Entries by Mary Williams

Ecosystem restoration strengthens pollination network resilience and function ($)

How does ecosystem restoration affect ecosystem services such as pollination? Kaiser-Bunbury et al. analysed 64 plant-pollinator networks across four restored and four unrestored communities. Restoration involved the removal of all exotic plants (nearly 40,000 individuals). After restoration, over a period of several months, they recorded pollinator-plant interactions: a total of more than 12,000 pollinator visits. […]

Two clustered NLR genes with opposing functions in rice blast resistance and yield ($)

The indigenous Chinese rice variety Gumei 4 (GM4) shows durable and specific resistance to the rice blast fungal pathogen Manaporthe oryzae. Deng et al. mapped and sequenced the resistance locus Pigm, and found that it contains a cluster of 13 NLR (nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat) genes, three of which appear to be transcribed. One of these, […]

Electrical and hormonal signals of prey capture in sundew ($)

Without eyes, mouths or noses, how do carnivorous plants know that they’ve captured prey? Previous studies in various carnivorous species have shown that electrical signals as well as the jasmonate defense hormones contribute to prey detection. Krausko et al. examined these signals in leaves of the sundew Drosera capensis, which has leaves covered with sticky […]

Convergence in the molecular basis of carnivory

Cephalotus follicularis is a heterophyllous pitcher plant that makes two types of leaves, carnivorous and non-carnivorous. By growing plants at different temperatures, Fukushima et al. were able to get plants to produce one of the two leaf forms. They sequenced the plant’s genome and compared transcriptomes between the two types of leaves. Carnivory-specific (or enriched) […]

Rewiring carotenoid biosynthesis in plants using a viral vector

A healthy human diet should include phytonutrients such as carotenoids. Several approaches including classical breeding and transgenic plant production have been used to increase carotenoid abundance in plant tissues; challenges to these approaches include feedback controls, cell toxicity due to abnormally high compound levels, and compartmentalization of enzymes and intermediates. Majer et al. demonstrate high […]

Orchidstra 2.0 – A transcriptomics resource for the orchid family ($)

There are more than 25,000 species in the Orchidaceae, the orchid family. Chao et al. have updated and restructured the Orchidstra database, which now houses more than half-a million protein-coding genes from 18 species (12 genera and five subfamilies). Access and explore it at http://orchidstra2.abrc.sinica.edu.tw. Plant Cell Physiol. 10.1093/pcp/pcw220

MarpoDB: An open registry for Marchantia polymorpha genetic parts

Marchantia polymorpha (a liverwort) is a living relative of the earliest terrestrial plants. As it has a simple genome and morphology and is readily transformable, it provides a good platform for synthetic biology (see https://www.openplant.org/marchantia/). Delmans et al. have designed an “engineering-oriented” database (http://marpodb.io/query) designed for the synthetic biology workflow. Genes are represented in modular […]

Protein degradation rate in Arabidopsis thaliana leaf growth and development

Protein synthesis is an energetically-demanding process, made even more so by the fact that many proteins have a short half-life and must be repeatedly synthesized and degraded. Using a 15N-labeling approach, Li et al. determined the in vivo half-life for more than 1200 Arabidopsis leaf proteins; these values range from hours to months. They also […]