Recent Posts

Gibberellin biosynthesis in bacteria: Still more convergent evolution ($)

/
Gibberellin hormones were famously identified as the product of Gibberella fujikuroi, a fungal pathogen that stimulates host cell elongation, and then subsequently recognized as a hormone produced by plants as well. Fungi and plants produce gibberellins from distinct biochemical pathways, in an example…

Review: Biogeochemical effects of early life on land

/
Earth colonization by life happened billions of years ago. Weathering of soils by microbial mats leave a characteristic signal that can be used to shed light on the mechanisms involved in colonization. In this review, Lenton and Daines discuss the growing mass of evidence that points to the biogeochemical…

Biofortification of plants: New Reviews ($)

/
Biofortification is the nutritional enhancement (using conventional or genetic engineering approaches) of food with vitamins or micronutrients with the goal of improving the human diet. A set of new reviews in Current Opinion in Biotechnology summarizes progress towards biofortification of plants to…

Transcript, protein and metabolite dynamics in CAM-plant Agave ($)

/
Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a specialized form of photosynthesis that greatly increases water-use efficiency by taking up CO2 through stomata that are open at night (when evapotranspiration is low). Engineering plants that can switch to CAM during periods of drought is a key goal towards…

Stimulation of sugar import for antibacterial defense ($)

/
When villagers see the marauding hordes approaching, they secure their food sources. Similarly, when the cell-surface FLS2 receptor detects a bacterial pathogen, it (through its co-receptor BAK1) phosphorylates and stimulates the activity of a cell-surface sugar transporter (STP13), leading to the…

Molecular basis for plant growth responses in shade and under competition for light ($)

/
The wavelenghts of light perceived by a plant are information-rich, and plants integrate information from photoreceptors tuned to different wavelenghts to optimize their growth and development. Because plants absorb red light but not far-red light, a low ratio of red to far-red light indicates vegetative…

Clustering of sorghum defense-compound dhurrin proteins into a metabolon ($)

/
A metabolon is a physical clustering of metabolic pathway proteins. Until now, evidence for metabolons has been patchy, but Laursen et al. convincingly demonstrate the physical association of several enzymes involved in the production of dhurrin, a defense compound of sorghum. They use a method involving…

Two-cell metabolism in multicellular cyanobacteria ($)

/
Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria such as Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 have the challenge of supporting nitrogenase, an enzyme that is highly sensitive to oxygen, and simultaneously photosynthesis, an oxygen-producing set of reactions. They accomplish this by segregating these reactions into two cells, heterocysts…

Metabolic Signaling Regulates Alternative Splicing during Photomorphogenesis

/
IN BRIEF by Kathleen L. Farquharson kfarquharson@aspb.org Alternative splicing (AS) regulates gene expression and greatly expands the coding capacity of complex genomes. By regulating which elements of an mRNA transcript are removed or retained, AS produces multiple transcripts from a single gene. Some…