Background and Aims
Brassinosteroids (BR) are a class of plant polyhydroxysteroids with diverse functions in plant growth and development. However, there is little information on the role of BRs played in the response to nutrient deficiency.
To evaluate the role of BR in the response of plants to iron (Fe) deficiency, the effect of 24-epibrassinolide (EBR) on ferric reductase (FRO) activity, acidification of the rhizosphere and Fe content in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) seedlings under Fe-deficient (1 µm FeEDTA) and Fe-sufficient (50 µm FeEDTA) conditions were investigated.
There was a significant increase in FRO activity upon exposure of cucumber seedlings to an Fe-deficient medium, and the Fe deficiency-induced increase in FRO activity was substantially suppressed by EBR. In contrast, application of EBR to Fe-sufficient seedlings stimulated FRO activity. Ethylene production evoked by Fe deficiency was suppressed by EBR, while EBR induced ethylene production from Fe-sufficient seedlings. Fe contents in shoots were reduced by treatment with EBR, while Fe contents in roots were markedly increased under both Fe-deficient and Fe-sufficient conditions. The reductions in Fe contents of shoots were independent of chlorophyll (CHL) contents under Fe-sufficient conditions, but they were positively correlated with CHL contents under Fe-deficient conditions. At the transcriptional level, transcripts encoding FRO (CsFRO1) and Fe transporter (CsIRT1) were increased upon exposure to the Fe-deficient medium, and the increases in transcripts were reversed by EBR.
The results demonstrate that BRs are likely to play a negative role in regulating Fe-deficiency-induced FRO, expressions of CsFRO1 and CsIRT1, as well as Fe translocation from roots to shoots.
Brassinosteroids; iron deficiency; cucumber; Cucumis sativus; ferric reductase activity; Fe translocation
Brassinosteroids (BRs) are essential for many biological processes in plants, however, little is known about their roles in early fruit development. To address this, BR levels were manipulated through the application of exogenous BRs (24-epibrassinolide, EBR) or a BR biosynthesis inhibitor (brassinazole, Brz) and their effects on early fruit development, cell division, and expression of cyclin and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) genes were examined in two cucumber cultivars that differ in parthenocarpic capacity. The application of EBR induced parthenocarpic growth accompanied by active cell division in Jinchun No. 4, a cultivar without parthenocarpic capacity, whereas Brz treatment inhibited fruit set and, subsequently, fruit growth in Jinchun No. 2, a cultivar with natural parthenocarpic capacity, and this inhibitory effect could be rescued by the application of EBR. RT-PCR analysis showed both pollination and EBR induced expression of cell cycle-related genes (CycA, CycB, CycD3;1, CycD3;2, and CDKB) after anthesis. cDNA sequences for CsCycD3;1 and CsCycD3;2 were isolated through PCR amplification. Both CsCycD3;1 and CsCycD3;2 transcripts were up-regulated by EBR treatment and pollination but strongly repressed by Brz treatment. Meanwhile, BR6ox1 and SMT transcripts, two genes involved in BR synthesis, exhibited feedback regulation. These results strongly suggest that BRs play an important role during early fruit development in cucumber.
Brassinosteroids; cell division; Cucumis sativus; cyclin; flow cytometry; parthenocarpy
Brassinosteroids (BRs), a group of naturally occurring plant steroidal compounds, are essential for plant growth, development and stress tolerance. Recent studies showed that BRs could induce systemic tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses; however, the molecular mechanisms by which BRs signals lead to responses in the whole plant are largely unknown. In this study, 24-epibrassinosteroid (EBR)-induced systemic tolerance in Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinyan No. 4 was analyzed through the assessment of symptoms of photooxidative stress by chlorophyll fluorescence imaging pulse amplitude modulation. Expression of defense/stress related genes were induced in both treated local leaves and untreated systemic leaves by local EBR application. With the suppressive subtractive hybridization (SSH) library using cDNA from the phloem sap of EBR-treated plants as the tester and distilled water (DW)-treated plants as the driver, 14 transcripts out of 260 clones were identified. Quantitative Real Time-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR) validated the specific up-regulation of these transcripts. Of the differentially expressed transcripts with known functions, transcripts for the selected four cDNAs, which encode an auxin-responsive protein (IAA14), a putative ankyrin-repeat protein, an F-box protein (PP2), and a major latex, pathogenesis-related (MLP)-like protein, were induced in local leaves, systemic leaves and roots after foliar application of EBR onto mature leaves. Our results demonstrated that EBR-induced systemic tolerance is accompanied with increased transcript of genes in the defense response in other organs. The potential role of phloem mRNAs as signaling components in mediating BR-regulated systemic resistance is discussed.
