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Plants, Volume 6, Issue 1 (March 2017)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Plants in 2016
Plants 2017, 6(1), 5; doi:10.3390/plants6010005
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract The editors of Plants would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016. [...]
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Research

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Open AccessCommunication Caffeoylquinic Acids from the Aerial Parts of Chrysanthemum coronarium L.
Plants 2017, 6(1), 10; doi:10.3390/plants6010010
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
To elucidate the chemical compositions of the aerial parts of Chrysanthemum coronarium L., the ethanol extracts of Ch. coronarium L. were firstly isolated by the MCI-gel resin column. The caffeoylquinic acid-rich fractions were further purified by various chromatographic columns including silica gel, Sephadex
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To elucidate the chemical compositions of the aerial parts of Chrysanthemum coronarium L., the ethanol extracts of Ch. coronarium L. were firstly isolated by the MCI-gel resin column. The caffeoylquinic acid-rich fractions were further purified by various chromatographic columns including silica gel, Sephadex LH-20, and semi-preparative HPLC to yield the compounds. The purified compounds were characterized by 1H-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (1H-NMR), 13C-NMR, and high resolution electrospray ionisation mass spectral (HR-ESI-MS) spectroscopy. Seven caffeoylquinic acid (CQA) compounds were isolated from this plant. Their structures were clarified by spectrometric methods and identified as 3-O-caffeoylquinic acid (1), 5-O-caffeoylquinic acid (2), 4-O-caffeoylquinic acid (3), 3,4-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (4), 1,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (5), 3,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (6), and 4,5-di-O-caffeoylquinic acid (7). Caffeoylquinic acids were the major constituents present in the aerial parts of Ch. coronarium L. All of the isolates except for compounds 2 and 6 were reported for the first time from this species. Moreover, compounds 35, and 7 were identified from the Chrysanthemum genus for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessCommunication Influence of Nitrogen Availability on Growth of Two Transgenic Birch Species Carrying the Pine GS1a Gene
Plants 2017, 6(1), 4; doi:10.3390/plants6010004
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
An alternative way to increase plant productivity through the use of nitrogen fertilizers is to improve the efficiency of nitrogen utilization via genetic engineering. The effects of overexpression of pine glutamine synthetase (GS) gene and nitrogen availability on growth and leaf pigment levels
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An alternative way to increase plant productivity through the use of nitrogen fertilizers is to improve the efficiency of nitrogen utilization via genetic engineering. The effects of overexpression of pine glutamine synthetase (GS) gene and nitrogen availability on growth and leaf pigment levels of two Betula species were studied. Untransformed and transgenic plants of downy birch (B. pubescens) and silver birch (B. pendula) were grown under open-air conditions at three nitrogen regimes (0, 1, or 10 mM) for one growing season. The transfer of the GS1a gene led to a significant increase in the height of only two transgenic lines of nine B. pubescens, but three of five B. pendula transgenic lines were higher than the controls. In general, nitrogen supply reduced the positive effect of the GS gene on the growth of transgenic birch plants. No differences in leaf pigment levels between control and transgenic plants were found. Nitrogen fertilization increased leaf chlorophyll content in untransformed plants but its effect on most of the transgenic lines was insignificant. The results suggest that birch plants carrying the GS gene use nitrogen more efficiently, especially when growing in nitrogen deficient soil. Transgenic lines were less responsive to nitrogen supply in comparison to wild-type plants. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Quantification of Climate Warming and Crop Management Impacts on Cotton Phenology
Plants 2017, 6(1), 7; doi:10.3390/plants6010007
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Understanding the impact of the warming trend on phenological stages and phases of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in central and lower Punjab, Pakistan, may assist in optimizing crop management practices to enhance production. This study determined the influence of the thermal trend
