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Plant Biology · DBG

CRISPR‐Cas9 and beyond - review summarizes target genes for developing disease‐resistant plants

Genome-editing technology is a promising strategy for protecting food security against yield losses of crops due to unpredictable climate change and plant diseases.

In their paper the authors Park et al. provide a brief overview of recent progress in genome-editing technologies, including zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-associated protein 9 (Cas9) technologies. They classify disease resistant mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana and several crop plants based on the roles or functions of the mutated genes in plant immunity and suggest potential target genes for molecular breeding of genome-edited disease-resistant plants. Genome editing technologies are resilient tools for sustainable development and promising solutions for coping with climate change and population increases.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2024) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13625

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: the world’s largest mimicry system

Mimics of pollen, anthers, stamens, and androecia, their models and pollen eating bees and hoverflies constitute the world’s largest mimicry system.

In the open access paper "pollen, anther, stamen, and androecium mimicry" authors Lunau, De Camargo and Brito review the hypotheses, why the yellow UV-absorbing floral centre is so frequent in angiosperms. They review the pollen, anther, stamen, and androecium mimicry (PASAM) hypotheses, present new and published data on pollenating and pollen-collecting pollinators’ responses to PASAM structures and discuss how widespread these systems are around the globe. Their ultimate goal is to promote the idea that PASAM is a plausible first approach to understanding floral colour patterns in angiosperms.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2024) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13628

Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Mycorrhization in trees - ecology, physiology, and emerging technologies

Mycorrhization in trees impacts ecological and physiological dynamics of a forest ecosystem.

The paper summarizes the ecological and physiological significance of mycorrhization. As the authors Chaudhury et al. describe: Dual mycorrhization relationships in trees and even triple relationships among trees, mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria offer an interesting physiological system to understand how plants interact with other organisms for better survival. Besides, studies indicate additional roles of mycorrhization in learning, memorizing and communication between host trees through a common mycorrhizal network (CMN). Recent observations in trees suggest that mycorrhization may even promote tolerance to multiple abiotic (e.g., drought, salt, heavy metal stress) and biotic (e.g. fungi) stresses. Due to the extent of physiological reliance, local adaptation of trees is heavily impacted by the mycorrhizal community. This knowledge opens the possibility of a non-GMO avenue to promote tree growth and development. Indeed, mycorrhization could impact growth of trees in nurseries and subsequent survival of the inoculated trees in field conditions.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2024) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13613

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review on allelopathy and allelobiosis: efficient and economical alternatives in agroecosystems

The paper summarizes allelopathy and allelobiosis in inter-specific, intra-specific, plant-microorganism, and plant-insect context, and discusses the involved substances, their mechanisms, as well as environmental factors influencing allelopathic/signal molecule production and spread.

In their review authors Han et al. summarize and classify allelochemicals and chemical signals according to their function and structure in relation to environmental factors and generation and diffusion of such signals, since allelopathy and allelobiosis have never been systematically reviewed thus far. Moreover the authors provide recent research on the application of allelopathy and allelobiosis in agroecosystems in future studies.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13582 

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Oxygen transport in plants under hypoxia/anoxia - diffusion and convection

In waterlogged environments, plant root aeration mainly relies on diffusion through aerenchyma, although some emergent and floating-leaved plants utilize pressurized flows to facilitate gas movement within their stems and rhizomes

In the article "An overview of oxygen transport in plants: diffusion and convection" author G. G. Striker summarizes how plants under hypoxia/anoxia ensure a steady oxygen supply to their cells and identifies three types of pressurized (convective) flows: humidity-induced pressurization (positive pressure), thermal osmosis (positive pressure with air flow against the heat gradient), and venturi-induced suction (negative pressure) caused by wind passing over broken culms.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13558.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Divergence of non-flying mammal-pollinated plants

The pollination system and evolutionary transition of Mucuna in Asia are unique, reflecting the divergence of the non-flying mammal-pollinated plants

In the article "Evolution of a non-flying mammal-dependent pollination system in Asian Mucuna (Fabaceae)" author S. Kobayashi summarizes the available knowledge of pollination in Asian Mucuna (Fabaceae), a genus mainly distributed in the tropics, and discusses the evolution of plants pollinated by non-flying mammals in Asia. Nineteen pollinator species have been recorded and pollination systems have been categorized into four types. An examination of the relationship between Mucuna species and their pollinators from the lineage perspective revealed that all species in Mucuna, subgenus Macrocarpa, which are distributed in Asia, are pollinated exclusively by non-flying mammals, f.e. from squirrel species.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13557.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Genetics underlying wheat grain protein content and grain protein deviation