Mechanical stimulation of trigger hairs on the adaxial surface of the trap of Dionaea muscipula leads to the generation of action potentials and to rapid leaf movement. After rapid closure secures the prey, the struggle against the trigger hairs results in generation of further action potentials which inhibit photosynthesis. A detailed analysis of chlorophyll a fluorescence kinetics and gas exchange measurements in response to generation of action potentials in irritated D. muscipula traps was used to determine the ‘site effect’ of the electrical signal-induced inhibition of photosynthesis. Irritation of trigger hairs and subsequent generation of action potentials resulted in a decrease in the effective photochemical quantum yield of photosystem II (ΦPSII) and the rate of net photosynthesis (AN). During the first seconds of irritation, increased excitation pressure in photosystem II (PSII) was the major contributor to the decreased ΦPSII. Within ∼1 min, non-photochemical quenching (NPQ) released the excitation pressure at PSII. Measurements of the fast chlorophyll a fluorescence transient (O-J-I-P) revealed a direct impact of action potentials on the charge separation–recombination reactions in PSII, although the effect seems to be small rather than substantial. All the data presented here indicate that the main primary target of the electrical signal-induced inhibition of photosynthesis is the dark reaction, whereas the inhibition of electron transport is only a consequence of reduced carboxylation efficiency. In addition, the study also provides valuable data confirming the hypothesis that chlorophyll a fluorescence is under electrochemical control.
Action potential; carnivorous plant; chlorophyll a fluorescence; Dionaea muscipula; electrical signal; O-J-I-P; photosynthesis; respiration
Heavy metal pollution often occurs together with organic contaminants. Brassinosteroids (BRs) induce plant tolerance to several abiotic stresses, including phenanthrene (PHE) and cadmium (Cd) stress. However, the role of BRs in PHE+Cd co-contamination-induced stress amelioration is unknown. Here, the interactive effects of PHE, Cd, and 24-epibrassinolide (EBR; a biologically active BR) were investigated in tomato plants. The application of Cd (100 µM) alone was more phytotoxic than PHE applied alone (100 µM); however, their combined application resulted in slightly improved photosynthetic activity and pigment content compared with Cd alone after a 40 d exposure. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species and membrane lipid peroxidation were induced by PHE and/or Cd; however, the differences in effect were insignificant between Cd and PHE+Cd. The foliar application of EBR (0.1 µM) to PHE- and/or Cd-stressed plants alleviated photosynthetic inhibition and oxidative stress by causing enhancement of the activity of the enzymes and related transcript levels of the antioxidant system, secondary metabolism, and the xenobiotic detoxification system. Additionally, PHE and/or Cd residues were significantly decreased in both the leaves and roots after application of EBR, more specifically in PHE+Cd-stressed plants when treated with EBR, indicating a possible improvement in detoxification of these pollutants. The findings thus suggest a potential interaction of EBR and PHE for Cd stress alleviation. These results advocate a positive role for EBR in reducing pollutant residues for food safety and also strengthening phytoremediation.
