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The Week in Botany 145

April 13, 2020

Thank you everyone who's sent in messages over the past couple of weeks. It's nice to know that people are taking a break from the news. It's a short email this week, as I'm taking the Friday (and Monday) off. This email will be an automated delivery. Aside from having a break, I'm hoping to be able to share a little good news next week. In any case there will still be more links as shared by people following @botanyone on Twitter.
Until next week, take care.
Alun (

From Botany One

New grapevine model better predicts whole-canopy gas exchange
Models considering only the maximum photosynthetic capacity for all leaves over-estimated net carbon dioxide exchange by nearly a third.

Changes in How a Plant Breathes Aren’t Always Matched by Changes in Its Anatomy
You can't predict how a Yucca gloriosa will react to drought from its anatomy alone.

Daffodils and Snowdrops react differently to warming seasons
Daffodils and Snowdrops need the right temperatures in a few seasons to germinate. Will a changing climate cause problems?

Sympatric moss populations can form true hybrid zones
W. Sawangproh and colleagues used single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers to determine the extent and viability of genetic mixing between two mosses, Homalothecium lutescens and H. sericeum, growing in southern Sweden.

Plasticity to drought and ecotypic differentiation in populations of a crop wild relative
Matesanz et al. assessed adaptive differentiation and phenotypic plasticity in populations of Lupinus angustifolius, a Mediterranean crop wild relative, from two regions in the Iberian Peninsula. 

News and Views

Don’t perish! A step by step guide to writing a scientific paper
I've no idea why this wasn't highlighted in the search for items for last week's email, as it was staggeringly popular. Sophien Kamoun on how to write a scientific paper.

Nature and breast cancer: the plants that saved a botanist's life
Botanist Dr Sandy Knapp has studied plants for 40 years. When she received a breast cancer diagnosis, the natural world she knows so well was what saved her life.
Natural History Museum

Climate change: UK forests 'could do more harm than good'
Mass tree planting in the UK could harm the environment if not planned properly, a report warns.
BBC News

Flower power: How plants bounce back after crushing blows
Some flowers can recover with remarkable speed after a major accident, such as being walked upon by humans.
BBC News

Coronavirus: Lockdown 'could boost wild flowers'
A plant charity is predicting a boost for wild flowers because some councils have stopped mowing verges and parks during the Covid-19 crisis.
BBC News

Ecology Live
The British Ecological Society is broadcasting free online talks on the latest ecological research during the coronavirus lockdown period.
British Ecological Society

Mature forest shows little increase in carbon uptake in a CO2-enriched atmosphere
Will mature forests absorb enough carbon from the atmosphere to mitigate climate change as levels of carbon dioxide increase? An experiment in a eucalyptus forest provides fresh evidence.

Scientific Papers

Salt Tolerance Mechanisms of Plants
Crop loss due to soil salinization is an increasing threat to agriculture worldwide. This review provides an overview of cellular and physiological mechanisms in plant responses to salt. We place cellular responses in a time- and tissue-dependent context in order to link them to observed phases in growth rate that occur in response to stress. Recent advances in phenotyping can now functionally or genetically link cellular signaling responses, ion transport, water management, and gene expression to growth, development, and survival.
Annual Review of Plant Biology

High‐throughput phenotyping reveals growth of Medicago truncatula is positively affected by arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi even at high soil phosphorus availability
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) may contribute to enhanced yield and nutrition of host plants for the purpose of sustainable agriculture. However, the growth response of the host plant to mycorrhizal colonization is generally only measured at harvest, and thus management decisions regarding AMF are made using only a single time point. This study highlights that AMF can provide growth benefits to the host plant over its life. Greater knowledge of how plants respond to AMF over time will improve understanding of how the association functions and ultimately lead to improved management decisions regarding AMF in an agricultural context.
Plants People Planet

Exploring folds, evolution and host interactions: understanding effector structure/function in disease and immunity
Mukhi et al. focus on recent advances (last ~2 years) in understanding structure/function relationships in effectors from bacteria and filamentous plant pathogens. Structure/function studies of bacterial effectors frequently uncover diverse catalytic activities, while structure‐informed similarity searches have enabled cataloguing of filamentous pathogen effectors. They also suggest how such advances have informed the study of plant‐pathogen interactions.
New Phytologist

The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment
Using data from the first ecosystem-scale Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) experiment in a mature forest, Jiang et al. constructed a comprehensive ecosystem carbon budget to track the fate of carbon as the forest responded to four years of eCO2 exposure. They show that, although the eCO2 treatment of +150 parts per million (+38 per cent) above ambient levels induced a 12 per cent (+247 grams of carbon per square metre per year) increase in carbon uptake through gross primary production, this additional carbon uptake did not lead to increased carbon sequestration at the ecosystem level. Instead, the majority of the extra carbon was emitted back into the atmosphere via several respiratory fluxes, with increased soil respiration alone accounting for half of the total uptake surplus. Their results call into question the predominant thinking that the capacity of forests to act as carbon sinks will be generally enhanced under eCO2, and challenge the efficacy of climate mitigation strategies that rely on ubiquitous CO2 fertilization as a driver of increased carbon sinks in global forests.

Direct ETTIN-auxin interaction controls chromatin states in gynoecium development
Kuhn et al. show that ETTIN directly binds auxin, leading to dissociation from co-repressor proteins of the TOPLESS/TOPLESS-RELATED family followed by histone acetylation and induction of gene expression. This mechanism is reminiscent of animal hormone signalling as it affects the activity towards regulation of target genes and provides the first example of a DNA-bound hormone receptor in plants. Whilst auxin affects canonical ARFs indirectly by facilitating degradation of Aux/IAA repressors, direct ETTIN-auxin interactions allow switching between repressive and de-repressive chromatin states in an instantly-reversible manner.

A plant genetic network for preventing dysbiosis in the phyllosphere
Chen et al. show that the Arabidopsis quadruple mutant (min7 fls2 efr cerk1; hereafter, mfec), simultaneously defective in pattern-triggered immunity and the MIN7 vesicle-trafficking pathway, or a constitutively activated cell death1 (cad1) mutant, carrying a S205F mutation in a membrane-attack-complex/perforin (MACPF)-domain protein, harbour altered endophytic phyllosphere microbiota and display leaf-tissue damage associated with dysbiosis. The Shannon diversity index and the relative abundance of Firmicutes were markedly reduced, whereas Proteobacteria were enriched in the mfec and cad1S205F mutants, bearing cross-kingdom resemblance to some aspects of the dysbiosis that occurs in human inflammatory bowel disease.


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