Recent Posts

Review: Methods to quantify primary plant cell wall mechanics ( J. Exp. Bot)

Plant growth and morphogenesis are linked to cell wall properties, so a deep understanding of cell wall biochemistry and mechanics is essential for studying plant development. In a recent review, Bidhendi and Geitmann describe current and emerging techniques for the analysis of cell wall mechanics. Classic…

Lignin-based resistance to Cuscuta campestris in tomato (bioRxiv)

Dodder (Cuscuta campestris) is a plant that parasitizes other plants by forming penetrating haustoria through which they tap into the host’s vascular tissues and extract nutrients. Most tomatoes are susceptible, but a few varieties are resistant. Jhu and Farhi et al. examined these resistant varieties…

Generating novel, dual herbicide-resistant crops using CRISPR-mediated gene editing (Plant Physiol)

There is an ever-growing need for novel herbicides as more weeds are becoming resistant to commonly used herbicides. In a recent report from Hu et al., the authors identified that a previously described cellulose biosynthesis-inhibiting chemical, C17, possesses an herbicidal quality. The authors showed…

Glycomic analysis of plant endomembrane vesicles (Plant Cell)

Endomembrane vesicles carry not only secreted proteins but also carbohydrates for cell wall synthesis, yet relatively less is know about this latter process. Wilkop et al. describe a method to investigate the glycan contents of specific subsets of vesicles, to begin to understand how these cargos are…

Introducing curcumin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis enhances lignocellulosic biomass processing (Nature Plants)

Lignin, polymerized from aromatic monolignols, provides strength to cell walls but its resistance to enzymatic degradation thwarts efforts to isolate cellulosic carbohydrates from cell walls for biofuels and other applications. It has been shown that lignin’s properties can be altered by the incorporation…

Xylan and lignin deposition are independent of cellulose in the secondary cell wall (Plant Cell)

The secondary cell wall (SCW) plays an important role in the structural integrity of plants and is key to efficient water conductivity. Despite the important role of the SCW, little known about how and when SCW components are assembled. Currently, it is understood that cellulose deposition is a precursor…

Reviews: The regulation of cellulose biosynthesis in plants, and secondary cell wall biosynthesis

Plant cell walls are complex and somewhat difficult to study, but also idespensible for plants and central to many of the ways that people use plants (from wood to fibers to fuels). Two new articles review diverse aspects of plant cell wall synthesis. Polko and Kieber (Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.18.00760…

CRISPR Mutants Shed Light on Pectin’s Role in Tomato Fruit Softening

Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) fruits undergo pronounced softening during ripening. Softening is important for flavor development and overall palatability, but also impacts fruit storage, transportability, and shelf life. Shelf life is a particularly important quality trait of tomato fruits affected by…

Special Issue - Plant Biotechnology, focus on lignin (Curr Opin Biotechnol) ($)

A forthcoming issue of Current Opinion in Biotechnology features a set of reviews on the topic of lignin, particularly its chemistry and applications. Lignin is a complex set of polymers that provide structural support to vascular plants (See Renault et al. for insights into lignin's evolutionary origins).…