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  • Author or Editor: Li Peng x
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Gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a nonprotein amino acid in plant cells, which responds to changes in environmental factors. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the effects of foliar spray of GABA on drought and heat tolerance in creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera), and to investigate physiological factors altered by GABA application that contribute to improved drought tolerance and heat tolerance. GABA-treated plants (cv. Penncross) or non-GABA-treated control plants were then subjected to the following three treatments in growth chambers: 1) nonstress control [plants irrigated every 2 days to maintain soil water content at the pot capacity and maintained at 21/19 °C (day/night) for 35 days], 2) heat stress [plants exposed to 35/30 °C (day/night) and well-watered conditions for 35 days], and 3) drought stress [plants unirrigated for 9 days and maintained at 21/19 °C (day/night), and then rewatered for 2 days]. As compared with untreated plants, GABA-treated plants showed 22% to 39% and 8% to 21% significantly lower leaf electrolyte leakage (EL) and 35% to 143% and 21% to 24% significantly higher turf quality (TQ), 8% to 17% and 17% to 24% relative water content (RWC), 22% to 39% and 25% to 27% chlorophyll content, 7% to 11% and 6% to 17% photochemical efficiency, and an 84% to 683% and 57% to 76% osmotic adjustment (OA) exposed to heat or drought stress across days of treatment, respectively. GABA-treated plants accumulated 7% to 10% more water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) and 11% to 43% more free proline than nontreated plants under heat stress, and 12% to 30% higher accumulation of WSC under drought stress. After 2 days of rewatering, a significantly better recovery also was observed in GABA-treated plants than that in nontreated plants previously exposed to drought stress. The results suggest that foliar application of GABA significantly improved heat and drought tolerance of creeping bentgrass, which was associated with maintenance of cell membrane stability, delaying in leaf senescence, and enhancing OA. The effectiveness of exogenous GABA application was more pronounced under heat stress than under drought stress.

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Small molecules, including H2O2 and Ca, mediate stress signaling and drought tolerance in plants. The objective of this study was to determine whether improvement in drought tolerance by H2O2 and Ca were associated with the regulation of transcription factors and stress-protective genes in perennial grass species. Plants of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) were sprayed with water (control), H2O2 (9 mm), or CaCl2 (10 mm) and exposed to drought stress for 20 days in controlled-environment growth chambers. Foliar application of H2O2 or Ca led to significant improvement in drought tolerance of creeping bentgrass, as demonstrated by greater turf quality, leaf relative water content, chlorophyll content, photochemical efficiency, and cell membrane stability, as compared with the untreated control. The application of H2O2 and Ca resulted in significant up-regulation of genes in Ca signaling transduction pathways [Ca-dependent kinase 26 (CDPK26), mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (MAPK1), and 14-3-3] and transcript factors (WRKY75 and MYB13). For genes encoding antioxidant enzymes, H2O2 mainly enhanced superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), and dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR) expression, while Ca primarily improved transcript levels of SOD, monodehydroascorbate reductase (MDHAR), and GR. In addition, heat shock protein 70 (HSP70), metallothionein 1 (MT1), and glutamine synthetase 2 (GS2) were also markedly up-regulated by H2O2 and Ca under drought stress. However, the transcript level of lipoxygenase 3 (LOX3) was significantly down-regulated by H2O2 and Ca under well-watered and drought conditions. These results imply that H2O2 and Ca commonly or differentially regulate genes expression in association with drought tolerance through activating Ca signaling pathway and regulating transcription factors and stress-protective genes expression, leading to the alleviation of lipid peroxidation, maintenance of correct protein folding and translocation, and enhancement of nitrogen metabolism under a prolonged period of drought stress in creeping bentgrass.

