Functional Plant Biology Functional Plant Biology Society
Plant function and evolutionary biology

Functional Plant Biology

Functional Plant Biology

Functional Plant Biology publishes new and significant information on the functional biology of plants at all scales from the molecular through whole plant to community. Read more about the journalMore

Editor-in-Chief: Sergey Shabala

Current Issue

Functional Plant Biology

Volume 43 Number 10 2016

Water deficit stress is a major constraint to chickpea yield and there is need to identify the physiological and biochemical indices of drought tolerance. Water deficit stress tolerance in chickpea is mediated by antioxidative defence mechanisms in different underground (roots and nodules) and aboveground (leaves, pod walls and seeds) tissues. The study can be used for enhancing the sustainability of agricultural practices in low-moisture soils.

Short heat waves during grain filling significantly reduce grain size and consequently yield in wheat. Heat caused grain filling in intolerant varieties to be cut short rather than slowed, pointing to premature senescence in the grain as the determinant of grain weight losses under heat, rather than reduced sugar supply to the grain caused by rapid loss of leaf greenness. Efforts to improve the heat stability of grain size could therefore focus on preventing heat-triggered senescence in the grain.

Increased precipitation during warmer winters may lead to low-temperature waterlogging. The aim of the study was to evaluate the effects of cold waterlogging on photosynthesis: it was shown that different photosynthetic acclimation systems are activated. The results indicate that the predicted climatic changes may modify cold acclimation process in plants.

FP15363Effects of exogenous nitric oxide on growth, proline accumulation and antioxidant capacity in Cakile maritima seedlings subjected to water deficit stress

Asma Jday, Kilani Ben Rejeb, Ines Slama, Kaouthar Saadallah, Marianne Bordenave, Séverine Planchais, Arnould Savouré and Chedly Abdelly
pp. 939-948

Nitric oxide (NO) is an endogenous signaling molecule mediating plant responses to environmental constraints. The effect of exogenous NO was investigated in Cakile maritima seedlings under water deficit stress, using sodium nitroprusside as NO donor. NO supply mitigated the impact of water deficit stress on C. maritima by the stimulation of proline biosynthesis and the reduction of oxidative damage.

FP16007Stress tolerance mechanisms in Juncus: responses to salinity and drought in three Juncus species adapted to different natural environments

Mohamad Al Hassan, María del Pilar López-Gresa, Monica Boscaiu and Oscar Vicente
pp. 949-960

Responses to salinity and drought were analysed in three rush species with different degrees of salt tolerance. The most tolerant species – sea rush and spiny rush – were more efficient in inhibition of the transport of toxic ions to the aerial part of the plants, activate potassium transport at high external salt concentrations, and accumulated much higher levels of proline as an osmoprotectant. These findings contribute to elucidate relevant stress tolerance mechanisms in Juncus species.

The effects of high temperature on reproductive growth have been a focus in climate change research. However, concomitant increases in air and soil temperatures will substantially reduce coleoptile elongation, limiting wheat establishment, particularly when wheat is sown early into deeper soil moisture. Improved management, together with selection of new and existing alleles for greater coleoptile length, will be required to avoid crop establishment failures in future climates.

Cadmium (Cd) is the main heavy metal that limits plant productivity worldwide. Antioxidant mechanisms of the four citrus rootstocks exposed to environmentally-realistic concentrations of Cd were characterised. We found that roots differ in the ability to cope Cd-induced oxidative stress through differences in metabolic and antioxidant events involving carbohydrates, soluble and polymerised phenolics, lipid peroxidation and reactive oxygen species accumulation. We propose a hypothetical model to explain differences observed in this study.

Vegetative and reproductive growth of many plant species is detrimentally affected by high temperatures, but it is not known just how high the temperatures have to be to cause damage. In this work, a hydrocooling system was used to control grapevine canopy temperatures at set points. The results showed many processes such as dry matter accumulation were optimal at 30°C, therefore, where some depreciation was evident suggested a threshold temperature was 35°C and exposure to 40°C was distinctly detrimental.

