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  • Liu, Miao; Liu, Xingxing; Kang, Jieyu; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2020)
    This study clarifies the mechanisms of Cd uptake, translocation and detoxification in Populus cathayana Rehder females and males, and reveals a novel strategy for dioecious plants to cope with Cd contamination. Females exhibited a high degree of Cd uptake and root-to-shoot translocation, while males showed extensive Cd accumulation in roots, elevated antioxidative capacity, and effective cellular and bark Cd sequestration. Our study also found that Cd is largely located in epidermal and cortical tissues of male roots and leaves, while in females, more Cd was present in vascular tissues of roots and leaves, as well as in leaf mesophyll. In addition, the distributions of sulphur (S) and phosphorus (P) were very similar as that of Cd in males, but the associations were weak in females. Scanning electron microscopy and energy spectroscopy analyses suggested that the amounts of tissue Cd were positively correlated with P and S amounts in males, but not in females (a weak correlation between S and Cd). Transcriptional data suggested that Cd stress promoted the upregulation of genes related to Cd uptake and translocation in females, and that of genes related to cell wall biosynthesis, metal tolerance and secondary metabolism in males. Our results indicated that coordinated physiological, microstructural and transcriptional responses to Cd stress endowed superior Cd tolerance in males compared with females, and provided new insights into mechanisms underlying sexually differential responses to Cd stress.
  • Barragan, A. A.; Pineiro, J. M.; Schuenemann, G. M.; Rajala-Schultz, P. J.; Sanders, D. E.; Lakritz, J.; Bas, S. (2018)
    The objectives of the present case-control study were to assess (1) daily activity patterns (lying time, number of steps, number of lying bouts, and lying bout duration), and (2) circulating concentrations of biomarkers of pain (substance P), inflammation (haptoglobin), and stress (cortisol) in lactating dairy cows diagnosed with clinical metritis. Lactating dairy cows (n = 200) from 2 commercial dairy herds were enrolled in the present study. Cows diagnosed with clinical metritis (n = 100) at 7 +/- 3 d in milk were matched according to lactation and days in milk to cows without clinical metritis (NO-CM; n = 100). On study d 1, clinical metritis was diagnosed (using a Metricheck device, Simcro Tech Ltd., Hamilton, New Zealand) by the presence of watery, reddish, or brownish foul-smelling vaginal discharge, and blood samples were collected for assessment of circulating concentration of substance P, haptoglobin, cortisol, total calcium, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and blood cells. In addition, on study d 1 body condition of cows was visually assessed, and activity monitors were placed on the hind leg of a subset of cows (CM, n = 56; CON, n = 56) and were kept until study d 7. Cows showing any other signs of other diseases were not included in the study. Cows with clinical metritis tended to spend more time lying (CM = 628.92 min/d; NO-CM = 591.23 min/d) compared with NO-CM cows. Activity analysis by parity revealed that primiparous cows with clinical metritis spent more time lying compared with primiparous cows without clinical metritis. However, no differences in daily lying time were observed between multiparous cows with and without clinical metritis. Furthermore, cows in the CM group had a higher circulating concentration of substance P (CM = 47.15 pg/mL; NO-CM = 37.73 pg/mL) arid haptoglobin (CM = 233.00 mu g/mL; NO-CM = 99.98 mu g/mL) when compared with NO-CM cows. Cows with clinical metritis had lower body condition score, and a greater proportion of cows in this group had hypocalcemia when compared with cows without clinical metritis. The circulating concentration of leukocytes and erythrocytes were decreased in cows with clinical metritis compared with cows without clinical metritis. Results from this study showed that concentrations of markers of inflammation, stress, pain, and activity were affected in cows diagnosed with clinical metritis; thus, strategies aimed to minimize the negative effects associated with clinical metritis may be required to improve the welfare of dairy cows.
