Biodiversity and Genetic Control of Tolerance to Abiotic and Biotic Stresses in Plants

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Genetics, Genomics and Biotechnology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2024) | Viewed by 8842

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology, Univesity of the Western Cape, Bellville, 7530, South Africa
Interests: plant responses to drought and heat stress; plant–microbe interactions; plant–insect interactions; regenerative agriculture; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Technologies, Sivas University of Science and Technology, Sivas, Turkey
Interests: genetic diversity; plant responses to abiotic stress; molecular markers; plant breeding; food security
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Plants constitute the backbone of food and feed resources for humans and animals, and are crucial in the provision of raw materials for various industrial and medical applications. Despite tremendous progress in plant science towards improving plant performance to attain high yields, the occurrence of abiotic and biotic stresses remains the major limitation to yield in plants. Climate change exacerbates the frequency, duration and intensity of these stresses. On the one hand, drought, heat, flooding, cold and heavy metal stress are among the most significant abiotic stresses that limit plant productivity. On the other hand, diseases and pests constitute some of the severely detrimental biotic stresses arising from the infection of plants by fungi, bacteria and viruses or the infestation of the plants with insects and parasitic organisms. These stresses can reduce plant crop yield to a level that threatens food security. This necessitates the understanding of the mechanisms that regulate plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses and exploring holistic plant–environment interactions in order to develop strategies for improving plant tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses. Parts of such strategies should take advantage of the contribution of biodiversity as a source of genetic resources that can be harnessed to attain the goal of improving plant tolerance to these stresses and ultimately contribute to stress resilience in the food production system. This Special Issue will focus on how biodiversity as a broader concept, and the interaction of plants with their environment at the genetic, physiological and ecological levels, and contributes to plant tolerance to abiotic and biotic stress tolerance.

Prof. Dr. Ndiko Ludidi
Dr. Faheem Shehzad Baloch
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • genetic resources
  • biodiversity
  • abiotic stress
  • biotic stress
  • stress tolerance
  • plant–environment interactions
  • plant–microbe interactions
  • food security
  • climate change