Current Issue

The peer-reviewed and edited version of record published online before inclusion in an issue

Published online 01 August 2016

FP16093Protection by light against heat stress in leaves of tropical crassulacean acid metabolism plants containing high acid levels

G. Heinrich Krause, Klaus Winter, Barbara Krause and Aurelio Virgo

Plants exhibiting crassulacean acid metabolism are highly heat sensitive in the dark when malic acid has accumulated in cell vacuoles overnight. The present investigation on Clusia and Agave shows that light effectively eliminates the increased heat sensitivity seen at high acid levels. It is concluded that in the dark, heat-induced efflux of malic acid from vacuoles causes damage to leaf tissue, particularly to chloroplasts, whereas under illumination, damage is avoided by turnover of the acid during photosynthetic metabolism.

Published online 08 August 2016

FP16135Salinity effects on chloroplast PSII performance in glycophytes and halophytes1

William J. Percey, Andrew McMinn, Jayakumar Bose, Michael C. Breadmore, Rosanne M. Guijt and Sergey Shabala

This paper investigates effect of salinity stress and K+ nutrition on photosynthetic parameters of isolated chloroplasts and shows that chloroplasts’ ability to regulate ion transport across the envelope and thylakoid membranes play a critical role in leaf photosynthetic performance under salinity.

Published online 09 August 2016

FP16114Proteomic responses in shoots of the facultative halophyte Aeluropus littoralis (Poaceae) under NaCl salt stress

Wassim Azri, Zouhaier Barhoumi, Farhat Chibani, Manel Borji, Mouna Bessrour and Ahmed Mliki

Very little is known about the adaptation mechanism of A. littoralis under saline conditions. In this study, we investigated salt tolerance mechanisms adopted by this halophyte. Proteomic analyses revealed that the reduction of proteins related to photosynthesis and induction of proteins involved in glycolysis activity and TCA cycle and energy metabolism could be the main mechanisms for salt tolerance in A. littoralis.

Published online 19 August 2016

FP15391Natural variation in primary root growth and K+ retention in roots of habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense) under salt stress

Emanuel Bojórquez-Quintal, Nancy Ruiz-Lau, Ana Velarde-Buendía, Ileana Echevarría-Machado, Igor Pottosin and Manuel Martínez-Estévez

In this work, we demonstrated the natural variation in mechanisms for protection against salt stress in pepper varieties. NaCl-induced K+ and H+ efflux in roots was also studied by ion-selective microelectrodes under application of pharmacological agents. Pharmacological analysis indicated that the NaCl-induced K+ leakage was mediated by TEA+-sensitive KOR channels but not by NSCC channels and we present evidence for participation of proline, and HAK K+ transporter for maintaining K+ homeostasis under salt stress.

Published online 19 August 2016

FP16120Potassium fluxes and reactive oxygen species production as potential indicators of salt tolerance in Cucumis sativus

Mirvat Redwan, Francesco Spinelli, Lucia Marti, Matthias Weiland, Emily Palm, Elisa Azzarello and Stefano Mancuso

Salt stress has a high impact on crop yield, with current global annual losses being around US$27 billion. Among horticulture crops, cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is considered a moderately salt-sensitive species. Here, we report a study on two cultivars of cucumber with different tolerance to salt. The ability of roots to retain K and produce reactive O species is important for salt tolerance screening and plant breeding programmes.

Dehydrin proteins play a key role in stress tolerance in plants. The aim of this work was to highlight the role of the different conserved domains of a wheat dehydrin (DHN-5) overexpressed in Arabidopsis transgenic plants. We showed that DHN-5 via its K-segments may play a role in the improvement of tolerance to abiotic and biotic stress. It remains to be seen the effect of the over-expressing of DHN-5 in the development of crops with multiple stress tolerances.

