Recent Posts

State of (in)flux: Action of a CNGC Ca2+ channel in defense against herbivory

Plants have evolved highly sophisticated signalling systems that enable them to coordinate growth and development and respond rapidly to environmental fluctuations. These long-range signals can take the form of mobile small molecules such as phytohormones and RNAs, but can also be electrical signals…

Unearthing Root Growth Dynamics Through 3-D Time-lapse Imaging

Plants blindly probe the soil for ever-changing pockets of water and nutrients and continuously adjust their root system architecture (RSA) accordingly. Whether they invest more energy in growing existing roots or sending out new lateral roots depends on both genetic programs and environmental factors.…

Fear Not the Unknown: OPENER as a Study in Shedding Light on Genes with Unknown Function

Genome sequencing has become (relatively) cheap and easy, but assigning functions to the genes identified remains challenging—even in exhaustively studied species such as Arabidopsis thaliana, where functions of ~30% of genes remain unknown. Many of these genes likely have functions that are essential,…

Looking Over Allopolyploid Clover

The allotetraploid species white clover (Trifolium repens) resulted from hybridization of two diploid European species whose extant relatives are found only in limited regions–– T. occidentale is a creeping clover found only in saline areas near the shores of Western Europe and T. pallescens is found…

Six Days, Seven Nights: The Transcriptional Speed of Seed Development

The development of the seed is a complex dance of cell division and differentiation, including transcriptional and genomic repatterning. Measuring gene expression by high-throughput RNA-Seq is routine in laboratories, and numerous seed transcriptomes and microarrays have long been published for maize…

Father Knows Best? Small RNA Pathway Controls Endosperm Response to Paternal Genomic Dosage

In flowering plants, seed viability is dependent upon the endosperm, a triploid tissue produced by fertilization of a diploid central cell by a haploid sperm. Most endosperm genes are expressed in a 2:1 maternal to paternal ratio reflecting the genomic DNA content. Consequently, balance between maternal…

Too Close to the Flame: Duplicated ICARUS Genes and Growth at Higher Temperatures

Plants can adjust their growth and reproduction cycles according to the local climate they experience, but how will they respond when ambient temperatures rise? Most Arabidopsis accessions respond by increasing cell elongation and accelerated flowering, but some cannot cope with higher temperatures and…

A Role for Autophagy in Plant Lipid Homeostasis

Autophagy is the conserved eukaryotic mechanism by which cytoplasmic components such as macromolecular complexes, organelles, and cytosol are degraded in the lysosome or vacuole (Reggiori and Klionsky, 2013). Basal autophagy ensures that obsolete organelles and misfolded proteins are removed from the…

Methionine-Derived Glucosinolates: The Compounds that Give Brassicas their Bite

The compounds that give wasabi (Eutrema japonicum) its kick and bok choy (Brassica rapa ssp. chinensis) its distinctive flavor are breakdown products of glucosinolates derived from not so pungent amino acids. These zesty phytochemicals help Brassica plants adapt to their many environmental niches worldwide…