisms of immunity remain to be elucidated and little is known about the similarity of the immune systems of marine algae and terrestrial higher plants. Here, we suggest a possible mechanism underlying algal immunity, which involves hexose oxidase (HOX)-dependent production of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). We examined crude extracts from five different red algal species for their ability to prevent bacterial growth. The extract from one of these algae, Ptilophora subcostata, was particularly active and prevented the growth of gram-positive and -negative bacteria, which was completely inhibited by treatment with catalase. The extract did not affect the growth of either a yeast or a filamentous fungus. We partially purified from P. subcostata an enzyme involved in its antibacterial activity, which shared 50% homology with the HOX of red seaweed Chondrus crispus. In-gel carbohydrate oxidase assays revealed that P. subcostata extract had the ability to produce H2O2 in a hexose-dependent manner and this activity was highest in the presence of galactose. In addition, Bacillus subtilis growth was strongly suppressed near P. subcostata algal fronds on GYP agar plates. These results suggest that HOX plays a role in P. subcostata resistance to bacterial attack by mediating H2O2 production in the marine environment.

<![CDATA[Positive Feedbacks Enhance Macroalgal Resilience on Degraded Coral Reefs]]>

Many reefs have shifted from coral and fish dominated habitats to less productive macroalgal dominated habitats, and current research is investigating means of reversing this phase shift. In the tropical Pacific, overfished reefs with inadequate herbivory can become dominated by the brown alga Sargassum polycystum. This alga suppresses recruitment and survival of corals and fishes, thus limiting the potential for reef recovery. Here we investigate the mechanisms that reinforce S. polycystum dominance and show that in addition to negatively affecting other species, this species acts in a self-reinforcing manner, positively promoting survival and growth of conspecifics. We found that survival and growth of both recruit-sized and mature S. polycystum fronds were higher within Sargassum beds than outside the beds and these results were found in both protected and fished reefs. Much of this benefit resulted from reduced herbivory within the Sargassum beds, but adult fronds also grew ~50% more within the beds even when herbivory did not appear to be occurring, suggesting some physiological advantage despite the intraspecific crowding. Thus via positive feedbacks, S. polycystum enhances its own growth and resistance to herbivores, facilitating its dominance (perhaps also expansion) and thus its resilience on degraded reefs. This may be a key feedback mechanism suppressing the recovery of coral communities in reefs dominated by macroalgal beds.