Entries by Jennifer Mach

The Real Yield Deal? Nitrate Transporter Expression Boosts Yield and Accelerates Maturation

Approaches to improve final grain production must consider yield stability, that is ways to prevent yield losses. For example, flowering time affects yield and yield stability– if grains mature late, they may be literally caught out in the cold, as late-season weather turns. Indeed, the application of nitrogen fertilizer, one of the key drivers of […]

In the Histone Zone: The Mighty Eraser

Histones undergo myriad covalent modifications – more than 100 types have been identified in the 50+ years since Allfrey, Faulkner, and Mirsky (1964) found that increased histone acetylation was associated with genomic regions of active transcription (reviewed in Zentner and Henikoff, 2013). Enzymes referred to as “writers” add chemical modifications on DNA or histones and […]

Axis of Algae: Disruption of Basal Cell Fates in the Brown Alga Ectocarpus

Polarization may be bad for civil discourse, but sometimes polarization can be good—for example, if you’re a multicellular organism setting its body axes. In many organisms, polarity within the zygote sets the stage for an asymmetric cell division that defines the apical-basal polarity of the developing organism (reviewed in Rensing, 2016). In addition to providing […]

Granting an Extension: mRNAs Produced by Read-through from Small Nuclear RNAs

The C-terminal domain (CTD) of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) extends from the catalytic core and consists of repeats of a seven-amino acid motif. The CTD functions in the regulation of Pol II function and is subject to just about every protein modification you can think of, including methylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, phosphorylation, and O‑GlcNAcylation (reviewed […]

Disarming the Assassins Within: Plant Cells Use S-Nitrosylation to Deactivate the HopAI1 Effectors

The assassin who injects a bead of poison by stabbing his victim with the tip of his umbrella has got nothing on plant pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas syringae, which injects dozens of effector proteins into plant cells. These effectors act as tiny assassins to take out host defenses by diverse mechanisms, thus helping the […]

Making Connections: MAC Function in Splicing and MicroRNA Biogenesis

Fans of the television show The Magic Schoolbus might remember that the teacher/heroine, Ms. Frizzle used to tell her students “Your job, as scientists, is to look for connections!” Ms. Frizzle would love the Mos4-associated Complex (MAC), because MAC has connections all over the place. Indeed, research in mammalian systems and Saccharomyces cerevisiae has shown […]

Thrown for a Loop: How RNase H1 and DNA Gyrases Limit R-loops and Maintain Genome Stability in Chloroplasts

We all know that DNA is the stable nucleic acid, in comparison to its flighty, unstable cousin RNA, right? Well, unusual things happen when metabolic processes require DNA to unwind from its stable, redundant double-helical form. For example, during transcription, the RNA that exits RNA polymerase can pair with the template DNA strand, leaving the […]

Crossover Guard: MEICA1 Prevents Meiotic Mishaps

During meiosis, recombination between allelic sequences on pairs of homologous chromosomes forms crossovers; these crossovers help make sure that the homologs segregate accurately (reviewed in Zhang et al., 2014). However, cells must suppress recombination between non-allelic sequences, as ectopic recombination can create massive chromosomal rearrangements. Eukaryotes have evolved mechanisms to prevent non-allelic recombination, including suppressing […]