Entries by Humberto Herrera-Ubaldo


RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR) is the plant homolog of the metazoan Retinoblastoma protein (pRB) tumor suppressor and is a conserved cell cycle regulator. RBR has been linked to several multicellularity-related processes, such as controlled cell proliferation, stem cell regulation, and asymmetric cell division. These RBR activities are achieved via protein-protein interactions; however, it is not clear how […]

The secret to leaf forever: Mechanisms controlling simple leaf development (Nature Plants)

The final shape of a leaf is a consequence of differential growth at its margins. Simple (or lightly serrated) leaves result from limited growth in the margins, while compound leaves result from a constant initiation of leaflets. A recent work by Challa, Rath, and colleagues dissected the regulatory network controlling leaf shape. Two modules control the […]

Review: Convergent evolution of gene regulatory networks underlying plant adaptations (Plant Cell Environ.)

The transition from aquatic to terrestrial habitats exposed plants to low water availability, high light, radiation, and other environmental challenges. To overcome these challenges, plants developed morpho-physiological adaptations to tolerate dry environments and make photosynthesis more efficient. A recent work by M. Artur and K. Kajala reviewed how the evolution of Gene Regulatory Networks has […]

Measuring the physical-chemical effects of osmotic stress in living cells (bioRxiv)

The osmotic state of a cell is affected by internal (metabolite content) and external (water availability) factors. Recent work by Cuevas-Velazquez and colleagues describes the design of a FRET-based biosensor that allows dynamic monitoring of osmotic stress in living cells. They exploited features of AtLEA4-5, an intrinsically disordered protein (IDP) from Arabidopsis. AtLEA4-5 is highly […]

Review: La vie en roses, lilies, and other flowers: the floral microbiome (Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst.)

Beyond their beautiful colors, fragrances and shapes, flowers also can host a great variety of life forms. A diverse community of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and other organisms live in the flowers. A recent work by Rachel Vannette summarizes the current studies about the floral microbiome, highlighting its importance at the ecological and evolutionary level. The […]

Lipid distribution in cuticles affects flower architecture in Medicago (Plant Physiol.)

Floral architecture influences pollination and reproduction: open flowers facilitate cross-pollination, while closed flowers limit outcross. Some plants of the Leguminosae family (i.e., members of the Papilionoideae subfamily that includes soybean, pea, medicago, lotus) possess a complex architecture, with fused reproductive organs that make controlled pollination and breeding very difficult. In a recent study, Zhu, Li, […]

Ancient seeds reconstruction and the evolution of integuments (New Phytologist)

The origin of seeds – the specialized structures that contain and protect the developing embryos- is a key event in plant evolution. Primitive seeds comprise an exposed nucellus surrounded by a lobate integument; in contrast, extant seeds have one or more integuments fully enclosing the nucellus. To understand the evolution of integuments, Meade and colleagues […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: July 24

Guest Editor: Humberto Herrera-Ubaldo   Humberto is a postdoctoral Fellow at the de Folter Lab, in CINVESTAV-Irapuato (Mexico). He holds a PhD in Plant Biotechnology. During his career, he has focussed on the study of transcription factors guiding gynoecium and fruit development in Arabidopsis. His current work is aimed in the understanding of the physical […]

Modulation of gene expression in plants with orthogonal regulatory systems (Nat. Chem. Biol.)

Some of the most promising applications in synthetic biology need precise control of gene expression. For instance, metabolic engineering in plants requires the expression of enzyme-coding genes at a precise time, space, and quantity to ensure correct output. Recently, Belcher, Vuu, and colleagues engineered an orthogonal system (that does not interfere with other cellular processes) […]