Background and Aims
In kiwifruit (Actinidia), the number of nodes per shoot is highly variable and is influenced by genotype and environmental conditions. To understand this developmental plasticity, three key processes were studied: organogenesis by the shoot apical meristem during shoot growth; expansion of phytomers; and shoot tip abortion.
Studies were made of organogenesis and shoot tip abortion using light and scanning electron microscopy. The effect of temperature on shoot growth cessation was investigated using temperature indices over the budbreak period, and patterns of shoot tip abortion were quantified using stochastic modelling.
All growing buds began organogenesis before budbreak. During shoot development, the number of phytomers initiated by the shoot apical meristem is correlated with the number of expanding phytomers and the mean internode length. Shoot tip abortion is preceded by growth cessation and is not brought about by the death of the shoot apical meristem, but occurs by tissue necrosis in the sub-apical zone. For most genotypes studied, the probability of shoot tip abortion is higher during expansion of the preformed part of the shoot. Lower temperatures during early growth result in a higher probability of shoot tip abortion.
Organogenesis and shoot tip abortion are controlled independently. All buds have the potential to become long shoots. Conditions that increase early growth rate postpone shoot tip abortion.
Actinidia; kiwifruit; shoot fate; neoformation; organogenesis; shoot tip abortion; developmental plasticity; temperature
Background and Aims
Models based on the consideration of plant development as the result of source–sink relationships between organs suffer from an inherent lack of quantification of the effect of trophic competition on organ growth processes. The ‘common assimilate pool theory’ underlying many such models is highly debatable.
Six experiments were carried out in a greenhouse and outdoors with two grapevine cultivars and with 12 management systems, resulting in different types of plant architecture. Ten variables were used to quantify the impact of variations in assimilate supply and topological distances between sources and sinks on organogenesis, morphogenesis and biomass growth.
A hierarchy of the responses of these processes to variations in assimilate supply was identified. Organ size seemed to be independent of assimilate supply, whereas both organogenesis and biomass growth were affected by variations in assimilate supply. Lower levels of organ biomass growth in response to the depletion of assimilate supplies seemed to be the principal mechanism underlying the plasticity of plant development in different environments. Defoliation or axis ablation resulted in changes in the relationship between growth processes and assimilate supply, highlighting the influence of non-trophic determinants. The findings cast doubt on the relevance of ‘the common assimilate pool theory’ for modelling the development of grapevine.
The results of this study suggest new formalisms for increasing the ability of models to take plant plasticity into account. The combination of an ecophysiological model for morphogenesis taking environmental signals into account and a biomass driven model for organogenesis and biomass allocation taking the topological distances between the sources and the sinks into account appears to be a promising approach. Moreover, in order to simulate the impact of agronomic practices, it will be necessary to take into account the non-trophic determinants of plant development such as hormonal signaletics.
Biomass growth; branching system; common assimilate pool; morphogenesis; organogenesis; source–sink; grapevine; Vitis vinifera
• Background and Aims Soil water deficit is a major abiotic stress with severe consequences for the development, productivity and quality of crops. However, it is considered a positive factor in grapevine management (Vitis vinifera), as it has been shown to increase grape quality. The effects of soil water deficit on organogenesis, morphogenesis and gas exchange in the shoot were investigated.
• Methods Shoot organogenesis was analysed by distinguishing between the various steps in the development of the main axis and branches. Several experiments were carried out in pots, placed in a greenhouse or outside, in southern France. Soil water deficits of various intensities were imposed during vegetative development of the shoots of two cultivars (‘Syrah’ and ‘Grenache N’).
• Key Results All developmental processes were inhibited by soil water deficit, in an intensity-dependent manner, and sensitivity to water stress was process-dependent. Quantitative relationships with soil water were established for all processes. No difference was observed between the two cultivars for any criterion. The number of leaves on branches was particularly sensitive to soil water deficit, which rapidly and strongly reduced the rate of leaf appearance on developing branches. This response was not related to carbon availability, photosynthetic activity or the soluble sugar content of young expanding leaves. The potential number of branches was not a limiting factor for shoot development.
