Recent Posts

Updating plant ribosomal protein nomenclature

The ribosome is a macromolecular structure made up of many subunits. The proteins in these subunits were named based on their sedimentation rates and gel mobility, but different groups gave the proteins different names in various species, not based on homology. A ribosomal protein (r-protein) nomenclature…

Review: Power and perils of de novo domestication

I’m excited by the ways that knowledge about plant developmental and metabolic programs is being used to make new varieties of plants. This excellent review describes some of these applications such as changes in fruit size or seed number. De novo domestication is a specific type of application that…

TOC-TIC supercomplex structure

In an evolutionary plot twist, most of the proteins needed inside the chloroplast are encoded in the nucleus and translated in the cytosol as preproteins. The preproteins are imported into the chloroplast through two membranes (outer and inner). Genetic and biochemical approaches have revealed many of…

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…

Hormone distribution via hydraulic flux determines root branching

Climate change affects rain patterns and hydrological cycles all over the world, exacerbating water scarcity issues. Root branching is altered by local spatial differences in soil moisture. Indeed, when root tips temporarily lose contact with moisture, root branching stops until the appropriate moisture…

TTL bridges microtubules and cellulose synthase complexes

Cellulose synthase (CESA) complexes (CSCs) synthesize the main polysaccharide component of plant primary cell wall, cellulose. The trafficking and dynamics of CSC are tightly regulated. Kesten et al. identified a new family of CSC- and microtubule-interacting proteins, named TETRATRICOPEPTIDE THIOREDOXIN-LIKE…

Developmental functions of Marchantia ROP

Precise control of cell division is an important requirement for proper development in multicellular organisms. Rho-like GTPases from Plants (ROPs) are key conserved regulators of cell polarity and morphogenesis, however, it is unknown if ROP signaling pathways regulate cell division patterning and meristem…

Cuticle chemistry in Hibiscus iridescence

The long, long history of plant-pollinator interactions has led to a stunning variety of flower forms, including variations in petal color and iridescence. Color is caused by the accumulation of various pigments that selectively absorb certain wavelengths of light, whereas iridescence arises from surface…

Calcium fluxes mediate sensitive plant responses

Plants that respond to touch, like Mimosa pudica (aka the sensitive plant) are great ways to introduce children to the fascination of plants. If you haven’t had the chance to explore this plant, a touch to a leaflet causes the leaflets to fold into themselves, and recurring touches cause the leaf to…