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…

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…

From Light to Food – Organization of Photosynthetic Complexes

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MacGregor-Chatwin et al. map the cellular organization of photosynthetic protein complexes http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/1119 Life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the source of all of our food, oxygen, and most of our energy. Two pigment-protein complexes called Photosystems I and II…

Maize Meristem Matters

Tsuda et al. explore the function of BLH transcription factors in maize meristems Plants have specialized tissues at the tips of roots and shoots called meristems. Meristem cells are what keep the plant growing; they are undifferentiated cells that continue to divide, providing new cells for growth.…

How Rice Seedlings Emerge from Soil

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Xiong et al. explore the action of plant hormones that control how rice seedlings emerge from the soil http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/1053 By Qing Xiong, Bao Ma, and Lu Xiang Flowering plants begin their life cycle as a seed beneath the soil surface. With adequate water and the right temperature,…

Using Metabolism to Improve Maize Breeding

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Cañas et al. study the relationships between maize leaf metabolism and grain yield to identify putative markers for breeding http://www.plantcell.org/content/29/5/919 By Rafael A. Cañas, Peter J. Lea and Bertrand Hirel In crops, several metabolic pathways are involved in the control of biomass…