  • Pakkanen, Soile Anja Eliisa; de Vries, Annemarie; Raekallio, Marja Riitta; Mykkänen, Anna Kristina; Palviainen, Mari Johanna; Sankari, Satu Marja; Vainio, Outi Maritta (2018)
    Background: Romifidine, an alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonist, is a widely-used sedative in equine medicine. Besides the desired sedative and analgesic actions, alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonists have side effects like alterations of plasma concentrations of glucose and certain stress-related hormones and metabolites in various species. Vatinoxan (previously known as MK-467), in turn, is an antagonist of alpha-2 adrenoceptors. Because vatinoxan does not cross the blood brain barrier in significant amounts, it has only minor effect on sedation induced by alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonists. Previously, vatinoxan is shown to prevent the hyperglycaemia, increase of plasma lactate concentration and the decrease of insulin and non-esterified free fatty acids (FFAs) caused by alpha-2 adrenoceptor agonists in different species. The aim of our study was to investigate the effects of intravenous romifidine and vatinoxan, alone and combined, on plasma concentrations of glucose and some stress-related hormones and metabolites in horses. Results: Plasma glucose concentration differed between all intravenous treatments: romifidine (80 mu g/kg; ROM), vatinoxan (200 mu g/kg; V) and the combination of these (ROM+V). Glucose concentration was the highest after ROM and the lowest after V. Serum FFA concentration was higher after V than after ROM or ROM+V. The baseline serum concentration of insulin varied widely between the individual horses. No differences were detected in serum insulin, cortisol or plasma adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations between the treatments. Plasma lactate, serum triglyceride or blood sodium and chloride concentrations did not differ from baseline or between the treatments. Compared with baseline, plasma glucose concentration increased after ROM and ROM+V, serum cortisol, FFA and base excess increased after all treatments and plasma ACTH concentration increased after V. Serum insulin concentration decreased after V and blood potassium decreased after all treatments. Conclusions: Romifidine induced hyperglycaemia, which vatinoxan partially prevented despite of the variations in baseline levels of serum insulin. The effects of romifidine and vatinoxan on the insulin concentration in horses need further investigation.
  • Chen, Juan; Liu, Quan; Yu, Lei; Korpelainen, Helena; Niinemets, Ulo; Li, Chunyang (2021)
    It remains unclear how global climate change affects dioecious plants that may be especially vulnerable to climate drivers, because they often exhibit skewed sex ratios and eco-physiological specialization in certain microhabitats. In this study, female and male saplings of Populus cathayana were employed to explore sex-specific responses and the effects of sexual competition under elevated temperature (ET), elevated CO2 (EC) and combination of elevated temperature and CO2 (ETC). The results demonstrated that elevated temperature and CO2 interactively modulated sexual competition and responses of P. cathayana. Moreover, competition patterns affected the eco-physiological responses of P. cathayana to climate change treatments. Under both intra- and inter-sexual competition, biomass components, photosynthetic parameters and carbon-related metabolites of females were most strongly affected by ET, while males exhibited a higher photosynthesis and resource use efficiency, and a better biomass accumulation and carbon balance mechanism when compared to females when experiencing intra-sexual competition under EC. The competitive pressure of females on males in inter-sexual competition was intensified by ET, while it was alleviated by ETC. We conclude that climate change drivers and competition patterns differently regulate the sex-specific responses and competitive intensity of males and females, which may have a crucial effect on sex ratios, spatial sexual segregation, biomass production and carbon sequestration in dioecious species in the future.
  • Yu, Lei; Song, Mengya; Xia, Zhichao; Korpelainen, Helena; Niinemets, Ulo; Li, Chunyang (2019)
    There is a limited understanding of the impacts of global warming on intra- and interspecific plant competition. Resolving this knowledge gap is important for predicting the potential influence of global warming on forests, particularly on high-altitude trees, which are more sensitive to warming. In the present study, effects of intra- and interspecific competition on plant growth and associated physiological, structural and chemical traits were investigated in Abies faxoniana and Picea purpurea seedlings under control (ambient temperature) and elevated temperature (ET, 2 degrees C above ambient temperature) conditions for 2 years. We found that A. faxoniana and P. purpurea grown under intra- and interspecific competition showed significant differences in dry matter accumulation (DMA), photosynthetic capacity, nutrient absorption, nonstructural carbohydrate (NSC) contents and leaf ultrastructure under ET conditions. ET increased leaf, stem and root DMA of both conifers under both competition patterns. Moreover, under ET and interspecific competition, P. purpurea had overall superior competitive capacity characterized by higher organ (leaf, stem and root) and total DMA, height growth rate, net photosynthetic rate, specific leaf area, water use efficiency (delta C-13), leaf and root N and NSC concentrations and greater plasticity for absorption of different soil N forms. Thus, the growth of P. purpurea benefitted from the presence of A. faxoniana under ET. Our results demonstrated that ET significantly affects the asymmetric competition patterns in subalpine conifer species. Potential alteration of plant competitive interactions by global warming can influence the composition, structure and functioning of subalpine coniferous forests.
