ResearchPad - plant-biochemistry 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[Extending thermotolerance to tomato seedlings by inoculation with SA1 isolate of <i>Bacillus cereus</i> and comparison with exogenous humic acid application]]> Heat stress is one of the major abiotic stresses that impair plant growth and crop productivity. Plant growth-promoting endophytic bacteria (PGPEB) and humic acid (HA) are used as bio-stimulants and ecofriendly approaches to improve agriculture crop production and counteract the negative effects of heat stress. Current study aimed to analyze the effect of thermotolerant SA1 an isolate of Bacillus cereus and HA on tomato seedlings. The results showed that combine application of SA1+HA significantly improved the biomass and chlorophyll fluorescence of tomato plants under normal and heat stress conditions. Heat stress increased abscisic acid (ABA) and reduced salicylic acid (SA) content; however, combined application of SA1+HA markedly reduced ABA and increased SA. Antioxidant enzymes activities revealed that SA1 and HA treated plants exhibited increased levels of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and reduced glutathione (GSH). In addition, heat stress markedly reduced the amino acid contents; however, the amino acids were increased with co-application of SA1+HA. Similarly, inductively-coupled plasma mass-spectrometry results showed that plants treated with SA1+HA exhibited significantly higher iron (Fe+), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K+) uptake during heat stress. Heat stress increased the relative expression of SlWRKY33b and autophagy-related (SlATG5) genes, whereas co-application of SA1+HA augmented the heat stress response and reduced SlWRKY33b and SlATG5 expression. The heat stress-responsive transcription factor (SlHsfA1a) and high-affinity potassium transporter (SlHKT1) were upregulated in SA1+HA-treated plants. In conclusion, current findings suggest that co-application with SA1+HA can be used for the mitigation of heat stress damage in tomato plants and can be commercialized as a biofertilizer.

<![CDATA[Mutations on ent-kaurene oxidase 1 encoding gene attenuate its enzyme activity of catalyzing the reaction from ent-kaurene to ent-kaurenoic acid and lead to delayed germination in rice]]>

Rice seed germination is a critical step that determines its entire life circle, with seeds failing to germinate or pre-harvest sprouting both reduce grain yield. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying this complex biological event remain unclear. Previously, gibberellin has been shown to promote seed germination. In this study, a delayed seed germination rice mutant was obtained through screening of the EMS induced mutants. Besides of delayed germination, it also shows semi-dwarfism phenotype, which could be recovered by exogenous GA. Through re-sequencing on the mutant, wild-type and their F2 populations, we identified two continuous mutated sites on ent-kaurene oxidase 1 (OsKO1) gene, which result in the conversion from Thr to Met in the cytochrome P450 domain. Genetic complementary analysis and enzyme assay verified that the mutations in OsKO1 gene block the biosynthesis of GA and result in the defect phenotypes. Further analyses proved that OsKO1 could catalyze the reaction from ent-kaurene into ent-kaurenoic acid in GA biosynthesis mainly at seed germination and seedling stages, and the mutations decrease its activity to catalyze the step from ent-kaurenol to ent-kaurenoic acid in this reaction. Transcriptomic and proteomic data indicate that the defect on GA biosynthesis decreases its ability to mobilize starch and attenuate ABA signaling, therefore delay the germination process. The results provide some new insights into both GA biosynthesis and seed germination regulatory pathway in rice.

<![CDATA[Increasing atmospheric CO2 and canopy temperature induces anatomical and physiological changes in leaves of the C4 forage species Panicum maximum]]>

