Entries by Rose McNelly

Review: Increasing yields of barley and wheat through inflorescence architecture

The Triticeae is an important tribe of crops that contains both barley and wheat. As the global population increases, the yield of Triticeae crops must increase to meet global food demands. An important factor influencing yield is grain number per spike, which is affected by inflorescence architecture. Here, Zhang et al. suggest that altering the […]

Subsidiary cells mediate stomatal closure in maize

Stomata are pores on leaves which enable gas exchange. In grasses, stomata are surrounded by dumbbell-shaped guard cells that are flanked by subsidiary cells. However, the role of the subsidiary cells in stomatal closure is not fully understood. Here, Liu et al. investigated this using two maize (Zea mays) mutants, called pangloss1 (pan1) and pangloss2 […]

Altering chloroplast biogenesis leads to increased yields in rice

Transcription of chloroplast genes is carried out by the plastid encoded polymerase (PEP) with help from PAPs (PEP-associated proteins). PAP3 is important for chloroplast development in Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana, however its role in crops has not been fully elucidated. Here Seo et al. transformed rice to express OsPAP3 under the constitutively active 35S […]

Staining starch granules in living plants

Starch granules are synthesized in the leaves of chloroplast during the day and degraded in the subsequent night. To visualise starch granules the tissue usually has to be fixed, which prevents live imaging. Here Ichikawa et al. set out to find a highly specific dye to image starch granules in living tissues. They tested a […]

Identifying candidates from genome wide association studies using gene orthologs

Genome wide association studies (GWAS) identify genomic loci associated with a specific trait. However, these loci often contain many genes, so selecting which to investigate further can be tricky. To improve this Whitt, et al. developed a program called FiReMAGE (filtering results of multi-species, analogous GWAS experiments), which takes loci from many GWAS experiments conducted […]

Using cryo-EM to solve the structures of proteins involved in starch degradation

Starch is synthesized in the chloroplasts of leaves during the day and degraded at night. BAM1 (β-AMYLASE 1) catalyzes starch degradation and interacts with the non-catalytic glucan phosphatase called LSF1 (LIKE SEX FOUR 1) and the plastid localised MDH (MALATE DEHYDROGENASE). However, we don’t fully understand how these proteins function together. Here, Liu et al. […]