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Biotic and Abiotic Stress Effects on Plant Structure and Physiology 2023

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Plant Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 December 2023) | Viewed by 11451

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Botany, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784 Athens, Greece
Interests: molecular plant development; genetics; ubiquitin ligase complexes; histone methylation complexes; plant cell wall; abiotic stress; plant secondary metabolism and PNPs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants are subjected to a wide range of environmental stresses, which can be either of biotic or abiotic nature. Abiotic stress includes radiation, salinity, floods, drought, extremes in temperature, heavy metals, etc. On the other hand, attacks by various pathogens, such as fungi, bacteria, oomycetes, nematodes, and herbivores, are included in biotic stresses. As plants are sessile in nature, they have no choice to escape from these environmental hazards. Therefore, plants have developed various mechanisms to overcome these potential life-threatening environmental conditions. The plant responses are largely dependent on the tissue or organ affected. They sense the external stress, get stimulated and then generate appropriate cellular responses that are reflected in the plant organ’s structural changes. The stimuli received from the sensors located on the cell surface or cytoplasm are transferred to the transcriptional machinery situated in the nucleus, with the help of various signal transduction pathways. The signalling pathways act as a connecting link and play an important role in sensing the stress and generating an appropriate biochemical and physiological response. There is an urgent need for a change of focus in plant stress research, in order to understand the nature of multiple stress responses and to create avenues for developing plants that are resistant to multiple stresses yet maintain high yields. This Special Issue focuses on the effects of biotic and abiotic stress interaction in plants, with an emphasis on elucidating the molecular/cellular/physiological mechanisms or even any morphological/anatomical adaptation involved. We encourage novices and experienced scientists to contribute original research papers and reviews on the effects of any environmental pressures on plants. Contributions at the organism, cellular, molecular, and -omic level are highly welcome.

Dr. Ioannis-Dimosthenis Adamakis
Dr. Kosmas Haralampidis
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • environmental extremes
  • pollutants
  • pathogens
  • oxidative stress
  • gene regulation
  • structural integrity
  • adaptations

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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21 pages, 10164 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Expression Profile Analysis of Sugars Will Eventually Be Exported Transporter (SWEET) Genes in Zantedeschia elliottiana and Their Responsiveness to Pectobacterium carotovora subspecies Carotovora (Pcc) Infection
by Ziwei Li, Yanbing Guo, Shoulin Jin and Hongzhi Wu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(4), 2004; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25042004 - 07 Feb 2024
Viewed by 590
Abstract
SWEET, sugars will eventually be exported transporter, is a novel class of sugar transporter proteins that can transport sugars across membranes down a concentration gradient. It plays a key role in plant photosynthetic assimilates, phloem loading, nectar secretion from nectar glands, seed grouting, [...] Read more.
SWEET, sugars will eventually be exported transporter, is a novel class of sugar transporter proteins that can transport sugars across membranes down a concentration gradient. It plays a key role in plant photosynthetic assimilates, phloem loading, nectar secretion from nectar glands, seed grouting, pollen development, pathogen interactions, and adversity regulation, and has received widespread attention in recent years. To date, systematic analysis of the SWEET family in Zantedeschia has not been documented, although the genome has been reported in Zantedeschia elliottiana. In this study, 19 ZeSWEET genes were genome-wide identified in Z. elliottiana, and unevenly located in 10 chromosomes. They were further clustered into four clades by a phylogenetic tree, and almost every clade has its own unique motifs. Synthetic analysis confirmed two pairs of segmental duplication events of ZeSWEET genes. Heatmaps of tissue-specific and Pectobacterium carotovora subsp. Carotovora (Pcc) infection showed that ZeSWEET genes had different expression patterns, so SWEETs may play widely varying roles in development and stress tolerance in Zantedeschia. Moreover, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis revealed that some of the ZeSWEETs responded to Pcc infection, among which eight genes were significantly upregulated and six genes were significantly downregulated, revealing their potential functions in response to Pcc infection. The promoter sequences of ZeSWEETs contained 51 different types of the 1380 cis-regulatory elements, and each ZeSWEET gene contained at least two phytohormone responsive elements and one stress response element. In addition, a subcellular localization study indicated that ZeSWEET07 and ZeSWEET18 were found to be localized to the plasma membrane. These findings provide insights into the characteristics of SWEET genes and contribute to future studies on the functional characteristics of ZeSWEET genes, and then improve Pcc infection tolerance in Zantedeschia through molecular breeding. Full article
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20 pages, 4432 KiB  
Article
Response of Carrot (Daucus carota L.) to Multi-Contaminated Soil from Historic Mining and Smelting Activities
by Milan Novák, Veronika Zemanová, Marie Lhotská, Milan Pavlík, Aleš Klement, František Hnilička and Daniela Pavlíková
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(24), 17345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242417345 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 735
Abstract
A pot experiment was undertaken to investigate the effect of Cd, Pb and Zn multi-contamination on the physiological and metabolic response of carrot (Daucus carota L.) after 98 days of growth under greenhouse conditions. Multi-contamination had a higher negative influence on leaves [...] Read more.
