Recent Posts

Review: The evo-devo of plant speciation

Speciation events result from a combination of molecular, environmental and stochastic (random) factors. Several models developed in the last 150 years help to explain how species emerge, but more recently evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) approaches give us tools to decipher plant speciation.…

Update: Origins and evolution of stomatal development

The fossil record suggests stomata-like pores were present on the surfaces of land plants over 400 million years ago. Whether stomata arose once or whether they arose independently across newly evolving land plant lineages has long been a matter of debate. In Arabidopsis, a genetic toolbox has been identified…

A common developmental program can produce diverse leaf shapes

The plethora of diverse leaf shapes results from variations of shared molecular mechanisms that govern leaf growth and development. To better understand the molecular underpinnings of diverse leaf morphologies, Runions et al. constructed a computational model of leaf development that included multiple…

Mobile MUTE specifies subsidiary cells to build physiologically improved grass stomata ($)

Plants breathe through pores called stomata on leaf surfaces. Stomata are the point of contact with the outside world as they allow gas exchange (e.g., CO2 for photosynthesis) and transpiration. Grasses have evolved to form more efficient stomata in which the guard cells are flanked by additional subsidiary…

Role of LOTR1 in Nutrient Transport ($)

Casparian strips, named after the German botanist Robert Caspary who discovered them, are a cellular feature found in the roots of all higher plants. They are ring-like lignin polymers deposited in the middle of anticlinal cell walls (parallel to the root radius) between endodermal cells. Along with…

Coordination of auxin-triggered leaf initiation by tomato LEAFLESS ($)

Capua and Eshed explored the link between auxin and leaf initiation at the shoot apical meristem, using the tomato mutant leafless (lfs), which is an ortholog of the Arabidopsis DORNRONSCHEN (DRN) and DRN-like (DRNL) genes that encode AP2-type transcription factors. The lfs mutant and the drn/drnl double…

Cell-autonomously controlled ground tissue initiation by auxin in early Arabidopsis embryo ($)

MONOPTEROS is an auxin-response factor (ARF) that is necessary for root formation during early embryogenesis. Its activity is modulated by BODENLOS (BDL), an Aux/IAA protein that is degraded in the presence of auxin.  Möller et al. investigated the transcriptional targets of MP in very early embryos…

Review: The systems biology of auxin in developing embryos ($)

The transcriptional response to auxin depends in large part on the interactions between ARF transcription factors and the Aux/IAA transcription inhibitors that interact with them. The crucial role of auxin in embryo patterning is revealed by the embryo patterning defects observed in mutants of ARF and…

Reviews: Nature Insight: Plants ($)

Nature journal published a special “Plant Insights” section featuring several excellent reviews.  Zipfel and Oldroyd review Plant signalling in symbiosis and immunity (10.1038/nature22009), Bevan et al. write about Genomic innovation for crop improvement (10.1038/nature22011), Scheres and van der…