Changes in leaf anatomy and ultrastructure are associated with physiological performance in the context of plant adaptations to climate change. In this study, we investigated the isolated and combined effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration ([CO2]) up to 600 μmol mol-1 (eC) and elevated temperature (eT) to 2°C more than the ambient canopy temperature on the ultrastructure, leaf anatomy, and physiology of Panicum maximum Jacq. grown under field conditions using combined free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) and temperature free-air controlled enhancement (T-FACE) systems. Plants grown under eC showed reduced stomatal density, stomatal index, stomatal conductance (gs), and leaf transpiration rate (E), increased soil-water content (SWC) conservation and adaxial epidermis thickness were also observed. The net photosynthesis rate (A) and intrinsic water-use efficiency (iWUE) were enhanced by 25% and 71%, respectively, with a concomitant increase in the size of starch grains in bundle sheath cells. Under air warming, we observed an increase in the thickness of the adaxial cuticle and a decrease in the leaf thickness, size of vascular bundles and bulliform cells, and starch content. Under eCeT, air warming offset the eC effects on SWC and E, and no interactions between [CO2] and temperature for leaf anatomy were observed. Elevated [CO2] exerted more effects on external characteristics, such as the epidermis anatomy and leaf gas exchange, while air warming affected mainly the leaf structure. We conclude that differential anatomical and physiological adjustments contributed to the acclimation of P. maximum growing under elevated [CO2] and air warming, improving the leaf biomass production under these conditions.

<![CDATA[Solanum lycopersicum GOLDEN 2-LIKE 2 transcription factor affects fruit quality in a light- and auxin-dependent manner]]>

Plastids are organelles responsible for essential aspects of plant development, including carbon fixation and synthesis of several secondary metabolites. Chloroplast differentiation and activity are highly regulated by light, and several proteins involved in these processes have been characterised. Such is the case of the GOLDEN 2-LIKE (GLK) transcription factors, which induces the expression of genes related to chloroplast differentiation and photosynthesis. The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) genome harbours two copies of this gene, SlGLK1 and SlGLK2, each with distinct expression patterns. While the former predominates in leaves, the latter is mainly expressed in fruits, precisely at the pedicel region. During tomato domestication, the selection of fruits with uniform ripening fixed the mutation Slglk2, nowadays present in most cultivated varieties, what penalised fruit metabolic composition. In this study, we investigated how SlGLK2 is regulated by light, auxin and cytokinin and determined the effect of SlGLK2 on tocopherol (vitamin E) and sugar metabolism, which are components of the fruit nutritional and industrial quality. To achieve this, transcriptional profiling and biochemical analysis were performed throughout fruit development and ripening from SlGLK2, Slglk2, SlGLK2-overexpressing genotypes, as well as from phytochrome and hormonal deficient mutants. The results revealed that SlGLK2 expression is regulated by phytochrome-mediated light perception, yet this gene can induce chloroplast differentiation even in a phytochrome-independent manner. Moreover, auxin was found to be a negative regulator of SlGLK2 expression, while SlGLK2 enhances cytokinin responsiveness. Additionally, SlGLK2 enhanced chlorophyll content in immature green fruits, leading to an increment in tocopherol level in ripe fruits. Finally, SlGLK2 overexpression resulted in higher total soluble solid content, possibly by the regulation of sugar metabolism enzyme-encoding genes. The results obtained here shed light on the regulatory network that interconnects SlGLK2, phytohormones and light signal, promoting the plastidial activity and consequently, influencing the quality of tomato fruit.

<![CDATA[Thermal acclimation of photosynthetic activity and RuBisCO content in two hybrid poplar clones]]>

The mechanistic bases of thermal acclimation of net photosynthetic rate (An) are still difficult to discern, and the data sets available are scarce, particularly for hybrid poplar. In the present study, we examined the contribution of a number of biochemical and biophysical traits on thermal acclimation of An for two hybrid poplar clones. We grew cuttings of Populus maximowiczii × Populus nigra (M×N) and Populus maximowiczii × Populus balsamifera (M×B) clones under two day/night temperature of 23°C/18°C and 33°C /27°C and under low and high soil nitrogen level. After ten weeks, we measured leaf RuBisCO (RAR) and RuBisCO activase (RARCA) amounts and the temperature response of An, dark respiration (Rd), stomatal conductance, (gs), apparent maximum carboxylation rate of CO2 (Vcmax) and apparent photosynthetic electron transport rate (J). Results showed that a 10°C increase in growth temperature resulted in a shift in thermal optimum (Topt) of An of 6.2±1.6°C and 8.0±1.2°C for clone M×B and M×N respectively, and an increased An and gs at the growth temperature for clone M×B but not M×N. RuBisCO amount was increased by N level but was insensitive to growth temperature while RARCA amount and the ratio of its short to long isoform was stimulated by the warm condition for clone M×N and at low N for clone M×B. The activation energy of apparent Vcmax and apparent J decreased under the warm condition for clone M×B and remained unchanged for clone M×N. Our study demonstrated the involvement of both RARCA, the activation energy of apparent Vcmax and stomatal conductance in thermal acclimation of An.

