Entries by Jennifer Lockhart

Self Control: SLF Proteins are Essential for Preventing Self-Fertilization in Petunia

A pollen grain lands on a stigma, swells with water, and sprouts a pollen tube, which races through the style to deliver sperm to the ovule below. When the pollen arises from the flower itself, this process often stops in its tracks. Self-incompatibility (SI) between pollen and pistil promotes outcrossing to generate the genetic variability […]

Natural Artist: How a Protein Kinase Helps Sculpt the Pollen Grain Surface From the Inside Out

Finding genes that function in plant development often requires mutant screening, but probing the wealth of natural variation can provide important insights as well. A major focus of developmental biology is uncovering the mechanism behind cell polarity, that is, how components are deposited asymmetrically in a cell at precisely the right place and time. An […]

A Tale of Three Studies: Uncovering the Crucial Roles of m6A Readers

The story behind m6A (methylation of the N6 position of adenosine), the most common internal mRNA modification in eukaryotes, has long been a source of intrigue. This epitranscriptomic mark is deposited at specific mRNA sequences by m6A writers and removed by m6A erasers. The m6A marks recruit and anchor m6A-binding proteins (readers) that function in […]

Fresh as an Exitron: A Flower-specific Splice Variant of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR8 Helps Shape the Stamen

Eukaryotic genes contain protein-coding exons interspersed with non-coding introns. While introns are usually spliced out of mRNA (often in conjunction with various exons), intron retention usually causes mRNA to remain in the nucleus instead of being exported to the cytoplasm for translation. This process stalls gene expression at a particular stage, tissue, or condition, thereby […]

Design Stars: How GRF-INTERACTING FACTORs Help Determine the Layout of the Root Tip

Roots grow into new regions of the soil in their constant quest for water and dissolved minerals. This crucial task is made possible by the root meristem and stem cell niche, where neatly arranged stem cells quickly divide beneath a protective root cap. Stem cells give rise to transit amplifying cells, which undergo several quick […]

Guarding the Gates: How PROCERA Helps Keep Tomato Plants From Wilting

Plants have two major ways of dealing with drought stress. First, when water levels are low, the phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) induces stomatal closure. Soon after, growth, flowering, and fruit development take a back seat to plant survival. This suppressed growth is mediated by decreased activity of the growth-promoting hormone gibberellin (GA). Under stress conditions, […]

Clipping Chlamy Genes: Improved Methods for Targeted Gene Editing in Chlamydomonas

A beam of sunlight sends Chlamydomonas reinhardtii scrambling. This tiny, biflagellate alga senses light with its eyespot and adjusts its movements accordingly, depending on photosynthetic needs. In the eyespot, a membranous structure of reddish, carotenoid-filled granules that reflect light and two photoreceptors orchestrate the light guidance of the alga. Two well-characterized photoreceptors, channelrhodopsin 1 (ChR1) […]