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Concept: Abscission


The phenology of growth in temperate deciduous forests, including the timing of leaf emergence and senescence, has strong control over ecosystem properties such as productivity and nutrient cycling, and has an important role in the carbon economy of understory plants. Extended leaf phenology, whereby understory species assimilate carbon in early spring before canopy closure or in late autumn after canopy fall, has been identified as a key feature of many forest species invasions, but it remains unclear whether there are systematic differences in the growth phenology of native and invasive forest species or whether invaders are more responsive to warming trends that have lengthened the duration of spring or autumn growth. Here, in a 3-year monitoring study of 43 native and 30 non-native shrub and liana species common to deciduous forests in the eastern United States, I show that extended autumn leaf phenology is a common attribute of eastern US forest invasions, where non-native species are extending the autumn growing season by an average of 4 weeks compared with natives. In contrast, there was no consistent evidence that non-natives as a group show earlier spring growth phenology, and non-natives were not better able to track interannual variation in spring temperatures. Seasonal leaf production and photosynthetic data suggest that most non-native species capture a significant proportion of their annual carbon assimilate after canopy leaf fall, a behaviour that was virtually absent in natives and consistent across five phylogenetic groups. Pronounced differences in how native and non-native understory species use pre- and post-canopy environments suggest eastern US invaders are driving a seasonal redistribution of forest productivity that may rival climate change in its impact on forest processes.

Concepts: Plant, Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests, Season, Leaf, Abscission, Invasive species, Oak, Deciduous


Flower opening in Iris (Iris×hollandica) requires elongation of the pedicel and ovary. This moves the floral bud upwards, thereby allowing the tepals to move laterally. Flower opening is requires with elongation of the pedicel and ovary. In cv. Blue Magic, we investigated the possible role of hormones other than ethylene in pedicel and ovary elongation and flower opening. Exogenous salicylic acid (SA) and the cytokinins benzyladenine (N6-benzyladenine, BA) and zeatin did not affect opening. Jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid (ABA) were slightly inhibitory, but an inhibitor of ABA synthesis (norflurazon) was without effect. Flower opening was promoted by gibberellic acid (GA(3)), but two inhibitors of gibberellin synthesis (4-hydroxy-5-isopropyl-2-methylphenyltrimethyl ammonium chloride-1-piperidine carboxylate, AMO-1618; ancymidol) did not change opening. The auxins indoleacetic acid (IAA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) strongly promoted elongation and opening. An inhibitor of auxin transport (2,3,5-triodobenzoic acid, TIBA) and an inhibitor of auxin effects [α-(p-chlorophenoxy)-isobutyric acid; PCIB] inhibited elongation and opening. The data suggest that endogenous auxins are among the regulators of the pedicel and ovary elongation and thus of flower opening in Iris.

Concepts: Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Abscission, Flower, Auxin, Gibberellic acid, 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid, 6-Benzylaminopurine


The demand for increased crop productivity and the predicted challenges related to plant survival under adverse environmental conditions have renewed the interest in research in root biology. Various physiological and genetic studies have provided ample evidence in support of the role of plant growth regulators in root development. The biosynthesis and transport of auxin and its signaling play a crucial role in controlling root growth and development. The univocal role of auxin in root development has established it as a master regulator. Other plant hormones, such as cytokinins, brassinosteroids, ethylene, abscisic acid, gibberellins, jasmonic acid, polyamines and strigolactones interact either synergistically or antagonistically with auxin to trigger cascades of events leading to root morphogenesis and development. In recent years, the availability of biological resources, development of modern tools and experimental approaches have led to the advancement of knowledge in root development. Research in the areas of hormone signal perception, understanding network of events involved in hormone action and the transport of plant hormones has added a new dimension to root biology. The present review highlights some of the important conceptual developments in the interplay of auxin and other plant hormones and associated downstream events affecting root development.

