Recent Posts

Review: Structural biology of cell surface receptor–ligand interactions (COPB)

In recent months, a flurry of papers have come out that reveal new insights into the structural interactions of cell-surface receptors with each other and with their ligands. This timely review by Moussu and Santiago captures the highlights, in case you haven’t been following along. The review features…

Single-cell genomics unveils an ectosymbiont cyanobacteria associated with a dinoflagellate host (PNAS)

Cyanobacteria are important contributors to global carbon fixation. They can be free-living in many different environments, but also form close symbiotic associations with various eukaryotic organisms. Nakayama et al. have idea identified a new type of cyanobacteria that lives as an ectosymbiont in a…

Transcriptomic and cell wall analysis of stinging nettle, an underutilized fibre crop (Plant Direct)

Plant fibres from crops such as flax and hemp have diverse uses from rope to clothing, and are increasingly being incorporated into eco-friendly biocomposite materials.  These long, flexible, useful fibres, called “bast” fibres, are not derived from the xylem, but instead are derived from specialized…

Manganese deficiency affects root endodermal suberization and ion homeostasis (Plant Physiol.)

Manganese (Mn) is an essential plant nutrient necessary for multiple plant process such as photosynthesis. Mn deficiency has a significant impact on crop production particularly in cereals including barley (Hordeum vulgare L.). Chen et al. identified how Mn deficiency alters suberin deposition in the …

Cytoskeleton dynamics necessary for early events of lateral root initiation (Curr. Biol.)

Symmetric cell division leads to proliferation, and asymmetric cell division establishes differential growth. Formation of lateral roots (LRs) depends on asymmetric division of initially symmetric founder cells. Barro et al. studied the mechanism of asymmetric radial expansion by analyzing cytoskeleton…

A KNOX-cytokinin regulatory module predates the origin of indeterminacy (Curr. Biol.)

In vascular plants, new organs (e.g., leaves) are produced continuously from the shoot meristem, a process coined indeterminacy. The sister lineage of vascular plants, bryophytes, develop differently, ending with the formation of a determinate spore-bearing shoot (sporangium). The genetic underpinning…

Physcomitrella STEMIN transcription factor induces stem cell formation with epigenetic reprogramming (Nature Plants)

Insights into transcription factors (TFs) in non-flowering plants are increading thanks to the establishment of new bryophyte model organisms. In new work, Ishikawa et al. present STEMIN1, a Physcomitrella patens TF belonging to an uncharacterized subgroup of the AP2/ERF family. Physcomitrella undergo…

Arabidopsis endosperm response to paternal genome dosage is regulated by small RNA pathway (Plant Cell)

The endosperm, a tissue that transfers nutrients from maternal tissue to the embryo, is normally triploid, with two copies of the maternal genome and one of the paternal genome. Excess paternal genomes usually leads to endosperm abnormalities and seed abortion. Previous studies have shown that the RNA…

An insulator of CLE-signaling boosts cell-differentiation in protophloem formation

Waddington’s epigenetic landscape, a famous metaphor in developmental biology, depicts how a stem cell progresses from an undifferentiated state to a differentiated one. To some degree this metaphor can also be applied to root cell differentiation. It’s well-known that the CLE-45 peptide and its…