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Understanding the impact of the warming trend on phenological stages and phases of cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in central and lower Punjab, Pakistan, may assist in optimizing crop management practices to enhance production. This study determined the influence of the thermal trend on cotton phenology from 1980–2015 in 15 selected locations. The results demonstrated that observed phenological stages including sowing (S), emergence (E), anthesis (A) and physiological maturity (M) occurred earlier by, on average, 5.35, 5.08, 2.87 and 1.12 days decade−1, respectively. Phenological phases, sowing anthesis (S-A), anthesis to maturity (A-M) and sowing to maturity (S-M) were reduced by, on average, 2.45, 1.76 and 4.23 days decade−1, respectively. Observed sowing, emergence, anthesis and maturity were negatively correlated with air temperature by, on average, −2.03, −1.93, −1.09 and −0.42 days °C−1, respectively. Observed sowing-anthesis, anthesis to maturity and sowing-maturity were also negatively correlated with temperature by, on average, −0.94, −0.67 and −1.61 days °C−1, respectively. Applying the cropping system model CSM-CROPGRO-Cotton model using a standard variety in all locations indicated that the model-predicted phenology accelerated more due to warming trends than field-observed phenology. However, 30.21% of the harmful influence of the thermal trend was compensated as a result of introducing new cotton cultivars with higher growing degree day (thermal time) requirements. Therefore, new cotton cultivars which have higher thermal times and are high temperature tolerant should be evolved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle An Improved Syringe Agroinfiltration Protocol to Enhance Transformation Efficiency by Combinative Use of 5-Azacytidine, Ascorbate Acid and Tween-20
Plants 2017, 6(1), 9; doi:10.3390/plants6010009
Received: 1 January 2017 / Revised: 4 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 14 February 2017
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Abstract
Syringe infiltration is an important transient transformation method that is widely used in many molecular studies. Owing to the wide use of syringe agroinfiltration, it is important and necessary to improve its transformation efficiency. Here, we studied the factors influencing the transformation efficiency
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Syringe infiltration is an important transient transformation method that is widely used in many molecular studies. Owing to the wide use of syringe agroinfiltration, it is important and necessary to improve its transformation efficiency. Here, we studied the factors influencing the transformation efficiency of syringe agroinfiltration. The pCAMBIA1301 was transformed into Nicotiana benthamiana leaves for investigation. The effects of 5-azacytidine (AzaC), Ascorbate acid (ASC) and Tween-20 on transformation were studied. The β-glucuronidase (GUS) expression and GUS activity were respectively measured to determine the transformation efficiency. AzaC, ASC and Tween-20 all significantly affected the transformation efficiency of agroinfiltration, and the optimal concentrations of AzaC, ASC and Tween-20 for the transgene expression were identified. Our results showed that 20 μM AzaC, 0.56 mM ASC and 0.03% (v/v) Tween-20 is the optimal concentration that could significantly improve the transformation efficiency of agroinfiltration. Furthermore, a combined supplement of 20 μM AzaC, 0.56 mM ASC and 0.03% Tween-20 improves the expression of transgene better than any one factor alone, increasing the transgene expression by more than 6-fold. Thus, an optimized syringe agroinfiltration was developed here, which might be a powerful method in transient transformation analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A High-Throughput RNA Extraction for Sprouted Single-Seed Barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) Rich in Polysaccharides
Plants 2017, 6(1), 1; doi:10.3390/plants6010001
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Germinated seed from cereal crops including barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is an important tissue to extract RNA and analyze expression levels of genes that control aspects of germination. These tissues are rich in polysaccharides and most methods for RNA extraction are not
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Germinated seed from cereal crops including barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) is an important tissue to extract RNA and analyze expression levels of genes that control aspects of germination. These tissues are rich in polysaccharides and most methods for RNA extraction are not suitable to handle the excess polysaccharides. Here, we compare the current methods for RNA extraction applicable to germinated barley tissue. We found that although some of these standard methods produced high-quality RNA, the process of extraction was drastically slow, mostly because the frozen seed tissue powder from liquid N2 grinding became recalcitrant to buffer mixing. Our suggested modifications to the protocols removed the need for liquid N2 grinding and significantly increased the output efficiency of RNA extraction. Our modified protocol has applications in other cereal tissues rich in polysaccharides, including oat. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Cold Tolerance of the Male Gametophyte during Germination and Tube Growth Depends on the Flowering Time