A pot experiment was undertaken to investigate the effect of Cd, Pb and Zn multi-contamination on the physiological and metabolic response of carrot (Daucus carota L.) after 98 days of growth under greenhouse conditions. Multi-contamination had a higher negative influence on leaves (the highest Cd and Zn accumulation) compared to the roots, which showed no visible change in terms of anatomy and morphology. The results showed the following: (i) significantly higher accumulation of Cd, Zn, and Pb in the multi-contaminated variant (Multi) compared to the control; (ii) significant metabolic responses—an increase in the malondialdehyde content of the Multi variant compared to the control in the roots (by 20%), as well as in the leaves (by 53%); carotenoid content in roots decreased by 31% in the Multi variant compared with the control; and changes in free amino acids, especially those related to plant stress responses. The determination of hydroxyproline and sarcosine may reflect the higher sensitivity of carrot leaves to multi-contamination in comparison to roots. A similar trend was observed for the content of free methionine (significant increase of 31% only in leaves); (iii) physiological responses (significant decreases in biomass, changes in gas-exchange parameters and chlorophyll a); and (iv) significant changes in enzymatic activities (chitinase, alanine aminopeptidase, acid phosphatase) in the root zone. Full article
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18 pages, 11196 KiB  
Article
WRKY Transcriptional Factor IlWRKY70 from Iris laevigata Enhances Drought and Salinity Tolerances in Nicotiana tabacum
by Gongfa Shi, Guiling Liu, Huijun Liu, Nuo Xu, Qianqian Yang, Ziyi Song, Wangbin Ye and Ling Wang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16174; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216174 - 10 Nov 2023
Viewed by 815
Abstract
Drought and high salinity greatly affect plant growth and development. WRKY transcription factors play a key role in plant tolerance to abiotic stress, but the functions of WRKYs in the ornamental monocotyledon Iris laevigata remain largely unexplored. In this study, we cloned [...] Read more.
Drought and high salinity greatly affect plant growth and development. WRKY transcription factors play a key role in plant tolerance to abiotic stress, but the functions of WRKYs in the ornamental monocotyledon Iris laevigata remain largely unexplored. In this study, we cloned IlWRKY70 and found that it is a Group III WRKY localized in the nucleus. The expression of IlWRKY70 was induced by NaCl and PEG-6000, which reached peaks (4.38 and 5.65 times) after 3 h and 1 h, respectively. The exogenous overexpression of IlWRKY70 in N. tabacum significantly improved the resistance under NaCl and drought treatments, as evidenced by higher germination rates, longer root lengths, and increased fresh weights compared to those of control plants. In addition, transgenic seedlings showed significantly reduced wilting, higher photosynthetic performance, higher Fv/Fm and chlorophyll content, and lower stomatal conductance. Moreover, transgenic lines showed higher antioxidant enzymatic activities, lower reactive oxygen species (ROS), and lower malondialdehyde contents. Accordingly, we also found higher expressions of antioxidant defense genes, including SOD, CAT, and POD, in transgenic lines compared to controls under salt and drought stresses. Thus, IlWRKY70 enhances the abilities of salt and drought tolerances in plants, at least partially, via ROS regulation and can be used for breeding I. laevigata possessing enhanced salt and drought resistances. Full article
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17 pages, 4556 KiB  
Article
bra-miR167a Targets ARF8 and Negatively Regulates Arabidopsis thaliana Immunity against Plasmodiophora brassicae
by Rujiao Liao, Xiaochun Wei, Yanyan Zhao, Zhengqing Xie, Ujjal Kumar Nath, Shuangjuan Yang, Henan Su, Zhiyong Wang, Lin Li, Baoming Tian, Fang Wei, Yuxiang Yuan and Xiaowei Zhang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11850; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411850 - 24 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1074
Abstract
Clubroot is a soil-borne disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, which can seriously affect the growth and production of cruciferous crops, especially Chinese cabbage crops, worldwide. At present, few studies have been conducted on the molecular mechanism of this disease’s resistance response. In [...] Read more.
