Above-optimal temperatures reduce yield in tomato largely because of the high heat stress (HS) sensitivity of the developing pollen grains. The high temperature response, especially at this most HS-sensitive stage of the plant, is poorly understood. To obtain an overview of molecular mechanisms underlying the HS response (HSR) of microspores, a detailed transcriptomic analysis of heat-stressed maturing tomato microspores was carried out using a combination of Affymetrix Tomato Genome Array and cDNA-amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) techniques. The results were corroborated by reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and immunoblot analyses. The data obtained reveal the involvement of specific members of the small heat shock protein (HSP) gene family, HSP70 and HSP90, in addition to the HS transcription factors A2 (HSFA2) and HSFA3, as well as factors other than the classical HS-responsive genes. The results also indicate HS regulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers, sugars, plant hormones, and regulatory genes that were previously implicated in other types of stress. The use of cDNA-AFLP enabled the detection of genes representing pollen-specific functions that are missing from the tomato Affymetrix chip, such as those involved in vesicle-mediated transport and a pollen-specific, calcium-dependent protein kinase (CDPK2). For several genes, including LeHSFA2, LeHSP17.4-CII, as well as homologues of LeHSP90 and AtVAMP725, higher basal expression levels were detected in microspores of cv. Hazera 3042 (a heat-tolerant cultivar) compared with microspores of cv. Hazera 3017 (a heat-sensitive cultivar), marking these genes as candidates for taking part in microspore thermotolerance. This work provides a comprehensive analysis of the molecular events underlying the HSR of maturing microspores of a crop plant, tomato.
cDNA-AFLP; gene expression; heat stress response; microarray; microspore maturation; tomato
Reproductive development in sexual plants is substantially more sensitive to high temperature stress than vegetative development, resulting in negative implications for food and fiber production under the moderate temperature increases projected to result from global climate change. High temperature exposure either during early pollen development or during the progamic phase of pollen development will negatively impact pollen performance and reproductive output; both phases of pollen development are considered exceptionally sensitive to moderate heat stress. However, moderately elevated temperatures either before or during the progamic phase can limit fertilization by negatively impacting important pollen pistil interactions required for successful pollen tube growth toward the ovules. This mini-review identifies the impacts of heat stress on pollen-pistil interactions and sexual reproduction in angiosperms. A special emphasis is placed on the biochemical response of the pistil to moderately high temperature and the resultant influence on in vivo pollen performance and fertilization.
pollen-pistil interaction; carbohydrates; heat stress; fertilization; pollen tube growth; climate change
The Arabidopsis RING E3 ligase, XBAT32, was previously characterized as a regulator of lateral root initiation. However, how XBAT32 function to modulate lateral root initiation was unknown. In our recent paper, we demonstrated that XBAT32 is involved in ethylene biosynthesis and it is through this function that XBAT32 is able to regulate lateral root production. Here we discuss a few other findings, observed in the ethylene overproducing mutant, xbat32, that reflect the effect of elevated ethylene levels on plant growth and development. Ethylene signaling also regulates plant responses to adverse environmental conditions such as high salinity. Consistent with ethylene's role as a stress hormone, xbat32 exhibited increased sensitivity to salt stress during seed germination and postgerminative growth. Thus, XBAT32 may also play a role in ethylene mediated response to abiotic stresses.
Arabidopsis thaliana; ethylene; lateral root; RING E3 ligase; salt stress; ubiquitination
The high sensitivity of male reproductive cells to high temperatures may be due to an inadequate heat stress response. The results of a comprehensive expression analysis of HsfA2 and Hsp17-CII, two important members of the heat stress system, in the developing anthers of a heat-tolerant tomato genotype are reported here. A transcriptional analysis at different developmental anther/pollen stages was performed using semi-quantitative and real-time PCR. The messengers were localized using in situ RNA hybridization, and protein accumulation was monitored using immunoblot analysis. Based on the analysis of the gene and protein expression profiles, HsfA2 and Hsp17-CII are finely regulated during anther development and are further induced under both short and prolonged heat stress conditions. These data suggest that HsfA2 may be directly involved in the activation of protection mechanisms in the tomato anther during heat stress and, thereby, may contribute to tomato fruit set under adverse temperatures.