<![CDATA[ARR22 overexpression can suppress plant Two-Component Regulatory Systems]]>

In plants, several developmental processes are co-coordinated by cytokinins via phosphorylation dependent processes of the Two-Component System (TCS). An outstanding challenge is to track phosphorelay flow from cytokinin perception to its molecular outputs, of which gene activation plays a major role. To address this issue, a kinetic-based reporter system was expounded to track TCS phosphorelay activity in vivo that can distinguish between basal and cytokinin dependent effects of overexpressed TCS members. The TCS phosphorelay can be positively activated by cytokinin and inhibited by pharmaceuticals or naturally interfering components. In this case we took advantage of the phosphohistidine-phosphatase Arabidopsis Response Regulator (ARR) 22 and investigated its phosphocompetition with other TCS members in regulating promoters of ARR5 and WUS in Arabidopsis thaliana cell culture protoplasts. In congruency with the proposed function of ARR22, overexpression of ARR22 blocked the activation of all B-type ARRs in this study in a TCS dependent manner. Furthermore, this effect could not be mimicked by A-type response regulator overexpression or compensated by AHP overexpression. Compared to other reporter assays, ours mimicked effects previously observed only in transgenic plants for all of the TCS proteins studied, suggesting that it is possible to expose phosphocompetition. Thus, our approach can be used to investigate gene signaling networks involving the TCS by leveraging ARR22 as a TCS inhibitor along with B-type ARR overexpression.

<![CDATA[Dissecting the pathways coordinating patterning and growth by plant boundary domains]]>

Boundary domains play important roles during morphogenesis in plants and animals, but how they contribute to patterning and growth coordination in plants is not understood. The CUC genes determine the boundary domains in the aerial part of the plants and, in particular, they have a conserved role in regulating leaf complexity across Angiosperms. Here, we used tooth formation at the Arabidopsis leaf margin controlled by the CUC2 transcription factor to untangle intertwined events during boundary-controlled morphogenesis in plants. Combining conditional restoration of CUC2 function with morphometrics as well as quantification of gene expression and hormone signaling, we first established that tooth morphogenesis involves a patterning phase and a growth phase. These phases can be separated, as patterning requires CUC2 while growth can occur independently of CUC2. Next, we show that CUC2 acts as a trigger to promote growth through the activation of three functional relays. In particular, we show that KLUH acts downstream of CUC2 to modulate auxin response and that expressing KLUH can compensate for deficient CUC2 expression during tooth growth. Together, we reveal a genetic and molecular network that allows coordination of patterning and growth by CUC2-defined boundaries during morphogenesis at the leaf margin.

<![CDATA[Functional composition has stronger impact than species richness on carbon gain and allocation in experimental grasslands]]>

Numerous experiments have shown positive diversity effects on plant productivity, but little is known about related processes of carbon gain and allocation. We investigated these processes in a controlled environment (Montpellier European Ecotron) applying a continuous 13CO2 label for three weeks to 12 soil-vegetation monoliths originating from a grassland biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment) and representing two diversity levels (4 and 16 sown species). Plant species richness did not affect community- and species-level 13C abundances neither in total biomass nor in non-structural carbohydrates (NSC). Community-level 13C excess tended to be higher in the 16-species than in the 4-species mixtures. Community-level 13C excess was positively related to canopy leaf nitrogen (N), i.e. leaf N per unit soil surface. At the species level, shoot 13C abundances varied among plant functional groups and were larger in legumes and tall herbs than in grasses and small herbs, and correlated positively with traits as leaf N concentrations, stomatal conductance and shoot height. The 13C abundances in NSC were larger in transport sugars (sucrose, raffinose-family oligosaccharides) than in free glucose, fructose and compounds of the storage pool (starch) suggesting that newly assimilated carbon is to a small portion allocated to storage. Our results emphasize that the functional composition of communities is key in explaining carbon assimilation in grasslands.

