Entries by Nancy Eckardt

RecQ Proteins: Masters of Genome Surveillance

Wiedemann et al. show that RecQ6 in Physcomitrella enhances homologous recombination and gene targeting https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.006372.  Background: All living cells have mechanisms to protect their DNA against breaks during duplication and against damage by UV-light or chemicals. RecQ helicases are genome surveilance protein found in bacteria, fungi, animals and plants. Their function is widely investigated in […]

Small Peptide PSK Induces Plant Immunity Against Botrytis cinerea

Zhang et al. show how PSK initiates Ca2+– and auxin-dependent immunity https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00537.  By Huan Zhang, Zhangjian Hu and Kai Shi Background: During plant-microbe interactions, some small secreted peptides are secreted into the apoplast between plant cells as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs), which are critical regulators of plant immunity. Typically, DAMPs are molecules that are recognized […]

Lipid Anchor: Postal Code for Proteins on the Road to Membranes

Majeran et al. investigate how plant cells target proteins to membrane compartments https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00523 By Wojciech Majeran, Thierry Meinnel & Carmela Giglione Background: Living cells are encased in an oily barrier, the plasma membrane, made up of a double layer of lipids and embedded proteins, and similar membranes surround organelles within the cells. Proteins continually move […]


By Karina van der Linde and Virginia Walbot  Background: In contrast to animals in which meiotically competent cells develop in embryos, plants switch from vegetative to reproductive growth only during flowering. In maize, the most productive cereal crop, the tassel contains male flowers in which pollen encasing the sperm develop in anthers. Each anther consists […]

MAC3 Proteins Regulate MicroRNA Biogenesis

Li et al. uncovered the roles of MAC3 in miRNA biogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell (2018). By Shengjun Li and Bin Yu Background: microRNAs (miRNAs) are tiny RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. Plants use miRNAs to control development and physiology. Consequently, understanding of the mechanism governing miRNA production is fundamental to plant biology and […]

Underground Functions of GIF Genes

Ercoli et al. investigate how GIF genes control root development https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00856 By María Florencia Ercoli and Javier Palatnik Background: Plants, unlike animals, have the ability to generate new organs throughout their life cycle. This capacity relies on meristems, which are collections of proliferating cells. The root apical meristem (RAM) is located at the tip of […]

Maize Tassel Architecture

Zhang et al. show that GIF1 regulates the determinacy of meristems and controls tassel architecture in maize. The Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00791 Background: Plant architecture results from a balance of indeterminate and determinate cell fates. Cells with indeterminate fates are located in meristems. The shoot apical meristem is an indeterminate tissue, initiating primordia indefinitely. Floral […]

Gene Expression Study Reveals Distinct Virulence Modules of Corn Smut Fungus

Lanver et al. investigate fungal gene expression during corn infection by Ustilago maydis. The Plant Cell (2018) https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00764 By Daniel Lanver and Regine Kahmann Background: The corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis is a model organism for studying how fungi can colonize living plant tissue. A special feature of this fungus is its ability to induce […]

Meiotic Crossover Formation

Kurzbauer et al. discover a role for the Fanconi anemia D2 plant homogue in promoting meiotic crossover formation. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00745 by Marie-Therese Kurzbauer and Peter Schlögelhofer Background: Meiosis is a specialized cell division and generates the basis for genetic diversity through sexual reproduction. Precursors of plant generative cells divide meiotically to form macro- and microspores containing […]