Clubroot is a soil-borne disease caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, which can seriously affect the growth and production of cruciferous crops, especially Chinese cabbage crops, worldwide. At present, few studies have been conducted on the molecular mechanism of this disease’s resistance response. In this experiment, we analyzed the bioinformation of bra-miR167a, constructed a silencing vector (STTM167a) and an overexpression vector (OE-miR167a), and transformed them to Arabidopsis to confirm the role of miR167a in the clubroot resistance mechanism of Arabidopsis. Afterwards, phenotype analysis and expression level analysis of key genes were conducted on transgenic plants. From the result, we found that the length and number of lateral roots of silence transgenic Arabidopsis STTM167a was higher than that of WT and OE-miR167a. In addition, the STTM167a transgenic Arabidopsis induced up-regulation of disease resistance-related genes (PR1, PR5, MPK3, and MPK6) at 3 days after inoculation. On the other hand, the auxin pathway genes (TIR1, AFB2, and AFB3), which are involved in maintaining the balance of auxin/IAA and auxin response factor (ARF), were down-regulated. These results indicate that bra-miR167a is negative to the development of lateral roots and auxins, but positive to the expression of resistance-related genes. This also means that the STTM167a can improve the resistance of clubroot by promoting lateral root development and the level of auxin, and can induce resistance-related genes by regulating its target genes. We found a positive correlation between miR167a and clubroot disease, which is a new clue for the prevention and treatment of clubroot disease. Full article
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18 pages, 13843 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome-Wide Identification and Response Pattern Analysis of the Salix integra NAC Transcription Factor in Response to Pb Stress
by Yue Xin, Ruifang Huang, Meng Xu and Li’an Xu
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(14), 11334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms241411334 - 12 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1352
Abstract
The NAC (NAM-ATAF1/2-CUC) transcription factor family is one of the largest plant-specific transcription factor families, playing an important role in plant growth and development and abiotic stress response. As a short-rotation woody plant, Salix integra (S. integra) has high lead (Pb) [...] Read more.
The NAC (NAM-ATAF1/2-CUC) transcription factor family is one of the largest plant-specific transcription factor families, playing an important role in plant growth and development and abiotic stress response. As a short-rotation woody plant, Salix integra (S. integra) has high lead (Pb) phytoremediation potential. To understand the role of NAC in S. integra Pb tolerance, 53 SiNAC transcripts were identified using third-generation and next-generation transcriptomic data from S. integra exposed to Pb stress, and a phylogenetic analysis revealed 11 subfamilies. A sequence alignment showed that multiple subfamilies represented by TIP and ATAF had a gene that produced more than one transcript under Pb stress, and different transcripts had different responses to Pb. By analyzing the expression profiles of SiNACs at 9 Pb stress time points, 41 of 53 SiNACs were found to be significantly responsive to Pb. Short time-series expression miner (STEM) analysis revealed that 41 SiNACs had two significant Pb positive response patterns (early and late), both containing 10 SiNACs. The SiNACs with the most significant Pb response were mainly from the ATAF and NAP subfamilies. Therefore, 4 and 3 SiNACs from the ATAF and NAP subfamilies, respectively, were selected as candidate Pb-responsive SiNACs for further structural and functional analysis. The RT-qPCR results of 7 transcripts also confirmed the different Pb response patterns of the ATAF and NAP subfamilies. SiNAC004 and SiNAC120, which were randomly selected from two subfamilies, were confirmed to be nuclear localization proteins by subcellular localization experiments. Functional prediction analysis of the associated transcripts of seven candidate SiNACs showed that the target pathways of ATAF subfamily SiNACs were “sulfur metabolism” and “glutathione metabolism”, and the target pathways of NAP subfamily SiNACs were “ribosome” and “phenylpropanoid biosynthesis”. This study not only identified two NAC subfamilies with different Pb response patterns but also identified Pb-responsive SiNACs that could provide a basis for subsequent gene function verification. Full article
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26 pages, 7561 KiB  
Article
Submergence Stress Alters the Expression of Clock Genes and Configures New Zeniths and Expression of Outputs in Brachypodium distachyon
by Lucisabel Medina-Chávez, Christian Camacho, Jorge Arturo Martínez-Rodríguez, Blanca Estela Barrera-Figueroa, Dawn H. Nagel, Piyada Juntawong and Julián Mario Peña-Castro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(10), 8555; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24108555 - 10 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2054
Abstract
Plant networks of oscillating genes coordinate internal processes with external cues, contributing to increased fitness. We hypothesized that the response to submergence stress may dynamically change during different times of the day. In this work, we determined the transcriptome (RNA sequencing) of the [...] Read more.