Plants 2017, 6(1), 2; doi:10.3390/plants6010002
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 29 December 2016
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Abstract
In temperate climates, most plants flower during the warmer season of the year to avoid negative effects of low temperatures on reproduction. Nevertheless, few species bloom in midwinter and early spring despite severe and frequent frosts at that time. This raises the question
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In temperate climates, most plants flower during the warmer season of the year to avoid negative effects of low temperatures on reproduction. Nevertheless, few species bloom in midwinter and early spring despite severe and frequent frosts at that time. This raises the question of adaption of sensible progamic processes such as pollen germination and pollen tube growth to low temperatures. The performance of the male gametophyte of 12 herbaceous lowland species flowering in different seasons was examined in vitro at different test temperatures using an easy to handle testing system. Additionally, the capacity to recover after the exposure to cold was checked. We found a clear relationship between cold tolerance of the activated male gametophyte and the flowering time. In most summer-flowering species, pollen germination stopped between 1 and 5 °C, whereas pollen of winter and early spring flowering species germinated even at temperatures below zero. Furthermore, germinating pollen was exceptionally frost tolerant in cold adapted plants, but suffered irreversible damage already from mild sub-zero temperatures in summer-flowering species. In conclusion, male gametophytes show a high adaptation potential to cold which might exceed that of female tissues. For an overall assessment of temperature limits for sexual reproduction it is therefore important to consider female functions as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollen Tube Growth 2016)
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Open AccessArticle Heat Stress Decreases Levels of Nutrient-Uptake and -Assimilation Proteins in Tomato Roots
Plants 2017, 6(1), 6; doi:10.3390/plants6010006
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 19 January 2017
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Abstract
Global warming will increase root heat stress, which is already common under certain conditions. Effects of heat stress on root nutrient uptake have rarely been examined in intact plants, but the limited results indicate that heat stress will decrease it; no studies have
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Global warming will increase root heat stress, which is already common under certain conditions. Effects of heat stress on root nutrient uptake have rarely been examined in intact plants, but the limited results indicate that heat stress will decrease it; no studies have examined heat-stress effects on the concentration of nutrient-uptake proteins. We grew Solanum lycopersicum (tomato) at 25 °C/20 °C (day/night) and then transferred some plants for six days to 35 °C /30 °C (moderate heat) or 42 °C/37 °C (severe heat) (maximum root temperature = 32 °C or 39 °C, respectively); plants were then moved back to control conditions for seven days to monitor recovery. In a second experiment, plants were grown for 15 days at 28 °C/23 °C, 32 °C/27 °C, 36 °C/31 °C, and 40 °C/35 °C (day/night). Concentrations of nutrient-uptake and -assimilation proteins in roots were determined using protein-specific antibodies and ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). In general, (1) roots were affected by heat more than shoots, as indicated by decreased root:shoot mass ratio, shoot vs. root %N and C, and the level of nutrient metabolism proteins vs. less sensitive photosynthesis and stomatal conductance; and (2) negative effects on roots were large and slow-to-recover only with severe heat stress (40 °C–42 °C). Thus, short-term heat stress, if severe, can decrease total protein concentration and levels of nutrient-uptake and -assimilation proteins in roots. Hence, increases in heat stress with global warming may decrease crop production, as well as nutritional quality, partly via effects on root nutrient relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Open AccessArticle Perturbation Analysis of Calcium, Alkalinity and Secretion during Growth of Lily Pollen Tubes
Plants 2017, 6(1), 3; doi:10.3390/plants6010003
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
Pollen tubes grow by spatially and temporally regulated expansion of new material secreted into the cell wall at the tip of the tube. A complex web of interactions among cellular components, ions and small molecule provides dynamic control of localized expansion and secretion.
