Entries by Michela Osnato

GABA signalling modulates stomatal opening to enhance plant water use efficiency and drought resilience (Nature Comms)

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid produced by animals and plants, but is its function conserved across kingdoms? In mammals, GABA acts as chemical messenger in the central nervous system by inhibiting neurotransmission. In plants, GABA accumulates in response to stress but its role in cellular communication is still unresolved. In this study, […]

A single-cell analysis of the Arabidopsis vegetative shoot apex (Devel. Cell)

One of the most fascinating challenges in developmental biology is to understand how a few stem cells hidden in a microscopic region of the shoot apex give origin to all aerial parts of the plant. Technological advances such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) are enabling the comprehensive analysis of heterogeneous cell populations with unprecedent resolution. Zhang […]

Genome assembly and population genomic analysis provide insights into the evolution of modern sweet corn (Nature Comms)

In maize (Zea mays), loss of function mutations in genes involved in starch biosynthesis characterize sweet corn varieties that have increased sugar content in the kernel. Specifically, lines carrying the shrunken2 (sh2) allele revolutionized the corn industry in Northern America in the last 50 years thanks to improved quality traits and shelf life. Besides the […]

Differential biosynthesis and cellular permeability explain longitudinal gibberellin gradients in growing roots (PNAS)

Gibberellin (GA) controls multiple developmental processes throughout the plant life cycle, from seed germination to flowering. In Arabidopsis, GA also regulates division of meristematic cells at the tip of the root and cell elongation in the growing zone. Despite its importance, little is known about the events that generate the GA gradient that drives growth […]

Jasmonate biosynthesis arising from altered cell walls is prompted by turgor-driven mechanical compression (Sci. Advances)

Jasmonate (JA) coordinates plant development and response to a wide range of biotic and abiotic stresses. JA production is stimulated by wounding, which damages cell walls, and increased in plants carrying mutations in cellulose biosynthetic genes. Nevertheless, the intracellular events connecting mechanical stress and JA production largely remain unresolved. In a forward genetic screen aimed […]

Regulation of shoot meristem shape by photoperiodic signaling and phytohormones during floral induction of Arabidopsis (eLife)

Angiosperms synchronize the floral transition with optimal internal and external conditions such as daylength to maximize reproductive success. Despite the wealth of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms controlling flowering time, little is known about the cellular events that occur as the vegetative meristem converts into a reproductive meristem. Here, Kinoshita and coworkers combined confocal microscopy […]

Systematic characterization of gene function in a photosynthetic organism (bioRxiv)

Vilarrasa-Blasi and coworkers described their impressive work on a huge barcoded Chlamydomonas collection, in which they screened almost 60,000 insertion mutants grown under a wide range of environmental and chemical stress conditions. The authors assessed genotype-phenotype specificity for almost 80% of C. reinhardtii genes, represented by one or multiple allelic variants, and shed new light […]

Alternative splicing generates a MONOPTEROS isoform required for ovule development (Curr. Biol.)

Auxin shapes the plant body and drives the formation of lateral organs such as roots and ovules. In the current model, AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORs (ARFs) are transcription factors that regulate plant growth by activating signaling in an auxin dose-dependent manner, regulated by Aux/IAA proteins. Here, Cucinotta and coworkers demonstrate a new twist on this paradigm, […]

The halophyte seashore paspalum uses adaxial leaf papillae for sodium sequestration (Plant Physiol.)

Global warming and intensive farming are increasing soil salinity, which is predicted to affect 30% of cultivated land by 2050. Salinity represents a major threat for agriculture as most crops drastically reduce their growth and productivity in saline environments. Understanding the strategies used by halophytes (salt-tolerant plants) and transferring them to glycophytes (salt-intolerant plants) could […]