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1.  Physiological Conjunction of Allelochemicals and Desert Plants 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81580.
Plants exchange signals with other physical and biological entities in their habitat, a form of communication termed allelopathy. The underlying principles of allelopathy and secondary-metabolite production are still poorly understood, especially in desert plants. The coordination and role of secondary metabolites were examined as a cause of allelopathy in plants thriving under arid and semiarid soil conditions. Desert plant species, Origanum dayi, Artemisia sieberi and Artemisia judaica from two different sources (cultivar cuttings and wild seeds) were studied in their natural habitats. Growth rate, relative water content, osmotic potential, photochemical efficiency, volatile composition and vital factors of allelopathy were analyzed at regular intervals along four seasons with winter showing optimum soil water content and summer showing water deficit conditions. A comprehensive analysis of the volatile composition of the leaves, ambient air and soil in the biological niche of the plants under study was carried out to determine the effects of soil water conditions and sample plants on the surrounding flora. Significant morpho-physiological changes were observed across the seasons and along different soil water content. Metabolic analysis showed that water deficit was the key for driving selective metabolomic shifts. A. judaica showed the least metabolic shifts, while A. sieberi showed the highest shifts. All the species exhibited high allelopathic effects; A. judaica displayed relatively higher growth-inhibition effects, while O. dayi showed comparatively higher germination-inhibition effects in germination assays. The current study may help in understanding plant behavior, mechanisms underlying secondary-metabolite production in water deficit conditions and metabolite-physiological interrelationship with allelopathy in desert plants, and can help cull economic benefits from the produced volatiles.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081580
PMCID: PMC3858270  PMID: 24339945
2.  Role of brassinosteroids in alleviation of phenanthrene–cadmium co-contamination-induced photosynthetic inhibition and oxidative stress in tomato 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;64(1):199-213.
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.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ers323
PMCID: PMC3528031  PMID: 23201830
Brassinosteroids; food safety; heavy metal; photosynthesis; phytoremediation; polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
3.  Interaction of Brassinosteroids and Polyamines Enhances Copper Stress Tolerance in Raphanus Sativus  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(15):5659-5675.
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.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ers219
PMCID: PMC3444278  PMID: 22915739
Abscisic acid; brassinosteroids; comet assay; copper transporters; Cu homeostasis; Cu-sensitive yeast; indole-3-acetic acid; oxidative stress; polyamines
4.  Chromium Stress Mitigation by Polyamine-Brassinosteroid Application Involves Phytohormonal and Physiological Strategies in Raphanus sativus L. 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33210.
Brassinosteroids (BRs) and polyamines (PAs) are well-established growth regulators playing key roles in stress management among plants. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of epibrassinolide (EBL, an active BR) and spermidine (Spd, an active PA) on the tolerance of radish to oxidative stress induced by Cr (VI) metal. Our investigation aimed to study the impacts of EBL (10−9 M) and/or Spd (1 mM) on the biochemical and physiological responses of radish (Raphanus sativus L.) under Cr-stress. Applications of EBL and/or Spd were found to improve growth of Cr-stressed seedlings in terms of root length, shoot length and fresh weight. Our data also indicated that applications of EBL and Spd have significant impacts, particularly when applied together, on the endogenous titers of PAs, free and bound forms of IAA and ABA in seedlings treated with Cr-stress. Additionally, co-applications of EBL and Spd modulated more remarkably the titers of antioxidants (glutathione, ascorbic acid, proline, glycine betaine and total phenol) and activities of antioxidant enzymes (guaicol peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase and glutathione reductase) in Cr-stressed plants than their individual applications. Attenuation of Cr-stress by EBL and/or Spd (more efficient with EBL and Spd combination) was also supported by enhanced values of stress indices, such as phytochelatins, photosynthetic pigments and total soluble sugars, and reduction in malondialdehyde and H2O2 levels in Cr-treated seedlings. Diminution of ROS production and enhanced ROS scavenging capacities were also noted for EBL and/or Spd under Cr-stress. However, no significant reduction in Cr uptake was observed for co-application of EBL and Spd when compared to their individual treatments in Cr-stressed seedlings. Taken together, our results demonstrate that co-applications of EBL and Spd are more effective than their independent treatments in lowering the Cr-induced oxidative stress in radish, leading to improved growth of radish seedlings under Cr-stress.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033210
PMCID: PMC3315560  PMID: 22479371

Results 1-4 (4)