Anther development; heat stress; HsfA2; Hsp17-CII; pollen; tomato
Symbiosis involves responses that maintain the plant host and symbiotic partner’s genetic program; yet these cues are far from elucidated. Here we describe the effects of lumichrome, a flavin identified from Rhizobium spp., applied to lotus (Lotus japonicus) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum). Combined transcriptional and metabolite analyses suggest that both species shared common pathways that were altered in response to this application under replete, sterile conditions. These included genes involved in symbiosis, as well as transcriptional and metabolic responses related to enhanced starch accumulation and altered ethylene metabolism. Lumichrome priming also resulted in altered colonization with either Mesorhizobium loti (for lotus) or Glomus intraradices/G. mossea (for tomato). It enhanced nodule number but not nodule formation in lotus; while leading to enhanced hyphae initiation and delayed arbuscule maturation in tomato.
ethylene; flavin; lumichrome; mycorrhiza; nodulation; starch; symbiosis
Pollen exposure induces allergic airway inflammation in sensitized subjects. The role of antigenic pollen proteins in the induction of allergic airway inflammation is well characterized, but the contribution of other constituents in pollen grains to this process is unknown. Here we show that pollen grains and their extracts contain intrinsic NADPH oxidases. The pollen NADPH oxidases rapidly increased the levels of ROS in lung epithelium as well as the amount of oxidized glutathione (GSSG) and 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) in airway-lining fluid. These oxidases, as well as products of oxidative stress (such as GSSG and 4-HNE) generated by these enzymes, induced neutrophil recruitment to the airways independent of the adaptive immune response. Removal of pollen NADPH oxidase activity from the challenge material reduced antigen-induced allergic airway inflammation, the number of mucin-containing cells in airway epithelium, and antigen-specific IgE levels in sensitized mice. Furthermore, challenge with Amb a 1, the major antigen in ragweed pollen extract that does not possess NADPH oxidase activity, induced low-grade allergic airway inflammation. Addition of GSSG or 4-HNE to Amb a 1 challenge material boosted allergic airway inflammation. We propose that oxidative stress generated by pollen NADPH oxidases (signal 1) augments allergic airway inflammation induced by pollen antigen (signal 2).
Novel mutant alleles of an ethylene receptor Solanum lycopersicum ETHYLENE RESPONSE1 (SlETR1) gene, Sletr1-1 and Sletr1-2, were isolated from the Micro-Tom mutant library by TILLING in our previous study. They displayed different levels of impaired fruit ripening phenotype, suggesting that these alleles could be a valuable breeding material for improving shelf life of tomato fruit. To conduct practical use of the Sletr1 alleles in tomato breeding, genetic complementation analysis by transformation of genes carrying each allele is required. In this study, we generated and characterized transgenic lines over-expressing Sletr1-1 and Sletr1-2. All transgenic lines displayed ethylene insensitive phenotype and ripening inhibition, indicating that Sletr1-1 and Sletr1-2 associate with the ethylene insensitive phenotype. The level of ethylene sensitivity in the seedling was different between Sletr1-1 and Sletr1-2 transgenic lines, whereas no apparent difference was observed in fruit ripening phenotype. These results suggested that it is difficult to fine-tune the extent of ripening by transgenic approach even if the weaker allele (Sletr1-2) was used. Our present and previous studies indicate that the Micro-Tom mutant library combined with TILLING could be an efficient tool for exploring genetic variations of important agronomic traits in tomato breeding.
ethylene receptor; tomato fruit shelf-life; Micro-Tom; molecular breeding; TILLING; transgenic tomato
The phytohormone ethylene is involved in a wide range of developmental processes and in mediating plant responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Ethylene signalling acts via a linear transduction pathway leading to the activation of Ethylene Response Factor genes (ERF) which represent one of the largest gene families of plant transcription factors. How an apparently simple signalling pathway can account for the complex and widely diverse plant responses to ethylene remains yet an unanswered question. Building on the recent release of the complete tomato genome sequence, the present study aims at gaining better insight on distinctive features among ERF proteins.
A set of 28 cDNA clones encoding ERFs in the tomato (Solanum lycopersicon) were isolated and shown to fall into nine distinct subclasses characterised by specific conserved motifs most of which with unknown function. In addition of being able to regulate the transcriptional activity of GCC-box containing promoters, tomato ERFs are also shown to be active on promoters lacking this canonical ethylene-responsive-element. Moreover, the data reveal that ERF affinity to the GCC-box depends on the nucleotide environment surrounding this cis-acting element. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that the nature of the flanking nucleotides can either enhance or reduce the binding affinity, thus conferring the binding specificity of various ERFs to target promoters.
