Entries by Mary Williams

Default activation and nuclear translocation of the plant cellular energy sensor SnRK1 ($) (Plant Cell)

When I’m using my laptop without it being plugged in, at some point it enters battery saving mode as it senses that the battery charge is getting low. Organisms also sense their low energy reserves and activate alternate metabolic processes to ensure survival. The core energy sensor is a hetero-trimeric complex conserved in eukaryotes (yeast, […]

Drop-Seq for plants: High-throughput, single cell transcriptomics (Cell Reports)

Drop-Seq is an exciting high-throughput technology for single cell transcriptomics. Using microfluidics, single cells are encapsulated in drops with beads carrying “bar-coded” primers. The RNA from each individual cell is labeled with a unique primer code, then sequenced. Now, Shulse et al. have adapted this method for use with plant cells (requiring an additional protoplasting […]

HORT1 retrotransposon causes harlequin/black flowers in Phalaenopsis orchids (Plant Physiol)

Phalaenopsis orchids produce beautiful, long-lived flowers and are widely popular houseplants. In 1996, a new variety was identified with intensely dark, nearly black pigmentation. Hsu et al. have identified the molecular basis for this phenotype; a Gypsy-like retrotransposon inserted in the promoter of a gene encoding a MYB transcription factor. Insertion of HORT1 (Harlequin Orchid […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: May 24th

Default activation and nuclear translocation of the plant cellular energy sensor SnRK1 ($) When I’m using my laptop without it being plugged in, at some point it enters battery saving mode as it senses that the battery charge is getting low. Organisms also sense their low energy reserves and activate alternate metabolic processes to ensure […]

Interviews with Synthetic Biologists: Kevin Chen

Synthetic biology is a set of tools, a way of thinking, the integration of engineering principles into biological sciences, and potentially the biggest opportunity for advances in plant sciences since PCR. Yet many struggle to define it, and fewer still grasp its full potential. In August 2019, a Plant Synthetic Biology meeting will be held in San Jose, […]

Identification of transcription factors regulating senescence in wheat through gene regulatory network modelling (Plant Physiol)

Like other seed crops, wheat yields depend in part on the efficiency with which nutrients stored in leaves are mobilized into the developing seeds. This depends on the several processes from macromolecule breakdown to transport, as well as the timing of leaf senescence. Borrill et al. used RNA analysis and gene regulatory network (GRN) modeling […]

Yam genomics supports West Africa as a major cradle of crop domestication (Sci Advances)

Yams (Dioscorea spp.) were domesticated independently in three continents. African yam (Dioscorea rotundata) is the second most produced crop in Africa, after cassava but ahead of maize, rice and sorghum. Scarcelli et al. use a genomic approach to learn more about its domestication, by sequencing many varieties of the domesticated species as well as its […]