Independent studies converge on genomic regions significantly associated with wheat grain protein content and grain protein deviation

In their review "Recent advances in the genetics underlying wheat grain protein content (GPC) and grain protein deviation (GPD) in hexaploid wheat", the authors Paina and Gregersen summarize the scientific findings about the genetics underlying wheat GPC and GPD, representing the relationship between grain protein content and yield), together with the performance of genomic prediction models characterizing these traits. A total of 364 significant loci related to GPC and GPD are positioned on the hexaploid wheat genome, one of the most important global crops which therefore is of major interest in breeding programs.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13550 (Open Access)

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How gibberellin molecular metabolism orchestrates plant development

Gibberellin pathways have emerged as multi-signals integrators for plant development through complex feedback regulations and cross-talks

In their article "Molecular gibberellin (GA) pathways as conserved integrators for adaptive responses" Bouré and Arnaud summarize the elements of GA metabolism and signalling pathways, with emphasis on the key role of the GA/GID1/DELLA complex as a conserved developmental integrator. They also discuss how the GA signalling pathway - together with feedback regulation on GA metabolism -  contributes to the integration of endogenous and exogenous signals to provide an adaptive output.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13549.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Vulnerability, resilience, and adaptive capacity of Mediterranean forests under climate change

Factors that affect vulnerability and mechanisms that influence resilience of forests.

The autors Touhami et al. review the current state of knowledge on the effects of climate change on sclerophyllous and semi-deciduous forest ecosystems in Tunisia. They found alarming results concerning the tree cover lost to fires, as well as shifted phenological parameters like start and end of the green season. And they call upon scientists, policymakers, and managers to adapt Mediterranean forests to climate change.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13524

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How proline functions under high temperatures and how genetic engineering may help to develop temperature-smart crops

Proline aids in various activities associated with plant growth and development under extreme temperatures, and genetic engineering of proline biosynthesis genes may aid in the design of temperature-smart future crops.

In their review "assessment of proline function in higher plants under extreme temperatures" authors Raza, Charagh, Abbas et al conclude that exogenous application of proline and genetic engineering of proline genes promise ways to develop temperature-smart future crop plants to combat impending climate change crisis.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2023). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13510

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How metabolism of plant lipids and plant responses to abiotic stressors interact

The review summarizes the interactions between plant lipids and abiotic stressors.

In their review "Functions and interaction of plant lipid signalling under abiotic stresses" the authors Liang, Huang, Liu, Chen and Li describe the metabolism of plant lipids and discuss their involvement in plant responses to abiotic stress. Thereby they also provide necessary background for further research on the interactions between plant lipids and abiotic stress. Several summary diagrams as well as a comprehensive model of interactions between plant lipids and abiotic stresses is summarized in a graph.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology 2023, DOI: 10.1111/plb.13507

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Rice anther tapetum - a vital reproductive cell layer for sporopollenin biosynthesis and pollen exine patterning

Summary of the regulation of tapetum and pollen formation, focused on the role of AT-Hook DNA binding proteins in tapetal and exine patterning

Findings on rice tapetum development, including genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic studies are reviewed by the authors Tariq, Yaseen, Xu, Rehman, Bibi and Uzair. They also describe tapetal programmed cell death (PCD), sporopollenin biosynthesis, ROS activity for tapetum
function and its role in male reproductive development. They summarize the role of the tapetum in male fertility using rice as a model system, and provide information that can be applied in rice hybridization and that of other major crops.

Read whole paper open access in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13485

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Plant water uptake modelling - added value of cross-disciplinary approaches

Factors influencing water uptake and complementary interdisciplinary hybrid models of plant water uptake

The authors Dubbert, Couvreur, Kübert, and Werner summarize how interdisciplinary hybrid plant water uptake models add the value of a broader conceptual view of soil-plant feedbacks of water, nutrient and carbon cycling. The main goal is to highlight how the four dominant model approaches can be and have been used to create interdisciplinary hybrid models enabling a holistic system understanding that also embeds plant water uptake plasticity into a broader conceptual view of soil–plant feedbacks of water, nutrient and carbon cycling, or reflects observed drought responses of plant–soil feedbacks and their dynamics under, that is, drought.