Based on their expression pattern, ERF genes can be clustered in two main clades given their preferential expression in reproductive or vegetative tissues. The regulation of several tomato ERF genes by both ethylene and auxin, suggests their potential contribution to the convergence mechanism between the signalling pathways of the two hormones.
The data reveal that regions flanking the core GCC-box sequence are part of the discrimination mechanism by which ERFs selectively bind to their target promoters. ERF tissue-specific expression combined to their responsiveness to both ethylene and auxin bring some insight on the complexity and fine regulation mechanisms involving these transcriptional mediators. All together the data support the hypothesis that ERFs are the main component enabling ethylene to regulate a wide range of physiological processes in a highly specific and coordinated manner.
Ethylene; ERF; Transcriptional regulation; cis-regulatory elements; Tomato
Plant heat stress transcription factors (Hsfs) are the critical components involved in mediating responses to various environmental stressors. However, the detailed roles of many plant Hsfs are far from fully understood. In this study, an Hsf (SlHsfA3) was isolated from the cultivated tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, Sl) and functionally characterized at the genetic and developmental levels. The nucleus-localized SlHsfA3 was basally and ubiquitously expressed in different plant organs. The expression of SlHsfA3 was induced dramatically by heat stress, moderately by high salinity, and slightly by drought, but was not induced by abscisic acid (ABA). The ectopic overexpression of SlHsfA3 conferred increased thermotolerance and late flowering phenotype to transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Moreover, SlHsfA3 played a negative role in controlling seed germination under salt stress. RNA-sequencing data demonstrated that a number of heat shock proteins (Hsps) and stress-associated genes were induced in Arabidopsis plants overexpressing SlHsfA3. A gel shift experiment and transient expression assays in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves demonstrated that SlHsfA3 directly activates the expression of SlHsp26.1-P and SlHsp21.5-ER. Taken together, our results suggest that SlHsfA3 behaves as a typical Hsf to contribute to plant thermotolerance. The late flowering and seed germination phenotypes and the RNA-seq data derived from SlHsfA3 overexpression lines lend more credence to the hypothesis that plant Hsfs participate in diverse physiological and biochemical processes related to adverse conditions.
The tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) plant is both an economically important food crop and an ideal dicot model to investigate various physiological phenomena not possible in Arabidopsis thaliana. Due to the great diversity of tomato cultivars used by the research community, it is often difficult to reliably compare phenotypes. The lack of tomato developmental mutants in a single genetic background prevents the stacking of mutations to facilitate analysis of double and multiple mutants, often required for elucidating developmental pathways.
We took advantage of the small size and rapid life cycle of the tomato cultivar Micro-Tom (MT) to create near-isogenic lines (NILs) by introgressing a suite of hormonal and photomorphogenetic mutations (altered sensitivity or endogenous levels of auxin, ethylene, abscisic acid, gibberellin, brassinosteroid, and light response) into this genetic background. To demonstrate the usefulness of this collection, we compared developmental traits between the produced NILs. All expected mutant phenotypes were expressed in the NILs. We also created NILs harboring the wild type alleles for dwarf, self-pruning and uniform fruit, which are mutations characteristic of MT. This amplified both the applications of the mutant collection presented here and of MT as a genetic model system.
The community resource presented here is a useful toolkit for plant research, particularly for future studies in plant development, which will require the simultaneous observation of the effect of various hormones, signaling pathways and crosstalk.
hormonal mutants; Solanum lycopersicum; model organism; photomorphogenesis; plant development
Mature pollen is very sensitive to cold stress in chilling-sensitive plants. Plant WRKY DNA-binding transcription factors are key regulators in plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. Previous studies have suggested that WRKY34 (At4g26440) gene might be involved in pollen viability, although the mechanism involved is unclear. In this study, it is shown that cold treatment increased WRKY34 expression in the wild type, and promoter-GUS analysis revealed that WRKY34 expression is pollen-specific. Enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged WRKY34 was localized in the nuclei. Pollen harbouring the wrky34 allele showed higher viability than pollen with the WRKY34 allele after cold treatment. Further functional analysis indicated that the WRKY34 transcription factor was involved in pollen development regulated by the pollen-specific MIKC* class of MADS-domain transcription factors under cold stress, and cold-insensitivity of mature wrky34 pollen might be partly attributable to the enhanced expression of transcriptional activator CBFs in the mutants. Thus, the WRKY34 transcription factor negatively mediated cold sensitivity of mature Arabidopsis pollen and might be involved in the CBF signal cascade in mature pollen.