<![CDATA[Chemical composition, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic activities of Opuntia stricta cladodes]]>


The Opuntia spp. have been used in traditional medicine for many centuries. It is used in the management of diseases that involves oxidative stress, especially diabetes, obesity and cancer. Opuntia stricta (Haw) is one of the relatively unknown species in South Africa where it is regarded more as a weed. Because of this, not much is known about its chemical composition.


To determine the chemical composition, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cytotoxic activities of Opuntia stricta cladodes.


The phytochemical composition of acetone, aqueous and ethanol extract of cladodes of Opuntia stricta (Haw), as well as the vitamins A, C and E of its dried weight cladodes and the antioxidant activities, were evaluated using standard in vitro methods. The anti-inflammatory and cytotoxic activities were evaluated using cell-based assays. The phytochemical composition and vitamins were determined spectrophotometrically, while the antioxidant activities were determined by DPPH, nitric oxide, hydrogen peroxide scavenging activity and phosphomolybdenum (total) antioxidant activity. Anti-inflammatory activity was determined using RAW 264.7 cells, while cytotoxicity was determined using U937 cells.


The phytochemical composition showed a significant difference in the various extracts. The total phenolics were higher than other phytochemicals in all the extracts used. All the extracts displayed antioxidant activity, while most of the extracts showed anti-inflammatory activity. Only one extract showed cytotoxicity, and it was mild.


The results show that the Opuntia stricta is rich in polyphenolic compounds and has good antioxidant activity as well as anti-inflammatory activities.

<![CDATA[A diurnal flux balance model of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 metabolism]]>

Phototrophic organisms such as cyanobacteria utilize the sun’s energy to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic carbon, resulting in diurnal variations in the cell’s metabolism. Flux balance analysis is a widely accepted constraint-based optimization tool for analyzing growth and metabolism, but it is generally used in a time-invariant manner with no provisions for sequestering different biomass components at different time periods. Here we present CycleSyn, a periodic model of Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 metabolism that spans a 12-hr light/12-hr dark cycle by segmenting it into 12 Time Point Models (TPMs) with a uniform duration of two hours. The developed framework allows for the flow of metabolites across TPMs while inventorying metabolite levels and only allowing for the utilization of currently or previously produced compounds. The 12 TPMs allow for the incorporation of time-dependent constraints that capture the cyclic nature of cellular processes. Imposing bounds on reactions informed by temporally-segmented transcriptomic data enables simulation of phototrophic growth as a single linear programming (LP) problem. The solution provides the time varying reaction fluxes over a 24-hour cycle and the accumulation/consumption of metabolites. The diurnal rhythm of metabolic gene expression driven by the circadian clock and its metabolic consequences is explored. Predicted flux and metabolite pools are in line with published studies regarding the temporal organization of phototrophic growth in Synechocystis PCC 6803 paving the way for constructing time-resolved genome-scale models (GSMs) for organisms with a circadian clock. In addition, the metabolic reorganization that would be required to enable Synechocystis PCC 6803 to temporally separate photosynthesis from oxygen-sensitive nitrogen fixation is also explored using the developed model formalism.

<![CDATA[SPOC domain-containing protein Leaf inclination3 interacts with LIP1 to regulate rice leaf inclination through auxin signaling]]>

Leaf angle is an important agronomic trait and influences crop architecture and yield. Studies have demonstrated the roles of phytohormones, particularly auxin and brassinosteroids, and various factors in controlling leaf inclination. However, the underlying mechanism especially the upstream regulatory networks still need being clarified. Here we report the functional characterization of rice leaf inclination3 (LC3), a SPOC domain-containing transcription suppressor, in regulating leaf inclination through interacting with LIP1 (LC3-interacting protein 1), a HIT zinc finger domain-containing protein. LC3 deficiency results in increased leaf inclination and enhanced expressions of OsIAA12 and OsGH3.2. Being consistent, transgenic plants with OsIAA12 overexpression or deficiency of OsARF17 which interacts with OsIAA12 do present enlarged leaf inclination. LIP1 directly binds to promoter regions of OsIAA12 and OsGH3.2, and interacts with LC3 to synergistically suppress auxin signaling. Our study demonstrate the distinct effects of IAA12-ARF17 interactions in leaf inclination regulation, and provide informative clues to elucidate the functional mechanism of SPOC domain-containing transcription suppressor and fine-controlled network of lamina joint development by LC3-regulated auxin homeostasis and auxin signaling through.