  • Bernardi, Nicolo F.; Codrons, Erwan; di Leo, Rita; Vandoni, Matteo; Cavallaro, Filippo; Vita, Giuseppe; Bernardi, Luciano (2017)
    In light of theories postulating a role formusic in forming emotional and social bonds, here we investigated whether endogenous rhythms synchronize between multiple individuals when listening to music. Cardiovascular and respiratory recordings were taken from multiple individuals (musically trained or music-naive) simultaneously, at rest and during a live concert comprisingmusic excerpts with varying degrees of complexity of the acoustic envelope. Inter-individual synchronization of cardiorespiratory rhythms showed a subtle but reliable increase during passively listening to music compared to baseline. The low-level auditory features of the music were largely responsible for creating or disrupting such synchronism, explaining similar to 80% of its variance, over and beyond subjective musical preferences and previous musical training. Listening to simple rhythms and melodies, which largely dominate the choice of music during rituals and mass events, brings individuals together in terms of their physiological rhythms, which could explain why music is widely used to favor social bonds.
  • Yu, Fei; Yi, Lita; Mao, Xiaoyu; Song, Qi; Korpelainen, Helena; Liu, Meihua (2022)
    Cadmium (Cd) toxicity and nitrogen (N) deposition are two major environmental stresses which can affect plant growth. It's less clear that how the combined Cd accumulation and N deposition affect the male and female plants of dioecious species. The aim of the present study was to detect sex-specific responses to Cd stress and simulated N deposition in one-year-old male, female and hermaphrodite seedlings of Morus alba. Changes in morphology, physiology, root architecture and biomass of the three sex types of mulberry seedlings were determined. The results showed that Cd toxicity caused limited growth, impaired photosynthetic apparatus and decreased gas exchange rates with significant sex-specific differences. Mulberry was found to deploy detoxification mechanisms to avoid or tolerate toxic Cd effects through the activation of the antioxidant system, increasing proline and non-protein thiol contents, translocating Cd into different plant parts and decreasing biomass. Females displayed a low tolerance to high Cd and were more sensitive to Cd stress. Simulated N deposition alleviated the negative effects of Cd on leaves and decreased sex-specific differences in the three kinds of mulberry seedlings, but N fertilizer did not affect the total biomass. The N-stimulated increasing in proline and non-protein thiol contents might play a crucial role in resisting the damage caused by Cd stress, and the three kinds of mulberry seedlings had slightly different ways of improving Cd tolerance by N deposition. Sexual differences in Cd accumulation are correlated with root architecture. This study provides evidence for the utilization of mulberry to treat Cd-contaminated soils under N deposition.
  • Robson, T. Matthew; Klem, Karel; Urban, Otmar; Jansen, Marcel A. K. (2015)
    There is a need to reappraise the effects of UV-B radiation on plant morphology in light of improved mechanistic understanding of UV-B effects, particularly elucidation of the UV RESISTANCE LOCUS 8 (UVR8) photoreceptor. We review responses at cell and organismal levels, and explore their underlying regulatory mechanisms, function in UV protection and consequences for plant fitness. UV-induced morphological changes include thicker leaves, shorter petioles, shorter stems, increased axillary branching and altered root:shoot ratios. At the cellular level, UV-B morphogenesis comprises changes in cell division, elongation and/or differentiation. However, notwithstanding substantial new knowledge of molecular, cellular and organismal UV-B responses, there remains a clear gap in our understanding of the interactions between these organizational levels, and how they control plant architecture. Furthermore, despite a broad consensus that UV-B induces relatively compact architecture, we note substantial diversity in reported phenotypes. This may relate to UV-induced morphological changes being underpinned by different mechanisms at high and low UV-B doses. It remains unproven whether UV-induced morphological changes have a protective function involving shading and decreased leaf penetration of UV-B, counterbalancing trade-offs such as decreased photosynthetic light capture and plant-competitive abilities. Future research will need to disentangle seemingly contradictory interactions occurring at the threshold UV dose where regulation and stress-induced morphogenesis overlap. We review the effects of UV-B on plant morphology, using the improved mechanistic understanding of UV perception and signalling following elucidation of the UVR8 photoreceptor to reappraise published results. Despite a substantially improved understanding of molecular, cellular and organismal UV-B responses, there remains a clear gap in our knowledge of the interactions between these organisational levels, their function in UV-protection, and consequences for plant fitness and plant-plant interactions. Future research will need to disentangle the seemingly contradictory interactions and substantial diversity in reported phenotypes that occur at the threshold UV dose where regulation and stress-induced morphogenesis overlap.