Arabidopsis; cold stress; pollen; transcription factor; WRKY34
It has been demonstrated that pollen grains contain NAD(P)H oxidases that induce oxidative stress in the airways, and this oxidative insult is critical for the development of allergic inflammation in sensitized mice. On the basis of this observation, we have examined whether pollen grain exposure triggers oxidative stress in dendritic cells (DCs), altering their functions. To test this hypothesis, human monocyte-derived DCs were treated with ragweed pollen grains. Our findings show that exposure to pollen grains induces an increase in the intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species in DCs. Our data also indicate that besides the NAD(P)H oxidases, other component(s) of pollen grains contributes to this phenomenon. Elevated levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species triggered the production of IL-8 as well as proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IL-6. Treatment with pollen grains initiated the maturation of DCs, strongly upregulated the membrane expression of CD80, CD86, CD83, and HLA-DR, and caused only a slight increase in the expression of CD40. The pollen-treated DCs induced the development of naive T lymphocytes toward effector T cells with a mixed profile of cytokine production. Antioxidant inhibited both the phenotypic and functional changes of DCs, underlining the importance of oxidative stress in these processes. Collectively, these data show that pollen exposure-induced oxidative stress may contribute to local innate immunity and participate in the initiation of adaptive immune responses to pollen Ags.
Grass pollen is one of the most important vectors of aeroallergens. Under atmospheric conditions, pollen grains can release pollen cytoplasmic granules (PCGs). The allergens associated with these intrinsic sub-fractions induce, in laboratory animals as well as in asthmatic patients allergic and inflammatory responses. The aims of this study were to characterize and identify the intrinsic allergens of PCGs, to compare them with those of pollen grains.
PCGs were isolated from Phleum pratense pollen by osmotic shock. The water-soluble proteins were extracted from pollen grains and their PCGs. Nine out of 26 grass sensitized patient sera were selected on the basis of previous ELISA and immunoblotting results showing IgE specific binding to numerous grass pollen allergens. IgE-binding proteins were analyzed by 1- and 2D-immunobloting using grass pollen-sensitized patient sera. Once located, allergens were characterized by mass spectrometry.
2D gels of pollen and PCGs extract revealed about 100 and 40 proteins respectively, with a large spectrum of Mr (10–>94 kDa) and pI (<4.5–10.0). More proteins as well as more allergens in pollen than in PCGs were detected by immunoblotting. Several of the allergens listed in the IUIS nomenclature - Phl p 1, 4, 5, 6, 11 and 12 - were found in pollen and PCGs extracts while Phl p 11 was found only in PCGs and Phl p 2 as well as Phl p 13 only in pollen extract. Some other allergens, not listed in the IUIS nomenclature, were also characterized in both pollen and PCGs extracts.
Since the major grass pollen allergens were found in PCGs and because of their small size, these sub-micronic particles should be considered as very potent sensitizing and challenging respirable vectors of allergens. We demonstrate here that PCGs are at least as much dangerous as pollen grains.
The pattern of salicylic acid (SA)-induced production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nitric oxide (NO) were different in the apex of adventitious roots in wild-type and in the ethylene-insensitive Never ripe (Nr) mutants of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv Ailsa Craig). ROS were upregulated, while NO remained at the control level in apical root tissues of wildtype plants exposed to sublethal concentrations of SA. In contrast, Nr plants expressing a defective ethylene receptor displayed a reduced level of ROS and a higher NO content in the apical root cells. In wild-type plants NO production seems to be ROS(H2O2)-dependent at cell death-inducing concentrations of SA, indicating that ROS and NO may interact to trigger oxidative cell death. In the absence of significant ROS accumulation, the increased NO production caused moderate reduction in cell viability in root apex of Nr plants exposed to 10−3 M SA. This suggests that a functional ethylene signaling pathway is necessary for the control of ROS and NO production induced by SA.