• Conclusions The particularly high sensitivity to soil water deficit of leaf appearance on branches indicates that this process is a major determinant of the adaptation of plant leaf area to soil water deficit. The origin of this particular developmental response to soil water deficit is unclear, but it seems to be related to constitutive characteristics of branches rather than to competition for assimilates between axes differing in sink strength.
Shoot; organogenesis; morphogenesis; branching; leaf area; stomatal conductance; photosynthesis; carbon availability; soil water deficit; Vitis vinifera L
Background and Aims
The strong influence of environment and functioning on plant organogenesis has been well documented by botanists but is poorly reproduced in most functional–structural models. In this context, a model of interactions is proposed between plant organogenesis and plant functional mechanisms.
The GreenLab model derived from AMAP models was used. Organogenetic rules give the plant architecture, which defines an interconnected network of organs. The plant is considered as a collection of interacting ‘sinks’ that compete for the allocation of photosynthates coming from ‘sources’. A single variable characteristic of the balance between sources and sinks during plant growth controls different events in plant development, such as the number of branches or the fruit load.
Variations in the environmental parameters related to light and density induce changes in plant morphogenesis. Architecture appears as the dynamic result of this balance, and plant plasticity expresses itself very simply at different levels: appearance of branches and reiteration, number of organs, fructification and adaptation of ecophysiological characteristics.
The modelling framework serves as a tool for theoretical botany to explore the emergence of specific morphological and architectural patterns and can help to understand plant phenotypic plasticity and its strategy in response to environmental changes.
Trophic plasticity; plant growth; functional–structural models; dynamic system; interactions; GreenLab
Imaging and computational modeling of the Arabidopsis shoot meristem epidermis suggests that biomechanical signals coordinately regulate auxin efflux carrier distribution and microtubule patterning to orchestrate the extent and directionality of growth.
Morphogenesis during multicellular development is regulated by intercellular signaling molecules as well as by the mechanical properties of individual cells. In particular, normal patterns of organogenesis in plants require coordination between growth direction and growth magnitude. How this is achieved remains unclear. Here we show that in Arabidopsis thaliana, auxin patterning and cellular growth are linked through a correlated pattern of auxin efflux carrier localization and cortical microtubule orientation. Our experiments reveal that both PIN1 localization and microtubule array orientation are likely to respond to a shared upstream regulator that appears to be biomechanical in nature. Lastly, through mathematical modeling we show that such a biophysical coupling could mediate the feedback loop between auxin and its transport that underlies plant phyllotaxis.
The proper development of plant organs such as leaves or flowers depends both on localized growth, which can be controlled by the plant hormone auxin, and directional growth, which is dependent on each cell's microtubule cytoskeleton. In this paper we show that at the shoot apex where organs initiate the orientation of the microtubule cytoskeleton is correlated with the orientation of the auxin transporter PIN1, suggesting coordination between growth patterning at the tissue level and directional growth at the cellular level. Recent work has indicated that mechanical signals play a role in orienting the plant microtubule network, and here we show that such signals can also orient PIN1. In addition, we demonstrate through mathematical modeling that an auxin transport system that is coordinated by mechanical signals akin to those we observed in vivo is sufficient to give rise to the patterns of organ outgrowth found in the plant Arabidopsis thaliana.
► We discuss the role of secondary meristems in the adaptation of plant growth forms. ► We highlight the integration of environmental inputs into plant growth regulation. ► Branching and secondary growth shape the plant body. ► Plant’s phenotypic plasticity can be used to dissect the evolution of growth forms.
The developmental plasticity of organisms is a natural consequence of adaptation. Classical approaches targeting developmental processes usually focus on genetics as the essential factor underlying phenotypic differences. However, such differences are often based on the inherent plasticity of developmental programs. Due to their dependence on environmental stimuli, plants represent ideal experimental systems in which to dissect the contribution of genetic and environmental variation to phenotypic plasticity. An evident example is the vast repertoire of growth forms observed in plant shoot systems. A fundamental factor underlying the broadness of this repertoire is the activity of secondary meristems, namely the axillary meristems that give rise to side shoots, and the cambium essential for stem thickening. Differential activities of both meristem types are crucial to the tremendous variation seen in higher plant architecture. In this review, we discuss the role of secondary meristems in the adaptation of plant growth forms, and the ways in which they integrate environmental input. In particular, we explore potential approaches for dissecting the degree to which this flexibility and its consequences for plant architecture is genetically predetermined and how much it represents an adaptive value.
