Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Development and cell cycle dynamics of the root apical meristem in the fern Ceratopteris richardii (bioRxiv)

Roots are essential organs for nutrient and water uptake and have been extensively investigated in angiosperms. Many studies suggest that roots originated through convergent evolution in vascular plants, a clade that includes seed plants and ferns. Besides Arabidopsis and crops, little is known about…

The transcription factor bZIP60 modulates the heat shock response in maize (Plant Cell)

During heat stress, heat shock transcription factors upregulate heat shock protein genes and give rise to the heat shock response (HSR) that occurs in the cytoplasm, while in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), the unfolded protein response (UPR) is also activated during heat stress. Both HSR and UPR cause…

More than photosynthesis: The chloroplast’s role in plant cell defense pathways ($) (Cell)

Chloroplasts are involved in various plant cell functions outside of photosynthesis including defense activation. How is the chloroplast able to do so? In this study, Medina-Puche et al. characterized the molecular function and cellular localization of the Tomato yellow leaf curl virus-derived C4 protein.…

Review: Compartmentalization drives the evolution of symbiotic cooperation (Proc. Roy. Soc.)

Many plants take advantage of microbial symbionts to boost their nutrient uptake, with classic examples provided by mycorrhizal fungi and the legume/Rhizobia partnership. Similar symbiotic partners are found in other domains of life, including the coral/dinoflagellate symbiosis, and the symbiosis…

Hydration-dependent phase separation of a prion-like protein regulates seed germination during water stress (bioRxiv)

Plant seeds can remain dormant for several years under stress conditions and subsequently germinate once favorable conditions return. Even though this phenomenon has been known for many years, what keeps the seed from germinating during the unfavorable conditions, especially during water deficit conditions,…

A new node in mediating crosstalk between the proteasomal and autophagic degradation pathways (Plant Cell)

Protein degradation is mediated by several systems: the ubiquitin-proteasome system, multi-vesicle body-mediated vacuolar sorting (MVB), and the autophagy-vacuole pathway. However, the communication between these different protein degradation systems are less characterized. Here, Xia et al. report a…

Complete microviscosity maps of living plant cells and tissues with a toolbox of targeting mechanoprobes (PNAS)

Biological processes are ruled by physical as well as chemical forces and properties, but the former are much less well understood and studied. Here, Michels et al. describe a collection of fluorescent probes that provide a quantitative visual readout of microviscocity, reflecting the physical properties…

Review: Feedback mechanisms between membrane lipid homeostasis and plant development (Dev. Cell)

Plant development is a regulated process of cell division, expansion, and differentiation. Membrane lipids are crucial to these processes, as illustrated in this review by Boutté and Jaillais. The authors discuss the major lipid components in the different membrane systems and how these vary in space…

The biogenesis of CLEL peptides involves several processing events in consecutive compartments of the secretory pathway (eLIFE)

Small signaling peptides are cleaved from precursor proteins by the action of proteases and are also subject to other post-translational modifications. Subtilases (SBT) are mostly extracellular proteases, but SBT6.1 is membrane-localized at the Golgi and plasma membranes. Furthermore, it has been shown…