Recent Posts

Review: Cyanobacterial metabolites as a source of sunscreens and moisturizers

The cosmetic industry uses a lot of different chemicals to produce the seven or so skin care products used by the average American every day. Efforts are underway to develop renewable sources for some of these. Derikvand et al. review the chemistry and potential applications behind compounds used by…

Loose-Knit Family: Tracing the Evolution of Actin Depolymerizing Factors that Sever or Join the Actin Cytoskeleton

IN BRIEF by Jennifer Lockhart jlockhart@aspb.org The interior of a plant cell is supported by the actin cytoskeleton, a complex network of yarn-like fibers whose form changes as the cell develops, grows, and divides. Actin fibers readily come apart (sever) and join back together, depending on the…

Network-based integration of systems genetics data reveals lignocellulosic metabolic pathways

Eucalypts are fast-growing trees increasingly exploited for pulp, paper, bioenergy and other wood-based products. Using genetics tools and a network-based data integration (NBDI) approach, Mizrachi et al. explore a segregating Eucalyptus hybrid population for genes and pathways underlying biomass / bioenergy…

A pectase lyase that is an indirect target of a Xanthomonas TAL effector promotes susceptibility

One of the many ways that Xanthomonas bacteria manipulate their host plants is by the production of transcription activator-like (TAL) effectors, which the bacterium introduces into the host cell where they alter gene expression in the host nucleus. Schwartz et al. investigated the targets of the TAL…

Transgenerational biocontrol against root-knot nematode following priming by biocontrol fungus

Root-knot nematodes including Meloidogyne javanica are major agricultural pests. Previous studies have shown that biocontrol agents including species of the fungal genus Trichoderma interfere with root-knot nematode pathogenicity, directly through effects on the nematode, and indirectly through a stimulation…

Uncovering hidden variation in polyploid wheat

One of the big challenges of working with wheat, as compared to rice, is that the wheat we eat is polyploid; bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) is hexaploid (six copies of each gene) and pasta wheat (Triticum turgidum) is tetraploid (four copies each). Polyploidy makes forward genetics difficult; knocking…

Regulation of tulip flowering by temperature ($)

Cultivation of Tulipa gesneriana (tulip), an economically important species due to its ornamental value, can be affected by warming winters, leading to low quality flowers produced out of season. Leeggangers et al. have sequenced RNA and used top-down and bottom-up approaches in tulips grown in two contrasting…

The origin of floral identity quartets

Where do flowers come from? Their sudden appearance and rapid radiation was described as an “abominable mystery” by Charles Darwin. Ruelens et al. examine the genetic toolkit that underpins reproductive organ formation in gymnosperms to uncover the origins of flowers (which they pragmatically describe…

Brassinosteroid signaling directs formative cell divisions and protophloem differentiation in Arabidopsis root meristems

It’s been 20 years since the identification of BRI1, the first brassinosteroid (BR) receptor. Although many components of the BR signaling pathways have been identified, details continue to be revealed. Kang et al. examined the phenotype of a triple mutant, bri1 brl1 brl3, that lacks all three functional…