Brassinosteroids; food safety; heavy metal; photosynthesis; phytoremediation; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Brassinosteroids (BRs) and polyamines (PAs) regulate various responses to abiotic stress, but their involvement in the regulation of copper (Cu) homeostasis in plants exposed to toxic levels of Cu is poorly understood. This study provides an analysis of the effects of exogenously applied BRs and PAs on radish (Raphanus sativus) plants exposed to toxic concentrations of Cu. The interaction of 24-epibrassinolide (EBR, an active BR) and spermidine (Spd, an active PA) on gene expression and the physiology of radish plants resulted in enhanced tolerance to Cu stress. Results indicated that the combined application of EBR and Spd modulated the expression of genes encoding PA enzymes and genes that impact the metabolism of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and abscisic acid (ABA) resulting in enhanced Cu stress tolerance. Altered expression of genes implicated in Cu homeostasis appeared to be the main effect of EBR and Spd leading to Cu stress alleviation in radish. Ion leakage, in vivo imaging of H2O2, comet assay, and improved tolerance of Cu-sensitive yeast strains provided further evidence for the ability of EBR and Spd to improve Cu tolerance significantly. The study indicates that co-application of EBR and Spd is an effective approach for Cu detoxification and the maintenance of Cu homeostasis in plants. Therefore, the use of these compounds in agricultural production systems should be explored.
Abscisic acid; brassinosteroids; comet assay; copper transporters; Cu homeostasis; Cu-sensitive yeast; indole-3-acetic acid; oxidative stress; polyamines
Brassinosteroids (BRs) are endogenous plant hormones and are essential for normal plant growth and development. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) of Arabidopsis thaliana are involved in mediating cell proliferation in leaves, stress tolerance, and root development. The specifics of BR mechanisms involving miRNAs are unknown. Using customized miRNA array analysis, we identified miRNAs from A. thaliana ecotype Columbia (Col-0) regulated by 24-epibrassinolide (EBR, a highly active BR). We found that miR395a was significantly up-regulated by EBR treatment and validated its expression under these conditions. miR395a was over expressed in leaf veins and root tissues in EBR-treated miR395a promoter::GUS plants. We integrated bioinformatics methods and publicly available DNA microarray data to predict potential targets of miR395a. GUN5—a multifunctional protein involved in plant metabolic functions such as chlorophyll synthesis and the abscisic acid (ABA) pathway—was identified as a possible target. ABI4 and ABI5, both genes positively regulated by ABA, were down-regulated by EBR treatment. In summary, our results suggest that EBR regulates seedling development and root growth of A. thaliana through miR395a by suppressing GUN5 expression and its downstream signal transduction.
brassinosteroids; miR395a; root growth; Arabidopsis thaliana; microRNA array
The effect of 24-epibrassinolide (EBR) on glucosinolate biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana was investigated in the present study by using mutants and transgenic plants involved in brassinosteroid (BR) biosynthesis and signal transduction, as well as glucosinolate biosynthesis. The results showed that EBR significantly decreased the contents of major aliphatic glucosinolates including glucoiberin (S3), glucoraphanin (S4), and glucoerucin (T4), as well as the indolic glucosinolates glucobrassicin (IM) and neoglucobrassicin (1IM). In addition, a significantly higher level of glucosinolates accumulated in the BR-deficient mutant cpd and a dramatically lower glucosinolate content in the transgenic plant DWF4-ox overexpressing the BR biosynthetic gene DWF4 compared with their related wild-types, confirmed the repressing effect of BR on glucosinolate biosynthesis. BRI1, the receptor of BR signal transduction, was involved in regulation of glucosinolate biosynthesis by BR. Furthermore, the observation of reduced content of glucosinolates and lower expression levels of glucosinolate biosynthetic genes in 35S-BZR1/bzr1-1D and bes1-D plants compared with the corresponding wild-types suggested that BZR1 and BES1, two important components in BR signal transduction, are responsible for the inhibiting role of BR in glucosinolate biosynthesis. The disappearance of the repressing effect of BR on glucosinolate content in the myb28, myb34, and myb122 mutants indicated that these three MYB factors are important for the regulation of BR in glucosinolate biosynthesis.
Arabidopsis thaliana; brassinosteroids; BZR1; BES1; glucosinolates; MYB.
Nitrogen is a principal limiting nutrient in plant growth and development. Among factors that may limit NO3- assimilation, Fe potentially plays a crucial role being a metal cofactor of enzymes of the reductive assimilatory pathway. Very few information is available about the changes of nitrogen metabolism occurring under Fe deficiency in Strategy I plants. The aim of this work was to study how cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) plants modify their nitrogen metabolism when grown under iron deficiency.
