Entries by Mary Williams

Water deficit-induced changes in transcription factor expression in maize seedlings ($)

Understanding plant responses to water deficit is crucial for the development of drought-reliance, but complicated by the different ways plant researchers induce water deficit. Starting with the premise that transcription factors are important coordinators of water-deficit responses, Seeve et al. carried out a systematic analysis of maize transcription factor expression in response to defined water […]

Opinion: ATG8 expansion as a driver of selective diversification of autophagy? ($)

Autophagy is a process of selective membrane trafficking that delivers cargo to the vacuole or plasma membrane for recycling or secretion. ATG8 is a small ubiquitin-like protein that is required for formation of the double-membrane enclosed autophagy vesicle, the autophagosome. The ATG8 gene family has expanded greatly in plants, from one gene in algae to […]

Review: Industrial biomanufacturing: the future of chemical production ($)

Our way of life depends on the chemical manufacture of thousands of products. Some of these can be produced through biomanufacturing, which may involve starting with a biological starting material, or using an enzyme or organism as catalyst. Advances in synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and genomics have all provided new opportunities for biomanufacturing. Clomburg et […]

Review: New routes for plant iron mining

Iron (Fe) is a frequently limiting nutrient for plant growth. Iron uptake requires that plants manipulate the extracellular environment through secretion of protons, chelators and other molecules. Curie and Mari review new studies on the importance of coumarin (phenolic compound) secretion in iron uptake, the role of the endodermis, and the role of cell walls […]

Review: Chloride on the move ($)

Saline soils are an ever growing problem, whether due to seawater incursions, for example in Bangladesh, or due to the rising water table in Australia. Salinity is harmful in three ways: non-specific osmotic effects, excess Na+, and excess Cl–. Of these, chloride has received the least attention. Li et al. review recent insights into the […]

Review: Modeling stomatal conductance

The transpiration rate of water though stomata, known as stomatal conductance or gs is one of the most critical and regulated of plant physiological processes.  Buckley reviews recent progress on the development of comprehensive models of stomatal conductance, including the effect of soil moisture and air humidity, ABA synthesis and responses to light, CO2 and […]

Two Reviews: CRISPR/Cas for genome engineering in plants, and genome editing in cereal crops ($)

The gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas, which introduces double-strand breaks that are repaired by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), is best known for the promise it holds in modifying an organism’s DNA without the introduction of exogenous genes. However, as Puchta describes (Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 10.1016/j.pbi.2016.11.011), there are also many other ways that CRISPR/Cas can alter gene […]

Fine-tuning plant growth in the face of drought

IN BRIEF by Kathleen L. Farquharson kfarquharson@aspb.org Limiting shoot growth is an important survival strategy for plants during times of drought; smaller leaves mean that less water is lost through transpiration and more is retained in the soil. As drought stress restricts both cell division and expansion – processes that rely on specialized microtubule arrays […]

More than Window Dressing: Revealing 5-Methylcytocine Patterns that Decorate Arabidopsis RNA

IN BRIEF by Jennifer Lockhart jlockhart@aspb.org DNA is sculpted by several types of epigenetic modifications with profound effects on gene expression, development, and stress responses. Much less is known about the more than 100 chemical modifications shaping plant RNA, a topic explored in the newly emerging field of epitranscriptomics (reviewed in Burgess et al., 2016). […]