Recent Posts

Review: CRISPR screens in plants: Approaches, guidelines, and future prospects (Plant Cell)

We don’t need to remind you of the tremendous positive impact that CRISPR-based technologies have had on the life sciences through enabling any gene to be edited precisely. Here, Gaillochet et al. provide an up-to-date review of a lesser-known application of CRISPR, its use in large-scale screening…

Review: Improving crop yield and resilience through photosynthesis optimisation: panacea or pipe dream? (J. Exp. Bot.)

Has crop photosynthesis research been successful for increasing yields? This very crucial question is analyzed in a new review by Araus et al. The authors report that there has been no increase that can be described as a "quantum leap," but they discuss the merits of increasing leaf photosynthesis and…

A biosensor for the direct visualization of auxin (Nature)

Auxin is an omnipresent, tryptophan-derived phytohormone that plays roles in innumerable physiological processes, so it is imperative to understand its distribution. Currently the best tools to do so employ the use of indirect sensors, such as the synthetic auxin-responsive promoter DR5. While invaluable,…

Magnesium and calcium over-accumulate in the leaves of a schengen3 mutant of Brassica rapa (Plant Physiol)

Magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) are essential nutrients for plants and also the animals that eat them. Human deficiencies of these elements are not uncommon. Here, Alcock et al. used Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy to measure the elemental composition of a mutagenized population of Brassica…

Who keeps PIF4 high on a hot day? RCB joins HEMERA as a partner in crime (Nature Comms)

PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4) is a key protein that mediates thermomorphogenic responses in plants. Under warm temperatures, PIF4 levels are high in the daytime even in the presence of active phyB, which is known to induce degradation of PIFs. Thus, in warm temperatures there must be a mechanism…

GABA signalling modulates stomatal opening to enhance plant water use efficiency and drought resilience (Nature Comms)

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid produced by animals and plants, but is its function conserved across kingdoms? In mammals, GABA acts as chemical messenger in the central nervous system by inhibiting neurotransmission. In plants, GABA accumulates in response to stress but its…

Autophagy promotes photomorphogenesis during seedling development (bioRxiv)

Autophagy is an intracellular evolutionarily conserved catabolic process that degrades cytoplasmic constituents and organelles in lytic vacuoles (micro- and macro-autophagy) or in the cytosol (mega-autophagy). Autophagy can be induced by biotic or abiotic stresses, sugar, carbon and nutrient starvation…

Fossil palm reading using fruits to reveal the deep roots of palm diversity (Am. J. Bot.)

One of the biggest challenges when using fossils in plant evolution studies is establishing the phylogenetic relationships between fossils and modern plants. This task is particularly complicated with fossils from flowers or fruits, given the little information available for most groups' reproductive…

Endosperm turgor pressure both promotes and restricts seed growth and size (bioRxiv)

Seed size is a plant trait with agricultural and ecological relevance. However, the mechanisms that determine the final size of seeds are still subject to debate. Here, Creff and colleagues use computational models and mutant experiments to dissect the role of endosperm turgor in Arabidopsis seed size.…