Recent Posts

Real-time conversion of tissue-scale mechanical forces into an interdigitated growth pattern (Nature Plants)

In many plants, epidermal pavement cells lock together through interdigitating lobes, much like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  These cells start out as regular squarish cells with straight walls, which then bow out and curve. Here, Belteton et al. investigate how lobes form in cotyledon pavement cells.…

Molecular insights into the complex mechanics of plant epidermal cell walls (Science)

Primary plant cell walls are made up of three types of polysaccharides: cellulose, hemicellulose, and pectin, the orientations and interactions of which provide the cell wall with its properties. Here, Zhang et al. examined the outer wall of onion epidermal cells through atomic-force microscopy, stress-strain…

How a Mangrove tree can help to improve the salt tolerance of Arabidopsis and Rice

Affiliation: University of Melbourne ORCiD: 0000-0001-5092-6168 email: marc.somssich@unimelb.edu.au Mangrove trees live and thrive in intertidal zones, where they are regularly inundated with salt water. To survive such harsh environmental conditions, they have evolved several features to improve…

The fat of the land: cuticle formation in terrestrial plants

Madeleine Seale Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, United Kingdom Maddy.seale@plants.ox.ac.uk ORCID: 0000-0002-8924-3943   In a world surrounded by a vast expanse of gaseous air, water is constantly evaporating from aqueous sources…

 A grass-specific cellulose-xylan interaction dominates in sorghum secondary cell walls (Nature Communications)

The cell walls of plants are intricate structures. Their complexity is due to multiple biochemical components and interactions, but while many of the components have been identified, their interactions have yet to be fully elucidated. A major component of the cell wall is cellulose, of which multiple…

The Lure of Lignin: Deciphering High-value Lignin Formation in Seed Coats

Lignin is a major functional component of plant secondary cell walls and the second most abundant biological polymer on Earth after cellulose. Understanding the biosynthesis of lignin has huge practical implications because lignin is a major by-product of processes that use cellulosic biomass for industrial…

Barley RIPb opens the gates for epidermal fungal penetration

Elisa Dell’Aglio Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Lyon Lyon, France elisa.dell-aglio@insa-lyon.fr  The ascomycete Blumeria graminis f. sp. hordei (Bgh) is a powdery mildew causal agent, specifically adapted to barley (Hordeum vulgare), wheat (Triticum aestivum, Triticum turgidum)…

Coleorhiza‐enforced seed dormancy: a novel mechanism to control germination in grasses (New Phytol.)

The germination process is completed when the radicle emerges from the seed. In eudicots, radicle growth is mechanically limited by the micropylar endosperm. As dormancy is broken and imbibition occurs, this structure is weakened so that radicle can pierce it. In grasses, the radicle is not surrounded…

Let’s stick together – a pectin biosynthetic mutant reveals the interconnectedness of plant cell walls

The plant cell wall is vital for plant survival—it mediates defence against pathogens, provides structural stability and controls growth to produce final plant form. Plant cell walls are composite structures formed mainly from cellulose, hemicelluloses, and pectins, and the interactions of these components…