The conservation of traditional fruit orchards might be considered to be a fashion, and many people might find it difficult to accept that these artificial habitats can be significant for overall biodiversity. The main aim of this study was to identify possible roles of traditional fruit orchards for dead wood-dependent (saproxylic) beetles. The study was performed in the Central European landscape in the Czech Republic, which was historically covered by lowland sparse deciduous woodlands. Window traps were used to catch saproxylic beetles in 25 traditional fruit orchards. The species richness, as one of the best indicators of biodiversity, was positively driven by very high canopy openness and the rising proportion of deciduous woodlands in the matrix of the surrounding landscape. Due to the disappearance of natural and semi-natural habitats (i.e., sparse deciduous woodlands) of saproxylic beetles, orchards might complement the functions of suitable habitat fragments as the last biotic islands in the matrix of the cultural Central European landscape.
Regardless of their ecosystem functions, some insects are threatened when facing environmental changes and disturbances, while others become extremely successful. It is crucial for successful conservation to differentiate factors supporting species current distributions from those triggering range dynamics. Here, we studied the sudden extralimital colonization of the rose chafer beetle, Oxythyrea funesta, in the Czech Republic. Specifically, we depicted the range expansion using accumulated historical records of first known occurrences and then explained the colonization events using five transformed indices depicting changes in local propagule pressure (LPP), climate, land use, elevation, and landscape structure. The slow occupancy increase of O. funesta before 1990 changed to a phase of rapid occupancy increase after 1990, driven not only by changes in the environment (climate and land use) but also by the spatial accumulation of LPP. Climate was also found to play a significant role but only during the niche-filling stage before 1990, while land use became important during the phase of rapid expansion after 1990. Inland waters (e.g., riparian corridors) also contributed substantially to the spread in the Czech Republic. Our method of using spatially transformed variables to explain the colonization events provides a novel way of detecting factors triggering range dynamics. The results highlight the importance of LPP in driving sudden occupancy increase of extralimital species and recommend the use of LPP as an important predictor for modeling range dynamics.
The interaction of arthropods with the environment and the management of their populations is a focus of the ecological agenda. Spatial autocorrelation and under-sampling may generate bias and, when they are ignored, it is hard to determine if results can in any way be trusted. Arthropod communities were studied during two seasons and using two methods: window and panel traps, in an area of ancient temperate lowland woodland of Zebracka (Czech Republic). The composition of arthropod communities was studied focusing on four site level variables (canopy openness, diameter in the breast height and height of tree, and water distance) and finally analysed using two approaches: with and without effects of spatial autocorrelation. I found that the proportion of variance explained by space cannot be ignored (?20% in both years). Potential bias in analyses of the response of arthropods to site level variables without including spatial co-variables is well illustrated by redundancy analyses. Inclusion of space led to more accurate results, as water distance and tree diameter were significant, showing approximately the same ratio of explained variance and direction in both seasons. Results without spatial co-variables were much more disordered and were difficult to explain. This study showed that neglecting the effects of spatial autocorrelation could lead to wrong conclusions in site level studies and, furthermore, that inclusion of space may lead to more accurate and unambiguous outcomes. Rarefactions showed that lower sampling intensity, when appropriately designed, can produce sufficient results without exploitation of the environment.
Cytokinins are hormones that are involved in various processes of plant growth and development. The model of cytokinin signalling starts with hormone perception through membrane-localized histidine kinase receptors. Although the biochemical properties and functions of these receptors have been extensively studied, there is no solid proof of their subcellular localization. Here, cell biological and biochemical evidence for the localization of functional fluorophor-tagged fusions of Arabidopsis histidine kinase 3 (AHK3) and 4 (AHK4), members of the cytokinin receptor family, in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is provided. Furthermore, membrane-bound AHK3 interacts with AHK4 in vivo. The ER localization and putative function of cytokinin receptors from the ER have major impacts on the concept of cytokinin perception and signalling, and hormonal cross-talk in plants.
Multistep phosphorelay (MSP) signaling mediates responses to a variety of important stimuli in plants. In Arabidopsis MSP, the signal is transferred from sensor histidine kinase (HK) via histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHP1-AHP5) to nuclear response regulators. In contrast to ancestral two-component signaling in bacteria, protein interactions in plant MSP are supposed to be rather nonspecific. Here, we show that the C-terminal receiver domain of HK CKI1 (CKI1(RD) ) is responsible for the recognition of CKI1 downstream signaling partners, and specifically interacts with AHP2, AHP3 and AHP5 with different affinities. We studied the effects of Mg²?, the co-factor necessary for signal transduction via MSP, and phosphorylation-mimicking BeF?? on CKI1(RD) in solution, and determined the crystal structure of free CKI1(RD) and CKI1(RD) in a complex with Mg²?. We found that the structure of CKI1(RD) shares similarities with the only known structure of plant HK, ETR1(RD) , with the main differences being in loop L3. Magnesium binding induces the rearrangement of some residues around the active site of CKI1(RD) , as was determined by both X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy. Collectively, these results provide initial insights into the nature of molecular mechanisms determining the specificity of MSP signaling and MSP catalysis in plants.
