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New Phytologist Volume 216 Issue 1

New Phytologist

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Volume 216 Issue 1 | October 2017
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New Phytologist is an international journal offering rapid publication of high quality, original research in plant science. Covering four sections - Physiology & Development, Environment, Interaction and Evolution - articles cover topics that range from intracellular processes through to global environmental change. Cross-disciplinary approaches are particularly encouraged and we recognize that techniques from molecular and cell biology, and functional genomics through to modelling and system-based approaches will be applied across the whole spectrum of plant science.


Dow et al. (2017)

Disruption of stomatal lineage signaling or transcriptional regulators has differential effects on mesophyll development, but maintains coordination of gas exchange

  • Stomata are simultaneously tasked with permitting the uptake of carbon dioxide for photosynthesis while limiting water loss from the plant. This process is mainly regulated by guard cell control of the stomatal aperture, but recent advancements have highlighted the importance of several genes that control stomatal development.
  • Using targeted genetic manipulations of the stomatal lineage and a combination of gas exchange and microscopy techniques, we show that changes in stomatal development of the epidermal layer lead to coupled changes in the underlying mesophyll tissues. This coordinated response tends to match leaf photosynthetic potential (Vcmax) with gas-exchange capacity (gsmax), and hence the uptake of carbon dioxide for water lost.
  • We found that different genetic regulators systematically altered tissue coordination in separate ways: the transcription factor SPEECHLESS (SPCH) primarily affected leaf size and thickness, whereas peptides in the EPIDERMAL PATTERNING FACTOR (EPF) family altered cell density in the mesophyll. It was also determined that interlayer coordination required the cell-surface receptor TOO MANY MOUTHS (TMM).
  • These results demonstrate that stomata-specific regulators can alter mesophyll properties, which provides insight into how molecular pathways can organize leaf tissues to coordinate gas exchange and suggests new strategies for improving plant water-use efficiency.

Müller et al. (2017)

The desert plant Phoenix dactylifera closes stomata via nitrate-regulated SLAC1 anion channel

  • Date palm Phoenix dactylifera is a desert crop well adapted to survive and produce fruits under extreme drought and heat. How are palms under such harsh environmental conditions able to limit transpirational water loss?
  • Here, we analysed the cuticular waxes, stomata structure and function, and molecular biology of guard cells from P. dactylifera.
  • To understand the stomatal response to the water stress phytohormone of the desert plant, we cloned the major elements necessary for guard cell fast abscisic acid (ABA) signalling and reconstituted this ABA signalosome in Xenopus oocytes. The PhoenixSLAC1-type anion channel is regulated by ABA kinase PdOST1. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDXA) demonstrated that date palm guard cells release chloride during stomatal closure. However, in Cl medium, PdOST1 did not activate the desert plant anion channel PdSLAC1 per se. Only when nitrate was present at the extracellular face of the anion channel did the OST1-gated PdSLAC1 open, thus enabling chloride release. In the presence of nitrate, ABA enhanced and accelerated stomatal closure.
  • Our findings indicate that, in date palm, the guard cell osmotic motor driving stomatal closure uses nitrate as the signal to open the major anion channel SLAC1. This initiates guard cell depolarization and the release of anions together with potassium.

Wang et al. (2017)

Delivery of cytoplasmic and apoplastic effectors from Phytophthora infestans haustoria by distinct secretion pathways

  • The potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans secretes effector proteins that are delivered inside (cytoplasmic) or can act outside (apoplastic) plant cells to neutralize host immunity. Little is known about how and where effectors are secreted during infection, yet such knowledge is essential to understand and combat crop disease.
  • We used transient Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated in plantaexpression, transformation of P. infestans with fluorescent protein fusions and confocal microscopy to investigate delivery of effectors to plant cells during infection.
  • The cytoplasmic effector Pi04314, expressed as a monomeric red fluorescent protein (mRFP) fusion protein with a signal peptide to secrete it from plant cells, did not passively re-enter the cells upon secretion. However, Pi04314-mRFP expressed in P. infestans was translocated from haustoria, which form intimate interactions with plant cells, to accumulate at its sites of action in the host nucleus. The well-characterized apoplastic effector EPIC1, a cysteine protease inhibitor, was also secreted from haustoria. EPIC1 secretion was inhibited by brefeldin A (BFA), demonstrating that it is delivered by conventional Golgi-mediated secretion. By contrast, Pi04314 secretion was insensitive to BFA treatment, indicating that the cytoplasmic effector follows an alternative route for delivery into plant cells.
  • Phytophthora infestans haustoria are thus sites for delivery of both apoplastic and cytoplasmic effectors during infection, following distinct secretion pathways.

Wang et al. (2017)

Transcriptional control of photosynthetic capacity: conservation and divergence from Arabidopsis to rice

Photosynthesis is one of the most important biological processes on Earth. It provides the consumable energy upon which almost all organisms are dependent, and modulates the composition of the planet's atmosphere. To carry out photosynthesis, plants require a large cohort of genes. These genes encode proteins that capture light energy, store energy in sugars and build the subcellular structures required to facilitate this energy capture. Although the function of many of these genes is known, little is understood about the transcriptional networks that coordinate their expression. This review places our understanding of the transcriptional regulation of photosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana in an evolutionary context, to provide new insight into transcriptional regulatory networks that control photosynthesis gene expression in grasses. The similarities and differences between the rice and Arabidopsis networks are highlighted, revealing substantial disparity between the two systems. In addition, avenues are identified that may be exploited for photosynthesis engineering projects in the future.

Hedrich & Geiger (2017)

Biology of SLAC1-type anion channels – from nutrient uptake to stomatal closure

Stomatal guard cells control leaf CO2 intake and concomitant water loss to the atmosphere. When photosynthetic CO2 assimilation is limited and the ratio of CO2 intake to transpiration becomes suboptimal, guard cells, sensing the rise in CO2 concentration in the substomatal cavity, deflate and the stomata close. Screens for mutants that do not close in response to experimentally imposed high CO2 atmospheres identified the guard cell-expressed Slowly activating anion channel, SLAC1, as the key player in the regulation of stomatal closure. SLAC1 evolved, though, before the emergence of guard cells. In Arabidopsis, SLAC1 is the founder member of a family of anion channels, which comprises four homologues. SLAC1 and SLAH3 mediate chloride and nitrate transport in guard cells, while SLAH1, SLAH2 and SLAH3 are engaged in root nitrate and chloride acquisition, and anion translocation to the shoot. The signal transduction pathways involved in CO2, water stress and nutrient-sensing activate SLAC/SLAH via distinct protein kinase/phosphatase pairs. In this review, we discuss the role that SLAC/SLAH channels play in guard cell closure, on the one hand, and in the root–shoot continuum on the other, along with the molecular basis of the channels’ anion selectivity and gating.

Helliwell (2017)

The roles of B vitamins in phytoplankton nutrition: new perspectives and prospects

B vitamins play essential roles in central metabolism. These organic water-soluble molecules act as, or as part of, coenzymes within the cell. Unlike land plants, many eukaryotic algae are auxotrophic for certain B vitamins. Recent progress in algal genetic resources and environmental chemistry have promoted a renewal of interest in the role of vitamins in governing phytoplankton dynamics, and illuminated amazing versatility in phytoplankton vitamin metabolism. Accumulating evidence demonstrates metabolic complexity in the production and bioavailability of different vitamin forms, coupled with specialized acquisition strategies to salvage and remodel vitamin precursors. Here, I describe recent advances and discuss how they redefine our view of the way in which vitamins are cycled in aquatic ecosystems and their importance in structuring phytoplankton communities.

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