Entries by Xiaohui Li

Breakthrough in the identification of photosynthesis genes in green algae

Imagine the everyday delights of foods like bread, ramen, or sushi. Central to these culinary staples is starch, a product of the photosynthesis process in plants. Despite its critical role, people still do not fully understand the regulation and biogenesis of the photosynthesis machinery. In this study, Kafri et al. identified 70 previously unknown photosynthesis […]

RALF4 prevents pollen tubes from growing crazy

Pollen tubes are characterized by extremely fast elongation growth. Previously, small peptides known as RALFs (RAPID ALKALINIZATION FACTORs) were identified as signaling peptides, some with a role in pollen tube growth; for instance, RALF4/19 are important in maintaining the cell wall integrity of pollen tubes. RALF peptides bind to a membrane-integral protein complex consisting of […]

Genome editing to enhance broad-spectrum disease resistance in rice without compromising yield

Developing broad-spectrum disease resistant crops without compromising the yield has been a persistent challenge in maintaining global food security. In a breakthrough study, Sha et al. developed a promising multi-pathogen resistant rice mutant that retains the crop’s yield, using forward genetic screen and genome editing approaches. The research journey began with the identification of a […]

Uncovering the brassinosteroid gene regulatory networks in Arabidopsis root using single-cell RNA sequencing

Brassinosteroid hormones regulate root growth and development by controlling cell division and elongation. However, it has been unclear why and how root cells with different identities and developmental stages respond to brassinosteroids differently. Nolan et al. used cutting-edge single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) and tissue-specific gene manipulation methods to reveal that the root elongation cortex cells […]

Cortical microtubules contribute to division plane positioning during telophase in maize

During plant cell division, the new cell wall is built along a plant-specific structure named the phragmoplast. The phragmoplast is a complex array of microtubules and microfilaments that originates at the middle of the cell and expands outwards to the division site at the cell cortex. The proper orientation of the cell division depends upon […]

Excitements and Hardships for New PIs in Plant Science

Starting and running a lab is an exciting and challenging endeavor for any new principal investigator (PI). Being a PI at a university carries the great responsibility of not only doing science, but also mentoring the next-generation of scientists. To provide first-hand insight into the experience of starting and running a lab, we interviewed five […]

BIN2 signaling network constructed using proximity labeling and TurboID

The brassinosteroid (BR) signaling pathway is essential for plant growth and development. BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE2 (BIN2) is a GSK3-like kinase, serving as a repressor of the BR signaling pathway. In the absence of BR, BIN2 phosphorylates BRASSINAZOLE-RESISTANT1 (BZR1) family transcription factors to inactivate them and retain them in the cytoplasm. Upon the perception of BR by its […]

A teosinte gene enhances seed protein content in maize

Increasing nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) and seed protein content are important for maize breeding. Modern maize hybrids have 6.5-16.5% seed protein content, while the wild ancestor of maize, called teosinte, has ~30% seed protein content. In addition, teosinte (accession Ames 21814) contains notably higher levels of asparagine than modern maize (accession B73). Huang et al. crossed […]