Read whole paper open access in our scientific journal Plant Biology 25 (2021) 32–42. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13478.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Grass species with smoke-released seed dormancy: A response to climate and fire regime but not photosynthetic pathway

Among worldwide grass species, four types of smoke-assisted seed dormancy release can be recognized, based on % with C4 photosynthesis, vegetation type, rainfall seasonality, and type and frequency of fire

In the review author Lamont summarizes the worldwide literature for reports on germination responses among grasses, whose photosynthetic pathway was known, to treatment by smoke and obtained information for 217 species and 126 genera. Thus, even though C3 and C4 grasses are equally capable of expressing smoke sensitivity, their response depends on the region’s climate and fire regime that also dictate which photosynthetic pathway dominates.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13479

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Plant Biology · DBG

Viewpoint: Is a spice missing from the recipe? The intra-cellular localization of vanillin biosynthesis needs further investigations

The biosynthesis of the flavor compound Vanillin is still controversial; specifically the role of the last enzyme of the pathway, vanillin synthase

Authors Diamond, Barnabé and Desgagné-Penix raise questions on the interpretation of data obtained from the technique used and on the true localization of the biosynthetic enzymes in V. planifolia. They discuss the findings surrounding the cellular-localization and activity of enzymes of vanillin biosynthesis. This will help to further understand the pathway and urge for additional research study to resolve the current debate in the biosynthesis of the most popular flavor compound in the world.

Read whole viewpoint in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13465

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Possible mechanisms underlying the compensation effect upon the suppression of AOX1a

Decreased relative amounts of reduced ascorbate at stable reactive-oxygen-species (ROS) levels owing to compensation in AOX-suppressed plants might indicate stress development

Author Garmash in the review with the title "Suppression of mitochondrial alternative oxidase can result in upregulation of the ROS scavenging network: some possible mechanisms underlying the compensation effect" proposes that the decrease in the relative amount of reduced ascorbate at stable ROS levels as a result of compensation in AOX1a-suppressed plants is a sign of stress development.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13477

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How magnetic fields affect plants

The magnetic field interacts with plants and accelerates metabolism through signaling pathways, which results in a higher germination rate, and improved growth and production (click to enlarge)

In their paper "Growth, physiological, biochemical and molecular changes in plants induced by magnetic fields" the authors Hafeez, Zahra, Ahmad et al. describe the effects of altering magnetic field conditions (higher or lower values than the Earth’s geomagnetic field) on physiological and biochemical processes of plants: Magnetic field application play a role in changing several physiological processes and could be a potential affordable, reusable and safe practice for enhancing crop productivity by changing physiological and biochemical processes.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13459

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Roadmap to improve photosynthetic efficiency in staple crops

Roadmap to imporve photosynthetic efficiency in staple crops. (click to enlarge)

Based on the current experimental advances authors Pradhan, Panda, Bishi, et al. in their review "Progress and prospects of C4 trait engineering in plants" summarize novel biotechnological crop improvement strategies that might help to incorporate C4 photosynthetic traits into C3 crops for sustaining food, fiber and fuel production around the globe. They not only report on successes but also on failures and highlight the pros and cons of using rice as a model plant for short-, medium- and long-term goals of genetic engineering.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology open access. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13446

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi affect the accumulation of secondary metabolites of Traditional Chinese medicinal plants

Effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on secondary metabolites in Traditional Chinese medicine and the mechanism of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi regulating the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites

In their review "Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi: Effects on secondary metabolite accumulation of traditional Chinese medicines", the authors Ran, Ding, Cao et al. discuss the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on secondary metabolites in Traditional Chinese medicine and the mechanism of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi regulating the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites. The results could be used to provide new ideas and methods for improving the quality of Traditional Chinese medicine.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology open access. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13449

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: physiological mechanisms how selenium improves heavy metal stress tolerance in plants

Selenium improves the tolerance to heavy metal stress of plants in several ways.

In their review "Advances in physiological mechanisms of selenium to improve heavy metal stress tolerance in plants" the authors Lai, Yang, Rao et al. summarize several antagonistic effects of selenium on heavy metal stressors such as cadmium and mercury. The review helps to comprehensively understand the physiological mechanism of selenium in plant tolerance to heavy metal stress of plants, and provides theoretical support for the practical application of selenium in environmental remediation and agricultural development.

