Recent Posts

Introducing CRISPR-TSKO: A Breakthrough in Precision Gene Editing

An excellent way to explore the function of a gene is to knockout its expression and see what happens. The development of the targeted gene editing system CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) has triggered scores of gene knockout studies. CRISPR is based on a defense system…

Mellowed Yellow: WHITE PETAL1 Regulates Carotenoid Accumulation in Medicago Petals

Carotenoids are tetraterpenoid (C40) lipophilic compounds that are widely distributed in nature and play key roles in pigmentation, photosynthesis, and development (Nisar et al., 2015). Detailed biochemical and genetic analyses have uncovered the carotenoid biosynthetic pathway, which generates a diverse…

The ABCCs of Saffron Transportomics

Saffron spice is prized for its aroma, flavor, and color. The latter derives from highly concentrated apocarotenoid glycosides called crocins.  Accumulation of specialized metabolites like crocins often requires their sequestration in the vacuole to prevent cellular toxicity, feedback inhibition of…

A Plant Metabolon Efficiently Mass-produces Phytochemical Defenses

When plants are under attack, they activate defense programs including the biosynthesis of chemical defense compounds. The biosynthesis of these phytochemicals has to occur rapidly and represents a major sink of nutrients and amino acids. How plants optimize the mass production of chemical weapons remains…

The same but different: CoMoVa, an algorithm to identify functional variation in cis regulatory elements

Transcription factors (TFs) act through TF binding sites (TFBSs) to control the transcription of associated genes. TFBSs are short and degenerate sequences that are often depicted using a Position Weight Matrix, which contain invariant nucleotides that are crucial for TF binding and variable nucleotides…

Moving on Up: An MCTP-SNARE Complex Mediates Long-distance Florigen Transport

Flowering plants integrate endogenous and external cues to accurately time the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth (Cho et al., 2017). Many plants, including Arabidopsis thaliana, sense changes in day length (photoperiod) to transition to flowering as the season changes. Decades of careful…

Developmental timing is everything (part II): gating of high temperature responses by the circadian clock

Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings exposed to heat stress (>42ºC) suffer high lethality rates unless exposed to milder heat (37ºC) beforehand. This pre-exposure distinguishes basal from acquired thermotolerance and has been extensively studied over the years. However, experimental conditions used to…

Promoting production: UPL3 promoter variation modulates seed size and crop yields

Identifying natural genetic variation, understanding how it influences traits, and utilizing it for crop improvement is a major objective in plant science. Miller et al. (2019) have identified genetic variation in the promoter region of BnaUPL3.C03 from a panel of Brassica napus accessions that can influence…

Comparative Cell-Specific DNaseI-Seq Reveals Transcription Factor Binding Landscape in C3 and C4 Grasses

Nearly every aspect of growth, morphogenesis, physiology, and stress response is influenced by cell/tissue-type specific gene expression. Transcription factors (TFs) recognize cis-regulatory elements and signal transcription machinery for gene regulation, and the interaction between TFs and their target…