Open Access

Our goal was to determine the ultrastructure features and the dynamic changes in polysaccharides and neutral lipids in developing anthers of rose balsam (Impatiens balsamina), and to better understand the mechanisms controlling male reproductive development. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) techniques were used to study the ultrastructural characteristics of the anthers, and histochemical methods were used to determine levels of polysaccharides and lipids. The cytokinesis in the microsporocyte meiosis was simultaneous type, and microspore tetrads were mainly tetrahedral. The pollen exine began to form at the tetrad stage. The mature pollen grains were oval-shaped and bicellular. Accumulation of reserve substances began at the late microsporogenesis stage, and an abundance of starch grains and lipids were stored in pollen grains at anthesis. Polysaccharides and lipids changed in different stages and played an important role in anther development. Moreover, the calcium oxalate crystals may protect the pollen and suggest that calcium distribution is related to anther development.

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Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis Planchon) is an economically important fruit, and its flowering and production are affected by the chill accumulation in winter. In this study, the chilling requirements of nine kiwifruit cultivars with three ploidy levels (diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid) were analyzed by using the Dynamic Model, Utah Model, and chilling hours (CH) Model. The chilling requirements for vegetative budbreak of these kiwifruit cultivars were 24–55 chill portions (CP), 316–991 chill units (CU), and 222–853 CH, and the chilling requirements for floral emergence were 45–69 CP, 825–1336 CU, and 655–1138 CH. The chilling requirements for vegetative budbreak and floral emergence were significantly lower for diploid than hexaploid cultivars with tetraploid cultivars intermediate. Pearson correlation analysis indicated that ploidy levels were positively correlated with chilling requirement, with the cv of 0.74 and 0.82 for vegetative budbreak and floral emergence chilling requirements, respectively. In conclusion, these results provide some novel insights of kiwifruit varieties of various chilling requirements, which is beneficial for kiwifruit cultivar selection for different climates and environments.

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Large natural genetic diversifications have occurred among Chinese tree peony cultivars under the natural and artificial selections on the flower for ornamental and medicinal uses in the past over 1500 years in China. Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Zi Mei You Chun’ X.Q. Zhao & J.P. Zhao & X.Z. Zhao & X.C. Zhao & Q.X. Gao & Z.Q. Zhao & J.X. Zhao & Z.L. Suo (Paeoniaceae) is a unique cultivar possessing side flowers and bicolored floral disc belonging to the Central Plains tree peony cultivar group of China. This natural mutant is not only an outstanding ornamental, but also a valuable material for scientific research on evolution of tree peony cultivars, metabolic pathways of pigments in the floral disc, origin of floral disc in Paeoniaceae, and other issues in plant evolutionary and developmental genetics.

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To analyze the evolutionary level of Prunus mira Koehne (Prunus mira Koehne Kov et. Kpst), 15 kinds of pollen grains from five altitudes were observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). This study demonstrates that pollen morphous P. mira has high variation; specifically, individuals from higher altitudes are much more evolved than those from lower altitudes. This is the first time the pollen morphology of P. mira has been systematically illustrated. Furthermore, 12 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) primers generated clear and repeatable bands among all individuals based on RAPD; 107 bands ranging from 200 bp to 2000 bp were generated with an average of 8.92 bands per primer. Thus, the RAPD technique proved to be a powerful tool to reveal variation on P. mira. This study provides comprehensive information for genetic diversity of P. mira from different altitudes.

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To describe the influence of different pecan seedling rootstocks on drought stress resistance, 12 rootstocks of ‘87MX1-2.2’, ‘87MX5-1.7’, ‘Elliott’, ‘Frutoso’, ‘Giles’, ‘Major’, ‘Moore’, ‘Peruque’, ‘Posey’, ‘Riverside’, ‘San Felipe’, and ‘VC1-68’ were selected as rootstock treatments for grafting. In addition, the experimental materials for the grafted young ‘Pawnee’ tree treatments included the pressure-volume technique (PV technique) and cutting shoot transpiration methods to plot the PV and the cutting shoot transpiration curves, and the parameters calculated from the two curves were used to analyze the data produced by the subordinate function and cluster dendrogram methods. The results revealed that the different seedling rootstock treatments influenced the ‘Pawnee’ grafted trees to varying degrees on aspects of drought resistance, the ability to save water, the modulation of osmosis, and the sensitivity of the stomatal response. The order of drought tolerance for these different pecan seedling rootstock treatments from high to low was as follows: ‘Posey’, ‘Peruque’, ‘Riverside’, ‘87MX5-1.7’, ‘VC1-68’, ‘Elliott’, ‘87MX1-2.2’, ‘San Felipe’, ‘Moore’, ‘Major’, ‘Giles’, and ‘Frutoso’.