Multistep phosphorelay (MSP) pathways mediate a wide spectrum of adaptive responses in plants, including hormonal and abiotic stress regulations. Recent genetic evidence suggests both partial redundancy and possible functional cross-talk on the one hand and a certain level of specificity on the other. Here, we discuss recent achievements improving our understanding of possible molecular mechanisms of specificity in MSP. We consider a certain evolutionary conservation of ancestral two-component signalling systems from bacteria in a process of molecular recognition that, as we have recently shown, could be applied also to a certain extent in the case of plant MSP. Furthermore, we discuss possible roles of kinase and phosphatase activities, kinetics of both these enzymatic reactions, and phosphorylation lifetime. We include also recent findings on the expression specificity of individual members of MSP pathways and, finally, based on our recent findings, we speculate about a possible role of magnesium in regulation of MSP pathways in plants. All these mechanisms could significantly influence specificity and signalling output of the MSP pathways.
The development and activity of the procambium and cambium, which ensure vascular tissue formation, is critical for overall plant architecture and growth. However, little is known about the molecular factors affecting the activity of vascular meristems and vascular tissue formation. Here, we show that the His kinase CYTOKININ-INDEPENDENT1 (CKI1) and the cytokinin receptors ARABIDOPSIS HISTIDINE KINASE2 (AHK2) and AHK3 are important regulators of vascular tissue development in Arabidopsis thaliana shoots. Genetic modifications of CKI1 activity in Arabidopsis cause dysfunction of the two-component signaling pathway and defects in procambial cell maintenance. CKI1 overexpression in protoplasts leads to cytokinin-independent activation of the two-component phosphorelay, and intracellular domains are responsible for the cytokinin-independent activity of CKI1. CKI1 expression is observed in vascular tissues of inflorescence stems, and CKI1 forms homodimers both in vitro and in planta. Loss-of-function ahk2 and ahk3 mutants and plants with reduced levels of endogenous cytokinins show defects in procambium proliferation and an absence of secondary growth. CKI1 overexpression partially rescues ahk2 ahk3 phenotypes in vascular tissue, while the negative mutation CKI1H405Q further accentuates mutant phenotypes. These results indicate that the cytokinin-independent activity of CKI1 and cytokinin-induced AHK2 and AHK3 are important for vascular bundle formation in Arabidopsis.
Postembryonic de novo organogenesis represents an important competence evolved in plants that allows their physiological and developmental adaptation to changing environmental conditions. The phytohormones auxin and cytokinin (CK) are important regulators of the developmental fate of pluripotent plant cells. However, the molecular nature of their interaction(s) in control of plant organogenesis is largely unknown. Here, we show that CK modulates auxin-induced organogenesis (AIO) via regulation of the efflux-dependent intercellular auxin distribution. We used the hypocotyl explants-based in vitro system to study the mechanism underlying de novo organogenesis. We show that auxin, but not CK, is capable of triggering organogenesis in hypocotyl explants. The AIO is accompanied by endogenous CK production and tissue-specific activation of CK signaling. CK affects differential auxin distribution, and the CK-mediated modulation of organogenesis is simulated by inhibition of polar auxin transport. CK reduces auxin efflux from cultured tobacco cells and regulates expression of auxin efflux carriers from the PIN family in hypocotyl explants. Moreover, endogenous CK levels influence PIN transcription and are necessary to maintain intercellular auxin distribution in planta. Based on these findings, we propose a model in which auxin acts as a trigger of the organogenic processes, whose output is modulated by the endogenously produced CKs. We propose that an important mechanism of this CK action is its effect on auxin distribution via regulation of expression of auxin efflux carriers.
Cucujus tulliaesp. n. is described as a new member of genus Cucujus Fabricius, 1775 (Coleoptera, Cucujidae), which enumerates at present eleven species distributed in Eurasia and northern America. This saproxylic beetle is the first Cucujus species known only from Mediterranean and it is probably endemic to Calabria (Italy). The species was found especially in old-growth mountain forests of high conservation value (i.e. national parks) dominated by Calabrian pine (Pinus laricio calabrica). We hypothesize that Cucujus tulliae sp. n. probably evolved from isolated populations of Cucujus haematodes Erichson, 1845. The species is thus relictual and of high conservation value, corresponding at least to endangered (EN) category with respect to recent IUCN criterion. Cucujus tulliae sp. n. is here compared with two species native to Europe - Cucujus haematodes and Cucujus cinnaberinus (Scopoli, 1763) and with the Caucasian Cucujus haematodes caucasicus Motschulsky, 1845, which is confirmed as a valid subspecies. The male genitalia of this Caucasian form have been examined and illustrated for the first time. A comprehensive key to adults and larvae of European species is provided.
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