Entries by Jennifer Lockhart

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) […]

Chasing Scattered Genes: Identifying Specialized Metabolite Pathway Genes through Global Co-expression Analysis

Plants produce scores of specialized metabolites (SMs) to attract or repel the organisms around them and to cope with life in a variable environment. For thousands of years, we have been exploiting these compounds to feed, heal, and adorn us. Many more SMs remain to be discovered: the chemical constituents of only 15% of the […]

Family Chores: TRAF-Family Proteins Help Recycle Cellular Rubbish by Regulating Autophagy Dynamics

IN BRIEF by Jennifer Lockhart jlockhart@aspb.org Plant cell components that are no longer needed are degraded in the vacuole, but they don’t get there by magic. Sack-like double-membrane structures called autophagosomes engulf this cellular rubbish and neatly transport it to the vacuole for degradation. Autophagy, a highly conserved process orchestrated by a suite of evolutionarily […]