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Pecan cuttings are difficult for rooting. This study describes the pecan hardwood rooting process based on anatomic characteristics to understand root formation mechanisms of pecan cuttings. The expressed proteins of different periods during the adventitious rooting process of pecan seedling hardwood cuttings were identified and analyzed to evaluate the rooting mechanism. The expressed proteins of pecan cutting seedlings were also compared with other cultivar cuttings during the rooting period. Pecan seedling cuttings were developed at different air and substrate temperatures to induce root formation. Adventitious root formation of pecan hardwood cuttings was described, and the phloem at the base of the prepared cuttings was selected as the sample for the differential protein analysis. The results showed that adventitious root formation of pecan hardwood cuttings was the only product of callus differentiation, which originated from the cells of the cambium or vascular ray parenchyma. Such adventitious root primordia were developed from those calluses that formed the regenerative structure, and the expressed proteins during the adventitious rooting of pecan hardwood cutting were identified and analyzed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight–mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS) to evaluate the rooting mechanism. Eight differentially expressed proteins were found in the rooting periods, and 15 differential proteins were found by comparing pecan cutting types, which were analyzed by peptide mass fingerprinting homology. The results show that the primordial cells were differentiated from the meristematic cells. Furthermore, the differentially expressed proteins contained energy metabolism proteins, adversity stress proteins, and signal transmission proteins. The energy metabolism-related proteins were adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase, photosynthesis-related proteins, and enolase. The adversity-stress proteins containing heat shock-related proteins and signal transmission proteins were mainly cytochrome enzymes and heme-binding proteins. Adventitious root formation of pecan cultivar hardwood cuttings was difficult. More trials should be performed from the potential aspects of high defensive protection and phloem morphologic structure.

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Cold stress is one of the most important environmental factors affecting crop growth and agricultural production. Induced changes of gene expression and metabolism are critical for plants responding and acclimating to cold stress. Banana (Musa sp.) is one of the most important food crops in the tropical and subtropical countries of the world. Banana, which originated from tropical regions, is sensitive to cold, which can result in serious losses in commercial banana production. To investigate the response of the banana to cold stress conditions, changes in protein expression were analyzed using a comparative proteomics approach. ‘Brazil’ banana (Musa acuminata AAA group) is a common banana cultivar in southern China. ‘Brazil’ banana plantlets were exposed to 5 °C for 24 hours and then total crude protein was extracted from treatment and control leaves by phenol extraction, separated with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, and subsequently identified by mass spectrometry (MS). Out of the more than 400 protein spots reproducibly detected, only 41 protein spots exhibited a change in intensity by at least 2-fold, with 26 proteins increasing and 15 proteins decreasing expression. Of these, 28 differentially expressed proteins were identified by MS. The identified proteins, including well-known and novel cold-responsive proteins, are involved in several cellular processes, including antioxidation and antipathogen, photosynthesis, chaperones, protein synthesis, signal transduction, energy metabolism, and other cellular functions. Proteins related to antioxidation, pathogen resistance, molecular chaperones, and energy metabolism were up-regulated, and proteins related to ethylene synthesis, protein synthesis, and epigenetic modification were down-regulated in response to cold temperature treatment. The banana plantlets incubated at cold temperatures demonstrated major changes in increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging, defense against diseases, and energy supply. Increased antioxidation capability in banana was also discovered in plantain, which has greater cold tolerance than banana in response to cold stress conditions. Therefore, we hypothesized that an increased antioxidation ability could be a common characteristic of banana and plantain in response to cold stress conditions. These findings may provide a better understanding of the physiological processes of banana in response to cold stress conditions.

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