Published online 29 July 2016

FP16003Molecular cloning and functional characterisation of the tomato E3 ubiquitin ligase SlBAH1 gene

Shu-Mei Zhou, Sai-Han Wang, Chao Lin, Yun-Zhi Song, Xin-Xin Zheng, Feng-Ming Song and Chang-Xiang Zhu

In this study we isolated the SlBAH1 gene from tomato. SlBAH1 possesses E3 ubiquitin ligase enzyme activity. SlBAH1 was localised in the nucleus, cytoplasm and plasma membrane. SlBAH1-silencing enhanced resistance to Botrytis cinerea.

The next step in wheat climate change adaptation research is to evaluate responses of individual cultivars to elevated CO2. This will require the evaluation of large numbers of genotypes, and for practical reasons, preliminary studies are most likely to be conducted in controlled environments with container-grown plants. However, this might create problems or reduce the ability to detecting true cultivar responses.

Published online 05 September 2016

FP16022Stress-induced changes in carbon allocation among metabolite pools influence isotope-based predictions of water use efficiency in Phaseolus vulgaris

Erin Lockhart, Birgit Wild, Andreas Richter, Kevin Simonin and Andrew Merchant

Understanding how crops respond to environmental stress will expand our capacity to improve production. We explore the physiological and chemical responses of Phaseolus vulgaris L. to different stresses, identifying changes in the abundance of protective metabolites. We identify shifts in C allocation among metabolite pools and, through measuring compound-specific isotope abundance, identify the potential for changes in biochemical fractionation that may impact predictions of intrinsic water use efficiency. Our findings indicate biochemical traits that could help improve strategies to develop crops that can withstand adverse conditions.

Published online 14 September 2016

FP16121Hyperspectral imaging reveals the effect of sugar beet quantitative trait loci on Cercospora leaf spot resistance

Marlene Leucker, Mirwaes Wahabzada, Kristian Kersting, Madlaina Peter, Werner Beyer, Ulrike Steiner, Anne-Katrin Mahlein and Erich-Christian Oerke

As crops are permanently threatened by pests and pathogens, breeding of resistant varieties is an important strategy to control these risks. During the breeding processes, an effective and reliable evaluation of promising candidates is necessary, but often difficult and laborious; therefore, a sensor-based method was used, revealing spatial and temporal differences in Cercospora leaf spot resistance of sugar beet lines with closely related genetic backgrounds. The method proved to be highly sensitive to quantitative differences in resistance and may improve resistance breeding.

Published online 05 August 2016

FP16117Micron-scale phenotyping quantification and three-dimensional microstructure reconstruction of vascular bundles within maize stalks based on micro-CT scanning

Jianjun Du, Ying Zhang, Xinyu Guo, Liming Ma, Meng Shao, Xiaodi Pan and Chunjiang Zhao

Micro-scale phenotyping analysis of vascular bundles is valuable for phenotypic identification of germplasm resources. We developed a sample preparation protocol for micro-CT imaging of corn stalks, and designed an automatic image processing pipeline for phenotyping analysis of vascular bundles. These methods have potential to improve the throughput and quality of micro-scale phenotypic traits, and are expected to be useful in genetic and physiological studies to discover links between stalk anatomy and functions such as water transportation efficiency, mechanical properties.

Published online 26 August 2016

FP16104Identification of an orthologous clade of peroxidases that respond to feeding by greenbugs (Schizaphis graminum) in C4 grasses

Erin D. Scully, Teresa Donze-Reiner, Haichuan Wang, Thomas E. Eickhoff, Frederick Baxendale, Paul Twigg, Frank Kovacs, Tiffany Heng-Moss, Scott E. Sattler and Gautam Sarath

The greenbug can cause significant economic damage to several cultivated grasses. Peroxidases are a class of plant enzymes that have been associated with resistance to aphids. An equivalent region of genomes of three cultivated grasses contained evolutionarily-related peroxidase genes that were induced in response to greenbug herbivory, potentially linking this genomic hotspot to insect resistance.

