What Can Boron Deficiency Symptoms Tell Us about Its Function and Regulation?

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On the eve of the 100th anniversary of Dr. Warington’s discovery of boron (B) as a nutrient essential for higher plants, “boronists” have struggled to demonstrate a role beyond its structural function in cell walls dimerizing pectin molecules of rhamnogalacturonan II (RGII). In this regard, B deficiency has been associated with a plethora of symptoms in plants that include macroscopic symptoms like growth arrest and cell death and biochemical or molecular symptoms that include changes in cell wall pore size, apoplast acidification, or a steep ROS production that leads to an oxidative burst. Aiming to shed light on B functions in plant biology, we proposed here a unifying model integrating the current knowledge about B function(s) in plants to explain why B deficiency can cause such remarkable effects on plant growth and development, impacting crop productivity. In addition, based on recent experimental evidence that suggests the existence of different B ligands other than RGII in plant cells, namely glycolipids, and glycoproteins, we proposed an experimental pipeline to identify putative missing ligands and to determine how they would integrate into the above-mentioned model.
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Plants 2023, 12, 777.
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