<![CDATA[Coral-dwelling fish moderate bleaching susceptibility of coral hosts]]>

Global environmental change has the potential to disrupt well established species interactions, with impacts on nutrient cycling and ecosystem function. On coral reefs, fish living within the branches of coral colonies can promote coral performance, and it has been hypothesized that the enhanced water flow and nutrients provided by fish to corals could ameliorate coral bleaching. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of small, aggregating damselfish on the health of their host corals (physiology, recovery, and survival) before, during, and after a thermal-bleaching event. When comparing coral colonies with and without fish, those with resident fish exhibited higher Symbiodinium densities and chlorophyll in both field and experimentally-induced bleaching conditions, and higher protein concentrations in field colonies. Additionally, colonies with damselfish in aquaria exhibited both higher photosynthetic efficiency (FV/FM) during bleaching stress and post-bleaching recovery, compared to uninhabited colonies. These results demonstrate that symbiotic damselfishes, and the services they provide, translate into measureable impacts on coral tissue, and can influence coral bleaching susceptibility/resilience and recovery. By mediating how external abiotic stressors influence coral colony health, damselfish can affect the functional responses of these interspecific interactions in a warming ocean.

<![CDATA[Cereal aphids differently affect benzoxazinoid levels in durum wheat]]>

Aphids are major pests in cereal crops that cause direct and indirect damage leading to yield reduction. Despite the fact that wheat provides 20% of the world’s caloric and protein diet, its metabolic responses to aphid attack, in general, and specifically its production of benzoxazinoid defense compounds are poorly understood. The objective of this study was to compare the metabolic diversity of durum wheat seedlings (Triticum turgidum ssp. durum) under attack by three different cereal aphids: i) the English grain aphid (Sitobion avenae Fabricius), ii) the bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi L.), and iii) the greenbug aphid (Schizaphis graminum Rondani), which are some of the most destructive aphid species to wheat. Insect progeny bioassays and metabolic analyses using chromatography/Q-Exactive/mass spectrometry non-targeted metabolomics and a targeted benzoxazinoid profile were performed on infested leaves. The insect bioassays revealed that the plants were susceptible to S. graminum, resistant to S. avenae, and mildly resistant to R. padi. The metabolic analyses of benzoxazinoids suggested that the predominant metabolites DIMBOA (2,4-dihydroxy-7-methoxy-1,4-benzoxazin- 3-one) and its glycosylated form DIMBOA-glucoside (Glc) were significantly induced upon both S. avenae, and R. padi aphid feeding. However, the levels of the benzoxazinoid metabolite HDMBOA-Glc (2-hydroxy-4,7-dimethoxy-1,4-benzoxazin-3-one glucoside) were enhanced due to the feeding of S. avenae and S. graminum aphids, to which Svevo was the most resistant and the most susceptible, respectively. The results showed a partial correlation between the induction of benzoxazinoids and aphid reproduction. Overall, our observations revealed diverse metabolic responses of wheat seedlings to cereal aphid feeding.

<![CDATA[Effect of elevated CO2 and spectral quality on whole plant gas exchange patterns in tomatoes]]>

In controlled environment plant production facilities, elevating either light or CO2 levels generally has led to increased biomass and yield due to enhanced canopy photosynthesis. Today, advancements in light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have made this technology a viable option for both supplementary lighting in greenhouses and a sole lighting source in controlled environment chambers. Our study used tomato plants grown under both ambient CO2 (AC) and elevated CO2 (EC) conditions then exposed them to various CO2 and lighting treatments during both whole plant and leaf level measurements. Plants grown under EC reached the first flower developmental stage 8 days sooner and were approximately 15cm taller than those grown under AC. However, under AC plants had more leaf area while their dry weights were similar. Of note, under EC chlorophyll a and b were lower, as were carotenoids per unit leaf area. Whole plant analyses, under all CO2 challenges, showed that plants exposed to high-pressure sodium (HPS), red-blue LED, and red-white LED had similar photosynthesis, respiration, and daily carbon gain. Under different light qualities, day-time transpiration rates were similar among CO2 conditions. Day-time water-use efficiency (WUE) was higher in plants grown and exposed to EC. Similarly, WUE of plants grown under AC but exposed to short-term elevated CO2 conditions was higher than those grown and tested under AC during all light treatments. Under all CO2 conditions, plants exposed to red-white and red-blue LEDs had lower WUE than those exposed to HPS lighting. Assessing alterations due to CO2 and light quality on a whole plant basis, not merely on an individual leaf basis, furthers our understanding of the interactions between these two parameters during controlled environment production. Principle component analyses of both whole plant and leaf data indicates that increasing CO2 supply has a more dramatic effect on photosynthesis and WUE than on transpiration.

