Wheat is one of the founder crops of Western agriculture. This study reconstructs agronomic conditions, potential yields, and kernel weight in the beginnings of cultivation of domesticated free-threshing wheat, c. 8000 BC. The carbon and nitrogen stable isotope compositions and the dimensions of fossil grains of naked wheat (Triticum aestivum/durum) were analysed. Samples were collected in Tell Halula and Akarçay Tepe, two Neolithic archaeological sites from the Middle Euphrates (the claimed core area for wheat domestication). The samples analysed include the oldest reported remains of naked wheat. Consistently wetter conditions but lower kernel weights were found in the Neolithic compared with the present day. Besides, the estimated yields were clearly beyond what is expected from the gathering of wild stands of cereals. Patterns of phenotypic adaptation achieved by wheat after its diffusion through the Mediterranean were also assessed. On the one hand, the study looked at variation in morphophysiological traits as related to local climate in a set of 68 durum wheat landraces from the Middle Euphrates. On the other hand, an assessment was made of regional adaptation around the Mediterranean Basin in a set of 90 landraces, traditional varieties, and modern cultivars from different origins by characterizing agronomic and morphophysiological variability. Significant relationships were observed between phenotypic variation among landraces from the Middle Euphrates and both minimum temperatures and the ratio of precipitation to potential evapotranspiration of the sites of origin. In addition, consistent differences in grain yield, plant structure, and water status were found among genotypes following both north-south and east-west gradients across the Mediterranean. These differences are associated with contrasting environmental and selection pressures.
Carnivory has evolved independently at least six times in five angiosperm orders. In spite of these independent origins, there is a remarkable morphological convergence of carnivorous plant traps and physiological convergence of mechanisms for digesting and assimilating prey. These convergent traits have made carnivorous plants model systems for addressing questions in plant molecular genetics, physiology, and evolutionary ecology. New data show that carnivorous plant genera with morphologically complex traps have higher relative rates of gene substitutions than do those with simple sticky traps. This observation suggests two alternative mechanisms for the evolution and diversification of carnivorous plant lineages. The 'energetics hypothesis' posits rapid morphological evolution resulting from a few changes in regulatory genes responsible for meeting the high energetic demands of active traps. The 'predictable prey capture hypothesis' further posits that complex traps yield more predictable and frequent prey captures. To evaluate these hypotheses, available data on the tempo and mode of carnivorous plant evolution were reviewed; patterns of prey capture by carnivorous plants were analysed; and the energetic costs and benefits of botanical carnivory were re-evaluated. Collectively, the data are more supportive of the energetics hypothesis than the predictable prey capture hypothesis. The energetics hypothesis is consistent with a phenomenological cost-benefit model for the evolution of botanical carnivory, and also accounts for data suggesting that carnivorous plants have leaf construction costs and scaling relationships among leaf traits that are substantially different from those of non-carnivorous plants.
Laminarin‐hydrolysing activity developed in the endosperm of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) seeds following germination. The enzyme was basic (pI>10) and the apparent molecular mass was estimated to be 35 kDa by
SDS‐PAGE. It was specific for linear β‐1,3‐glucan substrates. Laminarin was hydrolysed by the enzyme to yield a mixture of
oligoglucosides, indicating that the enzyme had an endo‐action pattern. Thus, the enzyme was identified as β‐1,3‐ endoglucanase
(EC 126.96.36.199). The activity of the enzyme developed in the endosperm after radicle protrusion (germination) had occurred and
the enzyme activity was localized exclusively in the micropylar region of the endosperm where the radicle had penetrated.
When the lateral endosperm region, where no induction of the enzyme occurred, was wounded (cut or punctured), there was a
marked enhancement of β‐1,3‐glucanase activity. Thus the post‐germinative β‐1,3‐glucanase activity in the micropylar endosperm
portion might be brought about by wounding resulting from endosperm rupture by radicle penetration.
