Entries by Humberto Herrera-Ubaldo

Review: Synthetic biology in photosynthetic microbes: present and future (Plant Physiol)

Photosynthetic microbes are emerging models for synthetic biology applications since they possess relatively simple physiology and cellular organization, fast growth in liquid culture, and facile genetic manipulation. In this paper, Vavitsas et al. review current synthetic biology tools and applications applied to cyanobacteria and algae. Cyanobacteria, such as Synechocystis, Synechococcus or Nostoc, offer excellent features […]

Very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA) are involved in lateral root formation (PNAS)

Root branching determines the spatial organization of the root and its interaction with the soil. The emergence of lateral roots (LR) is controlled by a complex regulatory network, involving genetic, hormonal and mechanical factors. In this study, Trinh et al. got new insights about PUCHI, a transcription factor previously shown to control cell proliferation during […]

Review: Crop breeding technologies to feed the world (Nature Biotech)

The world demands food, plant scientists and breeders have the challenge of feeding a growing population. In a recent review Hickey et al. summarize the state-of-the-art technologies used for crop improvement. In use since 2003, ‘speed breeding’ is a set of improved methods for fast-tracking plant life cycle, using optimal light quality, light intensity, day […]

β-cyclocitral, a novel regulator of root growth ($) (PNAS)

Root growth and branching have essential roles in nutrient and water uptake, and are common targets in crop improvement. Dickinson et al. looked for novel apocarotenoids involved in root development and found that dihydroactinidiolide (DHAD) and β-cyclocitral increase lateral root (LR) branching in Arabidopsis. Further characterization of β-cyclocitral revealed that this compound promotes cell division […]

Thermal response in plants: leaf hyponasty (Plant Phys)

Non-directional stimuli can trigger directional movements in plant organs. For instance, high temperature causes the upward bending of leaf petioles, a process known as leaf hyponasty, which helps to cool the leaves. In this study Park et al. explored the link between leaf thermonasty and auxins. Gene expression analysis under thermal induction revealed that SAUR […]

A mobile auxin signal connects temperature sensing in cotyledons with growth responses in hypocotyls (Plant Phys)

An increase in ambient temperature affects plant growth and development; for instance, high temperatures trigger elongation in petioles, hypocotyls, and roots in Arabidopsis seedlings. Bellstaedt et al. studied the spatial relationships in sensing, signaling and growth responses to high temperature in these tissues. The first clue about organ-specific processes came from the transcriptomic analysis when […]

Network paths for nitrogen response in Arabidopsis (Nature Comms)

A goal of systems biology is to study how transcription factors participate in gene regulatory networks (GRN) underlying biological processes. In a recent report, Brooks et al. used network science to uncover how transcription factors mediate the early response to nitrogen (N). Authors identified the direct targets of 33 transcription factors using an in vivo […]

Moonlighting activities and control of meristem maintenance in maize ($) (Nature Plants)

The phosphorylated disaccharide trehalose 6-phosphate (T6P) is a regulator of meristem fate. Mutations in enzymes related to T6P metabolism (such as TPS, the synthase, or the phosphatase trehalose 6-phosphate phosphatase TPP, i.e., RAMOSA3 that dephosphorylates T6P to trehalose), are linked to defects in reproductive development in maize. For instance the ramosa3 (ra3) mutant has increased […]