Recent Posts

A shadow detector for photosynthesis efficiency ($)

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Efficient photosynthesis demands that plants have the capacity to capture photons when they are scarce, but at the same time not suffer damage from capturing more light energy than they are able to assimilate. To accomplish this, leaves need to be able to differentiate between a steady light level and…

Opinion: ATG8 expansion as a driver of selective diversification of autophagy? ($)

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Autophagy is a process of selective membrane trafficking that delivers cargo to the vacuole or plasma membrane for recycling or secretion. ATG8 is a small ubiquitin-like protein that is required for formation of the double-membrane enclosed autophagy vesicle, the autophagosome. The ATG8 gene family has…

Review: Modeling stomatal conductance

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The transpiration rate of water though stomata, known as stomatal conductance or gs is one of the most critical and regulated of plant physiological processes.  Buckley reviews recent progress on the development of comprehensive models of stomatal conductance, including the effect of soil moisture and…

Effect of selective logging on recovery of stored carbon in Amazonian forests

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The Amazon rainforest stores 30% of land-based ecosystem carbon. How are carbon stores affected by selective tree removal and subsequent regrowth? Stored carbon continues to be lost for several years after logging due to damage-associated mortality of surviving trees. Piponoit et al. use data from more…

Unexpected effect of “public good” mutants in a pathogen population

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Disease-causing organisms attack as a population of diverse individuals. Is it possible to reduce the virulence of this population by introducing less-virulent individuals?  Some studies have shown such an effect; as an example, application of low-virulence strains of Aspergillus flavus can protect…

Transcriptional response to microbial pattern conferred by three WRKY transcription factors ($)

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Plants perceive microbial pathogens though cell-surface receptors that recognize conserved microbial patterns such as flagellin. Previous studies have identified the WRKY family of transcription factors as contributors to Microbial-Associated Molecular Pattern (MAMP)-Triggered Immunity (MTI). Birkenbihl…

The PLETHORA Gene Regulatory Network Guides Growth and Cell Differentiation in Arabidopsis Roots

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Due to plant cells’ shared walls and immobility, cell division, differentiation and expansion must be tightly regulated across space and time. The six members of the PLETHORA (PLT) transcription factor family distribute in gradients through the root tip and are largely responsible for its developmental…

Perspective: Computational Modeling of Auxin: A Foundation for Plant Engineering

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Auxins are a class of phytohormones that regulate many aspects of plant development. Morales-Tapia and Cruz-Ramírez review the current status of the available auxin-driven computational models and discuss plausible integration of these into a single model for plant development. Computational modeling…

Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees

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Ash dieback (a fungal disease) and the beetle Agrilus planipennis (a herbivore) are crushing ash tree populations in the Northern Hemisphere. To shed light on the genetic basis of the trees' susceptibility and to understand the genetic diversity of these trees, Sollars et al. have sequenced one individual…