ethylene receptor mutant; never ripe; nitric oxide; reactive oxygen species; root apex; salicylic acid; tomato
Alternative respiratory pathway (AP) plays an important role in plant thermogenesis, fruit ripening and responses to environmental stresses. AP may participate in the adaptation to salt stress since salt stress increased the activity of the AP. Recently, new evidence revealed that ethylene and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are involved in the salt-induced increase of the AP, which plays an important role in salt tolerance in Arabidopsis callus, and ethylene may be acting downstream of H2O2. Recent observations also indicated both ethylene and nitric oxide (NO) act as signaling molecules in responses to salt stress, and ethylene may be a part of the downstream signal molecular in NO action. In this addendum, a hypothetical model for NO function in regulation of H2O2- and ethylene-mediated induction of AP under salt stress is presented.
alternative respiratory pathway; ethylene; hydrogen peroxide; nitric oxide; salt stress; signaling molecule
The plant hormone, ethylene, is an important regulator which involved in regulating fruit ripening and flower senescence. In this study, RNA interference (RNAi) technology was employed to silence the genes involved in ethylene biosynthetic pathway. This was achieved by blocking the expression of specific gene encoding the ACC oxidase. Initially, cDNA corresponding to ACO1 of lowland tomato cultivar (MT1), which has high identity with ACO1 of Solanum lycopersicum in GenBank, was cloned through RT-PCR. Using a partial coding region of ACO1, one hpRNAi transformation vector was constructed and expressed ectopically under the 35S promoter. Results showed that transgenic lines harboring the hpRNA-ACO1 construct had lower ethylene production and a longer shelf life of 32 days as compared to 10 days for wild-type fruits. Changes in cell wall degrading enzyme activities were also investigated in cases where the transgenic fruits exhibited reduced rates of firmness loss, which can be associated with a decrease in pectin methylesterase (PME) and polygalacturonase (PG) activities. However, no significant change was detected in both transgenic and wild-type fruits in terms of β-galactosidase (β-Gal) activity and levels of total soluble solid, titratable acid and ascorbic acid.
Following exposure to salinity, the root/shoot ratio is increased (an important adaptive response) due to the rapid inhibition of shoot growth (which limits plant productivity) while root growth is maintained. Both processes may be regulated by changes in plant hormone concentrations. Tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum L. cv Moneymaker) were cultivated hydroponically for 3 weeks under high salinity (100 mM NaCl) and five major plant hormones (abscisic acid, ABA; the cytokinins zeatin, Z, and zeatin-riboside, ZR; the auxin indole-3-acetic acid, IAA; and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid, ACC) were determined weekly in roots, xylem sap, and leaves. Salinity reduced shoot biomass by 50–60% and photosynthetic area by 20–25% both by decreasing leaf expansion and delaying leaf appearance, while root growth was less affected, thus increasing the root/shoot ratio. ABA and ACC concentrations strongly increased in roots, xylem sap, and leaves after 1 d (ABA) and 15 d (ACC) of salinization. By contrast, cytokinins and IAA were differentially affected in roots and shoots. Salinity dramatically decreased the Z+ZR content of the plant, and induced the conversion of ZR into Z, especially in the roots, which accounted for the relative increase of cytokinins in the roots compared to the leaf. IAA concentration was also strongly decreased in the leaves while it accumulated in the roots. Decreased cytokinin content and its transport from the root to the shoot were probably induced by the basipetal transport of auxin from the shoot to the root. The auxin/cytokinin ratio in the leaves and roots may explain both the salinity-induced decrease in shoot vigour (leaf growth and leaf number) and the shift in biomass allocation to the roots, in agreement with changes in the activity of the sink-related enzyme cell wall invertase.
Abscisic acid; 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid; indole-3-acetic acid; plant hormones; salt stress; sodium chloride; tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.); zeatin; zeatin-riboside
Arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs) are cell wall proteoglycans that have been shown to be important for pollen development. An Arabidopsis double null mutant for two pollen-specific AGPs (agp6 agp11) showed reduced pollen tube growth and compromised response to germination cues in vivo. A microarray experiment was performed on agp6 agp11 pollen tubes to search for genetic interactions in the context of pollen tube growth. A yeast two-hybrid experiment for AGP6 and AGP11 was also designed.
The lack of two specific AGPs induced a meaningful shift in the gene expression profile. In fact, a high number of genes showed altered expression levels, strengthening the case that AGP6 and AGP11 are involved in complex phenomena. The expression levels of calcium- and signaling-related genes were found to be altered, supporting the known roles of the respective proteins in pollen tube growth. Although the precise nature of the proposed interactions needs further investigation, the putative involvement of AGPs in signaling cascades through calmodulin and protein degradation via ubiquitin was indicated. The expression of stress-, as well as signaling- related, genes was also changed; a correlation that may result from the recognized similarities between signaling pathways in both defense and pollen tube growth.