The activity of enzymes involved in the reductive assimilation of nitrate and the reactions that produce the substrates for the ammonium assimilation both at root and at leaf levels in Fe-deficient cucumber plants were investigated. Under Fe deficiency, only nitrate reductase (EC 22.214.171.124) activity decreased both at the root and leaf level, whilst for glutamine synthetase (EC 126.96.36.199) and glutamate synthase (EC 188.8.131.52) an increase was found. Accordingly, the transcript analysis for these enzymes showed the same behaviour except for root nitrate reductase which increased. Furthermore, it was found that amino acid concentration greatly decreased in Fe-deficient roots, whilst it increased in the corresponding leaves. Moreover, amino acids increased in the xylem sap of Fe-deficient plants.
The data obtained in this work provided new insights on the responses of plants to Fe deficiency, suggesting that this nutritional disorder differentially affected N metabolism in root and in leaf. Indeed under Fe deficiency, roots respond more efficiently, sustaining the whole plant by furnishing metabolites (i.e. aa, organic acids) to the leaves.
C/N metabolism; Cucumis sativus L.; Fe deficiency; GS/GOGAT cycle; Isocitrate dehydrogenase; Nitrate reductase
It is a common practice in contemporary medicine to follow stringently the scientific method in the process of validating efficacy and effectiveness of new or improved modes of treatment intervention. It follows that these complementary or alternative interventions must be validated by stringent research before they can be reliably integrated into Western medicine. The next decades will witness an increasing number of evidence-based research directed at establishing the best available evidence in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This second paper in this lecture series examines the process of evidence-based research (EBR) in the context of CAM. We outline the fundamental principles, process and relevance of EBR, and its implication to CAM. We underscore areas of future development in EBR. We note that the main problem of applying EBR to CAM at present has to do with the fact that the contribution of EBR can be significant only to the extent to which studies used in the process of EBR are of good quality. All too often CAM research is not of sufficient quality to warrant the generation of a consensus statement. EBR, nevertheless, can contribute to CAM by identifying current weaknesses of CAM research. We present a revised instrument to assess quality of the literature.
evidence-based research; systematic review; consolidated standards of randomized trials; Markov model; complementary and alternative medicine
Germination and early seedling growth are important for establishment of maize because maize is chilling sensitive crop and low temperature during early period of growth can be detrimental to subsequent crop growth and productivity. Therefore, it is important to protect maize seedling from cold stress. A study was conducted on induced cold tolerance by 24-epibrassinoslide (EBR) at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India. Maize seedlings were raised in green house condition (25/18 °C day-night temperatures). Ten days old seedlings were treated with EBR (0.0, 0.01, 0.1, 1.0 and 10 μM) and then divided into two sets, one set was kept in greenhouse (25/18 °C day-night temperatures) and another was transferred to net house (cold stress). Data on various morpho-physiological traits was recorded after 7, 14 and 21 days of treatment. Exogenous application of 1.0 μM EBR had significant effect on growth and morpho-physiological traits under both conditions. The maize seedlings treated with EBR were more tolerant to cold stress than the untreated one. Significant increase in plant height, dry matter accumulation, chlorophyll content, total soluble proteins and starch contents was observed under both conditions, however, the results were more pronounced under cold stress. 1.0 μ M concentration being the most effective under both conditions. Maintenance of high tissue water content, reduced membrane injury index, increased total chlorophyll, soluble sugar and protein content were taken as the possible indicators of EBR induced chilling tolerance.
