Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

A Molecular Determinant of Rice Plant Architecture

Plant architecture is a major determinant of rice (Oryza sativa) productivity. Rice plant architecture is mainly defined by plant height, the spatial pattern of leaves, and tiller and inflorescence branching patterns. Plant height and tiller branching determine the biomass and harvest index, while the…

Sphingolipids and Plasmodesmata

Plasmodesmata are cytoplasmic channels that physically connect the cytoplasm and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of adjoining plant cells. These intercellular channels play important roles during plant development by allowing the molecular exchange of signaling molecules such as transcription factors, RNAs,…

The Regulation of Cuticle Biosynthesis

The outer surface of the aerial parts of land plants is covered by the cuticle, a waxy layer that provides a barrier against damage caused by environmental factors as well as  protection against non-stomatal water loss. Castorina et al. (10.1104/pp.20.00322) now show that both cuticle deposition and…

Biosynthesis of Montbretin, an Anti-Diabetes Drug

Diabetes and obesity are major health challenges. Diabetes alone affects over 422 million people worldwide and is among the top ten leading causes of death. Type-2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by the body’s inefficient use of insulin, which leads to elevated blood Glc levels with detrimental effects…

Villin and GLABRA2 Regulate Root Hair Growth

The enhanced elongation of root hairs in response to mild water deficiency permits more effective water and nutrition uptake. The growth of root hairs is regulated in part by actin dynamics. Thick actin-filament bundles (“thick bundles”) in the apical and subapical area of root hairs, for example,…

A Novel Form of Crosstalk Between Gibberellic Acid and Abscisic Acid

The negative interaction between gibberellic acid (GA) and the stress hormone abscisic acid (ABA) has been studied for many years in numerous plant species. These studies suggest that GA and ABA negatively affect each other’s biosynthesis and signaling. The nuclear DELLA proteins suppress almost all…

Self-Incompatibility Can Cause Death in Vegetative Cells

Self-incompatibility (SI) is a mechanism  used by flowering plants to prevent self-fertilization. It is controlled by a multi-allelic S-locus that allows self/non-self-recognition between pistil and pollen. In several SI systems, when male and female S-determinants match, self pollen is recognized and…

METHYLTRANSFERASE1 and Ripening in Vivipary

During fruit ripening in tomato and other flowering plants, the seeds contained within the fruit normally become dormant. However, under certain physiological conditions, seeds can germinate within fruits, a phenomenon called vivipary. Vivipary can substantially reduce yield and product quality in vegetables,…

Calmodulin and Salt Tolerance

Salt stress is a major abiotic factor restricting crop growth and productivity. Excess sodium (Na+) causes ion toxicity and ion imbalances.  Maintaining lower Na+ accumulation in shoots is crucial for salt tolerant plant species and genotypes under salt stress.  Lower shoot Na+ accumulation in plants…