Published online 26 August 2016

FP16167Approaches to three-dimensional reconstruction of plant shoot topology and geometry

Jonathon A. Gibbs, Michael Pound, Andrew P. French, Darren M. Wells, Erik Murchie and Tony Pridmore

The need for increased crop yields is becoming urgent as the amount of arable land available is reduced and environmental factors worsen, however, plant phenotyping has been identified as a key bottleneck in the process of improving crop yields. Here we review approaches to 3D shoot reconstruction to improve phenotyping using image-based methods. An automated system capable of producing three-dimensional (3D) models of plants would significantly aid phenotyping practice, increase accuracy and repeatability of measurements and potentially aid the process of improved crop yields.

Cereal yield is limited by the rate of starch biosynthesis and previous experiments have focussed on increasing starch in leaves or seeds. This study demonstrates that increasing leaf and seed starch simultaneously by using tissue specific overexpression of AGPase enhances yield more than with leaf or seed starch alone. Our results demonstrate that maximum yield in cereals are achievable with high level overexpression of rate-limiting enzymes in more than one tissue.

Published online 04 July 2016

FP16036Phenotyping oilseed rape growth-related traits and their responses to water deficit: the disturbing pot size effect

Anaëlle Dambreville, Mélanie Griolet, Gaëlle Rolland, Myriam Dauzat, Alexis Bédiée, Crispulo Balsera, Bertrand Muller, Denis Vile and Christine Granier

Plant phenotyping platforms allow high-throughput experiments, and facilitate the study of plant growth to precisely monitored watering conditions. This study describes the disturbing effect of pot size on oilseed rape responses to water deficit. Our results raise the awareness of the need to carefully consider the pot size when designing protocols of high-throughput phenotyping experiments.

Published online 31 August 2016

FP16012Weak co-ordination between vein and stomatal densities in 105 angiosperm tree species along altitudinal gradients in Southwest China

Wan-Li Zhao, Ya-Jun Chen, Timothy J. Brodribb and Kun-Fang Cao

Co-ordination between leaf vein and stomatal densities is required to achieve maximum photosynthetic yield. In this work we tested the generality of this co-ordination and found a weak correlation between vein and stomatal densities across 105 angiosperm tree species across altitudes from 800 to 2600 m in South-west China. This reveals decoupled adaptation in leaf venation and stomatal characteristics along a large altitudinal gradient.

Published online 03 August 2016

FP16097Co-ordinated performance of leaf hydraulics and economics in 10 Chinese temperate tree species

Ying Jin, Chuankuan Wang, Zhenghu Zhou and Zhimin Li

Leaf trait correlations are important for understanding carbon–water–nutrient couplings in plant functional biology. We investigated leaf hydraulics and economic traits for 10 Chinese temperate tree species, and found a tight co-ordination between these two suits of traits. This co-ordinated performance plays an important role in determining plant ecological strategies and supports the ‘fast–slow’ leaf economics spectrum.

Published online 07 July 2016

FP16068Genetic variation in Fe toxicity tolerance is associated with the regulation of translocation and chelation of iron along with antioxidant defence in shoots of rice

Ahmad Humayan Kabir, Most Champa Begum, Ariful Haque, Ruhul Amin, A. M. Swaraz, Syed Ali Haider, Nishit Kumar Paul and Mohammad Monzur Hossain

Iron toxicity is harmful to plants. The aim of this study was to characterise the mechanisms underlying differential Fe-toxicity tolerance in wheat. From our results we propose that Fe-toxicity tolerance in wheat is shoot based and is mainly associated with the regulation of translocation and chelation of Fe together with increased antioxidant defence in shoots.

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Best Paper Award

Diep Ganguly has been awarded the ASPS-FPB Best Paper Award for 2015.