24-epibrassinoslide; Cold tolerance; Maize; Glycine betaine; Total chlorophyll; Membrane injury index
Ascorbate (vitamin C) can reach very high concentrations in chloroplasts (20-300 mM). The pool size in leaves and chloroplasts increases during acclimation to high light intensity and the highest concentrations recorded are in high alpine plants. Multiple functions for ascorbate in photosynthesis have been proposed, including scavenging of active oxygen species generated by oxygen photoreduction and photorespiration, regeneration of alpha-tocopherol from alpha-tocopheryl radicals, cofactor for violaxanthin de-epoxidase and donation of electrons to photosystem II. Hydrogen peroxide scavenging is catalysed by ascorbate peroxidase (Mehler peroxidase reaction) and the subsequent regeneration of ascorbate by reductant derived from photosystem I allows electron flow in addition to that used for CO2 assimilation. Ascorbate is synthesized from guanosine diphosphate-mannose via L-galactose and L-galactono-1,4-lactone. The last step, catalysed by L-galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase, is located on the inner mitochondrial membrane and uses cytochrome c as electron acceptor. L-galactono-1,4-lactone oxidation to ascorbate by intact leaves is faster in high-light acclimated leaves and is also enhanced by high light, suggesting that this step contributes to the control of pool size by light. Ascorbate-deficient Arabidopsis thaliana vtc mutants are hypersensitive to a number of oxidative stresses including ozone and ultraviolet B radiation. Further investigation of these mutants shows that they have reduced zeaxanthin-dependent non-photochemical quenching, confirming that ascorbate is the cofactor for violaxanthin de-epoxidase and that availability of thylakoid lumen ascorbate could limit this reaction. The vtc mutants are also more sensitive to photo-oxidation imposed by combined high light and salt treatments.
SPPA1 is a protease in the plastids of plants, located in non-appressed thylakoid regions. In this study, T-DNA insertion mutants of the single-copy SPPA1 gene in Arabidopsis thaliana (At1g73990) were examined. Mutation of SPPA1 had no effect on the growth and development of plants under moderate, non-stressful conditions. It also did not affect the quantum efficiency of photosynthesis as measured by dark-adapted Fv/Fm and light-adapted ΦPSII. Chloroplasts from sppA mutants were indistinguishable from the wild type. Loss of SPPA appears to affect photoprotective mechanisms during high light acclimation: mutant plants maintained a higher level of non-photochemical quenching of Photosystem II chlorophyll (NPQ) than the wild type, while wild-type plants accumulated more anthocyanin than the mutants. The quantum efficiency of Photosystem II was the same in all genotypes grown under low light, but was higher in wild type than mutants during high light acclimation. Further, the mutants retained the stress-related Early Light Inducible Protein (ELIP) longer than wild-type leaves during the early recovery period after acute high light plus cold treatment. These results suggest that SPPA1 may function during high light acclimation in the plastid, but is non-essential for growth and development under non-stress conditions.
Anthocyanin; chloroplast; high light acclimation; NPQ; protease; SPPA
The MSC16 cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) mitochondrial mutant was used to study the effect of mitochondrial dysfunction and disturbed subcellular redox state on leaf day/night carbon and nitrogen metabolism. We have shown that the mitochondrial dysfunction in MSC16 plants had no effect on photosynthetic CO2 assimilation, but the concentration of soluble carbohydrates and starch was higher in leaves of MSC16 plants. Impaired mitochondrial respiratory chain activity was associated with the perturbation of mitochondrial TCA cycle manifested, e.g., by lowered decarboxylation rate. Mitochondrial dysfunction in MSC16 plants had different influence on leaf cell metabolism under dark or light conditions. In the dark, when the main mitochondrial function is the energy production, the altered activity of TCA cycle in mutated plants was connected with the accumulation of pyruvate and TCA cycle intermediates (citrate and 2-OG). In the light, when TCA activity is needed for synthesis of carbon skeletons required as the acceptors for NH4+ assimilation, the concentration of pyruvate and TCA intermediates was tightly coupled with nitrate metabolism. Enhanced incorporation of ammonium group into amino acids structures in mutated plants has resulted in decreased concentration of organic acids and accumulation of Glu.
C/N metabolism; Cucumis; Mitochondrial mutant; TCA cycle
Carnivorous plants have evolved modified leaves into the traps that assist in nutrient uptake from captured prey. It is known that the traps of carnivorous plants usually have lower photosynthetic rates than assimilation leaves as a result of adaptation to carnivory. However, a few recent studies have indicated that photosynthesis and respiration undergo spatio-temporal changes during prey capture and retention, especially in the genera with active trapping mechanisms. This study describes the spatio-temporal changes of effective quantum yield of photochemical energy conversion in photosystem II (ΦPSII) in response to ant-derived formic acid during its capture and digestion.
action potential; carnivorous plants; formic acid; photosynthesis; respiration; animal-plant interaction
Background and Aims
Light quantity and quality affect internode lengths in cucumber (Cucumis sativus), whereby leaf area and the optical properties of the leaves mainly control light quality within a cucumber plant community. This modelling study aimed at providing a simple, non-destructive method to predict final internode lengths (FILs) using light quantity and leaf area data.