Phytoparasitic nematodes secrete an array of effector proteins to modify selected recipient plant cells into elaborate and
essential feeding sites. The biological function of the novel 30C02 effector protein of the soybean cyst nematode, Heterodera glycines, was studied using Arabidopsis thaliana as host and the beet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, which contains a homologue of the 30C02 gene. Expression of Hg30C02 in Arabidopsis did not affect plant growth and development but increased plant susceptibility to infection by H. schachtii. The 30C02 protein interacted with a specific (AT4G16260) host plant β-1,3-endoglucanase in both yeast and plant cells, possibly
to interfere with its role as a plant pathogenesis-related protein. Interestingly, the peak expression of 30C02 in the nematode and peak expression of At4g16260 in plant roots coincided at around 3–5 d after root infection by the nematode, after which the relative expression of At4g16260 declined significantly. An Arabidopsis At4g16260 T-DNA mutant showed increased susceptibility to cyst nematode infection, and plants that overexpressed At4g16260 were reduced in nematode susceptibility, suggesting a potential role of host β-1,3-endoglucanase in the defence response
against H. schachtii infection. Arabidopsis plants that expressed dsRNA and its processed small interfering RNA complementary to the Hg30C02 sequence were not phenotypically different from non-transformed plants, but they exhibited a strong RNA interference-mediated
resistance to infection by H. schachtii. The collective results suggest that, as with other pathogens, active suppression of host defence is a critical component
for successful parasitism by nematodes and a vulnerable target to disrupt the parasitic cycle.
Little is known about the molecular basis for seed dormancy, after‐ripening, and radicle emergence through the covering layers
during germination. In tobacco, endosperm rupture occurs after testa rupture and is the limiting step in seed germination.
Class I β‐1,3‐glucanase (βGLU I), which is induced in the micropylar endosperm just prior to its penetration by the radicle,
is believed to help weaken the endosperm wall. Evidence is pesented here for a second site of βGLU I action during after‐ripening.
Tobacco plants were transformed with antisense βGLU I constructs with promoters thought to direct endosperm‐specific expression.
Unexpectedly, these transformants were unaffected in endosperm rupture and did not exhibit reduced βGLU I expression during
germination. Nevertheless, antisense βGLU I transformation delayed the onset of testa rupture in light‐imbibed, after‐ripened
seeds and inhibited the after‐ripening‐mediated release of photodormancy. It is proposed that βGLU I expression in the dry
seed contributes to the after‐ripening‐mediated release of seed dormancy.
Cellodextrins (CD), water-soluble derivatives of cellulose composed of β-1,4 glucoside residues, have been shown to induce
a variety of defence responses in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cells. The larger oligomers of CD rapidly induced transient generation of H2O2 and elevation in free cytosolic calcium, followed by a differential expression of genes encoding key enzymes of the phenylpropanoid
pathway and pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins as well as stimulation of chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase activities. Most of
these defence reactions were also induced by linear β-1,3 glucans (βGlu) and α-1,4 oligogalacturonides (OGA) of different
degree of polymerization (DP), but the intensity of some reactions induced by CD was different when compared with βGlu and
OGA effects. Moreover, desensitization assays using H2O2 production showed that cells treated with CD remained fully responsive to a second application of OGA, suggesting a different
mode of perception of these oligosaccharides by grape cells. None of CD, βGlu, or OGA induced HSR gene expression nor did
they induce cell death. In accordance with elicitor activity in grapevine cells, CD-incubated leaves challenged with Botrytis cinerea also resulted in a significant reduction of the disease. Data suggest that CD could operate via other distinct reaction pathways
than βGlu and OGA. They also highlight the requirement of a specific DP for each oligosaccharide to induce the defence response.
