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…

How Meiotic Chromosomes Cluster into a “Bouquet”

Zhang et al. explore the behavior of chromosomes during meiosis. The Plant Cell (2017). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00287 By Fanfan Zhang Background: In meiosis, plants, animals, and fungi reduce their chromosome numbers by half to form gametes (sperm and eggs) that can fuse to form a cell…

Space-Time Continuum of Gene Expression in Lateral Root Development

Walker et al. explore how the environment shapes root architecture. The Plant Cell 2017.  https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.16.00961 By Liam Walker Background: To acquire nutrients and anchor themselves, plant roots spread both vertically and horizontally in soil. Plants typically have a primary root…

A Plant Protein That Foils Aphid Feeding

Kloth et al. probe aphid feeding behavior. The Plant Cell 2017  doi: 10.1105/tpc.16.00424 By Karen Kloth Background: Aphids are phloem-feeding insects. They penetrate plants with a piercing-sucking mouth. Once they reach a tube where the plant transports its sugar-rich phloem sap, they can take…

Flowering Versus Runnering: A Very Important Decision in Strawberry

Tenreira et al. find a gene responsible for the differentiation of the stolon in strawberry. The Plant Cell 2017. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.16.00949 Asexual reproduction produces offspring that are genetically identical to the parents. This process takes many forms in flowering plants, including…

Light Helps Plants Cope with Phosphate Starvation

Liu et al. focus on transcriptional regulation of PHR1 expression. The Plant Cell 2017. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00268 Phosphorus (P) is an essential micronutrient for plant growth, development, and metabolism. Phosphate (Pi), the major form of P used by plants, is highly immobile in most soils,…

How Does Histone Phosphorylation Affect Flowering Time?

Su et al. look at chromatin modifications that affect flowering. The Plant Cell 2017. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00266 Plants, unlike animals, begin their lives as seeds that – in flowering plants – develop from flowers. This depends upon proper regulation of flowering time, to ensure pollination,…

Getting It Done On Time: How Maize Orders DNA Replication

Wear et al. examine replication programs in plants. The Plant Cell 2017. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00037 By William Thompson, Emily Wear, and Linda Hanley-Bowdoin DNA replication is fundamental to all life, as it is the process by which genetic material is duplicated so it can be passed from…

Tiny Mutation Linked to Tastier Tomatoes

Ye et al. discover a gene affecting tomato flavor. The Plant Cell 2017. https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00211 By Jie Ye Malate—a widely occurring organic acid in plants—is an important contributor to taste. Variation in acid content has a much greater impact on flavor than does the limited…

Translating to beat the heat

Zhang et al. investigate protein translation under heat stresss http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/8/1952 By Elizabeth Vierling Plants can’t move to avoid unfavorable growth conditions, such as insufficient water availability or extremes of temperature. When plants are confronted with stressful…