Entries by Nancy Eckardt

Using Metabolism to Improve Maize Breeding

Cañas et al. study the relationships between maize leaf metabolism and grain yield to identify putative markers for breeding http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/919 By Rafael A. Cañas, Peter J. Lea and Bertrand Hirel In crops, several metabolic pathways are involved in the control of biomass production and yield, notably those involved in primary carbon and nitrogen metabolism. For these […]

How Calcium Signals Early Warning

Liu et al. uncover a direct link between calcium signaling and a plant immune receptor http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/746.abstract Plants have evolved a sophisticated system to defend against pathogen attack that involves recognition of an invading pathogen and activation of the immune system. An increase in calcium concentration in the cell interior is one of the earliest responses […]

A Surprising Function for Gene Introns

Gallegos and Rose investigate how introns affect transcript initiation http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/843.abstract. For the information stored in the DNA of genes to be converted into functional protein products, first a molecular copy of the information called messenger RNA is made, using DNA as a template in a process called transcription. Messenger RNA molecules are then translated into […]

How Rice Thrives in Flooded Fields

Yamauchi et al. study the formation of aerenchyma in rice – spongy tissue filled with air spaces that develop in roots of wetland plants http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/775.abstract Plants, like animals, need oxygen for respiration (the metabolic process of breaking down sugars to get energy). In leaves, photosynthesis produces oxygen and sugars from carbon dioxide and water, so […]

Technology Turbocharges Functional Genomics

Obtaining genomics and other –omics datasets is now routine and widely used across all biological systems, including plants. As a consequence, a wide range of plant species are being interrogated at the genome, epigenome, transcriptome, translatome, and proteome level, leading to new hypotheses about gene function. However, determining gene function, i.e. functional genomics, remains a […]

BASS Fishing: Genetic Screen Uncovers a New Transporter in Photorespiration

South et al. discover a new transporter involved in photorespiration http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/808.abstract. Photosynthesis uses solar energy to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into sugars that provide the energy and chemical building blocks for plant growth. A key enzyme in photosynthesis is Ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase, known as Rubisco. As implied by the name, Rubisco is a […]

Intricacies of Transcription Elongation

Antosz et al. provide insight into the complex process of transcription elongation by RNA polymerase II http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/854.abstract The genetic blueprint for the production of proteins is stored in the DNA of a plant cell. In a first step, the enzyme RNA polymerase II generates messenger RNA copies of the DNA segments (genes) in the complex […]

How Plants Sense Cold and Activate Cold Tolerance

Kidokoro et al. investigate how plants sense cold and activate cold tolerance http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/4/760.abstract. Cold stress can be just as lethal as heat stress. When a cell freezes, the water inside it expands as it turns to ice. This can cause the cell membrane to rupture and lead to cell death. Plants respond to cold temperatures […]