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Nutrient sensing, signaling and transport in plants

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Higher plants, after colonization in the land have encountered a problem of nutrient availability and water supply. To combat these problems, land plants have evolved an array of transport mechanism to maintain the nutrient homeostasis. The nutrients, after being absorbed from soil, are transported from ...

Higher plants, after colonization in the land have encountered a problem of nutrient availability and water supply. To combat these problems, land plants have evolved an array of transport mechanism to maintain the nutrient homeostasis. The nutrients, after being absorbed from soil, are transported from heterotrophic roots to seed via autotrophic shoot or leaves with the help of a group of transporters which are specific for each nutrient. These transporters include diverse families of channels, carriers and pump proteins. One group of transporter is also found to be associated with multiple nutrients or minerals depending on their nature. On the other hand, CO2 assimilation in the shoot manifests a complex transportation network of ions, waters and photoassimilates in the plant. In vascular plant, water and minerals are transported from root to shoot via xylem while phloem delivers carbon compounds, amino acids and RNAs from photosynthetically active cells to the developing tissues. The high or low transport of minerals through roots mostly depends on the amount of minerals present in the soil. The deficiency of mineral ions in soil acts as stimuli which lead to the development of a series of signaling cascade in plants. Interactions between signaling molecules and transporter or carrier genes mostly affect the ion transport. For example, if a plant is under nutrient starvation, the inadequate amount of nutrients in soil triggers a signal to the root plasma membrane. The signal perceived by plasma membrane receptors is transmitted to the genetic material via a set of signaling molecules to induce the activity of root transporters.
Study of the signaling pathways during low/high nutrient stress is a fascinating topic of plant nutrition research. The role of diverse group of transporters in nutrient transport pathways has been characterized in different plant species over the last decade. However, their molecular regulation in response to different nutrient conditions is still unexplored. To gain deeper insight, the role of signaling molecules such as hormones, peptides, miRNAs, and long non coding RNAs in regulation of various transporters has been investigated. Recently, a cis-acting natural antisense transcript member has been identified in rice which can regulate the PHO1;2 expression to maintain the phosphate homeostasis. With the aid of the next generation technologies and various omics-based strategies, researchers can discover the role of xylem or phloem-specific novel transporters and the signaling molecules operating during different nutrients starvation. The identification of cis-acting regulatory regions of specific up- or down-regulated transporters or signaling molecules responsive to a specific nutrient stress will add another novel perspective of plant nutrition research. The research topic welcomes original research articles, reviews and technical notes that will address the novel hypothesis and recent findings in the plant nutrient transport and their regulation.
Scope of the topic:
• Nutrient sensing mechanism of plants.
• Characterization of different nutrient transporters and their regulation during environmental stress.
• Role of different signaling molecules like miRNAs, lncRNAs and hormones in nutrient transport.
• Development of nutritionally improved crops with enhanced transporter activity.


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