The leaf surface of a very large number of plant species are covered by trichomes. Non-glandular trichomes are specialized
unicellular or multicellular structures that occur in many different plant species and function in xenobiotic detoxification
and protecting the plant against pest attack. By analysing the susceptibility of trichome mutants, evidence is provided that
indicates the influence of leaf trichomes on foliar fungal infections in Arabidopsis thaliana, probably by facilitating the adhesion of the fungal spores/hyphae to the leaf surface. A decreased trichome number in the
hairless Arabidopsis mutant gl1 enhances tolerance against the necrotrophic fungus Botrytis cinerea. By contrast, the try mutant shows an increased susceptibility to both fungal infection and accumulation. Trichome density does not influence infection
by the soil-borne pathogen Rhizoctonia solani. In addition, the influence of trichomes on foliar infection is supported by targeting the high-level expression of the Trichoderma harzianum α-1,3-glucanase protein to the specialized cell structures. Trichome expression of this anti-fungal hydrolase shows a significant
resistance to infection by the foliar pathogen Botrytis cinerea. Resistance to this fungus is not dependent on the constitutive induction of the salicylic or jasmonic defence signalling
pathways, but the presence of the α-1,3-glucanase protein in trichomes.
Root holoparasitic angiosperms, like Orobanche spp, completely lack chlorophyll and totally depend on their host for their supply of nutrients. O. crenata is a severe constraint to the cultivation of legumes and breeding for resistance remains the most economical, feasible, and
environmentally friendly method of control. Due to the lack of resistance in commercial pea cultivars, the use of wild relatives
for breeding is necessary, and an understanding of the mechanisms underlying host resistance is needed in order to improve
screening for resistance in breeding programmes. Compatible and incompatible interactions between O. crenata and pea have been studied using cytochemical procedures. The parasite was stopped in the host cortex before reaching the
central cylinder, and accumulation of H2O2, peroxidases, and callose were detected in neighbouring cells. Protein cross-linking in the host cell walls appears as the
mechanism of defence, halting penetration of the parasite. In situ hybridization studies have also shown that a peroxidase and a β-glucanase are differently expressed in cells of the resistant
host (Pf651) near the penetration point. The role of these proteins in the resistance to O. crenata is discussed.
The accumulation of the pathogenesis-related (PR) proteins beta-1,3-glucanase and chitinase and structural defence responses were studied in leaves of wheat either resistant or susceptible to the hemibiotrophic pathogen Septoria tritici. Resistance was associated with an early accumulation of beta-1,3-glucanase and chitinase transcripts followed by a subsequent reduction in level. Resistance was also associated with high activity of beta-1,3-glucanase, especially in the apoplastic fluid, in accordance with the biotrophic/endophytic lifestyle of the pathogen in the apoplastic spaces, thus showing the highly localized accumulation of defence proteins in the vicinity of the pathogen. Isoform analysis of beta-1,3-glucanase from the apoplastic fluid revealed that resistance was associated with the accumulation of an endo-beta-1,3-glucanase, previously implicated in defence against pathogens, and a protein with identity to ADPG pyrophosphatase (92%) and germin-like proteins (93%), which may be involved in cell wall reinforcement. In accordance with this, glycoproteins like extensin were released into the apoplast and callose accumulated to a greater extent in cell walls, whereas lignin and polyphenolics were not found to correlate with defence. Treatment of a susceptible wheat cultivar with purified beta-1,3-glucan fragments from cell walls of S. tritici gave complete protection against disease and this was accompanied by increased gene expression of beta-1,3-glucanase and the deposition of callose. Collectively, these data indicate that resistance is dependent on a fast, initial recognition of the pathogen, probably due to beta-1,3-glucan in the fungal cell walls, and this results in the accumulation of beta-1,3-glucanase and structural defence responses, which may directly inhibit the pathogen and protect the host against fungal enzymes and toxins.
(1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucans (mixed-linkage glucans) are found in tissues of members of the Poaceae (grasses), and are particularly high in barley
(Hordeum vulgare) grains. The present study describes the isolation of three independent (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucanless (betaglucanless; bgl) mutants of barley which completely lack (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucan in all the tissues tested. The bgl phenotype cosegregates with the cellulose synthase like HvCslF6 gene on chromosome arm 7HL. Each of the bgl mutants has a single nucleotide substitution in the coding region of the HvCslF6 gene resulting in a change of a highly conserved amino acid residue of the HvCslF6 protein. Microsomal membranes isolated
from developing endosperm of the bgl mutants lack detectable (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucan synthase activity indicating that the HvCslF6 protein is inactive. This was confirmed by transient expression of the
HvCslF6 cDNAs in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. The wild-type HvCslF6 gene directed the synthesis of high levels of (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucans, whereas the mutant HvCslF6 proteins completely lack the ability to synthesize (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucans. The fine structure of the (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucan produced in the tobacco leaf was also very different from that found in cereals having an extremely low DP3/DP4 ratio.
