Recent Posts

Review: Alternative splicing as conserved mechanism to regulate CDPKs? ($) (TIPS)

Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs/CPKs) are an interesting class of proteins present in plants, algae and some protists that are thought to “sense” and “respond” to spikes in intracellular Ca2+ signaling events. While multiple mechanisms have been proposed to be involved in the regulation…

Plant PIEZO homologs modulate vacuole morphology during tip growth (Science)

The ability to perceive and respond to mechanical stimuli and forces, such as gravity or touch, is an extremely well conserved property that is key for proper cellular function. This ability is fueled by mechanosensitive ion channels activated by mechanical disturbances in the membrane, which leads to…

The secret to leaf forever: Mechanisms controlling simple leaf development (Nature Plants)

The final shape of a leaf is a consequence of differential growth at its margins. Simple (or lightly serrated) leaves result from limited growth in the margins, while compound leaves result from a constant initiation of leaflets. A recent work by Challa, Rath, and colleagues dissected the regulatory…

A slicing mechanism facilitates host entry by plant-pathogenic Phytophthora (Nature Microbiol)

A plant has many layers of defense against a pathogen. One of the first challenges a pathogen faces is how to get inside the plant. Some bacteria sneak in through open stomatal pores, and some fungi form high-pressure appressoria that burst through walls. Here, Bronkhorst et al. investigated how the…

Relevance of hop terroir for beer flavor (J. Inst. Brew.)

Beer is a simple beverage, basically fermented barley sugars. But recently, it’s been all about the hops. Hops are buds of Humulus lupulus, a member of the Cannabaceae family, and from humble origins they have been carefully bred and selected, resulting in many varieties with different aroma and flavor…
An arrow points from left to right, showing steps to sustainable nitrogen use. These include traditional agricultural practices, improved agricultural practices, plant breeding, beneficia N-fixation, and soi N-cycling.

A research road map for responsible use of agricultural nitrogen (Front. Sustain. Food Syst.)

Recently, the UN Environment Programme identified excessive reactive nitrogen (N) resulting from anthropogenic activity as one of the five emerging threats facing our planet. Much of this derives from agricultural practices in which N fertilizers are inefficiently applied to crops, a significant proportion…

A Central Role for Genetics in Plant Biology (Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.)

Plant biology as a field of study encompasses a rich plethora of subjects, some of which themselves are their own fields. Maarten Koornneef, in this memoir-style article, describes how genetics in particular shaped his career that saw the rise of Arabidopsis as the lovable poster child of plant biology…

Large-scale whole-genome resequencing unravels the domestication history of Cannabis sativa (Science Advances)

Throughout history, many cultures have exploited the properties of Cannabis sativa, either as a source of fiber extracts (hemp) or as a medicinal and recreational drug (drug type). It is thought that cannabis was originally cultivated in Asia from where it spread to other regions around the globe, and…

Plant scientists’ research attention is skewed towards colourful, conspicuous and broadly distributed flowers (Nature Plants)

Chicana feminist writer Cherríe Moraga wrote in her anthology This Bridge Called My Back, with regards to the necessary inclusion of women of color in contemporary progressive politics: “It is not always a matter of the actual bodies in the room, but of a life dedicated to a growing awareness of who…