Recent Posts

Review: Molecular mechanisms involved in functional macroevolution of plant transcription factors (New Phytol)

Transcription factors (TFs) are very important actors through which evolution can operate. In every organism and system studied, starting with the seminal work of Jacob and Monod, they’ve been shown to be potent regulatory proteins. Here, Romani and Moreno review the contributions of plant transcription…

Functional innovations of PIN auxin transporters mark crucial evolutionary transitions (Science)

Complex multicellular flowering plants evolved from simple unicellular algae. This evolutionary transition was driven by crucial innovations in plant anatomy like shoot and root, inflorescence and flowers. Multiple studies have demonstrated the role of local auxin gradients in determining the development…

Review: The mechanical feedback theory of leaf lamina formation ($) (Trends Plant Sci.)

The contribution of microtubule orientation to the direction of cell expansion is familiar to most; when microtubules wrap around the middle of a cell like a belt, the cell expands in the perpendicular direction to become longer. Recent studies have extended this idea and proposed that the mechanical…

Repeated gain and loss of a single gene modulates the evolution of vascular plant pathogen lifestyles (Science Advances)

Within the bacterial genus Xanthomonas there are many plant pathogens, some of which colonize living cells within leaves, and others of which are vascular pathogens that colonize and spread through vascular tissues. Gluck-Thaler et al. looked at genomes from sets of closely related bacteria that…

The rise of angiosperms pushed conifers to decline during global cooling (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

During the Triassic and Jurassic periods (approximately 250 – 140 million years ago), Earth was dominated by gymnosperms including conifers. Today, the number of species and individuals is greatly reduced from their heyday, and instead Earth is dominated by angiosperms. Although it is widely stated…

An evolutionary perspective on LysM receptors reveals conserved mechanisms for microbial signal perception

Lena Maria Müller Boyce Thompson Institute Lena.Mueller@miami.edu Plants are in constant contact with millions of microbes, which can be pathogenic or establish mutualistic interactions with the plant. One well-studied mutualistic interaction is the nodulation symbiosis of legumes with nitrogen-fixing…

Conserved transcriptional programs underpin organogenesis and reproduction in land plants (bioRxiv)

Land plant evolution accompanied a plethora of evolutionary novelties such as cells that compose complex organs (e.g., stems, leaves, roots) and male/female gametophytes. The identity and conservation of the transcriptional programs underlying organogenesis and reproductive development across land plants…

N-glycosylation shields Phytophthora sojae apoplastic effector PsXEG1 from a specific host aspartic protease (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

Physicists say “for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction,” an expression that applies to the interactions between plants and pathogens as well. Here, Xia et al. have uncovered another layer in the “arms race” between soybeans and the oomycete pathogen Phytophthora sojae.…

Glucosylation prevents plant defense activation in phloem-feeding insects (Nature Chem. Biol.)

Brassicas produce specialized metabolites called glucosinolates that can be enzymatically converted to release toxic compounds. The catalyzing enzyme is stored in a separate subcellular compartment, so upon wounding by a herbivore the enzyme and substrate mix and release the toxin. Phloem-feeding insects…