Read whole review in our scientific journal Plant Biology open access. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13435

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Plant Biology · DBG

How the 2018 hot drought brings Pinus sylvestris to a tipping point and whether the ecosystem recovers

The 2018 hot drought severely impaired hydraulic functionality in a Scots Pine forest, causing accelerated tree mortality rates, which ultimately led to a tipping point for the ecosystem.

In their research paper "Central European 2018 hot drought shifts scots pine forest to its tipping point" published in July 2022 authors Haberstroh et al. analyse the severe negative impacts of the hot drought in 2018 on a Pinus sylvestris forests in southwest Germany. The co-occurrence of unfavourable site-specific conditions with recurrent severe droughts resulted in accelerated mortality. Thus, the 2018 hot drought pushed the P. sylvestris stand towards its tipping point, with a subsequent vegetation shift to a broadleaf-dominated forest. To draw this conclusions the authors had analysed needle water potential, carbon assimilation and volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The impact and recovery were assessed as ecosystem carbon exchange, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) from satellite data and tree mortality data.

Read whole open access paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13455

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Plant Biology · DBG

How isoprenoid emission capacities vary in response to ecophysiological and environmental controls in Amazonian ecosystems

Amazonian tree species emit less isoprene but more larger isoprenoids in response to abiotic stress.

From the data measured and published in their paper "Seasonal shifts in isoprenoid emission composition from three hyperdominant tree species in central Amazonia" Gomes Alves and the 12 other authors suggest that emission composition shifts are part of a plastic response to increasing abiotic stress (e.g. heat and drought) and reduced photosynthetic supply of substrates for isoprenoid synthesis. They emphasize that future focus should be put on emission composition shifts that are part of a plastic response to increasing abiotic stress (e.g. heat and drought) and reduced photosynthetic supply of substrates for isoprenoid synthesis.

Read whole open access paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2022) 24, 721-. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13419

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: beneficial species interactions in mixed forests may shift under extreme droughts

Species interactions play a crucial role during and after drought events in forests by modulating transpirational responses of different tree species.

In their paper "The role of species interactions for forest resilience to drought" authors Haberstroh and Werner summarize the scientific findings on the impact of species interactions on tree resilience (resistance + recovery) under increasing drought severity. They find with increasing drought, negative effects occurred, such as interspecific competition. After extreme droughts, competition effects and reduced recovery for some species were observed, which can strongly compromise tree resilience.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13415

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Likely roles of the distinct cytosol- and plastidlocated Glutamine synthetase isoenzymes in A. thaliana

Arabidopsis thaliana revels a species-specific functional redundancy of the Glutamine Synthetase gene family, having an isoenzyme compensation mechanism that prevents gene loss of function.

In their review "Glutamine synthetase: an unlikely case of functional redundancy in Arabidopsis thaliana" the authors Moreira, Coimbra and Melo integrate analyses on the likely roles of the distinct cytosol- and plastidlocated Glutamine synthetase (GS) isoenzymes in the model plant, highlighting the redundancy of the GS gene family specifically occurring in this plant. This is in contrast to GS isoenzymes that were observed in nitrogen metabolism in species like Oryza sativa and Zea mays.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13408

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Hydrogen sulphide - an emerging regulator of plant defence signalling

Hydrogen sulfide enhances plant immunity against invading pathogens.

A growing body of evidence indicates potential role of H2S in plant defence, particularly against bacterial and fungal pathogens. Recent studies suggested that the gaseous signalling molecule participates in plant defence potentially by

  1. regulating glutathione metabolism,
  2. inducing expression of pathogenesis-related (PR) and other defence-related genes,
  3. modulating enzyme activity through post-translational modifications, and
  4. interacting with phytohormones such as jasmonic acid, ethylene and auxin.

The authors Choudhary, Singh, Khatri, and Gupta discuss the biosynthesis, metabolism and interaction of H2S with phytohormones, and highlight evidence gathered so far to support the emerging roles of H2S in plant defence against invading pathogens.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13376.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How H2S mitigates adverse effects of abiotic stress

Application of exogenous hydrogen sulfide induces changes, at the biochemical and molecular level, that mitigate the detrimental effects of diverse abiotic stressors.

