Recent Posts

SHOOT: Phylogenetic gene search and ortholog inference (bioRxiv)

BLAST (basic local alignment search tool) is more than 30 years old, and most readers have probably had the opportunity to BLAST a sequence. BLAST takes an input sequence and searches databases for closely related sequences. However, this tool uses only sequence information to find close matches. Hypothetically,…

Guard cell endomembrane Ca2+-ATPases underpin a ‘carbon memory’ of photosynthetic assimilation that impacts on water-use efficiency (Nature Plants)

Stomatal guard cells control both carbon dioxide uptake and transpirational water loss. Guard cell control over the stomatal pore  aperture is sensitive to water status (through ABA) as well as the amount of CO2 available within the leaf air space. Several studies have indicated that stomatal aperture…

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…

Molecular switch architecture determines response properties of signaling pathways (PNAS)

Genetic studies have provided us with countless examples of regulatory switches that transduce a signal into a response. Mutant analysis is usually sufficient to identify these controlling elements, but often in an all-or-nothing way. Here, Ghusinga et al. have taken a theoretical kinetic approach to…

Alternative CAM and water-saving flux modes into C3 leaf metabolic model (Plant Cell)

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a photosynthetic adaptation pathway in arid environments to minimize water loss by opening the stomata at night, when the temperature and therefore water loss due to transpiration is lower. Carbon dioxide is initially fixed at night and stored in the vacuole. Engineering…

POME: Quantitative and dynamic cell polarity tracking pipeline (bioRxiv)

Many proteins polarize in the cell creating a subcellular niche for various functions. Asymmetric distribution of proteins is a general mechanism for localized growth, directional long-range signaling, cell migration, and asymmetric cell divisions. Well-known examples of polarity proteins include PIN-FORMED1…

Structural evolution drives diversification of the large LRR-RLK gene family (New Phytol)

Leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) act as signaling receptors, are the largest plant-specific protein kinase family, and are involved in myriad developmental activities and defense systems. Due to the large number of proteins in this group, their diversification and consequent redundancy…

The cis-regulatory codes of response to combined heat and drought stress (bioRxiv)

As sessile organisms, plants must not only respond to a single stress, but multiple stresses at the same time. To understand the DNA regulatory elements that mediate the transcriptional response to heat, drought and combined heat and drought stress, Azodi et al. utilized the known transcription factor…

Perspective: Multiscale computational models for crop improvement (Plant J)

Throughout the plant science community, the use of computational or in silico analyses which precede traditional studies are gaining traction to identify research opportunities. Multiscale computational models are those which assimilate data from all biological system levels from gene to ecosystem. Benes…