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  • Author or Editor: Jing Zhou x
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Light and temperature are two crucial factors affecting plant growth. Light intensities vary considerably with season and weather conditions. Reasonable light regulation at different temperatures is a key issue in environmental regulation. In this study, we determined the effects of light intensity and temperature on crop growth and development. Furthermore, we determined an optimal light value and a suitable light range at different temperatures for producing the lettuce Lactuca sativa L. Artificial climate chamber experiments were conducted at five light intensities (100, 200, 350, 500, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1), as well as at low (15 °C/10 °C), medium (23 °C/18 °C), and high (30 °C/25 °C) temperatures. In these experiments, we investigated the photosynthetic rate; chlorophyll fluorescence parameters; total N, P, and K uptake; and growth of lettuce plants. The results indicated that at a low temperature, the values of effective quantum yield of photosystem II photochemistry (ΦPSII), net photosynthetic rate (P n ), stomatal conductance (g S), and transpiration rate (T r ) —as well as those of N, K, and P uptake—were the highest at 350 μmol·m−2·s−1, followed by 500 μmol·m−2·s−1, which resulted in higher values for leaf number (LN), leaf area (LA), dry weight (DW), and fresh weight (FW). At the medium temperature, the values of ΦPSII, P n , g S, and T r , as well as those of N, K, and P uptake were higher at 350, 500, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 than at other light intensities, resulting in high values for LN, LA, DW, and FW of lettuce plants. The LN, LA, and FW of lettuce plants were the highest at 500 μmol·m−2·s−1, whereas DW was the highest at 600 μmol·m−2·s−1. At a high temperature, lettuce plants exhibited the highest values of F v/F m, ΦPSII, P n , g S , and T r , as well as those of N, K, and P uptake for the 500 μmol·m−2·s−1 treatment; whereas LN, LA, FW, and DW were the highest at 600 μmol·m−2·s−1. In addition, the values of F v/F m indicated that lettuce plants were under stress under the following combinations: 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the low temperature, 100 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the medium temperature, and 100–350 μmol·m−2·s−1 at the high temperature. Based on these results, an optimal regulation strategy for light intensity at different temperature environments was proposed for lettuce cultivars similar to L. sativa L. in some regions, such as the subtropical regions of China. Specifically, for low temperatures, light intensities of 350 to 500 μmol·m−2·s−1are recommended for production, and an intensity of 350 μmol·m−2·s−1 provides optimal supplementary light during early spring and winter in greenhouses. For medium temperatures, light intensities of 350 to 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 are recommended, and 500 μmol·m−2·s−1 is the optimal value during the middle of spring and autumn. For high temperatures, light intensities of 500 to 600 μmol·m−2·s−1are recommended, and 600 μmol·m−2·s−1 is the optimal value of light intensity during late spring and early autumn.

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The art of pressed flowers is a method of artistic expression involving the pressing of flowers, leaves, and other plant organs for artistic creative purposes. However, the pressing process often results in color variation of the plant material, which significantly diminishes the quality of artistic works and must be solved using appropriate techniques. During this research, phenylalanine (10 mmol⋅L−1) was used to treat the petals of postharvest Petunia flowers to investigate the impact of phenylalanine on mitigating color variation, and the effect of phenylalanine on inhibiting the color variation of Petunia petals during the pressing process was evaluated by color measurement, physicochemical indices, and gene expression level analyses. Using the CIEL*a*b* color measurements, the samples from the test group had significantly higher brightness (L*) and red coloration (a*) at the final stage (S4) than the control group. In addition, phenylalanine had a significant inhibitory effect on malondialdehyde and superoxide anion accumulations in Petunia petals during pressing and reduced the enzymatic activities of superoxide dismutase, polyphenol oxidase, and catalase. The quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed that the transcript levels of CHS, DFR, F3′5′H, and UFGT genes in the petals of the treatment group continued to increase during the pressing process, and the transcript levels of key genes in the anthocyanin metabolic pathway of the treated samples were higher than those of the control group at the final stage (S4). These results indicated that phenylalanine can effectively diminish the color variation of Petunia petals in the pressing process, which could serve as a theoretical basis for the development of a comprehensive technology system aimed at preserving the color of pressed horticultural plants.

Open Access

Arabidopsis thaliana Flowering locus T (FT) homologs have been shown to be sufficient to trigger flowering and to regulate flowering time in a wide range of plants. However, such a homologue for the perennial ornamental shrub tree peony has not yet been characterized. In this study, we isolated PsFT, which is a closely related FT homolog from reblooming [Paeonia ×lemoinei ‘High Noon’ (HN)] and nonreblooming [P. ×suffruticosa ‘Luo Yang Hong’ (LYH)] cultivars of tree peonies, and identified its potential role in the regulation of flowering time. The PsFT alleles from the two cultivars encode the same protein, which indicates that the polymorphisms observed in the coding region do not contribute to the distinct flowering phenotypes of HN and LYH. Comparative analyses of the PsFT expression patterns in HN and LYH indicated that PsFT might be associated with reblooming. Transgenic A. thaliana plants ectopically expressing PsFT exhibited a phenotype that included significantly early flowering compared with the wild-type (WT) plants. Taken together, our data provide valuable clues for shortening the juvenile periods and extending the flowering periods of perennial woody plants, such as tree peonies.

