Entries by Benjamin Jin

Review: Functional morphology of plants – a key to biomimetic applications (New Phytol.)

Humans have derived inspiration from innumerable corners of the natural world. Plants of diverse forms have inspired many “biomimetics,” or technical products derived from biological models. Speck and Speck review how plant-based biomimetics have developed over time and elaborate on their current use. An interesting perspective from this review is the generalization of the biomimetic […]

Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in root cell type development (Cell)

Plants demonstrate a gorgeous diversity in cell types to adapt to their unique environments. Certain cell types, such as the epidermal, cortex, and vascular cells within plant roots, or the classically-defined root developmental zones (meristematic, elongation, and maturation), are homologous in angiosperms. However, how tightly they are conserved across species is unknown. To give insight […]

A biosensor for the direct visualization of auxin (Nature)

Auxin is an omnipresent, tryptophan-derived phytohormone that plays roles in innumerable physiological processes, so it is imperative to understand its distribution. Currently the best tools to do so employ the use of indirect sensors, such as the synthetic auxin-responsive promoter DR5. While invaluable, these tools suffer from being indirect. In addition, their readouts tend to […]

Integration of cell growth and asymmetric division during lateral root initiation in Arabidopsis thaliana (bioRxiv)

Lateral roots continually form and develop out of the primary root throughout the plant’s lifetime, enabling the root system to optimize its development to its environment. In this study, Schütz et al. used light-sheet microscopy to generate 4D movies of Arabidopsis lateral root primordia expressing markers to label the plasma membranes and nuclei. The images […]

Coordination between microbiota and root endodermis supports plant mineral nutrient homeostasis (Science)

Roots have been described as the gut of the plant, as they are the main interface for nutrient and water intake from their surrounding environment. This interface is remarkably complex. Not only must the root allow for the proper diffusion of substances into the plant, but by virtue of being constantly exposed to an entire […]

Effect of leaf temperature on the estimation of photosynthetic and other traits of wheat leaves from hyperspectral reflectance (J. Exp. Bot.)

Efficient phenotyping is important for plant breeding. For wheat, leaf reflectance spectra can be used to calculate leaf traits that impact crop yield, particularly constituent (leaf mass per area, nitrogen/chlorophyll content) and physiological (Rubisco carboxylation activity, electron transport rate, respiration rate) traits. However, experiments and models that correlate leaf reflectance spectra with these phenotypes have […]

 A grass-specific cellulose-xylan interaction dominates in sorghum secondary cell walls (Nature Communications)

The cell walls of plants are intricate structures. Their complexity is due to multiple biochemical components and interactions, but while many of the components have been identified, their interactions have yet to be fully elucidated. A major component of the cell wall is cellulose, of which multiple subclasses exist. Xylan is the dominant hemicellulose, existing […]

ConnecTF: A platform to integrate transcription factor-gene interactions and validate regulatory networks (Plant Physiology)

ConnecTF: A platform to integrate transcription factor-gene interactions and validate regulatory networks Gene regulatory networks (GFNs) are complex beasts, integrating multiple components of transcription factors (TFs), regulatory loci, and function — not to mention the myriad datasets and methodologies that generate datasets attempting to elucidate such networks. With rapid increases in technology to enable the […]

A network of transcriptional repressors modulates auxin responses (Nature)

A network of transcriptional repressors modulates auxin responses Untangling developmental programs and their methods of regulation are key to understanding the lives of all organisms. In plants, auxin is a hormone essential for plant growth and development. The class A AUSIN RESPONSE FACTOR (ARF) transcription factors necessary for auxin signaling throughout the plant lifecycle. While […]