<![CDATA[Exogenous glycine inhibits root elongation and reduces nitrate-N uptake in pak choi (Brassica campestris ssp. Chinensis L.)]]>

Nitrogen (N) supply, including NO3--N and organic N in the form of amino acids can influence the morphological attributes of plants. For example, amino acids contribute to plant nutrition; however, the effects of exogenous amino acids on NO3--N uptake and root morphology have received little attention. In this study, we evaluated the effects of exogenous glycine (Gly) on root growth and NO3--N uptake in pak choi (Brassica campestris ssp. Chinensis L.). Addition of Gly to NO3--N agar medium or hydroponic solution significantly decreased pak choi seedling root length; these effects of Gly on root morphology were not attributed to the proportion of N supply derived from Gly. When pak choi seedlings were exposed to mixtures of Gly and NO3--N in hydroponic culture, Gly significantly reduced 15NO3--N uptake but significantly increased the number of root tips per unit root length, root activity and 15NO3--N uptake rate per unit root length. In addition, 15N-Gly was taken up into the plants. In contrast to absorbed NO3--N, which was mostly transported to the shoots, a larger proportion of absorbed Gly was retained in the roots. Exogenous Gly enhanced root 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase (ACS) and oxidase (ACO) activities and ethylene production. The ethylene antagonists aminoethoxyvinylglycine (0.5 μM AVG) and silver nitrate (10 μM AgNO3) partly reversed Gly-induced inhibition of primary root elongation on agar plates and increased the NO3--N uptake rate under hydroponic conditions, indicating exogenous Gly exerts these effects at least partly by enhancing ethylene production in roots. These findings suggest Gly substantially affects root morphology and N uptake and provide new information on the specific responses elicited by organic N sources.

<![CDATA[Tangled history of a multigene family: The evolution of ISOPENTENYLTRANSFERASE genes]]>

ISOPENTENYLTRANSFERASE (IPT) genes play important roles in the initial steps of cytokinin synthesis, exist in plant and pathogenic bacteria, and form a multigene family in plants. Protein domain searches revealed that bacteria and plant IPT proteins were to assigned to different protein domains families in the Pfam database, namely Pfam IPT (IPTPfam) and Pfam IPPT (IPPTPfam) families, both are closely related in the P-loop NTPase clan. To understand the origin and evolution of the genes, a species matrix was assembled across the tree of life and intensively in plant lineages. The IPTPfam domain was only found in few bacteria lineages, whereas IPPTPfam is common except in Archaea and Mycoplasma bacteria. The bacterial IPPTPfam domain miaA genes were shown as ancestral of eukaryotic IPPTPfam domain genes. Plant IPTs diversified into class I, class II tRNA-IPTs, and Adenosine-phosphate IPTs; the class I tRNA-IPTs appeared to represent direct successors of miaA genes were found in all plant genomes, whereas class II tRNA-IPTs originated from eukaryotic genes, and were found in prasinophyte algae and in euphyllophytes. Adenosine-phosphate IPTs were only found in angiosperms. Gene duplications resulted in gene redundancies with ubiquitous expression or diversification in expression. In conclusion, it is shown that IPT genes have a complex history prior to the protein family split, and might have experienced losses or HGTs, and gene duplications that are to be likely correlated with the rise in morphological complexity involved in fine tuning cytokinin production.