These results demonstrate that, among the seven CslF and one CslH genes present in the barley genome, HvCslF6 has a unique role and is the key determinant controlling the biosynthesis of (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucans. Natural allelic variation in the HvCslF6 gene was found predominantly within introns among 29 barley accessions studied. Genetic manipulation of the HvCslF6 gene could enable control of (1,3;1,4)-β-D-glucans in accordance with the purposes of use.
In peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch.) the degradation of the pectic compounds of the cell wall is considered to be the principal component responsible
for fruit softening. Many genes encoding enzymes acting on the different polymers of the pectic matrix have been shown to
be highly expressed during the late phases of softening, with polygalacturonase being the most important. Nevertheless, it
is known that softening starts well before the ethylene climacteric rise which occurs concomitant with the maximal expression
of the pectolytic enzymes. The cloning and characterization of PpEG4, an endo-β-1,4-glucanase (EGase) gene preferentially expressed in preclimacteric fruits, are presented here. PpEG4 belongs
to the group of EGases containing, at their carboxy-terminus, a peptide similar to the cellulose binding domain of microbial
origin. This EGase is also expressed during abscission of both leaves and fruits. The effect of exogenous ethylene treatments
on PpEG4 transcription is null in young fruits and negative in preclimacteric ones, while it is positive in abscission zones. Thus,
the expression of PpEG4 seems to be more dependent on the type of separation process rather than being influenced by a direct hormone action. The
ability of the PpEG4 regulatory sequences to drive transcription in cells undergoing separation events is also maintained in tomato, where about
3 kb of the gene promoter could drive the expression of gusA in preclimacteric fruits and in the fruit abscission zones.
Two endo‐β‐1,4‐glucanase (EGase; EC 188.8.131.52.) genes, highly expressed during ripening of the non‐climacteric strawberries
(Fragaria×ananassa Duch. cv. Chandler), were isolated. Serial promoter deletions of both genes (i.e. FaEG1 and FaEG3) fused to GUS were transiently assayed in strawberry fruits by using a technique recently developed in this laboratory. Although
differences were observed with the short fragments, GUS activity became comparable with the largest fragments of both promoters.
The apparently similar strength of the two largest promoter fragments was in contrast with previous results of Northern analyses
which demonstrated different transcripts amounts for the two genes. The inclusion of the 3′ flanking region of both genes
in the transient assays showed that, in the case of FaEG3, the 3′ region had a down‐regulating effect on the expression of GUS, and this might account for the lower amount of FaEG3 mRNA usually observed in ripe fruits compared to that of FaEG1. Downstream instability elements might be involved in such down‐regulation.
The last step of ascorbic acid (AA) biosynthesis is catalysed by the enzyme l-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase (GalLDH, EC 184.108.40.206), located on the inner mitochondrial membrane. The enzyme converts
l-galactono-1,4-lactone to ascorbic acid (AA). In this work, the cloning and characterization of a GalLDH full-length cDNA
from melon (Cucumis melo L.) are described. Melon genomic DNA Southern analysis indicated that CmGalLDH was encoded by a single gene. CmGalLDH mRNA accumulation was detected in all tissues studied, but differentially expressed during fruit development and seed germination.
It is hypothesized that induction of CmGalLDH gene expression in ripening melon fruit contributes to parallel increases in the AA content and so playing a role in the
oxidative ripening process. Higher CmGalLDH message abundance in light-grown seedlings compared with those raised in the dark suggests that CmGalLDH expression is regulated by light. Finally, various stresses and growth regulators resulted in no significant change in steady
state levels of CmGalLDH mRNA in 20-d-old melon seedlings. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of GalLDH transcript induction in seed
germination and differential gene expression during fruit ripening.
