Entries by Mary Williams

Review. Small RNAs and extracellular vesicles: New mechanisms of cross-species communication and innovative tools for disease control (PLOS Pathogens)

We have only recently begun to appreciate the phenomenon of cross-species or cross-kingdom small RNA transfer, and its applications. Using examples from plants and animals, Cai et al. summarize how some pathogens have evolved the capacity to introduce small RNAs into their host to suppress host defense responses, for example by hijacking host small RNA […]

Mitochondrial fostering: the mitochondrial genome may play a role in plant orphan gene evolution (bioRxiv)

Orphan genes are those that are found in only a single species. In trying to understand the origin of orphan genes, O’Conner and Li have found that many of these orphan genes are likely to have originated as mitochondrial genes, as many are nuclear genes whose encoded proteins are targeted to the mitochondria through encoded […]

A single light-responsive sizer can control multiple-fission cycles in Chlamydomonas (Curr. Biol.)

How do cells know when it is time to divide? Helt et al. explore this question using the single-celled alga Chlamydomonas. Unlike most animal and fungal cells, which tend to maintain a relatively consistent size by dividing after their size has doubled, Chlamydomonas cells can undergo several rounds of size doubling during daylight, followed by […]

Isolation of an archaeon at the prokaryote–eukaryote interface (Nature)

Sometime around 1.8 to 2 billion years ago, complex eukaryotic cells appeared for the first time, providing the ancestor for plants, animals and fungi. Many lines of evidence have indicated that this event probably involved an ancient archaeon taking up an ancient bacterium, the progenitor of all mitochondria. Genomic studies point to the ancient archaeon […]

A proposed new classification scheme for fungal and oomycete pathogens based on carbohydrate-active enzymes (Front. Microbiol)

Filamentous pathogens (fungi and oomycetes) use a variety of tactics to obtain nutrients from plants. Classically, they have been categorized as biotrophic (“eating” living tissues), nectrotrophic (eating dead tissues) or hemibiotrophic (biotrophic followed by heterotrophic). Hane et al. point out that these categories are imperfect and difficult to asssign and propose a new approach, based […]

From population to production: 50 years of scientific literature on how to feed the world (Global Food Security)

Tamburino et al. analyzed text from more than 12,000 research articles published in the past 50 years that included the terms “global” or “world” and “food supply”, “food demand’, or “zero hunger”. From this dataset, they quantified terms related to population, total food production, or per-capita demand (e.g., through different types of diets). Across this […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: January 24

Review. Small RNAs and extracellular vesicles: New mechanisms of cross-species communication and innovative tools for disease control We have only recently begun to appreciate the phenomenon of cross-species or cross-kingdom small RNA transfer, and its applications. Using examples from plants and animals, Cai et al. summarize how some pathogens have evolved the capacity to introduce […]

Review: Matrix redox physiology governs the regulation of plant mitochondrial metabolism through post-translational protein modifications

Mitochondrial metabolism provides ATP and reducing power to drive myriad reactions in the plant cell, and is constantly being fine-tuned in response to environment and demands. Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of proteins, including redox reactions of methionine and cysteine and carbamylation of lysine, arginine and proline, are crucial for this rapid, reversible responsiveness. The rate of […]

Special Issue: New perspectives on crassulacean acid metabolism biology

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a water-conserving strategy in which stomata open at night and carbon is stored until daytime photosynthesis provides the energy to fix it. This special issue of the Journal of Experimental Botany, edited by Hultine, Cushman, and Williams, brings together a set of papers that explore new insights into the evolution […]