Entries by Jennifer Mach

Inhibition of TOR, Nitrogen Assimilation, and Amino Acid Biosynthesis: Lessons from Chlamydomonas

To survive, organisms must sense their nutritional status (including nutrient availability and quality) and regulate their growth and metabolism accordingly. In plants, animals, and fungi, the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase regulates metabolism, nutrient sensing, and growth (reviewed in Dobrenel et al., 2016). However, in most plants, rapamycin does not efficiently inhibit TOR function, hampering […]

Nectary Specification in Petunia and Arabidopsis

Studies of flower development have lots of information about petals, carpels, and stamens, but let’s not forget the birds and the bees—and the flies and moths—and what draws pollinators to insect-pollinated flowers, including flower color, shape, and rewards that provide energy. For example, to attract pollinators, many plants produce sugar-rich nectar, secreted from specialized organs […]

Escape from Centromere Land

As plant biologists, we do love to consider the physiological adaptations plants have made to being sessile organisms—unlike animals, plants cannot move away from adverse environmental conditions such as high temperature, etc. We commonly consider such responses for organisms, but what about genes? Over evolutionary time (much as environmental conditions change rapidly and unpredictably), the […]

The Lipase Link: Abscisic Acid Induces PLASTID LIPASES, Which Produce Jasmonic Acid Precursors

Crosstalk, crosstalk— it’s a word that keeps coming up. Indeed, and perhaps not surprisingly, plant hormone signaling pathways all seem to affect each other to some extent. For example, the MYC2 transcription factor plays roles in abscisic acid (ABA) and jasmonic acid (JA) signaling in the response to abiotic stress. Moreover, ABA stimulates JA biosynthesis; […]

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 […]