Entries by Mary Williams

A diversity of traits contributes to salinity tolerance of wild Galapagos tomatoes seedlings (bioRxiv)

Domestication has been accompanied by a decrease in genetic diversity, so efforts to improve stress tolerance can be aided by exploring the crop’s wild relatives. Here, Pailles et al. examined salt tolerance in Galapagos tomatoes (Solanum cheesmaniae and Solanum galapagense), which grow “constantly splashed with seawater”. After growing the plants in 200 mM NaCl, the […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: May 31st

Review: Integration of sulfate assimilation with C and N metabolism in transition from C3 to C4 photosynthesis “Cysteine (HO2CCH(NH2)CH2SH) synthesis is the converging point of the three major pathways of primary metabolism: carbon, nitrate, and sulfate assimilation.” These metabolic connections are revealed in that a deficiency in one nutrient affects assimilation rates of the others. […]

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, […]