Concepts: Root, Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Abscisic acid, Abscission, Ethylene, Auxin, Jasmonic acid


Guzmania monostachia is an epiphyte tank bromeliad capable of up-regulating crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) in response to several environmental stimuli, including drought and light stress. In other plant species, abscisic acid (ABA) and nitric oxide (NO) seem to be involved in CAM induction. Because the leaves of tank bromeliads perform different functions along their length, this study attempted to investigate whether ABA and NO are involved in regulation of CAM expression in this species by quantifying these compounds in apical and basal portions of the leaf, and whether there would be differences in this event for each leaf portion. Detached leaves exposed to a 30% polyethylene glycol solution showed a significant upregulation of CAM on the seventh day of treatment only in the apical portion, as indicated by nocturnal acid accumulation and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) activity. On the three days prior to CAM induction, ABA, NO and H2O2 were quantified. The amounts of ABA were higher in PEG-exposed leaves, along their entire length. NO, however, was higher only in the apical portion, precisely where CAM was up-regulated. H2O2 was higher only in the basal portion of PEG-exposed leaves. Our results suggest that ABA might be a systemic signal to drought, occurring in the entire leaf. NO and H2O2, however, may be signals restricted only to the apical or basal portions, respectively.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Plant morphology, Abscission, Stoma, Bromeliaceae, C4 carbon fixation, Crassulacean acid metabolism, Guzmania


Abiotic stresses, such as salinity, heavy metals and drought, are some of the most devastating factors hindering sustainable crop production today. Plants use their own defensive strategies to cope with the adverse effects of these stresses, via the regulation of the expression of essential phytohormones, such as gibberellins (GA), salicylic acid (SA), jasmonates (JA), abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene (ET). However, the efficacy of the endogenous defensive arsenals of plants often falls short if the stress persists over an extended period. Various strategies are developed to improve stress tolerance in plants. For example, silicon (Si) is widely considered to possess significant potential as a substance which ameliorate the negative effects of abiotic stresses, and improves plant growth and biomass accumulation. This review aims to explain how Si application influences the signaling of the endogenous hormones GA, SA, ABA, JA and ET during salinity, wounding, drought and metal stresses in crop plants. Phytohormonal cross talk plays an important role in the regulation of induced defences against stress. However, detailed molecular and proteomic research into these interactions is needed in order to identify the underlying mechanisms of stress tolerance that is imparted by Si application and uptake.

Concepts: Oxygen, Seed, Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Abscisic acid, Abscission, Salicylic acid, Heavy metal music


Herbivore-induced volatile organic compounds prime non-attacked plant tissues to respond more strongly to subsequent attacks. However, the key volatiles that trigger this primed state remain largely unidentified. In maize, the release of the aromatic compound indole is herbivore-specific and occurs earlier than other induced responses. We therefore hypothesized that indole may be involved in airborne priming. Using indole-deficient mutants and synthetic indole dispensers, we show that herbivore-induced indole enhances the induction of defensive volatiles in neighbouring maize plants in a species-specific manner. Furthermore, the release of indole is essential for priming of mono- and homoterpenes in systemic leaves of attacked plants. Indole exposure markedly increases the herbivore-induced production of the stress hormones jasmonate-isoleucine conjugate and abscisic acid, which represents a likely mechanism for indole-dependent priming. These results demonstrate that indole functions as a rapid and potent aerial priming agent that prepares systemic tissues and neighbouring plants for incoming attacks.

Concepts: Water, Organic chemistry, Fern, Seed, Abscission, Volatile organic compound, Electrophilic aromatic substitution, Volatile


Drought inhibits plant growth and can also induce premature senescence. Here we identify a transcription factor, ABA INSENSITIVE GROWTH 1 (ABIG1) required for abscisic acid (ABA) mediated growth inhibition, but not for stomatal closure. ABIG1 mRNA levels are increased both in response to drought and in response to ABA treatment. When treated with ABA, abig1 mutants remain greener and produce more leaves than comparable wild-type plants. When challenged with drought, abig1 mutants have fewer yellow, senesced leaves than wild-type. Induction of ABIG1 transcription mimics ABA treatment and regulates a set of genes implicated in stress responses. We propose a model in which drought acts through ABA to increase ABIG1 transcription which in turn restricts new shoot growth and promotes leaf senescence. The results have implications for plant breeding: the existence of a mutant that is both ABA resistant and drought resistant points to new strategies for isolating drought resistant genetic varieties.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Transcription, RNA polymerase, Abscission, Cultivar