<![CDATA[Genome-wide identification and expression profiling of the auxin response factor (ARF) gene family in physic nut]]>

Auxin response factors (ARF) are important transcription factors which mediate the transcription of auxin responsive genes by binding directly to auxin response elements (AuxREs) found in the promoter regions of these genes. To date, no information has been available about the genome-wide organization of the ARF transcription factor family in physic nut. In this study, 17 ARF genes (JcARFs) are identified in the physic nut genome. A detailed investigation into the physic nut ARF gene family is performed, including analysis of the exon-intron structure, conserved domains, conserved motifs, phylogeny, chromosomal locations, potential small RNA targets and expression profiles under various conditions. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the 17 JcARF proteins are clustered into 6 groups, and most JcARF proteins from the physic nut reveal closer relationships with those from Arabidopsis than those from rice. Of the 17 JcARF genes, eight are predicted to be the potential targets of small RNAs; most of the genes show differential patterns of expression among four tissues (root, stem cortex, leaf, and seed); and qRT-PCR indicates that the expression of all JcARF genes is inhibited or induced in response to exogenous auxin. Expression profile analysis based on RNA-seq data shows that in leaves, 11 of the JcARF genes respond to at least one abiotic stressor (drought and/or salinity) at, as a minimum, at least one time point. Our results provide valuable information for further studies on the roles of JcARF genes in regulating physic nut's growth, development and responses to abiotic stress.

<![CDATA[Simultaneous quantum yield measurements of carbon uptake and oxygen evolution in microalgal cultures]]>

The photosynthetic quantum yield (Φ), defined as carbon fixed or oxygen evolved per unit of light absorbed, is a fundamental but rarely determined biophysical parameter. A method to estimate Φ for both net carbon uptake and net oxygen evolution simultaneously can provide important insights into energy and mass fluxes. Here we present details for a novel system that allows quantification of carbon fluxes using pH oscillation and simultaneous oxygen fluxes by integration with a membrane inlet mass spectrometer. The pHOS system was validated using Phaeodactylum tricornutum cultured with continuous illumination of 110 μmole quanta m-2 s-1 at 25°C. Furthermore, simultaneous measurements of carbon and oxygen flux using the pHOS-MIMS and photon flux based on spectral absorption were carried out to explore the kinetics of Φ in P. tricornutum during its acclimation from low to high light (110 to 750 μmole quanta m-2 s-1). Comparing results at 0 and 24 hours, we observed strong decreases in cellular chlorophyll a (0.58 to 0.21 pg cell-1), Fv/Fm (0.71 to 0.59) and maximum ΦCO2 (0.019 to 0.004) and ΦO2 (0.028 to 0.007), confirming the transition toward high light acclimation. The Φ time-series indicated a non-synchronized acclimation response between carbon uptake and oxygen evolution, which has been previously inferred based on transcriptomic changes for a similar experimental design with the same diatom that lacked physiological data. The integrated pHOS-MIMS system can provide simultaneous carbon and oxygen measurements accurately, and at the time-resolution required to resolve high-resolution carbon and oxygen physiological dynamics.

<![CDATA[Regulatory effects of root pruning on leaf nutrients, photosynthesis, and growth of trees in a closed-canopy poplar plantation]]>

A plantation of 5-year-old poplar Populus × euramericana cv. ‘Neva’ was used to study the regulatory effects of root pruning on nutrients, photosynthetic characteristics, and water-use efficiency (WUE) of leaves and growth rates of diameter at breast height (DBH; 1.3 m), tree height, and volume. Six root-pruning treatments were conducted with different combinations of intensity (at a distance of six, eight or ten times DBH from the trunk) and orientation (on two or four sides of the trees). Results showed that the N, P, K, photosynthetic rate, transpiration rate, and stomatal conductance of leaves were all significantly decreased by root pruning over the initial period following root pruning (30 days), but increased in the subsequent investigations. The values of the above indexes peaked in 8–2 treatment (i.e., eight times DBH distance on two sides). The leaf WUE in 8–2 treatment, and average growth rates of DBH, tree height and volume, were the highest among all treatments within 3 years of root pruning. The results indicated that the root pruning based on the appropriate selection of intensity and orientation had significant positive effects on leaf nutrients, photosynthesis, and growth of trees in a closed-canopy poplar plantation.