Entries by Rose McNelly

Altering root system architecture in barley without impacting above-ground traits

Roots are important for acquiring water and nutrients from the soil; however root system architecture is poorly understood in cereal crops. Here Aldiss et al. used CRISPR/Cas9 to generate barley mutants in the auxin transporter PIN-FORMED2 (PIN2). Seedlings were grown in chambers and after four days the chambers were rotated by 90o. Whilst the roots […]

Thylakoid membrane remodelling during the dark-to-light transition

In the dark, plants modify thylakoid stacking to alter electron transport and reduce photodamage. More photosystem II (PSII) is located in thylakoids within stacked grana, which promotes cyclic electron transport. Upon light exposure, there is granal unstacking, which increases the amount of linear electron transport for carbon assimilation. Here Garty et al. used freeze fracture […]

Understanding the role of metabolites in the evolution of C4 photosynthesis

Plants that use C4 photosynthesis, whereby carbon is concentrated around RuBisCo in bundle sheath cells, have high water and nitrogen use efficiencies. Thus, understanding how C4 photosynthesis evolves is of much interest. The Flaveria genus provides a unique opportunity for this, as it contains species that are classed as C3, C4, C4-like and C3-C4 intermediates. […]

Discovering and characterizing a protein involved in endosperm starch formation in rice

Rice is a globally important crop, with most of its calorific component coming from starch. Despite its importance, we do not fully understand the mechanism of starch formation in the rice endosperm. To discover novel factors involved in this process, Yan et al. performed a forward genetics screen and identified a FLOURY ENDOSPERM 9 (flo9) […]

Altering the location of starch granules by relocalizing a starch granule initiation protein

Starch granules are synthesized in leaf chloroplasts during the day and degraded at night to provide carbon. MFP1 (MAR-BINDING FILAMENT-LIKE PROTEIN 1) is known to have a role in starch granule initiation, but its mechanistic role has been unknown. Sharma et al. hypothesized MFP1’s thylakoid localization signals are important for its role; to test this […]

A novel starch granule size distribution in Arabidopsis thaliana is associated with differences in phosphorylation

During the day, starch is synthesized in the chloroplasts of leaves and stored as starch granules, before being degraded in the subsequent night. In Arabidopsis thaliana, starch granules are discoid in shape. Some mutants have round or elongated granules, yet all these mutants have a homogenous starch granule morphology. Here Li et al. generated Arabidopsis […]

A novel way to conduct genome wide association studies for secondary metabolites

Plants produce many specialized metabolites that are often associated with increased plant fitness. Metabolic genome wide association studies (mGWAS) identify enzymes involved in specialized metabolite biosynthesis. However, this relies on identifying metabolites from mass spectrometry data which is often time and labor intensive. Here, Zhu et al. bypassed this step by identifying structural modifications rather […]