Phenotypic plasticity; Adaptation; Plant meristems; Branching; Cambium; Natural variation
Plants rely on the maintenance of stem cell niches at their apices for the continuous growth of roots and shoots. However, while the developmental plasticity of plant cells has been demonstrated1, it is not known whether the stem cell niche is required for organogenesis. Here we explore the capacity of a broad range of differentiating cells to regenerate an organ without the activity of a stem cell niche. Using a root-tip regeneration system in Arabidopsis to track the molecular and functional recovery of cell fates, we show that re-specification of lost cell identities begins within hours of excision and that the function of specialized cells is restored within one day. Critically, regeneration proceeds in plants with mutations that fail to maintain the stem cell niche. These results show that stem cell-like properties that mediate complete organ regeneration are dispersed in plant meristems and are not restricted to niches, which nonetheless appear necessary for indeterminate growth. This regenerative reprogramming of an entire organ without transition to a stereotypical stem cell environment has intriguing parallels to recent reports of induced transdifferentiation of specific cell types in the adult organs of animals2,3.
Shoot growth and development is mediated by the activity of the shoot meristem, which initiates leaves and axillary meristems. Meristem maintenance is achieved by a poorly understood process that functions to sustain the balance of stem cell perpetuation in the central zone (CZ) and organogenesis in the peripheral zone (PZ). A recent study showed that two related homeodomain transcription factors, PENNYWISE (PNY) and POUND-FOOLISH (PNF), regulate meristem maintenance by controlling the integrity of the CZ. The non-flower producing phenotype displayed by pny pnf plants can be rescued by genetically increasing the size of the shoot meristem. In this addendum, we show that augmenting the size of the central region of pny pnf shoot meristems partially rescues the meristem termination phenotype that occurs during early stages of vegetative development. Thus, regulation of CZ integrity by PNY and PNF is crucial for vegetative and reproductive development.
development; shoot growth; meristem; homeodomain; stem cells
• Background and Aims The production of axillary shoots (tillering) in spring wheat (Triticum aestivum) depends on intraspecific competition. The mechanisms that underlie this competition are complex, but light within the wheat canopy plays a key role. The main objectives of this paper are to analyse the effects of plant population density and shade on tillering dynamics of spring wheat, to assess the canopy conditions quantitatively at the time of tillering cessation, and to analyse the relationship between the tiller bud and the leaf on the same phytomer.
• Methods Spring wheat plants were grown at three plant population densities and under two light regimes (25 % and 100 % light). Tiller appearance, fraction of the light intercepted, and red : far-red ratio at soil level were recorded. On six sampling dates the growth status of axillary buds was analysed.
• Key Results Tillering ceased earlier at high population densities and ceased earlier in the shade than in full sunlight. At cessation of tillering, both the fraction of light intercepted and the red : far-red ratio at soil level were similar in all treatments. Leaves on the same phytomer of buds that grew out showed more leaf mass per unit area than those on the same phytomer of buds that remained dormant.
• Conclusions Tillering ceases at specific light conditions within the wheat canopy, independent of population density, and to a lesser extent independent of light intensity. It is suggested that cessation of tillering is induced when the fraction of PAR intercepted by the canopy exceeds a specific threshold (0·40–0·45) and red : far-red ratio drops below 0·35–0·40.