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

32 pages, 8694 KiB  
Article
Genetic Mechanism of Non-Targeted-Site Resistance to Diquat in Spirodela polyrhiza
by Martin Höfer, Martin Schäfer, Yangzi Wang, Samuel Wink and Shuqing Xu
Plants 2024, 13(6), 845; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants13060845 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 593
Abstract
Understanding non-target-site resistance (NTSR) to herbicides represents a pressing challenge as NTSR is widespread in many weeds. Using giant duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) as a model, we systematically investigated genetic and molecular mechanisms of diquat resistance, which can only be achieved via [...] Read more.
Understanding non-target-site resistance (NTSR) to herbicides represents a pressing challenge as NTSR is widespread in many weeds. Using giant duckweed (Spirodela polyrhiza) as a model, we systematically investigated genetic and molecular mechanisms of diquat resistance, which can only be achieved via NTSR. Quantifying the diquat resistance of 138 genotypes, we revealed an 8.5-fold difference in resistance levels between the most resistant and most susceptible genotypes. Further experiments suggested that diquat uptake and antioxidant-related processes jointly contributed to diquat resistance in S. polyrhiza. Using a genome-wide association approach, we identified several candidate genes, including a homolog of dienelactone hydrolase, that are associated with diquat resistance in S. polyrhiza. Together, these results provide new insights into the mechanisms and evolution of NTSR in plants. Full article
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15 pages, 3122 KiB  
Article
Zucchini Yellow Mosaic Virus (ZYMV) as a Serious Biotic Stress to Cucurbits: Prevalence, Diversity, and Its Implications for Crop Sustainability
by Muhammad Ahsan, Muhammad Ashfaq, Mahmoud Ahmed Amer, Muhammad Taimoor Shakeel, Mirza Abid Mehmood, Muhammad Umar and Mohammed Ali Al-Saleh
Plants 2023, 12(19), 3503; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12193503 - 8 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1436
Abstract
Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) is a severe threat to cucurbit crops worldwide, including Pakistan. This study was pursued to evaluate the prevalence, geographic distribution, and molecular diversity of ZYMV isolates infecting cucurbits in Pakistan’s Pothwar region. Almost all the plant viruses act [...] Read more.
Zucchini yellow mosaic virus (ZYMV) is a severe threat to cucurbit crops worldwide, including Pakistan. This study was pursued to evaluate the prevalence, geographic distribution, and molecular diversity of ZYMV isolates infecting cucurbits in Pakistan’s Pothwar region. Almost all the plant viruses act as a biotic stress on the host plants, which results in a yield loss. These viruses cause losses in single-infection or in mixed-infection cucurbit crops, and we have found a number of mixed-infected samples belonging to the Curubitaceae family. Serological detection of the tested potyviruses in the collected cucurbit samples revealed that ZYMV was the most prevalent virus, with a disease incidence (DI) at 35.2%, followed by Papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) with an incidence of 2.2%, and Watermelon mosaic virus (WMV) having an incidence as little as 0.5% in 2016. In the year 2017, a relatively higher disease incidence of 39.7%, 2.4%, and 0.3% for ZYMV, WMV, and PRSV, respectively, was recorded. ZYMV was the most prevalent virus with the highest incidence in Attock, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad, while PRSV was observed to be the highest in Islamabad and Jhelum. WMV infection was observed only in Rawalpindi and Chakwal. Newly detected Pakistani ZYMV isolates shared 95.8–97.0% nucleotide identities among themselves and 77.1–97.8% with other isolates retrieved from GenBank. Phylogenetic relationships obtained using different ZYMV isolates retrieved from GenBank and validated by in silico restriction analysis revealed that four Pakistani isolates clustered with other ZYMV isolates in group IIb with Chinese, Italian, Polish, and French isolates, while another isolate (MK848239) formed a separate minor clade within IIb. The isolate MK8482490, reported to infect bitter gourd in Pakistan, shared a minor clade with a Chinese isolate (KX884570). Recombination analysis revealed that the recently found ZYMV isolate (MK848239) is most likely a recombinant of Pakistani (MK848237) and Italian (MK956829) isolates, with a recombinant breakpoint between 266 and 814 nucleotide positions. Local isolate comparison and recombination detection may aid in the development of a breeding program that identifies resistant sources against recombinant isolates because the ZYMV is prevalent in a few cucurbit species grown in the surveyed areas and causes heavy losses and economic damage to the agricultural community. Full article
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21 pages, 5641 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Identification and Expression Analysis of MTP (Metal Ion Transport Proteins) Genes in the Common Bean
by Hilal Yilmaz, Göksel Özer, Faheem Shehzad Baloch, Vahdettin Çiftçi, Yong Suk Chung and Hyeon-Jin Sun
Plants 2023, 12(18), 3218; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12183218 - 9 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1645
Abstract
MTP/CDF carriers, called metal ion transport proteins, act as substrates for the transmission of micronutrients such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn) to membrane carriers in plants. In this study, genome-wide analysis of the MTP gene family in the common bean [...] Read more.
MTP/CDF carriers, called metal ion transport proteins, act as substrates for the transmission of micronutrients such as iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and manganese (Mn) to membrane carriers in plants. In this study, genome-wide analysis of the MTP gene family in the common bean genome, expression analysis of the PvMTP4, PvMTP5, and PvMTP12 genes after Fe and Zn treatments, and the effects of Fe and Zn applications on iron and zinc content were investigated. This study used common bean genotypes assumed to have high or low Fe and Zn accumulation ability. PvMTP genes were defined as containing conserved catalytic domains with molecular weights and protein lengths ranging from 41.35 to 91.05 kDa and from 369 to 813 amino acids (aa), respectively. As a result of the phylogenetic analysis, three main clusters containing seven subgroups were formed. In this study, the first characterization of the MTP gene family of beans was performed, and the responses of three different PvMTP genes in the Zn-CDF group to Fe and Zn applications were revealed. The obtained findings are thought to constitute pioneering resources for future research on common bean biofortification studies, plant breeding related to Fe and Zn, and the functional characterization of the MTP gene family. Full article
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9 pages, 924 KiB  
Communication
Application of Near-Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy for Predicting Damage Severity in a Diverse Panel of Tectona grandis Caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata
