Advances in Botany The latest articles from Hindawi Publishing Corporation © 2014 , Hindawi Publishing Corporation . All rights reserved. Towards Understanding Extracellular ROS Sensory and Signaling Systems in Plants Sun, 01 Jun 2014 08:11:37 +0000 Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) are ubiquitous metabolites in all aerobic organisms. Traditionally ROS have been considered as harmful, accidental byproducts of cellular functions involving electron transport chains or electron transfer. However, it is now recognized that controlled production of ROS has significant signaling functions, for example, in pathogen defense, in the regulation of stomatal closure, or in cell-to-cell signaling. ROS formation in subcellular compartments is critical to act as “alarm” signal in the response to stress, and the concept of ROS as primarily signaling substances has emerged. The involvement of ROS in several developmental and inducible processes implies that there must be coordinated function of signaling network(s) that govern ROS responses and subsequent processes. The air pollutant ozone can be used as a useful tool to elucidate the function of apoplastic ROS: O3 degrades in cell wall into various ROS which are interpreted as ROS with signaling function inducing downstream responses. We have used ozone as a tool in mutant screens and transcript profiling-reverse genetics to identify genes involved in processes related to the signaling function of ROS. We review here our recent findings in the elucidation of apoplastic ROS sensing, signaling, and interaction with various symplastic components. Saijaliisa Kangasjärvi and Jaakko Kangasjärvi Copyright © 2014 Saijaliisa Kangasjärvi and Jaakko Kangasjärvi. All rights reserved. Plant Phenotypic Plasticity in Response to Environmental Factors Tue, 22 Apr 2014 11:28:46 +0000 Plants are exposed to heterogeneity in the environment where new stress factors (i.e., climate change, land use change, and invasiveness) are introduced, and where inter- and intraspecies differences may reflect resource limitation and/or environmental stress factors. Phenotypic plasticity is considered one of the major means by which plants can cope with environmental factor variability. Nevertheless, the extent to which phenotypic plasticity may facilitate survival under environmental condition changes still remains largely unknown because results are sometimes controversial. Thus, it is important to identify plant functional traits in which plasticity may play a determinant role in plant response to global change as well as on the ecological consequences at an ecosystem level for the competition between wild and invasive species, considering that species with a greater adaptive plasticity may be more likely to survive in novel environmental conditions. In the near future, it will be important to increase long-term studies on natural populations in order to understand plant response to environmental factor fluctuations including climate change. There is the necessity to analyze variations at phenotypic and genetic levels for the same species and, in particular, for endemic and rare species because these could have drastic effects at an ecosystem level. Loretta Gratani Copyright © 2014 Loretta Gratani. All rights reserved. Phytomelatonin: Discovery, Content, and Role in Plants Thu, 10 Apr 2014 00:00:00 +0000 Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine) is an indolic compound derived from tryptophan. Usually identified as a neurotransmitter or animal hormone, this compound was detected in plants in 1995. Interest in knowing the melatonin content of plants and its possible role therein is growing, as indicated by the increasing number of related publications. Melatonin is present in all plant species studied, with large variations in its level depending on the plant organ or tissue. It seems to be more abundant in aromatic plants and in leaves than in seeds. Regarding its physiological function in plants, melatonin shows auxin activity and is an excellent antioxidant, regulating the growth of roots, shoots, and explants, activating seed germination and rhizogenesis (lateral- and adventitious-roots), and delaying induced leaf senescence. Its ability to strengthen plants subjected to abiotic stress such as drought, cold, heat, salinity, chemical pollutants, herbicides, and UV radiation makes melatonin an interesting candidate for use as a natural biostimulating substance for treating field crops. Marino B. Arnao Copyright © 2014 Marino B. Arnao. All rights reserved.