The results of yeast two-hybrid experiments lent further support to these signaling pathways and revealed putative AGP6 and AGP11 interactors implicated in recycling of cell membrane components via endocytosis, through clathrin-mediated endosomes and multivesicular bodies.
The data presented suggest the involvement of AGP6 and AGP11 in multiple signaling pathways, in particular those involved in developmental processes such as endocytosis-mediated plasma membrane remodeling during Arabidopsis pollen development. This highlights the importance of endosomal trafficking pathways which are rapidly emerging as fundamental regulators of the wall physiology.
Arabidopsis; Arabinogalactan proteins; Pollen tube; Microarray; Yeast two-hybrid
In this study, it is shown that anti-sense suppression of Malus domestica 1-AMINO-CYCLOPROPANE-CARBOXYLASE OXIDASE (MdACO1) resulted in fruit with an ethylene production sufficiently low to be able to assess ripening in the absence of ethylene. Exposure of these fruit to different concentrations of exogenous ethylene showed that flesh softening, volatile biosynthesis, and starch degradation, had differing ethylene sensitivity and dependency. Early ripening events such as the conversion of starch to sugars showed a low dependency for ethylene, but a high sensitivity to low concentrations of ethylene (0.01 μl l−1). By contrast, later ripening events such as flesh softening and ester volatile production showed a high dependency for ethylene but were less sensitive to low concentrations (needing 0.1 μl l−1 for a response). A sustained exposure to ethylene was required to maintain ripening, indicating that the role of ethylene may go beyond that of ripening initiation. These results suggest a conceptual model for the control of individual ripening characters in apple, based on both ethylene dependency and sensitivity.
ACC oxidase 1 (MdACO1); apple; ethylene; fruit ripening; Malus
The past two decades have been rewarding in terms of deciphering the ethylene signal transduction and functional validation of the ethylene receptor and downstream genes involved in the cascade. Our knowledge of ethylene receptors and its signal transduction pathway provides us a robust platform where we can think of manipulating and regulating ethylene sensitivity by the use of genetic engineering and making transgenic. This review focuses on ethylene perception, receptor mediated regulation of ethylene biosynthesis, role of ethylene receptors in flower senescence, fruit ripening and other effects induced by ethylene. The expression behavior of the receptor and downstream molecules in climacteric and non climacteric crops is also elaborated upon. Possible strategies and recent advances in altering the ethylene sensitivity of plants using ethylene receptor genes in an attempt to modulate the regulation and sensitivity to ethylene have also been discussed. Not only will these transgenic plants be a boon to post-harvest physiology and crop improvement but, it will also help us in discovering the mechanism of regulation of ethylene sensitivity.
ethylene insensitive; ethylene receptors; ethylene; negative regulation; perception; sensitivity; transgenic
The reproductive (gametophytic) phase in flowering plants is often highly sensitive to hot or cold temperature stresses, with even a single hot day or cold night sometimes being fatal to reproductive success. This review describes studies of temperature stress on several crop plants, which suggest that pollen development and fertilization may often be the most sensitive reproductive stage. Transcriptome and proteomic studies on several plant species are beginning to identify stress response pathways that function during pollen development. An example is provided here of genotypic differences in the reproductive stress tolerance between two ecotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana Columbia (Col) and Hilversum (Hi-0), when reproducing under conditions of hot days and cold nights. Hi-0 exhibited a more severe reduction in seed set, correlated with a reduction in pollen tube growth potential and tropism defects. Hi-0 thus provides an Arabidopsis model to investigate strategies for improved stress tolerance in pollen. Understanding how different plants cope with stress during reproductive development offers the potential to identify genetic traits that could be manipulated to improve temperature tolerance in selected crop species being cultivated in marginal climates.
