Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

/
Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

A cis-regulatory atlas in maize at single-cell resolution (bioRxiv)

Cis-regulatory elements (CREs) are DNA sequences found near or within genic regions that drive proper gene expression in time and space. Thus, CREs play essential roles in the diversification of spatially distinct cell-types with specialized function in multicellular organisms. To identify CREs underlying…

Transcriptional regulation of PLETHORA1 in the root meristem through an importin and its two antagonistic cargos (Plant Cell)

Plant root growth is sustained by stem cells in the root meristems, and the stem cell fate is maintained by the quiescent center (QC). PLETHORA (PLT) protein gradients contribute to maintaining the root meristem cell fate, although the transcriptional regulatory mechanism that establishes the PLT…

Vascular transcription factors guide plant epidermal responses to limiting phosphate conditions (Science)

Plants produce more root hairs (epidermal projections) in response to low soil phosphate and the detailed mechanism of this developmental response remains elusive. TARGET OF MONOPTEROS 5 (TMO5) and LONESOME HIGHWAY (LHW) are vascular specific bHLH proteins that work as a heterodimer to activate the rate…

Parallel Seed Color Adaptation during Multiple Domestication Attempts of an Ancient New World Grain ($) (Mol. Biol. Evol.)

Amaranth has been cultivated in Central and South America since Pre-Columbian times. Still, it exhibits features that are unexpected in domesticated plants, such as seed shattering and reduced seed size. Here, Setter et al. dissected the genetic signature of this crop’s domestication process, with…

An inducible genome editing system for plants (Nature Plants)

To understand gene function, it is necessary to study loss-of-function phenotypes. However, knockouts of some genes are lethal, which makes it impossible to study their loss-of-function phenotype. Although here are inducible overexpression systems and inducible knockdown systems, as yet there has been…

An optogenetic tool for plants grown in ambient light (Nature Methods)

Optogenetics has revolutionized mammalian biology by its ability to fine-tune gene expression in individual cells by pulses of light. However, its application in plants has been challenging because the white light required for plant growth misfires the system. Ochoa-Fernandez et al. solved this problem…

The 3′ processing of antisense RNAs physically links to chromatin-based transcriptional control (PNAS)

In Arabidopsis, multiple genetic pathways control the floral transition in response to external and internal stimuli. Among these, components of the autonomous pathway promote flowering by negatively regulating the central floral repressor FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). Despite the wealth of information on…

Genome-wide analysis of the U-box E3 ubiquitin ligase enzyme gene family in tomato (Sci. Reports)

Ubiquitination is a process of adding ubiquitin (a small regulatory protein) to a substrate protein, leading to its degradation. A wide variety of cellular processes necessary for plant growth and development are regulated by ubiquitination. E3 ubiquitin ligases are the largest family of proteins involved…

Protein complex stoichiometry and expression dynamics of transcription factors modulate stem cell division (PNAS)

Stem cells are a group of undifferentiated cells that can divide and differentiate to form new organs. In Arabidopsis roots, the quiescent center (QC: the mitotically inactive group of cells) helps regulate the division of surrounding initials and maintain the stem cell fate. What makes the QC different…