Triticum aestivum; wheat; tiller; bud; plant population density; shade; PAR; red : far-red ratio; functional–structural model
Local, efflux-dependent auxin gradients and maxima mediate organ and tissue development in plants. The auxin-efflux pattern is regulated by dynamic expression and asymmetric subcellular localization of PIN auxin-efflux proteins during plant organogenesis. Thus, the question of how the expression and subcellular localization of PIN proteins are controlled goes to the heart of plant development. It has been shown that PIN expression and polarity are established not only through a self-organizing auxin-mediated polarization mechanism, but also through other means such as cell-fate determination. We found that the Arabidopsis NO VEIN (NOV) gene, encoding a novel, plant-specific nuclear factor, is required for leaf vascular development, cellular patterning and stem-cell maintenance in the root meristem and cotyledon outgrowth and separation. NOV function underlies cell-fate decisions associated with auxin gradients and maxima, thereby establishing cell type-specific PIN expression and polarity. We propose that NOV mediates cell acquisition of the competence to undergo auxin-dependent coordinated cell specification and patterning, thereby educing context-dependent auxin-mediated developmental responses.
Arabidopsis; auxin; PIN; organ development; vascular development; stem-cell maintenance; NO VEIN
The expanded growth model is developed to describe accumulation of plant biomass (Mg ha−1) and mineral elements (kg ha−1) in with calendar time (wk). Accumulation of plant biomass with calendar time occurs as a result of photosynthesis for green land-based plants. A corresponding accumulation of mineral elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium occurs from the soil through plant roots. In this analysis, the expanded growth model is tested against high quality, published data on corn (Zea mays L.) growth. Data from a field study in South Carolina was used to evaluate the application of the model, where the planting time of April 2 in the field study maximized the capture of solar energy for biomass production. The growth model predicts a simple linear relationship between biomass yield and the growth quantifier, which is confirmed with the data. The growth quantifier incorporates the unit processes of distribution of solar energy which drives biomass accumulation by photosynthesis, partitioning of biomass between light-gathering and structural components of the plants, and an aging function. A hyperbolic relationship between plant nutrient uptake and biomass yield is assumed, and is confirmed for the mineral elements nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). It is concluded that the rate limiting process in the system is biomass accumulation by photosynthesis and that nutrient accumulation occurs in virtual equilibrium with biomass accumulation.
Studies on the effect of environmental conditions on plants and microorganisms are a central issue in ecology, and they require an adequate experimental setup. A strategy often applied in geobotanical studies is based on the reciprocal transplantation of plant species at different sites. We adopted a similar approach as a field-based tool to investigate the relationships of soil bacterial communities with the environment. Soil samples from two different (calcareous and siliceous) unvegetated glacier forefields were reciprocally transplanted and incubated for 15 months between 2009 and 2010. Controls containing local soils were included. The sites were characterized over time in terms of geographical (bedrock, exposition, sunlight, temperature, and precipitation) and physicochemical (texture, water content, soluble and nutrients) features. The incubating local (“home”) and transplanted (“away”) soils were monitored for changes in extractable nutrients and in the bacterial community structure, defined through terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) of the 16S rRNA gene. Concentrations of soluble ions in most samples were more significantly affected by seasons than by the transplantation. For example, NO3− showed a seasonal pattern, increasing from 1 to 3 μg NO3− (g soil dry weight)−1 after the melting of snow but decreasing to <1 μg NO3− (g soil dry weight)−1 in autumn. Seasons, and in particular strong precipitation events occurring in the summer of 2010 (200 to 300 mm of rain monthly), were also related to changes of bacterial community structures. Our results show the suitability of this approach to compare responses of bacterial communities to different environmental conditions directly in the field.
Single or a group of somatic cells could give rise to the whole plant, which require hormones, or plant growth regulators. Although many studies have been done during past years, how hormones specify cell fate during in vitro organogenesis is still unknown. To uncover this mechanism, Arabidopsis somatic embryogenesis has been recognized as a model for studying in vitro plant organogenesis. In this paper, we showed that establishment of auxin gradients within embryonic callus is essential for inducing stem cell formation via PIN1 regulation. This study sheds new light on how hormone regulates stem cell formation during in vitro organogenesis.