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Pollen tubes grow by spatially and temporally regulated expansion of new material secreted into the cell wall at the tip of the tube. A complex web of interactions among cellular components, ions and small molecule provides dynamic control of localized expansion and secretion. Cross-correlation studies on oscillating lily (Lilium formosanum Wallace) pollen tubes showed that an increase in intracellular calcium follows an increase in growth, whereas the increase in the alkaline band and in secretion both anticipate the increase in growth rate. Calcium, as a follower, is unlikely to be a stimulator of growth, whereas the alkaline band, as a leader, may be an activator. To gain further insight herein we reversibly inhibited growth with potassium cyanide (KCN) and followed the re-establishment of calcium, pH and secretion patterns as growth resumed. While KCN markedly slows growth and causes the associated gradients of calcium and pH to sharply decline, its removal allows growth and vital processes to fully recover. The calcium gradient reappears before growth restarts; however, it is preceded by both the alkaline band and secretion, in which the alkaline band is slightly advanced over secretion. Thus the pH gradient, rather than the tip-focused calcium gradient, may regulate pollen tube growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pollen Tube Growth 2016)
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Open AccessCommunication First Report on the Ethnopharmacological Uses of Medicinal Plants by Monpa Tribe from the Zemithang Region of Arunachal Pradesh, Eastern Himalayas, India
Plants 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/plants6010013
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
The Himalayas are well known for high diversity and ethnobotanical uses of the region’s medicinal plants. However, not all areas of the Himalayan regions are well studied. Studies on ethnobotanical uses of plants from the Eastern Himalayas are still lacking for many tribes.
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The Himalayas are well known for high diversity and ethnobotanical uses of the region’s medicinal plants. However, not all areas of the Himalayan regions are well studied. Studies on ethnobotanical uses of plants from the Eastern Himalayas are still lacking for many tribes. Past studies have primarily focused on listing plants’ vernacular names and their traditional medicinal uses. However, studies on traditional ethnopharmacological practices on medicine preparation by mixing multiple plant products of different species has not yet been reported in published literature from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, India, Eastern Himalayas. In this study, we are reporting for the first time the ethnopharmacological uses of 24 medicines and their procedures of preparation, as well as listing 53 plant species used for these medicines by the Monpa tribe. Such documentations are done first time in Arunachal Pradesh region of India as per our knowledge. Our research emphasizes the urgent need to document traditional medicine preparation procedures from local healers before traditional knowledge of tribal people living in remote locations are forgotten in a rapidly transforming country like India. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessArticle Combined Effects of Ozone and Drought on the Physiology and Membrane Lipids of Two Cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp) Cultivars
Plants 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/plants6010014
Received: 28 November 2016 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
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Abstract
The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did
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The interactive effects of drought and ozone on the physiology and leaf membrane lipid content, composition and metabolism of cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.) were investigated in two cultivars (EPACE-1 and IT83-D) grown under controlled conditions. The drought treatment (three-week water deprivation) did not cause leaf injury but restricted growth through stomatal closure. In contrast, the short-term ozone treatment (130 ppb 12 h daily during 14 day) had a limited impact at the whole-plant level but caused leaf injury, hydrogen peroxide accumulation and galactolipid degradation. These effects were stronger in the IT83-D cultivar, which also showed specific ozone responses such as a higher digalactosyl-diacylglycerol (DGDG):monogalactosyldiacylglycerol (MGDG) ratio and the coordinated up-regulation of DGDG synthase (VuDGD2) and ω-3 fatty acid desaturase 8 (VuFAD8) genes, suggesting that membrane remodeling occurred under ozone stress in the sensitive cultivar. When stresses were combined, ozone did not modify the stomatal response to drought and the observed effects on whole-plant physiology were essentially the same as when drought was applied alone. Conversely, the drought-induced stomatal closure appeared to alleviate ozone effects through the reduction of ozone uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Abiotic Environmental Stress Responses of Plants)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Multiple Mobile mRNA Signals Regulate Tuber Development in Potato
