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Journal: Plants (Basel, Switzerland)


Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum L., is a plant fibre of significant economic importance, with seeds providing an additional source of protein in human and animal nutrition. Flavonoids play a vital role in maintaining plant health and function and much research has investigated the role of flavonoids in plant defence and plant vigour and the influence these have on cotton production. As part of ongoing research into host plant/invertebrate pest interactions, we investigated the flavonoid profile of cotton reported in published, peer-reviewed literature. Here we report 52 flavonoids representing seven classes and their reported distribution within the cotton plant. We briefly discuss the historical research of flavonoids in cotton production and propose research areas that warrant further investigation.

Concepts: Scientific method, Nutrition, Academic publishing, Cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, Fiber plants, Gossypium, Gossypium barbadense


Rising global temperatures are associated with increases in the geographic range, population size, and feeding voracity of insect herbivores. Although it is well established that the plant hormone jasmonate (JA) promotes durable resistance to many ectothermic herbivores, little is known about how JA-mediated defense is influenced by rising temperatures. Here, we used the Arabidopsis-Trichoplusiani (cabbage looper) interaction to investigate the relative contribution of JA and elevated temperature to host resistance. Video monitoring of larval behavior showed that elevated temperature greatly enhanced defoliation by increasing the bite rate and total time spent feeding, whereas loss of resistance in a JA-deficient mutant did not strongly affect these behaviors. The acceleration of insect feeding at elevated temperature was not attributed to decreases in wound-induced JA biosynthesis, expression of JA-responsive genes, or the accumulation of defensive glucosinolates prior to insect challenge. Quantitative proteomic analysis of insect frass, however, provided evidence for a temperature-dependent increase in the production of digestive enzymes. Our results demonstrate that temperature-driven stimulation of feeding outweighs the protective effects of JA-mediated resistance in Arabidopsis, thus highlighting a potential threat to plant resilience in a warming world.


Natural compounds are a prominent source of novel antiviral drugs. Several reports have previously shown the antimicrobial activity of pistachio polyphenol extracts. Therefore, the aim of our research was to investigate the activity of polyphenol-rich extracts of natural shelled (NPRE) pistachios kernels (Pistacia vera L.) on herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) replication. The Vero cell line was used to assess the cytotoxicity and antiviral activity. The cell viability was calculated by detection of cellular ATP after treatment with various concentrations of NPRE. For antiviral studies, five nontoxic-concentrations (0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) were tested. Our study demonstrated that treatment with NPRE (0.4, 0.6, 0.8 mg/mL) reduced the expression of the viral proteins ICP8 (infected cell polypeptide 8), UL42 (unique long UL42 DNA polymerase processivity factor) , and US11 (unique short US11 protein), and resulted in a decrease of viral DNA synthesis. The 50% cytotoxic concentration (CC50), 50% inhibitory concentration (EC50), and the selectivity index (SI) values for NPRE were 1.2 mg/mL, 0.4mg/mL, and 3, respectively. Furthermore, we assessed the anti-herpetic effect of a mix of pure polyphenol compounds (NS MIX) present in NPRE. In conclusion, our findings indicate that natural shelled pistachio kernels have remarkable inhibitory activity against HSV-1.


Oxygen (O2)-evolving photosynthetic organisms oxidize the reaction center chlorophyll, P700, in photosystem I (PSI) to suppress the production of reactive oxygen species. The oxidation of P700 is accompanied by alternative electron flow in PSI (AEF-I), which is not required for photosynthetic linear electron flow (LEF). To characterize AEF-I, we compared the redox reactions of P700 and ferredoxin (Fd) during the induction of carbon dioxide (CO2) assimilation in wheat leaves, using dark-interval relaxation kinetics analysis. Switching on an actinic light (1000 ╬╝mol photons m-2 s-1) at ambient CO2 partial pressure of 40 Pa and ambient O2 partial pressure of 21 kPa gradually oxidized P700 (P700+) and enhanced the reduction rate of P700+ (vP700) and oxidation rate of reduced Fd (vFd). The vFd showed a positive linear relationship with an apparent photosynthetic quantum yield of PSII (Y[II]) originating at point zero; the redox turnover of Fd is regulated by LEF via CO2 assimilation and photorespiration. The vP700 also showed a positive linear relationship with Y(II), but the intercept was positive, not zero. That is, the electron flux in PSI included the electron flux in AEF-I in addition to that in LEF. This indicates that the oxidation of P700 induces AEF-I. We propose a possible mechanism underlying AEF-I and its physiological role in the mitigation of oxidative damage.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), also known as coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), is a pandemic disease that has been declared as modern history’s gravest health emergency worldwide. Until now, no precise treatment modality has been developed. The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, a host cell receptor, has been found to play a crucial role in virus cell entry; therefore, ACE2 blockers can be a potential target for anti-viral intervention. In this study, we evaluated the ACE2 inhibitory effects of 10 essential oils. Among them, geranium and lemon oils displayed significant ACE2 inhibitory effects in epithelial cells. In addition, immunoblotting and qPCR analysis also confirmed that geranium and lemon oils possess potent ACE2 inhibitory effects. Furthermore, the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis displayed 22 compounds in geranium oil and 9 compounds in lemon oil. Citronellol, geraniol, and neryl acetate were the major compounds of geranium oil and limonene that represented major compound of lemon oil. Next, we found that treatment with citronellol and limonene significantly downregulated ACE2 expression in epithelial cells. The results suggest that geranium and lemon essential oils and their derivative compounds are valuable natural anti-viral agents that may contribute to the prevention of the invasion of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 into the human body.