Since signalling molecules like hydrogen sulfide (H2S) play a crucial role in mitigating the adverse effects of environmental stresses in plants it is important to understand the several physiological and biochemical mechanisms. The authors review recent advances in understanding the beneficial roles of H2S in conferring multiple abiotic stress tolerance in plants. And discuss the interaction and crosstalk between H2S and other signal molecules and highlight some genetic engineering-based current and future directions.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13368

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: How H2S and NO crosstalk during waterlogging stress in legume crops

Hydrogen sulfide and Nitric oxide modulate the key traits, which are responsible for waterlogging tolerance in legumes

In their review the authors Tyagi, Sharma, Ali, and Gaikwad summarize the crosstalk of the important plant signalling molecules hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and nitric oxide (NO) during waterlogging stress in legumes, which are emitted from plants and soil microbes and that are known to regulate key physiological pathways. They provide an overall summary on H2S and NO, including biosynthesis, biological importance, crosstalk, transporter regulation as well as understanding their role during waterlogging using ‘multi-omics’ approach.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology DOI: 10.1111/plb.13319

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Plant Biology · DBG

Seed biologists beware: Estimates of initial viability based on ungerminated seeds at the end of an experiment may be error-prone

It is recommended to determine initial seed viability at the start of the experiment, since prolonged duration of ungerminated seeds in germination treatments can lead to loss of viability.

In his viewpoint paper Author Lamont asks for caution against the routine use of end-of-trial germination and viability of ungerminated seeds as an estimate of initial viability in determining germination success of various treatments. He analyses Leucadendron species and in his paper also explores ways to deal with the problem and to preference estimates of initial viability to be undertaken on a separate sample of seeds concurrently with the experiment as this avoids the risk of seed death during the trial.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2022) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13407

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Expression and roles of GRAS gene family in plant growth, signal transduction, biotic and abiotic stress resistance and symbiosis formation

The GRAS gene family plays an important role in plant signaling, arbuscular mycorrhizal association as well as biotic and abiotic stress tolerance during various stage of plant growth and development.

In their review, the authors Khan, Xiong, Zhang, Liu, Yaseen und Hui highlight the diverse roles of GRAS in plant systems that could be useful in enhancing crop productivity through genetic modification, especially of crops. It is the first review to report the role and function of the GRAS gene family in plant systems.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2021) DOI: 10.1111/plb.13364

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Plant Biology · DBG

Does plant leaf flammability converge with increasing radiant heat flux in Australian fire-prone woodlands?

Leaf flammability patterns are significantly affected by increasing radiant heat flux, with important implications for integrating leaf flammability into wildfire models.

From their findings the authors Krix, Murray and Murray conclude that leaf flammability is significantly affected by increasing radiant heat flux. In their paper “Increasing radiant heat flux affects leaf flammability patterns in plant species of eastern Australian fire-prone woodlands” they suggest that of the flammability attributes assessed, flame duration is the most informative to include in wildfire models which explicitly consider species’ flammability, given that differences among species in flame duration are maintained across a radiant heat flux gradient.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology 24 (2022) 302–312. DOI: 10.1111/plb.13381

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Significance of miRNA in enhancement of flavonoid biosynthesis

miRNAs regulate flavonoid biosynthesis by acting on structural genes in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway or by indirectly acting transcription complex to effecting structural genes.

In their review Yang, Han, Li, Ye, and Xu summarize the biosynthesis and mechanisms of miRNA, and provides a summary of the mechanisms of miRNAs involved in production of flavonoids, in order to elucidate the biosynthesis pathway and complex regulatory network of plant flavonoids. They aim to provide new insights into improving the content of flavonoid active ingredients in plants.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2021). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13361

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Plant Biology · DBG

How seedling's shoot:root ratio, moiture gradient and species niche are associated

The seedling shoot:root ratio has a general adaptive role of in relation to the species niche position on the soil moisture gradient in temperate grassland species.

In their research paper "Shoot:root ratio of seedlings is associated with species niche on soil moisture gradient", Mašková, Maternová, Tĕšitel explore evolutionary adaptations determining plant early growth strategies in 15 herbaceous genera of temperate grasslands differing in their requirements for soil water availability. Linear mixed-effect models identified the length-based shoot:root ratio of seedlings was positively associated with soil moisture requirements in a congeneric species comparison. Nitrogen and phosphorus seed concentrations had an additional negative effect on the shoot:root ratio. Neither of these trends was found for the mass-based shoot:root ratio.
They thus demonstrated for the first time that there might be a general adaptation modifying the seedling shoot:root ratio according to the species niche position on the soil moisture gradient in temperate grassland species across a broad range of angiosperm phylogeny. This adaptation seems to be affected by seed mineral nutrient reserves and may
operate in parallel to the well-known phenotypic plasticity.

