Recent Posts

Smashing barriers in biolistic plant transformation

A foundation of modern biotechnology is the ability to stably introduce foreign DNA into an organism. The two most widely used methods, Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and biolistics, are both steeped in a rich history of creative exploration into the molecular unknown. Agrobacterium research accelerated…

The shade of things to come: plastid retrograde signaling and shade avoidance

Plants compete with each other over finite resources like water and nutrients, but also for sunlight when they grow in each other’s shadow. Light filtered through leaves is rich in far-red light and initiates responses, known as shade avoidance syndrome (SAS), that aim to out-compete neighbors by promoting…

The Protein Phosphatase 4 Complex Functions in miRNA Biogenesis in Arabidopsis

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short (typically 21–22 nucleotide), single-stranded noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression, mainly via posttranscriptional gene silencing. The miRNA biogenesis pathway is complex, involving numerous proteins, and is highly conserved in plants. If this pathway is hampered,…

HOS15 Co-regulates Photoperiodic Flowering with the Evening Complex via Transcriptional Repression of GIGANTEA

When animals are stressed by unfavorable environmental conditions, they will typically move to a more favorable location to reduce that stress. Unfortunately for plants, they are quite literally rooted to the ground and thus must manage the stress where they stand. In order to deal with adverse environmental…

Solving a Cold Case: Identification of Promoter Elements to Complement Medicago nin Mutants

Legumes associate with beneficial soil bacteria called rhizobia to acquire plant-usable ammonia in a process called root nodule symbiosis (RNS). This association is so valuable for nitrogen starved legumes that they form specialized new organs to house them. These de novo organs, called nodules, develop…

97 Shades of Gray: Genetic interactions of the gray mold, Botrytis cinerea, with wild and domesticated tomato

Although a vineyard full of decaying grapes infected with noble rot is a blessing for sweet wine producers, the causal agent, Botrytis cinerea (gray mold), causes huge crop losses. Unlike most plant pathogens, individual isolates of the necrotrophic fungus can infect an extremely broad range of plants,…

Master MYCs: MYC2, the jasmonate signaling ‘master switch’

To optimize their fitness in the field, plants need to respond rapidly, specifically and dynamically to an ever-changing and often hostile environment. By integrating external environmental cues with endogenous developmental programs, phytohormones play a critical role in the cross-talk between signal…

Ferroptosis: A companion of ROS in fighting Magnaporthe in rice

Invasion of plant tissues by pathogens is well known to activate localized reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and cell death.  However, the sources of ROS production and their role in triggering cell death are enigmatic. A recent study by Dangol et al. (2018) shows that, in rice (Oryza sativa),…

Too Much, Take it Back: PAP Moves from the Cytosol to Plastids and Mitochondria for Degradation via PAPST2

Plants need to strike a fine balance between the production, transport, and degradation of stress signals in order to optimize growth in fluctuating environmental conditions. The signal 3’phosphoadenosine 5’phosphate (PAP) accumulates during drought and light stress and induces stress-responsive…