auxin gradients; PIN proteins; stem cell; somatic embryogenesis
Studies on coupled transfer of soil moisture and heat have been widely carried out for decades. However, little work has been done on red soils, widespread in southern China. The simultaneous transfer of soil moisture and heat depends on soil physical properties and the climate conditions. Red soil is heavy clay and high content of free iron and aluminum oxide. The climate conditions are characterized by the clear four seasons and the serious seasonal drought. The great annual and diurnal air temperature differences result in significant fluctuation in soil temperature in top layer. The closed and evaporating columns experiments with red soil were conducted to simulate the coupled transfer of soil water and heat under the overlaying and opening fields’ conditions, and to analyze the effects of soil temperature gradient on the water transfer and the effects of initial soil water contents on the transfer of soil water and heat. The closed and evaporating columns were designed similarly with about 18 °C temperatures differences between the top and bottom boundary, except of the upper end closed or exposed to the air, respectively. Results showed that in the closed column, water moved towards the cold end driven by temperature gradient, while the transported water decreased with the increasing initial soil water content until the initial soil water content reached to field capacity equivalent, when almost no changes for the soil moisture profile. In the evaporating column, the net transport of soil water was simultaneously driven by evaporation and temperature gradients, and the drier soil was more influenced by temperature gradient than by evaporation. In drier soil, it took a longer time for the temperature to reach equilibrium, because of more net amount of transported water.
Red soil; Coupled transfer of water and heat; Evaporation; Initial soil moisture
The pituitary gland regulates numerous physiological functions including growth, reproduction, temperature and metabolic homeostasis, lactation, and response to stress. Pituitary organogenesis is dependent on signaling factors that are produced in and around the developing pituitary. The studies described in this report reveal that the forkhead transcription factor, Foxd1, is not expressed in the developing mouse pituitary gland, but rather in the mesenchyme surrounding the pituitary gland, which is an essential source of signaling factors that regulate pituitary organogenesis. Loss of Foxd1 causes a morphological defect in which the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland protrudes through the cartilage plate that is developing ventral to the pituitary at embryonic days (e)14.5, e16.5, and e18.5. The number of proliferating pituitary cells is increased at e14.5 and e16.5. Loss of Foxd1 also results in significantly decreased levels of Lhb expression at e18.5. This decrease in Lhb expression does not appear to be due to a change in the number of gonadotrope cells in the pituitary gland. Previous studies have shown that loss of the LIM homeodomain factor, Lhx3, which is activated by the FGF signaling pathway, results in loss of LH production. Although there is a difference in Lhb expression in Foxd1 null mice, the expression pattern of LHX3 is not altered in Foxd1 null mice. These studies suggest that Foxd1 is indirectly required for normal Lhb expression and cartilage formation.
Grapevine can be a periclinal chimera plant which is composed at least of two distinct cell layers (L1, L2). When the cell layers of this plant are separated by passage through somatic embryogenesis, regenerated plants could show distinct DNA profiles and a novel phenotype which proved different from that of the parent plant.
Genetically Chardonnay clone 96 is a periclinal chimera plant in which is L1 and L2 cell layers are distinct. Plants obtained via organogenesis through meristematic bulks are shown to be composed of both cell layers. However, plants regenerated through somatic embryogenesis starting from anthers or nodal explants are composed only of L1 cells. These somaclones do not show phenotypic differences to the parental clone up to three years after regeneration. Interestingly, the only somaclone showing an atypical phenotype (asymmetric leave) shows a genotypic modification.
These results suggest that the phenotype of Chardonnay 96 does not result from an interaction between the two distinct cell layers L1 and L2. If phenotype conformity is further confirmed, somatic embryogenesis will result in true-to-type somaclones of Chardonnay 96 and would be well suitable for gene transfer.
Background and Aims
Numerous studies have examined the effects of climatic factors on the distribution of C3 and C4 grasses in various regions throughout the world, but the role of seasonal fluctuations in temperature, precipitation and soil N availability in regulating growth and competition of these two functional types is still not well understood. This report is about the effects of seasonality of soil N availability and competition on plant N dynamics and N-use strategies of one C3 (Leymus chinensis) and one C4 (Chloris virgata) grass species.