Read whole paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology (2021). DOI: 10.1111/plb.13352.

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Genome-wide identification studies – A primer to explore new genes in plant species

Genome-wide studies provide an initial framework to identify gene families in plant genomes and further characterize their gene structures, evolutionary relationships, protein interactions, gene expression patterns in various tissues and predict putative gene functions using various computational tools.

Genome data have accumulated rapidly in recent years, doubling roughly after every 6 months due to the influx of next-generation sequencing technologies. A plethora of plant genomes are available in comprehensive public databases. This easy access to data provides an opportunity to explore genome datasets and recruit new genes in various plant species not possible a decade ago. In the past few years, many gene families have been published using these public datasets. These genome-wide studies identify and characterize gene members, gene structures, evolutionary relationships, expression patterns, protein interactions and gene ontologies, and predict putative gene functions using various computational tools. Such studies provide meaningful information and an initial framework for further functional elucidation. The review by I. Safder, G. Shao, Z. Sheng, P. Hu, and S. Tang provides a concise layout of approaches used in these gene family studies and demonstrates an outline for employing various plant genome datasets in future studies.

Read whole review in our scientific journal Plant Biology Early View. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13340

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Biotechnology of virus eradication and plant vaccination in phytobiome context

For successful control of viral diseases of grapes, the focus of research should shift from the complete eradication of viruses to a detailed study of the RNA pool of naturally occurring grape viruses, the efficient in vitro vaccination systems and possible tools to protect beneficial phytobiome from obliteration.

A plant’s associated biota plays an integral role in its metabolism, nutrient uptake, stress tolerance, pathogen resistance and other physiological processes. Although a virome is an integral part of the phytobiome, a major contradiction exists between the holobiont approach and the practical need to eradicate pathogens from agricultural crops. In their review, V. Oberemok, K. Laikova, I. Golovkin, L. Kryukov and R. Kamenetsky-Goldstein discuss grapevine virus control. But the issue is also relevant for numerous other crops, including potato, cassava, citrus, cacao and other species. Grapevine diseases, especially viral infections, cause main crop losses. Methods have been developed to eliminate viruses and other microorganisms from plant material, but elimination of viruses from plant material does not guarantee protection from future reinfection. Elimination of viral particles in plant material could create genetic drift, leading in turn to an increase in the occurrence of pathogenic strains of viruses. A possible solution may be a combination of virus elimination and plant propagation in tissue culture with in vitro vaccination. In this context, possible strategies to control viral infections include application of plant resistance inducers, cross protection and vaccination using siRNA, dsRNA and viral replicons during plant ‘cleaning’ and in vitro propagation. The experience and knowledge accumulated in human immunization can help plant scientists to develop and employ new methods of protection, leading to more sustainable and healthier crop production.

Read whole open access paper in our scientific journal Plant Biology - early view DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13338

Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Auxin in plant development - structure, signalling, regulation and response mechanisms

Auxin-integrating chemical and molecular processes are involved in plant growth and development, regulated by the synthesis and distribution of the phytohormon.

Auxins as plant hormones play a central role in controlling growth and development across different environmental conditions. In their review G. L. B. Gomes and K. C. Scortecci summarise recent advances in understanding the biosynthetic pathways, both dependent and independent of tryptophan, highlighting the intermediate indole compounds (indole-3-acetamide, indole-3-acetaldoxime, indole-3-pyruvic acid and tryptamine) and the key enzymes for auxin biosynthesis, such as YUCs and TAAs. In relation to the signalling cascade, it has been shown that auxins influence gene expression regulation by the connection between synthesis and distribution. Moreover, the molecular action of the auxin response factors and auxin/indole-3-acetic acid transcription factors with the F-box TIR1/AFB auxin receptors regulates gene expression. In addition they also demonstrate the importance of microRNAs in the auxin signalling pathway and their influence on plant plasticity to environmental fluctuations. Finally, this review describes the chemical and biological processes involving auxins in plants.

Read whole review in our scientific journal Plant Biology 23 (Nov. 2021): 894-904. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13303

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Plant Biology · DBG

Review: Drought and crop yield

Drought stress negatively affects crop plants by reduced transpiration and root architecture leading to dehydration and yield penalty.

