Recent Posts

Review. Message in a Bubble: Shuttling small RNAs and proteins between cells and interacting organisms using extracellular vesicles (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Small RNAs have big effects and can serve to shut down or silence gene expression. Recently, studies have found that small RNAs can contribute to plant defense beyond the boundary of the plant, by being packed into extracellular vesicles (EVs) and delivered to a pathogen. Cai et al. review our current…

Review. Plant synthetic biology for producing potent phyto-antimicrobials to combat antimicrobial resistance

Covid has turned our focus to human viral pathogens, but the challenges we face from cellular pathogens has not gone away, and is increasingly exacerbated by the development of resistance to antibiotics and other antimicrobials. This fine review by Tiwari et al. provides an overview of how antimicrobials…

PIFs link environmental changes with chromatin dynamics (Nature Genetics)

PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORS (PIFs) play a pivotal role in mediating the responses of plants to various environmental stimuli. Although the importance of PIFs in shade avoidance response is well known, the relative contributions of different PIFs have not been discretely determined. In a recent study,…

Large seeds provide intrinsic growth advantage that depends on leaf traits and root allocation (Funct. Ecol.)

A long-standing premise in plant ecology is that seed mass and growth rate are negatively correlated, meaning that small-seeded species grow faster than large-seeded ones. However, this relationship remains controversial given that the most common measurement for growth rate –Relative Growth Rate (RGR)–…

When mentoring matters: a French mentoring program for women in science (Nature Biotech.)

The term gender scissor describes the distribution of men and women throughout their scientific career: while girls represent more than a half of the University students, the percentage of women in science markedly decreases beyond the PhD. This trend has been reported in different European Union member…

The Plant Cell is accepting applications for Assistant Features Editors

The Plant Cell is accepting applications for new Assistant Features Editors (AFEs) for 2022. AFEs provide a valuable service to the journal, our authors, and the scientific community. In return, AFEs join our editorial board and receive training and experience in writing and communicating scientific…

Review: Functional morphology of plants - a key to biomimetic applications (New Phytol.)

Humans have derived inspiration from innumerable corners of the natural world. Plants of diverse forms have inspired many “biomimetics,” or technical products derived from biological models. Speck and Speck review how plant-based biomimetics have developed over time and elaborate on their current…

Real-time conversion of tissue-scale mechanical forces into an interdigitated growth pattern (Nature Plants)

In many plants, epidermal pavement cells lock together through interdigitating lobes, much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  These cells start out as regular squarish cells with straight walls, which then bow out and curve. Here, Belteton et al. investigate how lobes form in cotyledon pavement cells.…

Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in root cell type development (Cell)

Plants demonstrate a gorgeous diversity in cell types to adapt to their unique environments. Certain cell types, such as the epidermal, cortex, and vascular cells within plant roots, or the classically-defined root developmental zones (meristematic, elongation, and maturation), are homologous in angiosperms.…