Cold stress; fertilization; gene expression; heat stress; plant reproduction; pollen; pollen tropism; seed set
A network of shared intermediates/components and/or common molecular outputs in biotic and abiotic stress signaling has long been known, but the possibility of effective influence between differently triggered stresses (co-protection) is less studied. Recent observations show that wounding induces transient protection in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) to four pathogens with a range of lifestyles, locally and systemically. The contribution of ethylene (ET) in basal but also in wound-induced resistance to each pathogen, although dispensable, is demonstrated to be positive (Botrytis cinerea, Phytophthora capsici) or negative (Fusarium oxysporum, Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato). Furthermore, the expression of several defense markers is influenced locally and/or systemically by wounding and ET, and might be part of that core of conserved molecular responses whereby an abiotic stress such as wounding imparts co-resistance to biotic stress. In this addendum, we speculate on some of the physiological responses to wounding that might contribute to the modulation of resistance in a more pathogen-specific manner.
tomato; phytophthora; fusarium; wounding; ethylene; defense mechanisms; electric fields; zoospores; tylosis
To clarify the relationship between pollen density and gametophytic competition in Pyrus pyrifolia, gametophytic performance, gibberellin metabolism, fruit set, and fruit quality were investigated by modifying P. pyrifolia pollen grain number and density with Lycopodium spores. Higher levels of pollen density improved seed viability, fruit set, and fruit quality. Treatments with the highest pollen density showed a significantly increased fruit growth rate and larger fruit at harvest. High pollen density increased germination rate and gave a faster pollen tube growth, both in vivo and in vitro. Endogenous gibberellin (GA) concentrations increased in pollen tubes soon after germination and the concentration of two growth-active GAs, GA3, and GA4, was positively correlated to final fruit size, cell numbers in the mesocarp, and pollen tube growth rate. These two GAs appear to be biosynthesized de novo in pollen tube and are the main pollen-derived bioactive GAs found after pollen germination. GA1 levels in the pollen tube appear to be related to a pollen–style interaction that occurred after the pollen grains landed on the stigma.
Gametophytic competition; gibberellins; pollen density; pollination; Pyrus pyrifolia
Plants have evolved and adapted to different environments. Dwarfism is an adaptive trait of plants that helps them avoid high-energy costs under unfavourable conditions. The role of gibberellin (GA) in plant development has been well established. Several plant dehydration-responsive element-binding proteins (DREBs) have been identified and reported to be induced under abiotic and biotic stress conditions. A tomato DREB gene named SlDREB, which is a transcription factor and was cloned from cultivated tomato M82, was found to play a negative role in tomato plant architecture and enhances drought tolerance. Tissue expression profiles indicated that SlDREB was expressed mainly in the stem and leaf and could be induced by abscisic acid (ABA) but suppressed by GA and ethylene. SlDREB altered plant morphology by restricting leaf expansion and internode elongation when overexpressed, and the resulting dwarfism of tomato plants could be recovered by application of exogenous gibberellic acid (GA3). Transcriptional analysis of transgenic plants revealed that overexpression of SlDREB caused the dwarf phenotype by downregulating key genes involved in GA biosynthesis such as ent-copalyl diphosphate synthase (SlCPS) and GA 20-oxidases (SlGA20ox1, -2, and -4), thereby decreasing endogenous GA levels in transgenic plants. A yeast activity assay demonstrated that SlDREB specifically bound to dehydration-responsive element/C-repeat (DRE/CRT) elements of the SlCPS promoter region. Taken together, these data demonstrated that SlDREB can downregulate the expression of key genes required for GA biosynthesis and that it acts as a positive regulator in drought stress responses by restricting leaf expansion and internode elongation.
DREB; dwarfism; ent-copalyl diphosphate synthase; gibberellin; gibberellin 20-oxidase; tomato
In order to ascertain the stomatal and photosynthetic responses of mustard to ethylene under varying N availability, photosynthetic characteristics of mustard grown with optimal (80 mg N kg−1 soil) or low (40 mg N kg−1 soil) N were studied after the application of an ethylene-releasing compound, ethephon (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid) at 40 days after sowing (DAS). The availability of N influenced ethylene evolution and affected stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. The effect of ethylene was smaller under deficient N where plants contained higher glucose (Glc) sensitivity, despite high ethylene evolution even in the absence of ethephon, potentially because the plants were less sensitive to ethylene per se. Ethephon application at each level of N increased ethylene and decreased Glc sensitivity, which increased photosynthesis via its effect on the photosynthetic machinery and effects on stomatal conductance. Plants grown with sufficient-N and treated with 200 μl l−1 ethephon exhibited optimal ethylene, the greatest stomatal conductance and photosynthesis, and growth. These plants made maximum use of available N and exhibited the highest nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE).
Ethephon; ethylene; glucose; nitrogen-use efficiency; photosynthesis