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Root and foliar applications of 24-epibrassinolide (EBL), an immobile phytohormone with antistress activity, were evaluated for their effects on reducing fusarium wilt and their influence on antioxidant and phenolic metabolism in roots of cucumber plants (Cucumis sativus L. cv. Jinyan No. 4). EBL pretreatment significantly reduced disease severity together with improved plant growth and reduced losses in biomass regardless of application methods. EBL treatments significantly reduced pathogen-induced accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), flavonoids, and phenolic compounds, activities of defense-related and ROS-scavenging enzymes. The enzymes included superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, guaiacol peroxidase, catalase as well as phenylalanine ammonia-lyase and polyphenoloxidase. There was no apparent difference between two application methods used. EBL applications triggered a slight increase in H2O2 concentration followed by increases in the transcript levels of WRKY transcription factor and defense-related genes. This study demonstrated that EBL enhanced resistance to fusarium wilt by a novel mechanism that was not related to its active transport or increase in antioxidant system.

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Although tolerance to high temperature is crucial to the summer survival of Iris germanica cultivars in subtropical areas, few physiological studies have been conducted on this topic previously. To remedy this, this study explored the physiological response and expression of heat shock factor in four I. germanica cultivars with varying levels of thermotolerance. The plants’ respective degrees of high-temperature tolerance were evaluated by measuring the ratio and area of withered leaves under stress. Several physiological responses to high temperatures were investigated, including effects on chlorophyll, antioxidant enzymes, proline, and soluble protein content in the leaves of four cultivars. CaCl2 was sprayed on ‘Gold Boy’ and ‘Royal Crusades’ considered being sensitive to high temperatures to study if Ca2+ could improve the tolerance, and LaCl3 was sprayed on ‘Music Box’ and ‘Galamadrid’ with better high-temperature tolerance to test if calcium ion blocker could decrease their tolerance. Heat shock factor genes were partially cloned according to the conserved region sequence, and expression changes to high-temperature stress with CaCl2 or LaCl3 treatments were thoroughly analyzed. Results showed that high temperature is the primary reason for large areas of leaf withering. The ratio and area of withered leaves on ‘Music Box’ and ‘Galamadrid’ were smaller than ‘Gold Boy’ and ‘Royal Crusades’. CaCl2 slowed the degradation of chlorophyll content and increased proline and soluble protein in ‘Gold Boy’ and ‘Royal Crusades’ but had no significant effect on activating peroxidase or superoxide to improve high-temperature tolerance. Genetic expression of heat shock factor in ‘Gold Boy’ and ‘Royal Crusades’ was upregulated by Ca2+ at later stages of leaf damage under high-temperature stress. LaCl3 down-regulated the physiological parameters and expression level of heat shock factor in ‘Music Box’ and ‘Galamadrid’. These results suggest that different I. germanica cultivars have varying high-temperature tolerance and furthermore that Ca2+ regulates their physiological indicators and expression level of heat shock factor under stress.

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Verticillium wilt (caused by Verticillium dahliae), a soilborne disease, often causes significant reductions of yield in eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) production where crop rotation is limited. Rootstock replacement through grafting is considered an effective method to control this disease. This 2-year study investigated the eggplant yield, resistance to verticillium wilt, and allelochemicals in root exudates of eggplant grafted onto a tomato rootstock. Both disease incidence and disease severity on grafted eggplant were markedly lower than those of nongrafted eggplants. Fifteen days after V. dahliae inoculation, grafted eggplants did not exhibit any infection, whereas the disease incidence and disease severity index of the nongrafted eggplants were 68.3% and 37.8% in 2006 and 66.7% and 36.3% in 2007, respectively. Twenty-five days after inoculation, disease incidences on grafted eggplants were only 8.1% and 9.5% in 2006 and 2007, respectively, but those of the nongrafted eggplants increased to 100%. As a result, early yield, total yield, and average fruit weight were significantly increased by grafting when inoculated with V. dahliae in 2006 and 2007. Mycelium growth of V. dahliae was inhibited by the root exudates of grafted eggplants. In contrast, the root exudates of nongrafted eggplants enhanced the mycelium growth. The gas chromatography–mass spectrometry analysis revealed that the composition in the root exudates released by grafted eggplants differed not only from the nongrafted eggplants, but also from the tomato rootstock plants. Ten chemical classes were isolated and identified in root exudates of grafted eggplants. Carbazoles, amines, azulene, and fluorene were only detected in the grafted eggplants. The relative contents of ester compounds were the highest in the root exudates from the grafted eggplant followed by derivatives of benzene, whereas the relative contents of benzene derivatives were much higher than that of the ester compounds in the root exudates from the nongrafted eggplant and tomato rootstock.

