Bizarre flowers, chloride ions and auxin, and the role of pectin in stomatal development – this week in Annals of Botany

All the latest plant science news from Annals of Botany.

Emmotum harleyi Floral structure of Emmotum (Icacinaceae sensu stricto or Emmotaceae), a phylogenetically isolated genus of lamiids with a unique pseudotrimerous gynoecium, bitegmic ovules and monosporangiate thecae
The Icacinaceae consist of a group of early branching lineages of lamiids whose relationships are not yet resolved and whose detailed floral morphology is poorly known. The most bizarre flowers occur in Emmotum: the gynoecium has three locules on one side and none on the other. It has been interpreted as consisting of three fertile and two sterile carpels or of one fertile carpel with two longitudinal septa and two sterile carpels. This study focuses on the outer and inner morphology of the gynoecium to resolve its disputed structure.


Molecular cloning of two novel peroxidases and their response to salt stress and salicylic acid in the living fossil Ginkgo biloba
Peroxidase isoenzymes play diverse roles in plant physiology, such as lignification and defence against pathogens. The actions and regulation of many peroxidases are not known with much accuracy. A number of studies have reported direct involvement of peroxidase isoenzymes in the oxidation of monolignols, which constitutes the last step in the lignin biosynthesis pathway. However, most of the available data concern only peroxidases and lignins from angiosperms. This study describes the molecular cloning of two novel peroxidases from the ‘living fossil’ Ginkgo biloba and their regulation by salt stress and salicylic acid.


Role of chloride ions in the promotion of auxin-induced growth of maize coleoptile segments
The mechanism of auxin action on ion transport in growing cells has not been determined in detail. In particular, little is known about the role of chloride in the auxin-induced growth of coleoptile cells. Moreover, the data that do exist in the literature are controversial. This study describes experiments carried out with maize, a classical model system for studies of plant cell elongation growth. These results suggest that chloride ions play a role in the IAA-induced growth of maize coleoptile segments.


Developmental changes in guard cell wall structure and pectin composition in the moss Funaria: implications for function and evolution of stomata
In seed plants, the ability of guard cell walls to move is imparted by pectins. Arabinan rhamnogalacturonan I (RG1) pectins confer flexibility while unesterified homogalacturonan (HG) pectins impart rigidity. Recognized as the first extant plants with stomata, mosses are key to understanding guard cell function and evolution. Moss stomata open and close for only a short period during capsule expansion. This study examines the ultrastructure and pectin composition of guard cell walls during development in Funaria hygrometrica and relates these features to the limited movement of stomata. This is the first study to demonstrate changes in pectin composition during stomatal development in any plant.



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