Plants are able to sense their mechanical environment. This mechanical signal is used by the plant to determine its phenotypic features. This is true also at a smaller scale. Morphogenesis, both at the cell and tissue level, involves mechanical signals that influence specific patterns of gene expression and trigger signaling pathways. How a mechanical stress is perceived and how this signal is transduced into the cell remains a challenging question in the plant community. Among the structural components of plant cells, the plasma membrane has received very little attention. Yet, its position at the interface between the cell wall and the interior of the cell makes it a key factor at the nexus between biochemical and mechanical cues. So far, most of the key players that are described to perceive and maintain mechanical cell status and to respond to a mechanical stress are localized at or close to the plasma membrane. In this review, we will focus on the importance of the plasma membrane in mechano-sensing and try to illustrate how the composition of this dynamic compartment is involved in the regulatory processes of a cell to respond to mechanical stress.


The development of new biofortified cassava cultivars, with higher micronutrient contents, offers great potential to enhance food and nutrition security prospects. Among the various constraints affecting cassava production are plant parasitic nematodes (PPN), especially root-knot nematodes. In this study, six popular biofortified cultivars were field-evaluated for their response to PPN in Nigeria. A field naturally infested with a diversity of PPN but dominated by root-knot nematodes was used. Application of the nematicide carbofuran significantly reduced PPN densities, and at harvest, no root galling damage was observed, compared with untreated plots, which had heavy galling damage. Plant height, stem girth, plant weight, marketable storage root number and weight were significantly lower for most cultivars in untreated plots. Percentage yield losses in the range of 21.3-63.7% were recorded from two separate trials conducted for 12 months each. Lower total carotenoid and dry matter contents were associated with higher PPN densities in some biofortified cultivars, resulting in a loss of as much as 63% of total carotenoid and 52% of dry matter contents. The number and weight of rotted storage roots were significantly greater in untreated plots across cultivars, reducing in-field and post-harvest storability. This study demonstrates that natural field populations of PPN can substantially affect yield, quality and nutritional value of released biofortified cassava cultivars.


High-throughput sequencing technologies have rapidly developed during the past years and have become an essential tool in plant sciences. However, the analysis of genomic data remains challenging and relies mostly on the performance of automatic pipelines. Frequently applied pipelines involve the alignment of sequence reads against a reference sequence and the identification of sequence variants. Since most benchmarking studies of bioinformatics tools for this purpose have been conducted on human datasets, there is a lack of benchmarking studies in plant sciences. In this study, we evaluated the performance of 50 different variant calling pipelines, including five read mappers and ten variant callers, on six real plant datasets of the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Sets of variants were evaluated based on various parameters including sensitivity and specificity. We found that all investigated tools are suitable for analysis of NGS data in plant research. When looking at different performance metrics, BWA-MEM and Novoalign were the best mappers and GATK returned the best results in the variant calling step.


Flowering and seed set are essential for plant species to survive, hence plants need to adapt to highly variable environments to flower in the most favorable conditions. Endogenous cues such as plant age and hormones coordinate with the environmental cues like temperature and day length to determine optimal time for the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth. In a breeding context, controlling flowering time would help to speed up the production of new hybrids and produce high yield throughout the year. The flowering time genetic network is extensively studied in the plant model species Arabidopsis thaliana, however this knowledge is still limited in most crops. This article reviews evidence of conservation and divergence of flowering time regulation in A. thaliana with its related crop species in the Brassicaceae and with more distant vegetable crops within the Asteraceae family. Despite the overall conservation of most flowering time pathways in these families, many genes controlling this trait remain elusive, and the function of most Arabidopsis homologs in these crops are yet to be determined. However, the knowledge gathered so far in both model and crop species can be already exploited in vegetable crop breeding for flowering time control.


Herbicides represent about 60% of the pesticides (by volume) used worldwide. The success of herbicides can be attributed in part to a relatively steady discovery of one unique mechanisms of action (MOA) every two years from the early 1950s to the mid-1980s. While this situation changed dramatically after the introduction of glyphosate-resistant crops, evolution of resistance to glyphosate has renewed the agrichemical industry interest in new chemistry interacting with novel target sites. This review analyses recent characterization of new herbicide target sites, the chemical classes developed to inhibit these target sites, and where appropriate the innovative technologies used in these discovery programs.