Leaf photosynthesis relies on CO2 diffusing in while water vapour diffuses out. When stomata close, cuticle waxes on the epidermal tissues increasingly affect this diffusion. Also, changes in turgor can shrink or swell a leaf, varying the cuticle size. In this study, the properties of the cuticle were investigated while turgor varied in intact leaves of hypo stomatous grape (Vitis vinifera L.) or amphistomatous sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.). For grape, stomata on the abaxial surface were sealed and high CO2 concentrations outside the leaf were used to maximize diffusion through the adaxial, stoma-free cuticle. For sunflower, stomata were closed in the dark or with abscisic acid to maximize the cuticle contribution to the path. In both species, the internal CO2 concentration was measured directly and continuously while other variables were determined to establish the cuticle properties. The results indicated that stomatal closure diminished the diffusion of both gases in both species, but for CO2 more than for water vapour. Decreasing the turgor diminished the movement of both gases through the cuticle of both species. Because this turgor effect was observed in the adaxial surface of grape, which had no stomata, it could only be attributed to cuticle tightening. Comparing calculated and measured concentrations of CO2 in leaves revealed differences that became large as stomata began to close. These differences in transport, together with turgor effects, suggest calculations of the CO2 concentration inside leaves need to be viewed with caution when stomata begin to close.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Plant physiology, Vitis vinifera, Epidermis, Leaf, Abscission, Plant cuticle


Urban schoolyard environments are increasingly characterized by a proliferation of hard surfaces with little if any greenery. Schoolyard “greening” initiatives are becoming increasingly popular; however, schoolyard designs often fail to realize their restorative potential. In this quasi-experimental study, a proposed schoolyard greening project was used to visualize alternative planting designs and seasonal tree foliage; these design alternatives were subsequently used as visual stimuli in a survey administered to children who will use the schoolyard to assess the perceived restorative capacity of different design features. The findings indicate that seasonal changes in tree foliage enhance the perceived restorative quality of schoolyard environments. Specifically, fall foliage colour, when compared to green foliage, is rated as being perceived to be equally restorative for children. Additionally, seasonal planting, including evergreen conifers, may enhance the restorative quality of the schoolyard especially when deciduous trees are leafless. Landscape design professionals, community-based organizations, and other decision-makers in schoolyard greening efforts should strategically consider their tree choices to maximize year-round support for healthy attention functioning in children through restoration.

Concepts: Plant, Tree, Autumn, Leaf, Abscission, Pinophyta, Deciduous, Evergreen


Ranunculus trichophyllus is an amphibious plant that produces thin and cylindrical leaves if grown under water but thick and broad leaves if grown on land. We found that such heterophylly is widely controlled by two plant hormones, abscisic acid (ABA) and ethylene, which control terrestrial and aquatic leaf development respectively. Aquatic leaves produced higher levels of ethylene but lower levels of ABA than terrestrial leaves. In aquatic leaves, its distinct traits with narrow shape, lack of stomata, and reduced vessel development were caused by EIN3-mediated overactivation of abaxial genes, RtKANADIs, and accompanying with reductions of STOMAGEN and VASCULAR-RELATED NAC-DOMAIN7 (VDN7). In contrast, in terrestrial leaves, ABI3-mediated activation of the adaxial genes, RtHD-ZIPIIIs, and STOMAGEN and VDN7 established leaf polarity, and stomata and vessel developments. Heterophylly of R.trichophyllus could be also induced by external cues such as cold and hypoxia, which is accompanied with the changes in the expression of leaf polarity genes similar to aquatic response. A closely-related land plant R. sceleratus did not show such heterophyllic responses, suggesting that the changes in the ABA/ethylene signaling and leaf polarity are one of key evolutionary steps for aquatic adaptation.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Plant physiology, Fern, Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Leaf, Plant morphology, Abscission