Leymus chinensis and C. virgata, two grass species native to the temperate steppe in northern China, were planted in a monoculture and a mixture under three different N seasonal availabilities: an average model (AM) with N evenly distributed over the growing season; a one-peak model (OM) with more N in summer than in spring and autumn; and a two-peak model (TM) with more N in spring and autumn than in summer.
The results showed that the altered N seasonality changed plant N concentration, with the highest value of L. chinensis under the OM treatment and C. virgata under the TM treatment, respectively. N seasonality also affected plant N content, N productivity and N-resorption efficiency and proficiency in both the C3 and C4 species. Interspecific competition influenced N-use and resorption efficiency in both the C3 and C4 species, with higher N-use and resorption efficiency in the mixture than in monoculture. The C4 grass had higher N-use efficiency than the C3 grass due to its higher N productivity, irrespective of the N treatment or competition.
The observations suggest that N-use strategies in the C3 and C4 species used in the study were closely related to seasonal dynamics of N supply and competition. N seasonality might be involved in the growth and temporal niche separation between C3 and C4 species observed in the natural ecosystems.
Competition; C3 and C4 grasses; nitrogen seasonality; nitrogen productivity; mean residence time; temperate steppe
The difference between indeterminate and determinate growth in plants consists of the presence or absence of an active meristem in the fully developed organ. Determinate root growth implies that the root apical meristem (RAM) becomes exhausted. As a consequence, all cells in the root tip differentiate. This type of growth is widely found in roots of many angiosperm taxa and might have evolved as a developmental adaptation to water deficit (in desert Cactaceae), or low mineral content in the soil (proteoid roots in various taxa).
Scope and Conclusions
This review considers the mechanisms of determinate root growth to better understand how the RAM is maintained, how it functions, and the cellular and genetic bases of these processes. The role of the quiescent centre in RAM maintenance and exhaustion will be analysed. During root ageing, the RAM becomes smaller and its organization changes; however, it remains unknown whether every root is truly determinate in the sense that its RAM becomes exhausted before senescence. We define two types of determinate growth: constitutive where determinacy is a natural part of root development; and non-constitutive where determinacy is induced usually by an environmental factor. Determinate root growth is proposed to include two phases: the indeterminate growth phase, when the RAM continuously produces new cells; and the termination growth phase, when cell production gradually decreases and eventually ceases. Finally, new concepts regarding stem cells and a stem cell niche are discussed to help comprehend how the meristem is maintained in a broad taxonomic context.
Angiosperms; determinate root growth; indeterminate growth; meristem maintenance; quiescent centre; root apical meristem; root development; stem cells; stem cell niche
Grapevine flower development and fruit set are influenced by cold nights in the vineyard. To investigate the impact of cold stress on carbon metabolism in the inflorescence, we exposed the inflorescences of fruiting cuttings to chilling and freezing temperatures overnight and measured fluctuations in photosynthesis and sugar content. Whatever the temperature, after the stress treatment photosynthesis was modified in the inflorescence, but the nature of the alteration depended on the intensity of the cold stress. At 4°C, photosynthesis in the inflorescence was impaired through non-stomatal limitations, whereas at 0°C it was affected through stomatal limitations. A freezing night (−3°C) severely deregulated photosynthesis in the inflorescence, acting primarily on photosystem II. Cold nights also induced accumulation of sugars. Soluble carbohydrates increased in inflorescences exposed to −3°C, 0°C and 4°C, but starch accumulated only in inflorescences of plants treated at 0 and −3°C. These results suggest that inflorescences are able to cope with cold temperatures by adapting their carbohydrate metabolism using mechanisms that are differentially induced according to stress intensity.
• Background and Aims The root apical meristems (RAM) of flowering plant roots are organized into recognizable pattern types. At present, there are no known ecological or physiological benefits to having one RAM organization type over another. Although there are phylogenetic distribution patterns in plant groups, the possible evolutionary advantages of different RAM organization patterns are not understood. Root caps of many flowering plant roots are known to release living border cells into the rhizosphere, where the cells are believed to have the capacity to alter conditions in the soil and to interact with soil micro-organisms. Consequently, high rates of border cell production may have the potential to benefit plant growth and development greatly, and to provide a selective advantage in certain soil environments. This study reports the use of several approaches to elucidate the anatomical and developmental relationships between RAM organization and border cell production.
