Entries by Philip Carella

The macroevolutionary history of light signaling ($) (Mol Plant)

The ability to sense and respond to light is a fundamental feature of photosynthetic organisms like plants. Much has been learned about the molecular genetic mechanisms controlling light perception and downstream signaling processes in evolutionarily young land plant lineages like angiosperms, with comparatively less knowledge in early divergent plants (bryophytes, lycophytes) or their algal predecessors. […]

Land plants recruited an ancestral bHLH for tip-growing surface cell development ($) (New Phytol)

Land plants (embryophytes) evolved from freshwater charophycean algae over 450 million years ago. The transition from aquatic to terrestrial environments likely required the evolution and expansion of genetic programs controlling three dimensional growth and the formation of tip-growing surface cells (rhizoids/root hairs) from the plant body. Bonnot et al. investigated the function and evolutionary history […]

Antagonistic responses to ‘symbiotic’ AM fungi in the non-host Arabidopsis thaliana ($) (New Phytol)

A strikingly vast array of phylogenetically distant plants are able to form intimate interactions with symbiotic arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi for the mutually beneficial exchange of nutrients. Several years of intensive research have revealed the complex regulatory networks and genetic ‘toolkits’ that enable these interactions, yet comparatively less attention is paid to understanding interactions between […]

Leaf age dictates abiotic versus biotic stress signalling in Arabidopsis (PNAS)

Plants sense and respond to various external stimuli throughout their lifespan. During stress responses brought forth by abiotic or biotic factors, molecular and physiological adjustments mediated by distinct yet interconnected hormone pathways play critical roles in plant survival. Berens et al. investigate how leaves of the Arabidopsis rosette prioritize stress signalling outputs during combined or […]

A smut fungus of Brassicaceae plants uses conserved and unique strategies to manipulate perennial hosts ($) New Phytol.

Biotrophic phytopathogens manipulate living hosts for the procurement of nutrients essential for growth and reproduction. It is therefore critical for invading biotrophs to evade or suppress immune responses without impacting overall plant function. In a recent study published in New Phytologist (2019), Courville et al. resolve the genomic and transcriptomic signatures of the smut fungus […]

A key role for flavanols in the promotion of pollen success (PNAS) ($)

The reproductive success of angiosperms relies on the fertilization of the female gametophyte (egg sac) by pollen that travels long-distances in the pistil. Previous studies suggest a role for phenylpropanoid-related metabolites (flavonoids and anthocyanins) in controlling pollen growth and fertilization, however a mechanistic understanding of their function during this critical developmental process remains unknown. In […]

Review: Nicotiana benthamiana: a workhorse of model plants (Annu Rev Phytopathol)

For years, scientists have relied on model species to investigate the fundamental nature of plants. Not surprisingly, these systems have facilitated our combined efforts for a deeper understanding of complex plant phenomena, from the coordinated orchestration of developmental programs to the emerging interconnected networks controlling responses to stressful stimuli. In an insightful review now published […]

Symplastic coordination of root nodule development (Curr. Biol.)

The establishment of root nodule symbiosis in legume roots involves the perception, infection, and accommodation of nitrogen-fixing rhizobia. The de novo formation of root nodules relies on complex developmental programs coordinated through different tissues via unknown cellular routes. Gaudioso-Pedraza et al. investigated the importance of plasmodesmatal cell-cell junctions (PD) for the initiation of root nodule […]

A conserved ABA signaling module regulates dormancy in liverworts (Curr Biol)

Plants can strategically maintain a state of dormancy to prevent germination and growth under unfavorable environmental conditions. In evolutionarily young lineages, dormancy is regulated by a canonical abscisic acid signalling pathway comprised of ABA receptors (PYR/PYL/RCAR), the negative regulator protein phosphatase 2C (PP2C) ABI1 (Abscisic acid Insensitive1), SNF1-related protein kinase2 (SnrK2), and ABA-associated transcriptional machinery […]