  • Xia, Zhichao; He, Yue; Zhou, Bin; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2020)
    Extensive research has shown that dioecious plants exhibit sexual dimorphism under extreme environments. However, sex-specific differences in responses to drought, phosphorus (P) shortage or their combination are less known. In our study, impacts of drought, P shortage and their combination on the performance of Populus cathayana males and females were investigated. Drought and P deficiency caused a greater negative impact on female growth than on male growth. P application ameliorated the more negative effect of drought on the shoot dry matter accumulation and P concentration in male leaves, while smaller effects were observed in females. The concentration of citrate in the rhizosphere of males was higher under drought combined with P application than under adequate water availability, and the increase was greater in males than in females. Males also showed a higher abundance of main soil microbial groups, including bacteria, actinomycetes, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and Gram+ and Gram- bacteria in the rhizosphere, resulting in a more resistant microhabitat. In contrast, the abundance of bacteria and AMF was less in the rhizosphere of females exposed to stress conditions, while saprophytic fungi increased significantly. P enhanced drought resistance more in stress-resistant males but less in females under relatively severe drought stress. Increased drought resistance by P in males might be associated with greater plasticity in rhizosphere processes when compared with females.
  • Chen, Juan; Han, Qingquan; Duan, Baoli; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2017)
    Lead (Pb) contamination seriously threatens agroforestry production and safety. We aim to determine the interactive influence of Pb and sexual competition on the growth performance, photosynthetic and biochemical traits, ultrastructure and phytoremediation-related parameters of males and females. In the present study, eco-physiological responses and phytoremediation traits of Populus cathayana females and males were evaluated under interactive treatments of Pb and competition. There were significant sex-specific competition effects on biomass partition, photosynthetic activities, carbohydrate contents, nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies, ultrastructure and phytoremediation under Pb stress. When competition within the same sex was compared, females were more sensitive to Pb stress, while males possessed greater Pb contents, and a higher bioconcentration factor and tolerance index. Under inter-sexual competition, males alleviated competition effects through greater Pb absorption, and lower photosynthetic rates, nutrient use efficiencies and biomass accumulation. Moreover, Pb stress altered competition intensities of both sexes. Sex-specific competition and neighbor effects may regulate responses and phytoremediation under heavy metal stress in dioecious plants. In the future, more attention should be paid on the effects of inter- and intra-sexual competition on dioecious species in the process of forestation and restoration of contaminated soil.
  • Xia, Zhichao; He, Yue; Yu, Lei; Lv, Rubing; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2020)
    Soil phosphorus (P) availability and its distribution influence plant growth and productivity, but how they affect the growth dynamics and sex-specific P acquisition strategies of dioecious plant species is poorly understood. In this study, the impact of soil P availability and its distribution on dioecious Populus cathayana was characterized. P. cathayana males and females were grown under three levels of P supply, and with homogeneous or heterogeneous P distribution. Females had a greater total root length, specific root length (SRL), biomass and foliar P concentration under high P supply. Under P deficiency, males had a smaller root system than females but a greater exudation of soil acid phosphatase, and a higher colonization rate and arbuscular mycorrhizal hyphal biomass, suggesting a better capacity to mine P and a stronger association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to forage P. Heterogeneous P distribution enhanced growth and root length density (RLD) in females. Female root proliferation in P-rich patches was related to increased foliar P assimilation. Localized P application for increasing P availability did not enhance the biomass accumulation and the morphological plasticity of roots in males, but it raised hyphal biomass. The findings herein indicate that sex-specific strategies in P acquisition relate to root morphology, root exudation and mycorrhizal symbioses, and they may contribute to sex-specific resource utilization patterns and niche segregation.
  • Yu, Lei; Dong, Haojie; Lie, Zhijun; Hang, Zhanjiang; Korpelainen, Helena; Li, Chunyang (2020)
    Aims Drought and salinity are severe abiotic stress factors, which limit plant growth and productivity, particularly in desert regions. In this study, we employed two desert poplars, Populus euphratica Oliver and Populus pruinosa Schrenk seedlings, to compare their tolerance to drought, salinity and combined stress. Methods We investigated species-specific responses of P. euphratica and P. pruinosa in growth, photosynthetic capacity and pigment contents, nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations, Cl- allocation, osmotic regulation and the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) under drought, salinity and the combined stress. Important Findings Populus pruinosa exhibited greater growth inhibitory effects, photosynthesis decline, stomata! closure and ROS accumulation, and lower antioxidant enzyme activities and osmotic regulation compared with P. euphratica under drought, salinity and especially under their combined stress. On the other hand, salt-stressed P. euphratica plants restricted salt transportation from roots to leaves, and allocated more Cl- to coarse roots and less to leaves, whereas salt-stressed P. pruinosa allocated more Cl- to leaves. It was shown that there is species-specific variation in these two desert poplars, and P. pruinosa suffers greater negative effects compared with P. euphratica under drought, salinity and especially under the combined stress. Therefore, in ecological restoration and afforestation efforts, species-specific responses and tolerances of these two poplar species to drought and salinity should be considered under climate change with increasing drought and soil salinity developing.