• Methods RAM types from many species were compared with numbers of border cells released in those species. In addition, other species were grown, fixed and sectioned to verify their organization type and capacity to produce border cells. Root tips were examined microscopically to characterize their pattern and some were stained to determine the viability of root cap cells.
• Key Results The first report of a correlation between RAM organization type and the production and release of border cells is provided: species exhibiting open RAM organization produce significantly more border cells than species exhibiting closed apical organization. Roots with closed apical organization release peripheral root cap cells in sheets or large groups of dead cells, whereas root caps with open organization release individual living border cells.
• Conclusions This study, the first to document a relationship between RAM organization, root cap behaviour and a possible ecological benefit to the plant, may yield a framework to examine the evolutionary causes for the diversification of RAM organization types across taxa.
Border cells; root caps; root apical organization; root meristem
Phytomers are developmental compartments that display stereotypical patterns dependent on whether they are initiated during the vegetative phase or the floral phases. Differences in appearance result from differential partitioning mechanisms responsible for allocation of cells to different components of the phytomer. The tasselsheath loci of maize control cell partitioning within the phytomer, indirectly influencing growth and development of its individual components. The tasselsheath4 (tsh4) gene accomplishes this through regulation of the ramosa2 (ra2) meristem determinacy gene, whereas tasselsheath1 (tsh1) appears to function differently.
meristem; SBP box; bract; maize; ramosa; tasselsheath; phytomer
Leaves within a canopy may experience rapid and extreme fluctuations in ambient conditions. A shaded leaf, for example, may become exposed to an order of magnitude increase in solar radiation within a few seconds, due to sunflecks or canopy motions. Considering typical time scales for stomatal adjustments, (2 to 60 minutes), the gap between these two time scales raised the question whether leaves rely on their hydraulic and thermal capacitances for passive protection from hydraulic failure or over-heating until stomata have adjusted. We employed a physically based model to systematically study effects of short-term fluctuations in irradiance on leaf temperatures and transpiration rates. Considering typical amplitudes and time scales of such fluctuations, the importance of leaf heat and water capacities for avoiding damaging leaf temperatures and hydraulic failure were investigated. The results suggest that common leaf heat capacities are not sufficient to protect a non-transpiring leaf from over-heating during sunflecks of several minutes duration whereas transpirative cooling provides effective protection. A comparison of the simulated time scales for heat damage in the absence of evaporative cooling with observed stomatal response times suggested that stomata must be already open before arrival of a sunfleck to avoid over-heating to critical leaf temperatures. This is consistent with measured stomatal conductances in shaded leaves and has implications for water use efficiency of deep canopy leaves and vulnerability to heat damage during drought. Our results also suggest that typical leaf water contents could sustain several minutes of evaporative cooling during a sunfleck without increasing the xylem water supply and thus risking embolism. We thus submit that shaded leaves rely on hydraulic capacitance and evaporative cooling to avoid over-heating and hydraulic failure during exposure to typical sunflecks, whereas thermal capacitance provides limited protection for very short sunflecks (tens of seconds).
In all multicellular organisms, the links between patterning genes, cell growth, cell cycle, cell size homeostasis, and organ growth are poorly understood, partly due to the difficulty of dynamic, 3D analysis of cell behavior in growing organs. A crucial step in plant organogenesis is the emergence of organ primordia from the apical meristems. Here, we combined quantitative, 3D analysis of cell geometry and DNA synthesis to study the role of the transcription factor JAGGED (JAG), which functions at the interface between patterning and primordium growth in Arabidopsis flowers.