Several simplifications of a light quantity and quality sensitive model for estimating FILs in cucumber have been tested. The direct simplifications substitute the term for the red : far-red (R : FR) ratios, by a term for (a) the leaf area index (LAI, m2 m−2) or (b) partial LAI, the cumulative leaf area per m2 ground, where leaf area per m2 ground is accumulated from the top of each plant until a number, n, of leaves per plant is reached. The indirect simplifications estimate the input R : FR ratio based on partial leaf area and plant density.
In all models, simulated FILs were in line with the measured FILs over various canopy architectures and light conditions, but the prediction quality varied. The indirect simplification based on leaf area of ten leaves revealed the best fit with measured data. Its prediction quality was even higher than of the original model.
This study showed that for vertically trained cucumber plants, leaf area data can substitute local light quality data for estimating FIL data. In unstressed canopies, leaf area over the upper ten ranks seems to represent the feedback of the growing architecture on internode elongation with respect to light quality. This highlights the role of this domain of leaves as the primary source for the specific R : FR signal controlling the final length of an internode and could therefore guide future research on up-scaling local processes to the crop level.
Leaf area; plant density; functional–structural plant model; Cucumis sativus; cucumber; red : far-red ratio; photosynthetically active radiation; plant architecture; internode length; model; canopy; light
The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of exogenous polyamines (PAs) on the membrane status and proline level in roots of water stressed cucumber (Cucumis sativus cv. Dar) seedlings. It was found that water shortage resulted in an increase of membrane injury, lipoxygenase (LOX) activity, lipid peroxidation and proline concentration in cucumber roots during progressive dehydration. PA pretreatment resulted in a distinct reduction of the injury index, and this effect was reflected by a lower stress-evoked LOX activity increase and lipid peroxide levels at the end of the stress period. In contrast, PA-supplied stressed roots displayed a higher proline accumulation. The presented results suggest that exogenous PAs are able to alleviate water deficit-induced membrane permeability and diminish LOX activity. Observed changes were accompanied by an accumulation of proline, suggesting that the accumulation of this osmolyte might be another possible mode of action for PAs to attain higher membrane stability, and in this way mitigate water deficit effects in roots of cucumber seedlings.
Cucumber; Lipoxygenase; Membrane damage; Polyamines; Proline; Water deficit
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), a widely cultivated crop, has originated from Eastern Himalayas and secondary domestication regions includes highly divergent climate conditions e.g. temperate and subtropical. We wanted to uncover adaptive genome differences between the cucumber cultivars and what sort of evolutionary molecular mechanisms regulate genetic adaptation of plants to different ecosystems and organism biodiversity. Here we present the draft genome sequence of the Cucumis sativus genome of the North-European Borszczagowski cultivar (line B10) and comparative genomics studies with the known genomes of: C. sativus (Chinese cultivar – Chinese Long (line 9930)), Arabidopsis thaliana, Populus trichocarpa and Oryza sativa. Cucumber genomes show extensive chromosomal rearrangements, distinct differences in quantity of the particular genes (e.g. involved in photosynthesis, respiration, sugar metabolism, chlorophyll degradation, regulation of gene expression, photooxidative stress tolerance, higher non-optimal temperatures tolerance and ammonium ion assimilation) as well as in distributions of abscisic acid-, dehydration- and ethylene-responsive cis-regulatory elements (CREs) in promoters of orthologous group of genes, which lead to the specific adaptation features. Abscisic acid treatment of non-acclimated Arabidopsis and C. sativus seedlings induced moderate freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis but not in C. sativus. This experiment together with analysis of abscisic acid-specific CRE distributions give a clue why C. sativus is much more susceptible to moderate freezing stresses than A. thaliana. Comparative analysis of all the five genomes showed that, each species and/or cultivars has a specific profile of CRE content in promoters of orthologous genes. Our results constitute the substantial and original resource for the basic and applied research on environmental adaptations of plants, which could facilitate creation of new crops with improved growth and yield in divergent conditions.