Plants 2017, 6(1), 8; doi:10.3390/plants6010008
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 30 January 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Included among the many signals that traffic through the sieve element system are full-length mRNAs that function to respond to the environment and to regulate development. In potato, several mRNAs that encode transcription factors from the three-amino-loop-extension (TALE) superfamily move from leaves to
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Included among the many signals that traffic through the sieve element system are full-length mRNAs that function to respond to the environment and to regulate development. In potato, several mRNAs that encode transcription factors from the three-amino-loop-extension (TALE) superfamily move from leaves to roots and stolons via the phloem to control growth and signal the onset of tuber formation. This RNA transport is enhanced by short-day conditions and is facilitated by RNA-binding proteins from the polypyrimidine tract-binding family of proteins. Regulation of growth is mediated by three mobile mRNAs that arise from vasculature in the leaf. One mRNA, StBEL5, functions to activate growth, whereas two other, sequence-related StBEL’s, StBEL11 and StBEL29, function antagonistically to repress StBEL5 target genes involved in promoting tuber development. This dynamic system utilizes closely-linked phloem-mobile mRNAs to control growth in developing potato tubers. In creating a complex signaling pathway, potato has evolved a long-distance transport system that regulates underground organ development through closely-associated, full-length mRNAs that function as either activators or repressors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmodesmata and Intercellular Movement)
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Open AccessReview Ethnopharmacology, Chemistry and Biological Properties of Four Malian Medicinal Plants
Plants 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/plants6010011
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The ethnopharmacology, chemistry and pharmacology of four Malian medicinal plants, Biophytum umbraculum, Burkea africana, Lannea velutina and Terminalia macroptera are reviewed. These plants are used by traditional healers against numerous ailments: malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, wounds, sexually transmitted diseases, insect bites and
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The ethnopharmacology, chemistry and pharmacology of four Malian medicinal plants, Biophytum umbraculum, Burkea africana, Lannea velutina and Terminalia macroptera are reviewed. These plants are used by traditional healers against numerous ailments: malaria, gastrointestinal diseases, wounds, sexually transmitted diseases, insect bites and snake bites, etc. The scientific evidence for these uses is, however, limited. From the chemical and pharmacological evidence presented here, it seems possible that the use in traditional medicine of these plants may have a rational basis, although more clinical studies are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Medicinal Plants and Natural Product Research)
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Open AccessReview Plasmodesmata-Mediated Cell-to-Cell Communication in the Shoot Apical Meristem: How Stem Cells Talk
Plants 2017, 6(1), 12; doi:10.3390/plants6010012
Received: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1819 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Positional information is crucial for the determination of plant cell fates, and it is established based on coordinated cell-to-cell communication, which in turn is essential for plant growth and development. Plants have evolved a unique communication pathway, with tiny channels called plasmodesmata (PD)
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Positional information is crucial for the determination of plant cell fates, and it is established based on coordinated cell-to-cell communication, which in turn is essential for plant growth and development. Plants have evolved a unique communication pathway, with tiny channels called plasmodesmata (PD) spanning the cell wall. PD interconnect most cells in the plant and generate a cytoplasmic continuum, to mediate short- and long-distance trafficking of various molecules. Cell-to-cell communication through PD plays a role in transmitting positional signals, however, the regulatory mechanisms of PD-mediated trafficking are still largely unknown. The induction and maintenance of stem cells in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) depends on PDmediated cell-to-cell communication, hence, it is an optimal model for dissecting the regulatory mechanisms of PD-mediated cell-to-cell communication and its function in specifying cell fates. In this review, we summarize recent knowledge of PD-mediated cell-to-cell communication in the SAM, and discuss mechanisms underlying molecular trafficking through PD and its role in plant development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plasmodesmata and Intercellular Movement)
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