The floral meristem showed isotropic growth and tight coordination between cell volume and DNA synthesis. Sepal primordia had accelerated cell division, cell enlargement, anisotropic growth, and decoupling of DNA synthesis from cell volume, with a concomitant increase in cell size heterogeneity. All these changes in growth parameters required JAG and were genetically separable from primordium emergence. Ectopic JAG activity in the meristem promoted entry into S phase at inappropriately small cell volumes, suggesting that JAG can override a cell size checkpoint that operates in the meristem. Consistent with a role in the transition from meristem to primordium identity, JAG directly repressed the meristem regulatory genes BREVIPEDICELLUS and BELL 1 in developing flowers.
We define the cellular basis for the transition from meristem to organ identity and identify JAG as a key regulator of this transition. JAG promotes anisotropic growth and is required for changes in cell size homeostasis associated with accelerated growth and the onset of differentiation in organ primordia.
► JAGGED (JAG) is required for growth of initiating floral organs in Arabidopsis ► JAG decouples cell cycle from cell growth during organ emergence ► JAG promotes fast, anisotropic growth when floral organs emerge from the meristem ► JAG directly represses meristem identity genes
Grapevines growing in Australia suffer from high temperatures which have major effects on photosynthesis and transpiration. To learn more, gas exchange was measured over several seasons and then modelled across temperatures from 20 to 45°C and validated with independent data.
Background and aims
Grapevines growing in Australia are often exposed to very high temperatures and the question of how the gas exchange processes adjust to these conditions is not well understood. The aim was to develop a model of photosynthesis and transpiration in relation to temperature to quantify the impact of the growing conditions on vine performance.
Leaf gas exchange was measured along the grapevine shoots in accordance with their growth and development over several growing seasons. Using a general linear statistical modelling approach, photosynthesis and transpiration were modelled against leaf temperature separated into bands and the model parameters and coefficients applied to independent datasets to validate the model.
Photosynthesis, transpiration and stomatal conductance varied along the shoot, with early emerging leaves having the highest rates, but these declined as later emerging leaves increased their gas exchange capacities in accordance with development. The general linear modelling approach applied to these data revealed that photosynthesis at each temperature was additively dependent on stomatal conductance, internal CO2 concentration and photon flux density. The temperature-dependent coefficients for these parameters applied to other datasets gave a predicted rate of photosynthesis that was linearly related to the measured rates, with a 1 : 1 slope. Temperature-dependent transpiration was multiplicatively related to stomatal conductance and the leaf to air vapour pressure deficit and applying the coefficients also showed a highly linear relationship, with a 1 : 1 slope between measured and modelled rates, when applied to independent datasets.
The models developed for the grapevines were relatively simple but accounted for much of the seasonal variation in photosynthesis and transpiration. The goodness of fit in each case demonstrated that explicitly selecting leaf temperature as a model parameter, rather than including temperature intrinsically as is usually done in more complex models, was warranted.
One of the most significant consequences of contemporary global change is the rapid decline of biodiversity in many ecosystems. Knowledge of the consequences of biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems is largely restricted to single ecosystem functions. Impacts of key plant functional groups on soil biota are considered to be more important than those of plant diversity; however, current knowledge mainly relies on short-term experiments.
We studied changes in the impacts of plant diversity and presence of key functional groups on soil biota by investigating the performance of soil microorganisms and soil fauna two, four and six years after the establishment of model grasslands. The results indicate that temporal changes of plant community effects depend on the trophic affiliation of soil animals: plant diversity effects on decomposers only occurred after six years, changed little in herbivores, but occurred in predators after two years. The results suggest that plant diversity, in terms of species and functional group richness, is the most important plant community property affecting soil biota, exceeding the relevance of plant above- and belowground productivity and the presence of key plant functional groups, i.e. grasses and legumes, with the relevance of the latter decreasing in time.
Plant diversity effects on biota are not only due to the presence of key plant functional groups or plant productivity highlighting the importance of diverse and high-quality plant derived resources, and supporting the validity of the singular hypothesis for soil biota. Our results demonstrate that in the long term plant diversity essentially drives the performance of soil biota questioning the paradigm that belowground communities are not affected by plant diversity and reinforcing the importance of biodiversity for ecosystem functioning.