Stomatal behaviour in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) was analysed and modelled as a function of different greenhouse environmental parameters, under variable summer conditions. Solar radiation was the main regulating factor. During the day, large atmospheric vapour pressure deficit increased transpiration which was followed by a reduction in stomatal aperture, suggesting the presence of a feedback response to water stress. However, stomatal behaviour was more sensitive to high atmospheric vapour pressure deficit when this was accompanied by a rapid decrease of solar radiation. The response to the difference between leaf and air temperature was also influenced by air vapour pressure deficit and duration of plant exposure to high evaporative demand. Calculation of the crop water stress index showed that the air vapour pressure deficit of 1 kPa used in the control treatment probably caused water stress and induced some hardening, a necessary condition for adaptation to summer climate in southern Europe. The importance of the interaction between climatic parameters and plant response in greenhouse environmental management is analysed. Classical models of stomatal resistance are also discussed.
Cucumis sativus L.; stomata; transpiration; leaf temperature; modelling; greenhouse environment; vapour pressure deficit; solar radiation
Dissipation mechanisms of excess photon energy under high-temperature stress were studied in a subtropical forest tree seedling, Ficus concinna. Net CO2 assimilation rate decreased to 16% of the control after 20 d high-temperature stress, and thus the absorption of photon energy exceeded the energy required for CO2 assimilation. The efficiency of excitation energy capture by open photosystem II (PSII) reaction centres (F
m′) at moderate irradiance, photochemical quenching (q
P), and the quantum yield of PSII electron transport (Φ
PSII) were significantly lower after high-temperature stress. Nevertheless, non-photochemical quenching (q
NP) and energy-dependent quenching (q
E) were significantly higher under such conditions. The post-irradiation transient of chlorophyll (Chl) fluorescence significantly increased after the turnoff of the actinic light (AL), and this increase was considerably higher in the 39 °C-grown seedlings than in the 30 °C-grown ones. The increased post-irradiation fluorescence points to enhanced cyclic electron transport around PSI under high growth temperature conditions, thus helping to dissipate excess photon energy non-radiatively.
Ficus concinna; High-temperature stress; Chlorophyll fluorescence; Photosynthesis; Cyclic electron transport around photosystem I; Dissipation of excitation energy
Brassinosteroids (BRs) regulate various physiological processes, such as tolerance to stresses and root growth. Recently, a connection was reported between BRs and nitric oxide (NO) in plant responses to abiotic stress. Here we present evidence supporting NO functions in BR signaling during root growth process. Arabidopsis seedlings treated with BR 24-epibrassinolide (BL) show increased lateral roots (LR) density, inhibition of primary root (PR) elongation and NO accumulation. Similar effects were observed adding the NO donor GSNO to BR-receptor mutant bri1-1. Furthermore, BL-induced responses in the root were abolished by the specific NO scavenger c-PTIO. The activities of nitrate reductase (NR) and nitric oxide synthase (NOS)-like, two NO generating enzymes were involved in BR signaling. These results demonstrate that BR increases the NO concentration in root cells, which is required for BR-induced changes in root architecture.
Arabidopsis; brassinosteroids; nitric oxide; root morphology
Environmental stresses lower the efficiency of photosynthesis and sometimes cause irreversible damage to plant functions. When spinach thylakoids and Photosystem II membranes were illuminated with excessive visible light (100–1,000 µmol photons m−1 s−1) for 10 min at either 20°C or 30°C, the optimum quantum yield of Photosystem II decreased as the light intensity and temperature increased. Reactive oxygen species and endogenous cationic radicals produced through a photochemical reaction at and/or near the reaction center have been implicated in the damage to the D1 protein. Here we present evidence that lipid peroxidation induced by the illumination is involved in the damage to the D1 protein and the subunits of the light-harvesting complex of Photosystem II. This is reasoned from the results that considerable lipid peroxidation occurred in the thylakoids in the light, and that lipoxygenase externally added in the dark induced inhibition of Photosystem II activity in the thylakoids, production of singlet oxygen, which was monitored by electron paramagnetic resonance spin trapping, and damage to the D1 protein, in parallel with lipid peroxidation. Modification of the subunits of the light-harvesting complex of Photosystem II by malondialdehyde as well as oxidation of the subunits was also observed. We suggest that mainly singlet oxygen formed through lipid peroxidation under light stress participates in damaging the Photosystem II subunits.