Plant networks of oscillating genes coordinate internal processes with external cues, contributing to increased fitness. We hypothesized that the response to submergence stress may dynamically change during different times of the day. In this work, we determined the transcriptome (RNA sequencing) of the model monocotyledonous plant, Brachypodium distachyon, during a day of submergence stress, low light, and normal growth. Two ecotypes of differential tolerance, Bd21 (sensitive) and Bd21-3 (tolerant), were included. We submerged 15-day-old plants under a long-day diurnal cycle (16 h light/8 h dark) and collected samples after 8 h of submergence at ZT0 (dawn), ZT8 (midday), ZT16 (dusk), ZT20 (midnight), and ZT24 (dawn). Rhythmic processes were enriched both with up- and down-regulated genes, and clustering highlighted that the morning and daytime oscillator components (PRRs) show peak expression in the night, and a decrease in the amplitude of the clock genes (GI, LHY, RVE) was observed. Outputs included photosynthesis-related genes losing their known rhythmic expression. Up-regulated genes included oscillating suppressors of growth, hormone-related genes with new late zeniths (e.g., JAZ1, ZEP), and mitochondrial and carbohydrate signaling genes with shifted zeniths. The results highlighted genes up-regulated in the tolerant ecotype such as METALLOTHIONEIN3 and ATPase INHIBITOR FACTOR. Finally, we show by luciferase assays that Arabidopsis thaliana clock genes are also altered by submergence changing their amplitude and phase. This study can guide the research of chronocultural strategies and diurnal-associated tolerance mechanisms. Full article
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30 pages, 8399 KiB  
Article
Glutathione Contribution in Interactions between Turnip mosaic virus and Arabidopsis thaliana Mutants Lacking Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homologs D and F
by Katarzyna Otulak-Kozieł, Edmund Kozieł, Krzysztof Treder and Lóránt Király
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(8), 7128; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24087128 - 12 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Respiratory burst oxidase homologs (Rbohs) play crucial and diverse roles in plant tissue-mediated production of reactive oxygen species during the development, growth, and response of plants to abiotic and biotic stress. Many studies have demonstrated the contribution of RbohD and RbohF [...] Read more.
