Recent Posts

Cell Wall Polymers: The Importance of Deacetylation

Many of the polysaccharides that make up the plant cell wall carry acetate side groups. Notably, the degree of such acetylation is not always the same—even within the same species, it changes over the course of development and is different between tissues. While the mechanism for adding acetyl groups…

A growing reputation for FRUITFULL genes

The sub-functionalization and neo-functionalization of duplicated MADS-domain containing transcription factor coding genes has driven angiosperm evolution. These transcription factors control almost every facet of reproductive development in plants and are key breeding targets for crop yield improvement.…

The Future is Now: Gene Expression Dynamics at Single Cell Resolution

For the past 10 years, a popular method to study global gene expression changes has been RNA sequencing of bulk tissues. However, an inherent limitation of this approach is the confounding of multiple cell types or multiple developmental stages. By contrast, new technologies enable transcriptional profiling…

Loss-of-Function, a Strategy for Adaptation in Arabidopsis

When thinking about adaptive processes, the concept of genetic innovation comes to mind. At the genomic scale, a lot of attention has been given to gene introgression, duplication, and novel functionalization to uncover the bases of adaptation. However, as the majority of genes are non-essential, both…

Shedding New Light on the Ancient Process of Photosynthesis in Cyanobacteria

All photosynthetic organisms, from cyanobacteria to flowering plants, must continuously adjust to changing light conditions to maximize photosynthetic efficiency while protecting their delicate photochemical centers. During photosynthesis, light energy is preferentially captured by photosystem I (PSI)…

The AREB1-ADA2b-GCN5 Complex Regulates Gene Expression during Drought Stress

Abiotic stresses constitute a global threat to agricultural crop production and natural ecosystems. One of the most prominent abiotic stresses is drought, which dramatically alters plant physiology and morphology. Studies in model organisms have shed light into how plants respond to drought stress, including…

Blocking the Guards: The ALY1 Nuclear Export Protein Is Required for DNA Methylation Machinery to Function

Plants constantly face the threat of attack from many directions. Organisms like bacteria, viruses, and fungi must be blocked from entering a plant’s cells, or quickly targeted for destruction once inside. Within the plant genome itself, transposable elements lie in wait for reactivation. In addition,…

tyRNA Bubbles: Extracellular Vesicles Carry 10–15-nt Small RNAs and Specific Groups of MicroRNAs

Plant and animal cells produce various types and sizes of extracellular vesicles (EVs). Mammalian EVs function in intercellular communication and plant EVs carry defense compounds, defense-related proteins, and RNAs and participate in the defense against fungal pathogens (reviewed in Hansen and Nielsen,…

Plants on (Brassinos)steroids: Degradation of the Transcription Factor BZR1 by the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase PUB40

Brassinosteroids (BR) are the only plant hormones with an animal counterpart: steroid hormones. Analysis of BR signaling demonstrated that steroid receptors could reside at the plasma membrane and modulate growth and gene expression, an observation that is now becoming appreciated in non-plant systems…