As the final stage of leaf development, leaf senescence may cause the decline of photosynthesis and gradual reduction of carbon assimilation, which makes it a possible limiting factor for crop yield. NACs are plant-specific transcription factors and some NACs have been confirmed to play important roles in regulating leaf senescence.
In this study, we reported a member of the NAC transcription factor family named OsNAP whose expression is associated with leaf senescence, and investigated its preliminary function during the process of leaf senescence. The results of qRT-PCR showed that the OsNAP transcripts were accumulated gradually in response to leaf senescence and treatment with methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA). A subcellular localization assay indicated that OsNAP is a nuclear-localized protein. Yeast one-hybrid experiments indicated that OsNAP can bind the NAC recognition site (NACRS)-like sequence. OsNAP-overexpressing transgenic plants displayed an accelerated leaf senescence phenotype at the grain-filling stage, which might be caused by the elevated JA levels and the increased expression of the JA biosynthesis-related genes LOX2 and AOC1, and showed enhanced tolerance ability to MeJA treatment at the seedling stage. Nevertheless, the leaf senescence process was delayed in OsNAP RNAi transgenic plants with a dramatic drop in JA levels and with decreased expression levels of the JA biosynthesis-related genes AOS2, AOC1 and OPR7.
These results suggest that OsNAP acts as a positive regulator of leaf senescence and this regulation may occur via the JA pathway.
Chlorophyll; Leaf senescence; NAC; JA; Rice (Oryza sativa L.)
Breastfeeding has numerous benefits both for infants and mothers. WHO, UNICEF, and OECD report the breastfeeding rate (BR) and exclusive breastfeeding rate (EBR) at 3, 4, and 6 months of age for the international comparison. This article investigates the nationwide changes in BR and EBR in Korea from 1994 to 2012. EBR declined from 1994 to 2000, however progressively increased untill 2012. The latest data in 2012 revealed EBRs at 3, 4, and 6 months were 50.0%, 40.5%, and 11.4% respectively. The exclusive formula feeding rate (EFR) was highest in 2000 and gradually declined thereafter. In 2012, the EFRs at 3, 4 and 6 months were 21.7%, 26.5%, and 10.1%. In 2009, the EBRs at 3 and 6 months in the United States were 36.0% and 16.3% compared to 50.0% and 11.4% in Korea. In England, the EBRs were 17% and 12% in 2010. Amongst OECD countries, Hungary ranked highest EBRwith 95%, and Iceland, Norway, Slovak Republic, Australia, New Zealand followed. In conclusion, BRs were lowest in 2000, and there have been remarkable increases in BRs over the past 10 yr in Korea. Although BRs have been increasing, further efforts to increase BRs should be made continuously.
Breast Feeding; Exclusive Breastfeeding; Trends; Korea
Black pigmented leaves are common among horticultural cultivars, yet are extremely rare across natural plant populations. We hypothesised that black pigmentation would disadvantage a plant by reducing photosynthesis and therefore shoot productivity, but that this trait might also confer protective benefits by shielding chloroplasts against photo-oxidative stress. CO2 assimilation, chlorophyll a fluorescence, shoot biomass, and pigment concentrations were compared for near isogenic green- and black-leafed Ophiopogonplaniscapus ‘Nigrescens’. The black leaves had lower maximum CO2 assimilation rates, higher light saturation points and higher quantum efficiencies of photosystem II (PSII) than green leaves. Under saturating light, PSII photochemistry was inactivated less and recovered more completely in the black leaves. In full sunlight, green plants branched more abundantly and accumulated shoot biomass quicker than the black plants; in the shade, productivities of the two morphs were comparable. The data indicate a light-screening, photoprotective role of foliar anthocyanins. However, limitations to photosynthetic carbon assimilation are relatively small, insufficient to explain the natural scarcity of black-leafed plants.