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Dwarfing rootstocks can improve the plant architecture of apple trees and increase production. Gibberellins (GAs) are crucial for plant growth and dwarfing traits. The receptor, GIBBERELLIN INSENSITIVE DWARF1 (GID1), plays an important role in the regulation pathway. However, the growth regulatory mechanism of GID1 in dwarf apple rootstock seedlings is not clear. In this study, we selected dwarf apple rootstock ‘SH6’ and its cross parents as materials to clone the GA receptor gene GID1c. There were two different sites in the alpha/beta hydrolase domain. The expression of GID1c in ‘SH6’ was lower than that in Malus domestica cv. Ralls Janet, with the decrease of GA content. We further conducted GA3 treatment and overexpression of GID1c in tissue culture seedlings of ‘SH6’, and the results showed that the expression of GID1c and biosynthesis genes increased and promoted the accumulation of hormone contents, which ultimately regulates the growth of ‘SH6’ dwarf apple rootstock seedlings. Our results suggest that GID1c may affect the plant architecture and dwarf traits of dwarfing rootstock and accelerate its application in orchards.

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A comparative proteomics study using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) was performed on a mesophytic tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) cultivar and a dehydration-resistant wild species (Solanum chilense) to identify proteins that play key roles in tolerance to water deficit stress. In tomato ‘Walter’ LA3465, 130 proteins were identified, of which 104 (80%) were repressed and 26 (20%) were induced. In S. chilense LA1958, a total of 170 proteins were identified with 106 (62%) repressed and 64 (38%) induced. According to their putative molecular functions, the differentially expressed proteins belong to the following subgroups: stress proteins, gene expression, nascent protein processing, protein folding, protein degradation, carbohydrate metabolism, amino acid and nucleotide metabolism, lipid metabolism, signal transduction, and cell cycle regulation. Based on changes in protein abundance induced by the dehydration treatment, cellular metabolic activities and protein biosynthesis were suppressed by the stress. In S. chilense, dehydration treatment led to elevated accumulation of proteins involved in post-transcriptional gene regulation and fidelity in protein translation including prefoldin, which promotes protein folding without the use of adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP), several hydrophilic proteins, and calmodulin in the calcium signal transduction pathway. Those protein changes were not found in the susceptible tomato, ‘Walter’. Within each functional protein group, proteins showing opposite changes (dehydration induced vs. repressed) in the two species were identified and roles of those proteins in conferring tolerance to water deficit stress are discussed. Information provided in this report will be useful for selection of proteins or genes in analyzing or improving dehydration tolerance in tomato cultivars.

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Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) has a wide variety of genotypes differing in their responses to salinity. This study was performed to identify salt-induced changes in proteomes that are distinguishable among tomatoes with contrasting salt tolerance. Tomato accessions [LA4133 (a salt-tolerant cherry tomato accession) and ‘Walter’ LA3465 (a salt-susceptible accession)] were subjected to salt treatment (200 mm NaCl) in hydroponic culture. Salt-induced changes in the root proteomes of each tomato accession were identified using the isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ) method. In LA4133, 178 proteins showed significant differences between salt-treated and non-treated control root tissues (P ≤ 0.05); 169 proteins were induced (1.3- to 5.1-fold) and nine repressed (–1.7- to –1.3-fold). In LA3465, 115 proteins were induced (1.3- to 6.4-fold) and 23 repressed (–2.5- to –1.3-fold). Salt-responsive proteins from the two tomato accessions were involved in the following biological processes: root system development and structural integrity; carbohydrate metabolism; adenosine-5′-triphosphate regeneration and consumption; amino acid metabolism; fatty acid metabolism; signal transduction; cellular detoxification; protein turnover and intracellular trafficking; and molecular activities for regulating gene transcription, protein translation, and post-translational modification. Proteins affecting diverse cellular activities were identified, which include chaperonins and cochaperonins, heat-shock proteins, antioxidant enzymes, and stress proteins. Proteins exhibiting different salt-induced changes between the tolerant and susceptible tomato accessions were identified, and these proteins were divided into two groups: 1) proteins with quantitative differences because they were induced or repressed by salt stress in both accessions but at different fold levels; and 2) proteins showing qualitative differences, where proteins were induced in one vs. repressed or not changed in the other accession. Candidate proteins for tolerance to salt and secondary cellular stresses (such as hypo-osmotic stress and dehydration) were proposed based on findings from the current and previous studies on tomato and by the use of the Arabidopsis thaliana protein database. Information provided in this report will be very useful for evaluating and breeding for plant tolerance to salt and/or water deficit stresses.

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