by Isabela Vera dos Anjos, Mohsin Ali, Freddy Mora-Poblete, Kelly Lana Araujo, Thiago Alexandre Santana Gilio and Leonarda Grillo Neves
Plants 2023, 12(14), 2734; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12142734 - 23 Jul 2023
Viewed by 990
Abstract
Tectona grandis Linn., also known as teak, is a highly valued species with adaptability to a wide range of climatic conditions and high tolerance to soil variations, making it an attractive option for both commercial and conservation purposes. In this sense, the classification [...] Read more.
Tectona grandis Linn., also known as teak, is a highly valued species with adaptability to a wide range of climatic conditions and high tolerance to soil variations, making it an attractive option for both commercial and conservation purposes. In this sense, the classification of cultivated teak genotypes is crucial for both breeding programs and conservation efforts. This study examined the relationship between traits related to damage in the stem of teak plants caused by Ceratocystis fimbriata (a soil-borne pathogen that negatively impacts the productivity of teak plantations) and the spectral reflectance of 110 diverse clones, using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) data and partial least squares regression (PLSR) analysis. Cross-validation models had R2 = 0.894 (ratio of standard error of prediction to standard deviation: RPD = 3.1), R2 = 0.883 (RPD = 2.7), and R2 = 0.893 (RPD = 2.8) for predicting stem lesion area, lesion length, and severity of infection, respectively. Teak genotypes (clones) can benefit from the creation of a calibration model utilizing NIRS-generated data paired with PLSR, which can effectively screen the magnitude of damage caused by the fungus. Overall, while the study provides valuable information for teak breeding and conservation efforts, a long-term perspective would be essential to evaluate the sustainability of teak genotypes over various growth stages and under continuous pathogen pressure. Full article
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19 pages, 4812 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Genetic Variability and Evolutionary Relationships of Rhizoctonia solani Inherent in Legume Crops
by Aqleem Abbas, Amjad Ali, Azhar Hussain, Amjad Ali, Abdulwahed Fahad Alrefaei, Syed Atif Hasan Naqvi, Muhammad Junaid Rao, Iqra Mubeen, Tahir Farooq, Fatih Ölmez and Faheem Shehzad Baloch
Plants 2023, 12(13), 2515; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12132515 - 30 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1406
Abstract
Rhizoctonia solani is one of the most common soil-borne fungal pathogens of legume crops worldwide. We collected rDNA-ITS sequences from NCBI GenBank, and the aim of this study was to examine the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of various R. solani anastomosis groups [...] Read more.
Rhizoctonia solani is one of the most common soil-borne fungal pathogens of legume crops worldwide. We collected rDNA-ITS sequences from NCBI GenBank, and the aim of this study was to examine the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of various R. solani anastomosis groups (AGs) that are commonly associated with grain legumes (such as soybean, common bean, pea, peanut, cowpea, and chickpea) and forage legumes (including alfalfa and clover). Soybean is recognized as a host for multiple AGs, with AG-1 and AG-2 being extensively investigated. This is evidenced by the higher representation of sequences associated with these AGs in the NCBI GenBank. Other AGs documented in soybean include AG-4, AG-7, AG-11, AG-5, AG-6, and AG-9. Moreover, AG-4 has been extensively studied concerning its occurrence in chickpea, pea, peanut, and alfalfa. Research on the common bean has been primarily focused on AG-2, AG-4, and AG-1. Similarly, AG-1 has been the subject of extensive investigation in clover and cowpea. Collectively, AG-1, AG-2, and AG-4 have consistently been identified and studied across these diverse legume crops. The phylogenetic analysis of R. solani isolates across different legumes indicates that the distinct clades or subclades formed by the isolates correspond to their specific anastomosis groups (AGs) and subgroups, rather than being determined by their host legume crop. Additionally, there is a high degree of sequence similarity among isolates within the same clade or subclade. Principal coordinate analysis (PCoA) further supports this finding, as isolates belonging to the same AGs and/or subgroups cluster together, irrespective of their host legume. Therefore, the observed clustering of R. solani AGs and subgroups without a direct association with the host legume crop provides additional support for the concept of AGs in understanding the genetic relationships and evolution of R. solani. Full article
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16 pages, 2799 KiB  
Article
Genomic Evaluation of Coffea arabica and Its Wild Relative Coffea racemosa in Mozambique: Settling Resilience Keys for the Coffee Crop in the Context of Climate Change
by Inocência da Piedade Ernesto Tapaça, Lopes Mavuque, Riccardo Corti, Samuele Pedrazzani, Ivete S. A. Maquia, Castigo Tongai, Fábio Luiz Partelli, José C. Ramalho, Isabel Marques and Ana I. Ribeiro-Barros
Plants 2023, 12(10), 2044; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants12102044 - 20 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
Climate change is negatively affecting the coffee value chain, with a direct effect on approximately 100 million people from 80 countries. This has been attributed to the high vulnerability of the two-mainstream species, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, to extreme weather events, [...] Read more.
Climate change is negatively affecting the coffee value chain, with a direct effect on approximately 100 million people from 80 countries. This has been attributed to the high vulnerability of the two-mainstream species, Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora, to extreme weather events, with notable uneven increases in market prices. Taking into account the narrow genetic plasticity of the commercial coffee cultivars, wild-relatives and underutilized Coffea species are valuable genetic resources. In this work, we have assessed the occurrence of Coffea species in to understand the degree of genetic relationships between Coffea species in the country, as well as the patterns of genetic diversity, differentiation, and genetic structure. Only one wild species was found, C. racemosa, which showed a high level of genetic separation with C. arabica, based on plastid, as well as SSR and SNP analysis. C. arabica presented low levels of diversity likely related to their autogamous nature, while the allogamous C. racemosa presented higher levels of diversity and heterozygosity. The analysis of the functional pathways based on SNPs suggests that the stress signaling pathways are more robust in this species. This novel approach shows that it is vital to introduce more resilient species and increase genomic diversity in climate-smart practices. Full article
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