Recent Posts

Review: 3D electron microscopy for imaging organelles in plants and algae (Plant Physiol)

Have you noticed that the quality and resolution of cell images has been getting better and better? Weiner et al. review the recent advances in 3D electron microscopy (EM) technologies that have provided these strikingly beautiful and informative images. Like “classic” transmission EM, EM tomography…

Review: Fifteen compelling open questions in plant cell biology (Plant Cell)

As part of The Plant Cell’s upcoming celebration of plant cell biology, Roeder et al. write about fifteen of the “open questions” in the field. This, and the other reviews that make up the focus issue, provide valuable insights into the leading edge of the discipline. Among the questions posed:…

Review: Bryophytes as model systems for studying evolutionary cell and developmental biology (Plant Cell)

The development of Arabidopsis as a model system greatly advanced the field of plant cell biology by bringing in molecular approaches, so much of our conceptual foundation rests on studies from angiosperms. More recently, model bryophytes, particularly Marchantia polymorpha (liverworts) and Physcomitrium…
Manuel and his grandfather, Antonio Mora who continues to farm and tend his crops every day, except for Sundays which he reserves for family and church. This image was taken during a hike we shared in Santiago Tangamandapio Michoacan during December 2019, where he took Manuel to share the site and tree where his own grandfather passed.

URM Plant Scientist Highlights - Manuel Mora (he/him)

Manuel Mora (he/him) is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Developmental Program (MBIDP)  at UCLA. Born in Santa Ana, CA, Manuel was raised between California and the town of Santiago Tangamandapio in Michoacan, Mexico. Growing up he enjoyed playing soccer, but when living…

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…

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…

Opinion: Plants have neither synapses nor a nervous system (J. Plant Physiol)

The question “Are plants intelligent?” is raised regularly, with answer often “Well, it depends how you define intelligence.” Another interesting question is whether or not plants have cellular structures that are analogous to those that make up the animal nervous system. Robinson and Draguhn…

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.…

Waves of information: Simultaneous imaging of ER and cytosolic Ca2+ dynamics reveals long distance ER Ca2+ waves in plants (Plant Physiol.)

Calcium (Ca2+) signaling regulates a host of stress and developmental responses in plants. Apart from increases in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]Cyt.), organellar signals play a key role in shaping the cytosolic signaling events. In an attempt to understand the Ca2+ dynamics in the endoplasmic…