Germinating seeds of Euphorbia heterophylla L. contain endo‐1,4‐β‐glucanases which degrade carboxymethylcellulose (CMC). The activity decreased approximately 66% in
extracts of endosperm containing isopropanol or ethanol. The endoglucanases were isolated from endosperm extracts using ammonium
sulphate fractionation followed by Sephacryl S‐100‐HR chromatography resulting in two main peaks: I and II. Peak I endoglucanase
was further purified about 15‐fold on DEAE‐Sephadex A50 and then by affinity chromatography (CF11‐cellulose). Peak II endoglucanases were further purified 10‐fold on CM‐cellulose
chromatography. The results indicated the occurrence of a 66 kDa endoglucanase (fractionated by SDS‐PAGE and visualized by
activity staining using Congo Red). Several acidic (pI 3.0 to 5.7) and basic (pI 8.5 to 10.0) forms from both peaks which
differed in their capacities for degrading CMC or xyloglucans from Copaifera langsdorffii or Hymenaea courbaril were detected.
The phosphoinositol pathway is one of the major eukaryotic signalling pathways. The metabolite of the phosphoinositol pathway,
inositol- (1,4,5) trisphosphate (InsP3), is a regulator of plant responses to a wide variety of stresses, including light, drought, cold, and salinity. It was found
that the expression of InsP 5-ptase, the enzyme that hydrolyses InsP3, also dramatically affects the levels of inositol phosphate metabolites and the secondary metabolites in transgenic tomato
plants. Tomato plants expressing InsP 5-ptase exhibited a reduction in the levels of several important inositol phosphates, including InsP1, InsP2, InsP3, and InsP4. Reduced levels of inositol phosphates accompanied an increase in the accumulation of phenylpropanoids (rutin, chlorogenic
acid) and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) in the transgenic fruits of tomato plants. The enhanced accumulation of these metabolites
in transgenic tomato plants was in direct correspondence with the observed up-regulation of the genes that express the key
enzymes of ascorbic acid metabolism (myo-inositol oxygenase, MIOX; L-galactono-γ-lactone dehydrogenase, GLDH) and phenylpropanoid metabolism (chalcone synthase, CHS1; cinnamoyl-CoA shikimate/quinate transferase, HCT). To understand the molecular links between the activation of different branches of plant metabolism and InsP3 reduction in tomato fruits, the expression of transcription factors known to be involved in light signalling was analysed
by real-time RT-PCR. The expression of LeHY5, SIMYB12, and LeELIP was found to be higher in fruits expressing InsP 5-ptase. These results suggest possible interconnections between phosphoinositol metabolism, light signalling, and secondary metabolism
in plants. Our study also revealed the biotechnological potential for the genetic improvement of crop plants by the manipulation
of the phosphoinositol pathway.
Despite being the number one fruit crop in the world, very little is known about the phylogeny and molecular biology of banana
(Musa spp.). Six banana rbcS gene families encoding the small subunit of ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase from six different Musa spp. are presented. For a comprehensive phylogenetic study using Musa rbcS genes, a total of 57 distinct rbcS sequences was isolated from six accessions that contained different combinations of the A and B ancestral/parental genomes.
As a result, five of the six members of the rbcS gene family could be affiliated with the A and/or B Musa genomes and at least three of the six gene families most likely existed before Musa A and B genomes separated. By combining sequence data with quantitative real-time PCR it was determined that the different
Musa rbcS gene family members are also often multiply represented in each genome, with the highest copy numbers in the B genome. Expression
of some of the rbcS genes varied in intensity and in different tissues indicating differences in regulation. To analyse and compare regulatory
sequences of Musa rbcS genes, promoter and terminator regions were cloned for three Musa rbcS genes. Transient transformation assays using promoter–reporter–terminator constructs in maize, wheat, and sugarcane demonstrated
that the rbcS-Ma1, rbcS-Ma3, and rbcS-Ma5 promoters could be useful for transgene expression in heterologous expression systems. Furthermore, the rbcS-Ma1 terminator resulted in a 2-fold increase of transgene expression when directly compared with the widely used Nos terminator.
