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…

Unusual Rubisco Subunit Found in Trichomes

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Rubisco is responsible for CO2 fixation during photosynthesis. This enzyme is assembled from eight large subunits (RbcL), encoded by a single chloroplast gene, and eight small subunits (RbcS), encoded by a nuclear gene family. Although Rubisco’s catalytic reaction is mostly controlled by the large…

Genome-Wide Analysis of Temperature-Induced Fatty Acid Desaturation

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Biogeographic studies suggest that the degree of fatty acid unsaturation in oilseeds has played a major role in adapting plants to temperature. The enzymes that are primarily responsible for producing polyunsaturated fatty acids in seed oils are the microsomal ω-6 and ω-3 fatty acid desaturases FAD2…

Sites of Water Evaporation from within Leaves

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Current available evidence suggests that the location of the sites of evaporation is important for many questions across plant physiology, including patterns of leaf isotopic enrichment, maintenance of mesophyll water status, stomatal regulation, and interpretation of measured stomatal and leaf hydraulic…

Insights into Calmodulin-Interacting Proteins

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Calmodulin (CaM) and closely related CaM-like polypeptides are principal sensors of Ca2+ signals. The plant-specific IQ67 DOMAIN (IQD) family has emerged as possibly the largest class of CaM-interacting proteins with undefined molecular functions and biological roles. Bürstenbinder et al. (Plant Physiol.…

A Salivary Effector Aids in Brown Planthopper Feeding on Rice Plants

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Herbivory-induced plant cell wall modifications play an important role in deterring herbivory. Modified cell walls not only act as physical defenses against herbivores by enhancing the mechanical hardness of plant tissues but also reduce the digestibility of food for herbivores, thereby functioning as…

Heteroblastic Development of Transfer Cells: A Role for MicroRNA

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Transfer cells (TCs) play critical roles in membrane transport of solutes at various sites within plants and between plants and their environment. This transport capacity is conferred by inward wall protuberances that extend into the cell lumen. These ingrowths function to enhance the area of surrounding…

Toward Designing Tulips for a Warmer World

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Most cultivated tulips (Tulipa gesneriana) are produced in The Netherlands, which has a temperate climate resembling the Central Asian climate in which they originated. The growth cycle of cultivated tulips starts in autumn, when the bulbs are planted in the field. At that time, all organs, including…