The review summarizes the effects of drought stress on crop plants and relates the dehydration-dependent yield penalty to the harvested organ and tissue. The control of shoot transpiration and the reorganization of root architecture are of core importance for maintaining proper plant water relationships. Upon dehydration, the provision and partitioning of assimilates and the uptake and distribution of nutrients define remaining growth activity. Domestication of crops by selection for high yield under high input has restricted the genetic repertoire for achieving drought stress tolerance. Introgression of suitable alleles from wild relatives into commercial cultivars might improve the ability to grow with less water. As the authors KJ Dietz, C Zörb, and CM. Geilfus,conclude, future research activities should focus more on field studies in order to generate more realistic improvements to crops. Robotic field phenotyping should be integrated into genetic mapping for the identification of relevant traits.

Read whole paper open access in our scientific journal Plant Biology - early view DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13304 

Plant Biology · DBG

How vegetation, native and non-native bees are linked to vine production

Pollination is provided by biodiversity and maintains global food production. When we look to vineyards surrounded by intermediate native vegetation, we can observe a balance between the resource availability from vineyards and native vegetation.

There are positive relationships between vineyard production and native vegetation in the landscape. The native fragments inserted within landscapes with more native vegetation area exhibited better parameters of vine production and quality. Apis and non-Apis (such as flies and small bees) floral visitors, known to have different effects on vine pollination, could hypothetically provide variation in vine production and quality. Considering a near 20% native vegetation increment, there was an enhancement, on average, of ten-fold more berries per bunch, the changing physical and chemical fruit traits by vegetation increment could also increase the aggregate value of vines and the value of pollination services in the economy.

Read the whole paper "Different visitation frequencies of native and non-native bees to vines: how much vegetation is necessary to improve fruit production?"  in our scientific journal Plant Biology - early view DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13327

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Plant Biology · DBG

Factory of molecules

In Ballota acetabuolosa, peltates and long-stalked capitates are responsible for terpene production. γ-Muurolene, β-caryophyllene and (E)-nerolidol prevail in the foliar and floral volatile organic compound (VOC) profiles.

Within the Open Science project a multidisciplinary study analyzed Ballota acetabulosa (L.) Benth. at the Ghirardi Botanic Garden (Toscolano Maderno, BS, Italy). Micromorphological and histochemical investigations were performed on the secreting structures of the vegetative and reproductive organs under light, fuorescence and electronic microscopy. Concurrently spontaneously emitted volatiles from leaves and flowers were examined. Four trichome morphotypes were identified: peltate and short-stalked, mediumstalked and long-stalked capitate trichomes, each with a specific distribution pattern. The histochemical analysis was confirmed using ultrastructural observations, with the peltates and long-stalked capitates as the main sites responsible for terpene production. The head-space characterization revealed that sesquiterpene hydrocarbons dominated both in leaves and flowers, with c-muurolene, b-caryophyllene and (E)-nerolidol as the most abundant compounds. Moreover, a comparison with literature data concerning the ecological roles of the main compounds suggested their dominant roles in defence, both at the leaf and flower level.

Read whole paper "Micromorphological and phytochemical survey of Ballota acetabulosa (L.) Benth" in our scientific journal Plant Biology 23 (2021) 643–65. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13254

Plant Biology · DBG

Leaf level carbon and water fluxes under drought and nitrogen availability

Three abundant grassland plant species maintained leaf level carbon and water fluxes under strongly altered water and nitrogen availability (treatments). This was shown by Kübert, Kuester, Götz, Dubbert, Eiblmeier, Werner, Rothfuss and Dubbert from Freiburg, Berlin and Jülich in their recent paper "Combined experimental drought and nitrogen loading: the role of species-dependent leaf level control of carbon and water exchange in a temperate grassland", for which they had analysed data from a multifactorial field experiment.

in our scientific journal Plant Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13230

Plant Biology · DBG

How pink and white flower colours affect pollinators and florivory

Pink flowers of Silene littorea receive more visits of pollinators, whilst white flowers suffer more florivory, but autonomous autogamy helps to maintain colour variation.

Results researchers Buide, Del Valle, Prado‐Comesaña and Narbona from Spain show in their recent paper "The effects of pollination, herbivory and autonomous selfing on the maintenance of flower colour variation in Silene littorea" in our scientific journal Plant Biology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/plb.13209

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