The Calvin cycle is the initial pathway of photosynthetic carbon fixation, and several of its reaction steps are suggested
to exert rate-limiting influence on the growth of higher plants. Plastid fructose 1,6-bisphosphate aldolase (aldolase, EC
220.127.116.11) is one of the nonregulated enzymes comprising the Calvin cycle and is predicted to have the potential to control
photosynthetic carbon flux through the cycle. In order to investigate the effect of overexpression of aldolase, this study
generated transgenic tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L. cv Xanthi) expressing Arabidopsis plastid aldolase. Resultant transgenic plants with 1.4–1.9-fold higher aldolase activities than those of wild-type plants
showed enhanced growth, culminating in increased biomass, particularly under high CO2 concentration (700 ppm) where the increase reached 2.2-fold relative to wild-type plants. This increase was associated with
a 1.5-fold elevation of photosynthetic CO2 fixation in the transgenic plants. The increased plastid aldolase resulted in a decrease in 3-phosphoglycerate and an increase
in ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate and its immediate precursors in the Calvin cycle, but no significant changes in the activities
of ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) or other major enzymes of carbon assimilation. Taken together,
these results suggest that aldolase overexpression stimulates ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate regeneration and promotes CO2 fixation. It was concluded that increased photosynthetic rate was responsible for enhanced growth and biomass yields of aldolase-overexpressing
Thioredoxins (Trxs) f and m, as well as their targets chloroplast fructose‐1,6‐bisphosphatase (FBPase) and NADP+‐malate dehydrogenase (NADP‐MDH), displayed transcriptional expression in both photosynthetic and non‐photosynthetic organs
of pea plants (Pisum sativum L. cv. Lincoln) grown for 50 d under normal irradiance. However, whereas Trx m and both target enzymes were poorly expressed in non‐photosynthetic tissues, the content of the precursor form of the Trx
f‐specific mRNA was high in pea roots. In contrast, the translational expression of Trx f was low in this organ. The high FBPase activity in immature seeds, and the low activity of leaves, must be related to high
starch synthesis in the first, and with high sucrose formation in the second. The transcriptional expression of FBPase and
NADP+‐MDH, and to a lesser extent that of Trxs f and m, was inhibited under low irradiance in plants grown under both normal and high temperatures. Pea plants grown at low temperature
displayed a high level of mRNAs for Trxs and their targets, especially when the growth was carried out at low light. To a
lesser extent, similar behaviour was observed at the protein level. Chloroplasts of mesophyll leaf cells of pea plants grown
under saturating light, or under sub‐saturating continuous irradiance, showed broken envelopes, distorted structural elements
and disorganized starch grains, as a consequence of a photobleaching process and high starch accumulation.
The pea chloroplastic fructose-1,6-bisphosphatase (FBPase) antisense construct reduced the endogenous level of expression of the corresponding Arabidopsis thaliana gene. The reduction of foliar FBPase activity in the transformants T2 and T3 generation ranged from 20% to 42%, and correlated with lower levels of FBPase protein. FBPase antisense plants displayed
different phenotypes with a clear increase in leaf fresh weight. Measurements of photosynthesis revealed a higher carbon-assimilation
rate. Decreased FBPase activity boosted the foliar carbohydrate contents, with a shift in the sucrose:starch ratio, which
reached a maximum of 0.99 when the activity loss was 41%. Nitrate reductase activity decreased simultaneously with an increase
in glutamine synthetase activity, which could be explained in terms of ammonium assimilation regulation by sugar content.
These results suggest the role of FBPase as a key enzyme in CO2 assimilation, and also in co-ordinating carbon and nitrogen metabolism.
