Entries by Ana Valladares

Flavor-cyber-agriculture: Metabolite optimization through surrogate modeling (PLOS One)

Cyber-agriculture is a computer-controlled plant growing environment which regulates climatic conditions through machine learning, finding optimized variables (“recipes”) to maximize a specific plant trait. Here, Johnson et al. applied cyber-agriculture to chemotype optimization for flavor in basil (Ocimum basilicum) through surrogate modeling. As light exposure has been shown to increase aromatic molecules concentration, the study […]

Optogenetic manipulation of stomatal kinetics improves carbon assimilation, water use, and growth ($) (Science)

Optogenetics is a biotechnique that uses light-sensitive molecules to regulate cell activity. In plants, stomatal aperture mediates both CO2 uptake for photosynthesis and water loss by transpiration. The carbon-water trade-off control affects water use efficiency (WUE). Here, Papanatsiou et al. studied the synthetic blue light–induced K+ channel 1 (BLINK1) as an ion flux photoactivator by […]

Retargeting of a plant defense protease by a cyst nematode effector ($) (Plant J)

The nematode infection process in plants involves secreted effector proteins that suppress the host defense mechanisms. However, the molecular interactions in which this is done is yet unclear. Here, Pogorelko et al. characterize the function of 4E02, an effector from the cyst nematode H. schachtii, when expressed in A. thaliana. The transgenic plants showed higher […]

Nanomaterials enable delivery of functional genetic material without DNA integration (Nature Nanotech)

Key to success of crop improvement is the development of easier, faster and safer biomolecules-delivery systems. Here, the main limitation is the cell wall, which compromises the yield of exogenic material transfer to plant cells. In this study, Demirer et al demonstrate the advantages of infiltrated DNA-nanocarriers in monocot and dicot plants leaves (Nicotiana benthamiana, […]

Evolution of chloroplast retrograde signaling facilitates green plant adaptation to land (PNAS)

The evolution of signaling pathways in plants enabled the water to land transition, during which drought response was crucial for the adaptation to terrestrial habitats. Here, Zhao et al. reveal the role of drought- induced phosphoadenosine (PAP) in the regulation of abscisic acid (ABA) synthesis in the chloroplasts, which leads to stomatal closure. Also, they […]

Dual regulation of Arabidopsis AGO2 by arginine methylation (Nature Comms)

Plants have natural mechanisms against pathogen infections. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) on key proteins involved in RNAi pathways are needed to control these immune responses. Argonaute (AGO) proteins are targets of PTMs to direct the silencing of genes. Here, Hu et al. identified the role of PRMT5, an arginine methyltransferase, in directing symmetric dimethylation in the […]

ARF5/MONOPTEROS directly regulates miR390 expression in the Arabidopsis thaliana primary root meristem (Plant Direct)

Previous studies have indicated that auxin controls gene expression via regulatory transcriptional networks, mediated by a family of DNA-binding auxin response factors (ARFs) that bind to auxin response DNA elements (AuxREs) in the promoters of genes. In this study, Dastidar et al. investigated the localization of the microRNA miR390 expression and how it is regulated in response to auxin at the root meristem in Arabidopsis. After the analysis of mutants […]

KAI2 regulates root and root hair development by modulating auxin distribution (bioRxiv)

To optimize growth, plant development is regulated by environmental information. Root morphology is adaptable to stimuli due to a network of phytohormone signalling pathways. Here Villaecija et al. studied the roles of strigolactones (SL) and karrikins (KL) signalling in controlling root and root hair development in Arabidopsis. SLs and KLs are similar in size and […]

A silk-expressed pectin methylesterase confers cross-incompatibility between wild and domesticated strains of Zea mays (bioRxiv)

The key event for speciation is reproductive isolation. In sexually reproducing plants, genetic factors act as reproductive barriers preventing the interbreeding of related strains. In this study, Lu et al. aimed to explore how the Tcb1-s (Teosinte crossing barrier 1-s) haplotype, found exclusively in wild teosinte, blocks maize pollen fertilization. Using mixed pollination tests with […]