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Drought is a prolonged period of water deficit. For plants, it represents a severe abiotic stress to which they have to adapt, and it can lead to considerable economical losses in worldwide crop agriculture.
In response to drought, acetate accumulates endogenously through redirection of metabolic fluxes, and stimulates jasmonate pathways controlling Arabidopsis drought tolerance. Application of exogenous acetic acid alone increases drought tolerance of major crops such as maize, wheat and rice.
The mechanism underlying vegetative desiccation tolerance (DT) of plants remains elusive. A study now sequences the genome and transcriptome for the resurrection plant, Xerophyta viscosa, and supports that vegetative DT arose by redirection of the seed DT pathway.
Resurrection plants can survive extreme drying during periods of prolonged drought stress, maintaining a quiescent state for months to years until the return of water. Analysis of the genome and transcriptome of the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa links the evolution of desiccation tolerance to rewired pre-existing seed pathways.
The specialized photosynthesis adopted by drought-resilient crassulacean acid metabolism plants has inverted the diel stomatal opening behaviour of their ancestral C3 plants. This was achieved via large-scale reprogramming of expression of the signal transduction machinery and a coordinate shift in the cellular redox poise.
Abscisic acid (ABA) dynamically balances plant water use and availability. It is synthesized during water deficit and quickly catabolized into breakdown products previously thought to be largely inactive. New work demonstrates that phaseic acid, a major ABA catabolite, is a weak ABA receptor agonist with its own auxiliary role in water relations.
Soil microorganisms have long been known to aid plants through nitrogen fixation and water and nutrient exchange. Now researchers are unearthing new ways in which this subterranean biome affects plant performance.
Plants contain several tissue-specific decentralized but communicating ‘clocks’. These control developmental outputs in response to environmental change: the vasculature clock for photoperiodic control of flowering, and the epidermis clock for temperature-dependent elongation.