Respiratory burst oxidase homologs (Rbohs) play crucial and diverse roles in plant tissue-mediated production of reactive oxygen species during the development, growth, and response of plants to abiotic and biotic stress. Many studies have demonstrated the contribution of RbohD and RbohF in stress signaling in pathogen response differentially modulating the immune response, but the potential role of the Rbohs-mediated response in plant–virus interactions remains unknown. The present study analyzed, for the first time, the metabolism of glutathione in rbohD-, rbohF-, and rbohD/F-transposon-knockout mutants in response to Turnip mosaic virus (TuMV) infection. rbohD–TuMV and Col-0–TuMV interactions were characterized by susceptible reaction to TuMV, associated with significant activity of GPXLs (glutathione peroxidase-like enzymes) and induction of lipid peroxidation in comparison to mock-inoculated plants, with reduced total cellular and apoplastic glutathione content observed at 7–14 dpi and dynamic induction of apoplast GSSG (oxidized glutathione) at 1–14 dpi. Systemic virus infection resulted in the induction of AtGSTU1 and AtGSTU24, which was highly correlated with significant downregulation of GSTs (glutathione transferases) and cellular and apoplastic GGT (γ-glutamyl transferase) with GR (glutathione reductase) activities. On the contrary, resistant rbohF–TuMV reactions, and especially enhanced rbohD/F–TuMV reactions, were characterized by a highly dynamic increase in total cellular and apoplastic glutathione content, with induction of relative expression of AtGGT1, AtGSTU13, and AtGSTU19 genes. Moreover, virus limitation was highly correlated with the upregulation of GSTs, as well as cellular and apoplastic GGT with GR activities. These findings clearly indicate that glutathione can act as a key signaling factor in not only susceptible rbohD reaction but also the resistance reaction presented by rbohF and rbohD/F mutants during TuMV interaction. Furthermore, by actively reducing the pool of glutathione in the apoplast, GGT and GR enzymes acted as a cell first line in the Arabidopsis–TuMV pathosystem response, protecting the cell from oxidative stress in resistant interactions. These dynamically changed signal transductions involved symplast and apoplast in mediated response to TuMV. Full article
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Review

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24 pages, 1672 KiB  
Review
microRNAs: Key Regulators in Plant Responses to Abiotic and Biotic Stresses via Endogenous and Cross-Kingdom Mechanisms
by Tianze Ding, Wenkang Li, Fuguang Li, Maozhi Ren and Wenjing Wang
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2024, 25(2), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms25021154 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1089
Abstract
Dramatic shifts in global climate have intensified abiotic and biotic stress faced by plants. Plant microRNAs (miRNAs)—20–24 nucleotide non-coding RNA molecules—form a key regulatory system of plant gene expression; playing crucial roles in plant growth; development; and defense against abiotic and biotic stress. [...] Read more.
Dramatic shifts in global climate have intensified abiotic and biotic stress faced by plants. Plant microRNAs (miRNAs)—20–24 nucleotide non-coding RNA molecules—form a key regulatory system of plant gene expression; playing crucial roles in plant growth; development; and defense against abiotic and biotic stress. Moreover, they participate in cross-kingdom communication. This communication encompasses interactions with other plants, microorganisms, and insect species, collectively exerting a profound influence on the agronomic traits of crops. This article comprehensively reviews the biosynthesis of plant miRNAs and explores their impact on plant growth, development, and stress resistance through endogenous, non-transboundary mechanisms. Furthermore, this review delves into the cross-kingdom regulatory effects of plant miRNAs on plants, microorganisms, and pests. It proceeds to specifically discuss the design and modification strategies for artificial miRNAs (amiRNAs), as well as the protection and transport of miRNAs by exosome-like nanovesicles (ELNVs), expanding the potential applications of plant miRNAs in crop breeding. Finally, the current limitations associated with harnessing plant miRNAs are addressed, and the utilization of synthetic biology is proposed to facilitate the heterologous expression and large-scale production of miRNAs. This novel approach suggests a plant-based solution to address future biosafety concerns in agriculture. Full article
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16 pages, 1202 KiB  
Review
Epigenetic and Hormonal Modulation in Plant–Plant Growth-Promoting Microorganism Symbiosis for Drought-Resilient Agriculture
by Cengiz Kaya, Ferhat Uğurlar and Ioannis-Dimosthenis S. Adamakis
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2023, 24(22), 16064; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms242216064 - 08 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1292
Abstract
Plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) have emerged as valuable allies for enhancing plant growth, health, and productivity across diverse environmental conditions. However, the complex molecular mechanisms governing plant–PGPM symbiosis under the climatic hazard of drought, which is critically challenging global food security, remain largely [...] Read more.
Plant growth-promoting microorganisms (PGPMs) have emerged as valuable allies for enhancing plant growth, health, and productivity across diverse environmental conditions. However, the complex molecular mechanisms governing plant–PGPM symbiosis under the climatic hazard of drought, which is critically challenging global food security, remain largely unknown. This comprehensive review explores the involved molecular interactions that underpin plant–PGPM partnerships during drought stress, thereby offering insights into hormonal regulation and epigenetic modulation. This review explores the challenges and prospects associated with optimizing and deploying PGPMs to promote sustainable agriculture in the face of drought stress. In summary, it offers strategic recommendations to propel research efforts and facilitate the practical implementation of PGPMs, thereby enhancing their efficacy in mitigating drought-detrimental effects in agricultural soils. Full article
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