Research Topic

Induction of new cell types or organs in plants during biotic interactions

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While the development of new organs is largely restricted to embryogenesis in mammals and in other animals, continuous organogenesis throughout adult life is part of plant’s lifestyle. Plant growth and development depends on programmed formation of organs from multipotent cells, which can be organized in ...

While the development of new organs is largely restricted to embryogenesis in mammals and in other animals, continuous organogenesis throughout adult life is part of plant’s lifestyle. Plant growth and development depends on programmed formation of organs from multipotent cells, which can be organized in discrete meristems (such as the apical root and stem meristems), or scattered within different tissues of mature organs. Environmental cues such as the photoperiod or temperature regimes are an integral part of this programmed plant development, often determining key events in plant life like the appearance of reproductive organs. In many instances, environmental factors such as light intensity or extreme temperatures exert a more subtle but also crucial influence in plant development, leading to acclimation and thus contributing to plant survival and fitness. Thence, plant physiologists and molecular biologists recognize the determinant role of the abiotic environment on shaping plant life.

In contrast, the impact of biotic interactions on plant development is relatively marginal, although other organisms are also part of a plant’s environment and they sometimes cause striking changes in plant development, including the generation of new cell types and new organs. Some of these new organs have a paramount importance in agriculture, such as the nitrogen-fixing nodules product of the interaction with microorganisms from the Rhizobia genus. In many cases, biotic interactions impinging on plant development and producing abnormal growth and new tissues are detrimental and involve pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses. Parasites like arthropods or nematodes even induce pseudo-organs (galls). A common denominator in all these interactions is that the non-plant partner uses effectors to hijack host developmental circuits, exploiting plant plasticity to support or facilitate invader establishment, progression and reproduction. The study of such type of interactions is the subject of this topic.

The Topic will include original research articles using genetics, transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics, epigenetics, or cell biology based techniques to tackle the study of cell fate modulation towards cell proliferation/ differentiation during plant biotic interactions. Reviews, technical notes relevant for the study of these biotic-interactions and historical perspectives are also very welcome.


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