A previous study on maize F2:3 families derived from Lo964×Lo1016 highlighted one QTL in bin 1.06 (hereafter named root-yield-1.06) affecting root and agronomic traits of plants grown in well-watered (WW) and water-stressed (WS) conditions. Starting from
different F4 families, two pairs of near isogenic lines (NILs) were developed at root-yield-1.06. The objective of this study was to evaluate root-yield-1.06 effects across different water regimes, genetic backgrounds, and inbreeding levels. The NILs per se and their crosses with Lo1016 and Lo964 were tested in 2008 and 2009 near to Bologna, with the well-watered (WW) and water-stressed
(WS) treatments providing, on average, 70 mm and 35 mm of water, respectively. For NILs per se, the interactions QTL×water regime and QTL×family were negligible in most cases; the QTL additive effects across families
were significant for several traits, especially root clump weight. For NILs crosses, analogously to NILs per se, the interactions were generally negligible and the additive effects across water regimes and families were significant for
most traits, especially grain yield. A meta-analysis carried out considering the QTLs described in this and previous studies
inferred one single locus as responsible for the effects on roots and agronomic traits. Our results show that root-yield-1.06 has a major constitutive effect on root traits, plant vigour and productivity across water regimes, genetic backgrounds,
and inbreeding levels. These features suggest that root-yield-1.06 is a valuable candidate for cloning the sequence underlying its effects and for marker-assisted selection to improve yield
stability in maize.
This paper describes the ddd genes that are involved in the production of the gas dimethyl sulphide from the substrate dimethylsulphoniopropionate (DMSP),
an abundant molecule that is a stress protectant in many marine algae and a few genera of angiosperms. What is known of the
arrangement of the ddd genes in different bacteria that can undertake this reaction is reviewed here, stressing the fact that these genes are probably
subject to horizontal gene transfer and that the same functions (e.g. DMSP transport) may be accomplished by very different
mechanisms. A surprising number of DMS-emitting bacteria are associated with the roots of higher plants, these including strains
of Rhizobium and some rhizosphere bacteria in the genus Burkholderia. One newly identified strain that is predicted to make DMS is B. phymatum which is a highly unusual β-proteobacterium that forms N2-fixing nodules on some tropical legumes, in this case, the tree Machaerium lunatum, which inhabits mangroves. The importance of DMSP catabolism and DMS production is discussed, not only in terms of nutritional
acquisition by the bacteria but also in a speculative scheme (the ‘messy eater’ model) in which the bacteria may make DMS
as an info-chemical to attract other organisms, including invertebrates and other plankton.
Uptake and retranslocation of leaf‐applied radiolabelled cadmium (109Cd) was studied in three diploid (Triticum monococcum, AA), four tetraploid (Triticum turgidum, BBAA) and two hexaploid (Triticum aestivum, BBAADD) wheat genotypes grown for 9 d under controlled environmental conditions in nutrient solution. Among the tetraploid
wheats, two genotypes were primitive (ssp. dicoccum) and two genotypes modern wheats (ssp. durum). Radiolabelled Cd was applied by immersing the tips (3 cm) of mature leaf into a 109Cd radiolabelled solution. There was a substantial variation in the uptake and export of 109Cd among and within wheat species. On average, diploid wheats (AA) absorbed and translocated more 109Cd than other wheats. The largest variation in 109Cd uptake was found within tetraploid wheats (BBAA). Primitive tetraploid wheats (ssp. dicoccum) had a greater uptake capacity for 109Cd than modern tetraploid wheats (ssp. durum). In all wheats studied, the amount of the 109Cd exported from the treated leaf into the roots and the remainder of the shoots was poorly related to the total absorption.
For example, bread wheat cultivars were more or less similar in total absorption, but differed greatly in the amount of 109Cd retranslocated. The diploid wheat genotype ‘FAL‐43’ absorbed the lowest amount of 109Cd, but retranslocated the greatest amount of 109Cd in roots and remainder of shoots. The results indicate the existence of substantial genotypic variation in the uptake and
retranslocation of leaf‐applied 109Cd. This variation is discussed in terms of potential genotypic differences in binding of Cd to cell walls and the composition
of phloem sap ligands possibly affecting Cd transport into sink organs.
In this study, it has been determined whether the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis is able to alter the pattern of dehydrin
(LEA D-11 group) transcript accumulation under drought stress, and whether such a possible alteration functions in the protection
of the host plants against drought. Two dehydrin-encoding genes have been cloned from Glycine max (gmlea 8 and gmlea 10) and one from Lactuca sativa (lslea 1) and they have been analysed for their contribution to the response against drought in mycorrhizal soybean and lettuce plants.
