Entries by Mary Williams

Plant Science Research Weekly: September 10, 2021

Review: Root plasticity under abiotic stress For millennia, humans have selected desirable traits in the above-ground part of plants, but below-ground traits have been only indirectly selected. Thus, roots are ripe for optimization, and hold particular promise in efforts to make crops more resilient and efficient. This Update, by Karlova et al., describes our current […]

Structural and biochemical analyses of concanavalin A circular permutation (Plant Cell)

If you have heard of concanavalin A (ConA), it probably is because it is a widely-used reagent in carbohydrate science and medical research. ConA is a lectin derived from jackbean (Canavalia ensiformis, hence the name) that binds assorted carbohydrates. It is also a fascinating protein that assembles in a unique way. Post-translationally, the pro-protein is […]

A slicing mechanism facilitates host entry by plant-pathogenic Phytophthora (Nature Microbiol)

A plant has many layers of defense against a pathogen. One of the first challenges a pathogen faces is how to get inside the plant. Some bacteria sneak in through open stomatal pores, and some fungi form high-pressure appressoria that burst through walls. Here, Bronkhorst et al. investigated how the Phytophthora oomycete pathogens get into […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: August 27, 2021

Review: Alternative splicing as conserved mechanism to regulate CDPKs? ($) Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs/CPKs) are an interesting class of proteins present in plants, algae and some protists that are thought to “sense” and “respond” to spikes in intracellular Ca2+ signaling events. While multiple mechanisms have been proposed to be involved in the regulation of CDPKs, […]

Guard cell endomembrane Ca2+-ATPases underpin a ‘carbon memory’ of photosynthetic assimilation that impacts on water-use efficiency (Nature Plants)

Stomatal guard cells control both carbon dioxide uptake and transpirational water loss. Guard cell control over the stomatal pore  aperture is sensitive to water status (through ABA) as well as the amount of CO2 available within the leaf air space. Several studies have indicated that stomatal aperture can be improved and made more responsive for […]

Plant Science Research Weekly: August 13, 2021

A Central Role for Genetics in Plant Biology Plant biology as a field of study encompasses a rich plethora of subjects, some of which themselves are their own fields. Maarten Koornneef, in this memoir-style article, describes how genetics in particular shaped his career that saw the rise of Arabidopsis as the lovable poster child of […]

Opinion: Plants have neither synapses nor a nervous system (J. Plant Physiol)

The question “Are plants intelligent?” is raised regularly, with answer often “Well, it depends how you define intelligence.” Another interesting question is whether or not plants have cellular structures that are analogous to those that make up the animal nervous system. Robinson and Draguhn argue that they do not, in this carefully constructed Opinion article. […]

Nurse cell­–derived small RNAs define paternal epigenetic inheritance in Arabidopsis (Science)

New mechanisms for the production and function of small RNAs continue to be discovered. Previous studies have shown a role for small RNAs in methylation reprogramming. Recently, Long et al. found that the epigenetic reprogramming that takes place in the male reproductive tissues also involves mobile small RNAs. They found that small RNAs are produced […]