Entries by Robert Augustine

FRA1 Kinesin Prevents Cell Wall Deposition from Going Off the Rails

Cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin are the brick and mortar of the plant kingdom, and how they are laid has substantial impacts on plant morphology.  Plant cell shape is dictated by the interplay between turgor pressure and heterogeneity in cell wall composition, whereby localized cell wall loosening or rigidifying causes enhanced or restricted cell expansion, respectively […]

The ABCCs of Saffron Transportomics

Saffron spice is prized for its aroma, flavor, and color. The latter derives from highly concentrated apocarotenoid glycosides called crocins.  Accumulation of specialized metabolites like crocins often requires their sequestration in the vacuole to prevent cellular toxicity, feedback inhibition of biosynthetic enzymes, and further modification by cytoplasmic enzymes.  Crocins can account for as much as […]

Nuclear Positioning Requires a Tug-of-War Between Kinesin Motors

The microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton is a dynamic network of self-assembling highways that, together with the help of motor proteins, promotes intracellular transport and the formation of magnificent structures such as the preprophase band, mitotic spindle, and phragmoplast (Nebenführ and Dixit, 2018).  Antagonistic interplay between MT minus- and plus-end-directed motors is tightly orchestrated and important for […]

Live and Let Die: Phosphatidic Acid Modulates the Self-Incompatibility Response

Pollen tubes are remarkable vehicles that deliver immobile sperm nuclei from the stigma to the ovule during angiosperm reproduction. Their journey delicately balances turgor pressure with the precise spatiotemporal regulation of polarized growth machinery to navigate pollen tubes and their cargo to the female gametophyte. To optimize genetic diversity, nearly half of all flowering plant […]