Results with soybean plants showed that most of the treatments did not show LEA gene expression under well-watered conditions.
The higher gene expression was found in non-inoculated plants subjected to drought. Only plants singly inoculated with Bradyrhizobium japonicum showed an important level of LEA gene expression under well-watered conditions and a reduced level under drought-stress conditions.
The same results were confirmed in subsequent experiments and at the latest stage of a time-course experiment. In lettuce,
the lslea 1 gene was also induced by drought stress in all treatments. However, the level of induction was clearly higher in roots from
non-inoculated plants than in roots from the two AM treatments assayed. The overall results demonstrated that the levels of
lea transcript accumulation in mycorrhizal treatments subjected to drought were considerably lower than in the corresponding
non-mycorrhizal plants, indicating that the accumulation of LEA proteins is not a mechanism by which the AM symbiosis protects
their host plant.
Intrinsic water use efficiency (WUE(intr)), the ratio of photosynthesis to stomatal conductance to water, is often used as an index for crop water use in breeding projects. However, WUE(intr) conflates variation in these two processes, and thus may be less useful as a selection trait than knowledge of both components. The goal of the present study was to determine whether the contribution of photosynthetic capacity and stomatal conductance to WUE(intr) varied independently between soybean genotypes and whether this pattern was interactive with mild drought. Photosynthetic capacity was defined as the variation in WUE(intr) that would occur if genotypes of interest had the same stomatal conductance as a reference genotype and only differed in photosynthesis; similarly, the contribution of stomatal conductance to WUE(intr) was calculated assuming a constant photosynthetic capacity across genotypes. Genotypic differences in stomatal conductance had the greatest effect on WUE(intr) (26% variation when well watered), and was uncorrelated with the effect of photosynthetic capacity on WUE(intr). Thus, photosynthetic advantages of 8.3% were maintained under drought. The maximal rate of Rubisco carboxylation, generally the limiting photosynthetic process for soybeans, was correlated with photosynthetic capacity. As this trait was not interactive with leaf temperature, and photosynthetic capacity differences were maintained under mild drought, the observed patterns of photosynthetic advantage for particular genotypes are likely to be consistent across a range of environmental conditions. This suggests that it is possible to employ a selection strategy of breeding water-saving soybeans with high photosynthetic capacities to compensate for otherwise reduced photosynthesis in genotypes with lower stomatal conductance.
The hybrid Richter-110 (Vitis berlandierixVitis rupestris) has the reputation of being a genotype strongly adapted to drought. A study was performed with plants of R-110 subjected to sustained water-withholding to induce acclimation to two different levels of water stress, followed by rewatering to induce recovery. The goal was to analyse how photosynthesis is regulated during acclimation to water stress and recovery. In particular, the regulation of stomatal conductance (g(s)), mesophyll conductance to CO(2) (g(m)), leaf photochemistry (chlorophyll fluorescence and thermoluminescence), and biochemistry (V(c,max)) were assessed. During water stress, g(s) declined to 0.1 and less than 0.05 mol CO(2) m(-2) s(-1) in moderately and severely water-stressed plants, respectively, and was kept quite constant during an acclimation period of 1-week. Leaf photochemistry proved to be very resistant to the applied water-stress conditions. By contrast, g(m) and V(c,max) were affected by water stress, but they were not kept constant during the acclimation period. g(m) was initially unaffected by water stress, and V(c,max) even increased above control values. However, after several days of acclimation to water stress, both parameters declined below (g(m)) or at (V(c,max)) control values. For the latter two parameters there seemed to be an interaction between water stress and cumulative irradiance, since both recovered to control values after several cloudy days despite water stress. A photosynthesis limitation analysis revealed that diffusional limitations and not biochemical limitations accounted for the observed decline in photosynthesis during water stress and slow recovery after rewatering, both in moderately and severely stressed plants. However, the relative contribution of stomatal (SL) and mesophyll conductance (MCL) limitations changes during acclimation to water stress, from predominant SL early during water stress to similar SL and MCL after acclimation. Finally, photosynthesis recovery after rewatering was mostly limited by SL, since stomatal closure recovered much more slowly than g(m).