Recent Posts

TEM1 combinatorially binds to FLOWERING LOCUS T and recruits a Polycomb factor to repress the floral transition in Arabidopsis (PNAS)

Gene expression is primarily controlled by transcriptional regulatory proteins able to recognize and bind short DNA sequences in downstream targets. Understanding how DNA-binding proteins achieve high precision and switch on/off the transcription of selected genes at a specific developmental stage or…

Structural and biochemical analyses of concanavalin A circular permutation (Plant Cell)

If you have heard of concanavalin A (ConA), it probably is because it is a widely-used reagent in carbohydrate science and medical research. ConA is a lectin derived from jackbean (Canavalia ensiformis, hence the name) that binds assorted carbohydrates. It is also a fascinating protein that assembles…

Review: Alternative splicing as conserved mechanism to regulate CDPKs? ($) (TIPS)

Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs/CPKs) are an interesting class of proteins present in plants, algae and some protists that are thought to “sense” and “respond” to spikes in intracellular Ca2+ signaling events. While multiple mechanisms have been proposed to be involved in the regulation…

The secret to leaf forever: Mechanisms controlling simple leaf development (Nature Plants)

The final shape of a leaf is a consequence of differential growth at its margins. Simple (or lightly serrated) leaves result from limited growth in the margins, while compound leaves result from a constant initiation of leaflets. A recent work by Challa, Rath, and colleagues dissected the regulatory…

Repeat yourself: A new way to self-express

Reinar et al. uncover the effects of allelic variation in short tandem repeats across natural populations of Arabidopsis thaliana on gene expression.  By Kjetill Jakobsen1, Melinka Butenko2, and William Reinar1 1Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Department…

A single-cell analysis of the Arabidopsis vegetative shoot apex (Devel. Cell)

One of the most fascinating challenges in developmental biology is to understand how a few stem cells hidden in a microscopic region of the shoot apex give origin to all aerial parts of the plant. Technological advances such as single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) are enabling the comprehensive analysis…

Phytochrome regulates cellular response plasticity and the basic molecular machinery of leaf development (Plant Physiol)

The effects of light on plant growth are incredibly complex and depend on where it is perceived, light quantity, light quality (wavelength), and when within the circadian cycle it is perceived. Romanowski et al. examined the effect of late-day far-red light perception in Arabidopsis leaves. This treatment…

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…

LEAFY is a pioneer transcription factor and licenses cell reprogramming to floral fate (Nature Comms)

Master transcription factors (TFs) can activate specific genetic programs to reprogram cellular fate in the context of open chromatin. A special class of these proteins known as pioneer TFs are defined by their ability to trigger cell fate reprogramming by binding their cognate cis motifs in a nucleosome…