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      Plant Survival in a Changing Environment: The Role of Nitric Oxide in Plant Responses to Abiotic Stress

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          Nitric oxide in plants may originate endogenously or come from surrounding atmosphere and soil. Interestingly, this gaseous free radical is far from having a constant level and varies greatly among tissues depending on a given plant’s ontogeny and environmental fluctuations. Proper plant growth, vegetative development, and reproduction require the integration of plant hormonal activity with the antioxidant network, as well as the maintenance of concentration of reactive oxygen and nitrogen species within a narrow range. Plants are frequently faced with abiotic stress conditions such as low nutrient availability, salinity, drought, high ultraviolet (UV) radiation and extreme temperatures, which can influence developmental processes and lead to growth restriction making adaptive responses the plant’s priority. The ability of plants to respond and survive under environmental-stress conditions involves sensing and signaling events where nitric oxide becomes a critical component mediating hormonal actions, interacting with reactive oxygen species, and modulating gene expression and protein activity. This review focuses on the current knowledge of the role of nitric oxide in adaptive plant responses to some specific abiotic stress conditions, particularly low mineral nutrient supply, drought, salinity and high UV-B radiation.

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          The obligatory role of endothelial cells in the relaxation of arterial smooth muscle by acetylcholine.

          Despite its very potent vasodilating action in vivo, acetylcholine (ACh) does not always produce relaxation of isolated preparations of blood vessels in vitro. For example, in the helical strip of the rabbit descending thoracic aorta, the only reported response to ACh has been graded contractions, occurring at concentrations above 0.1 muM and mediated by muscarinic receptors. Recently, we observed that in a ring preparation from the rabbit thoracic aorta, ACh produced marked relaxation at concentrations lower than those required to produce contraction (confirming an earlier report by Jelliffe). In investigating this apparent discrepancy, we discovered that the loss of relaxation of ACh in the case of the strip was the result of unintentional rubbing of its intimal surface against foreign surfaces during its preparation. If care was taken to avoid rubbing of the intimal surface during preparation, the tissue, whether ring, transverse strip or helical strip, always exhibited relaxation to ACh, and the possibility was considered that rubbing of the intimal surface had removed endothelial cells. We demonstrate here that relaxation of isolated preparations of rabbit thoracic aorta and other blood vessels by ACh requires the presence of endothelial cells, and that ACh, acting on muscarinic receptors of these cells, stimulates release of a substance(s) that causes relaxation of the vascular smooth muscle. We propose that this may be one of the principal mechanisms for ACh-induced vasodilation in vivo. Preliminary reports on some aspects of the work have been reported elsewhere.
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            An Arabidopsis MADS box gene that controls nutrient-induced changes in root architecture.

            The development of plant root systems is sensitive to the availability and distribution of nutrients within the soil. For example, lateral roots proliferate preferentially within nitrate (NO3-)-rich soil patches. A NO3--inducible Arabidopsis gene (ANR1), was identified that encodes a member of the MADS box family of transcription factors. Transgenic plants in which ANR1 was repressed had an altered sensitivity to NO3- and no longer responded to NO3--rich zones by lateral root proliferation, indicating that ANR1 is a key determinant of developmental plasticity in Arabidopsis roots.
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              Perception of UV-B by the Arabidopsis UVR8 protein.

              To optimize their growth and survival, plants perceive and respond to ultraviolet-B (UV-B) radiation. However, neither the molecular identity of the UV-B photoreceptor nor the photoperception mechanism is known. Here we show that dimers of the UVR8 protein perceive UV-B, probably by a tryptophan-based mechanism. Absorption of UV-B induces instant monomerization of the photoreceptor and interaction with COP1, the central regulator of light signaling. Thereby this signaling cascade controlled by UVR8 mediates UV-B photomorphogenic responses securing plant acclimation and thus promotes survival in sunlight.

                Author and article information

                Front Plant Sci
                Front Plant Sci
                Front. Plant Sci.
                Frontiers in Plant Science
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                09 November 2015
                : 6
                1Instituto de Fisiología Vegetal, Universidad Nacional de La Plata–Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas La Plata, Argentina
                2Physical Chemistry – Institute for Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires–Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas Buenos Aires, Argentina
                3Instituto Tecnológico Chascomús, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas–Universidad Nacional de San Martín Chascomús, Argentina
                Author notes

                Edited by: Girdhar Kumar Pandey, University of Delhi, India

                Reviewed by: Michael Holdsworth, University of Nottingham, UK; Subhrajit Saha, Georgia Southern University, USA

                *Correspondence: Marcela Simontacchi, marcelasimontacchi@

                This article was submitted to Plant Physiology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Plant Science

                Copyright © 2015 Simontacchi, Galatro, Ramos-Artuso and Santa-María.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 1, Equations: 0, References: 223, Pages: 19, Words: 0
                Funded by: Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica 10.13039/501100003074
                Award ID: PICT 2012-0429
                Plant Science

                Plant science & Botany

                uv-b, mineral nutrition, nitric oxide, salinity, ultraviolet radiation, drought


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