Recent Posts

Master regulator of gene expression in plant defense upregulates its own transcription (Plant Physiol.)

NPR1 (NONEXPRESSER OF PR GENES1) is a master regulator that controls expression of over 2000 genes during plant defense. NPR1 interacts with transcription factors to activate expression of defense genes, but the mechanism is poorly understood. Chen et al. determined that in the presence of salicylic…

Plant 22-nt siRNAs mediate translational repression and stress adaptation (Nature)

Among the myriad small interfering RNAs, 21- and 24-nucleotides siRNAs control plant development and immunity through mRNA cleavage and RNA-directed DNA methylation, respectively. Still, the regulation and biological function of 22-nt siRNAs remain unresolved. In this report, Wu and coworkers investigated…

An RNA thermoswitch regulates daytime growth in Arabidopsis (Nature Plants)

Plants are sessile organisms and as such they must be highly responsive to environmental cues including temperature, and adjust their growth and development accordingly. Considering that mean global surface temperatures are expected to continue to rise dramatically in the 21st century, it is crucial…

Nuclear-encoded synthesis of the D1 subunit of photosystem II increases photosynthetic efficiency and crop yield (Nature Plants)

Photosystem II (PSII) is a protein complex located in the thylakoid membrane of chloroplasts that is involved in executing the initial reaction of photosynthesis in plants. When plants are exposed to extreme temperature conditions, PSII gets damaged. To repair the damage, one of the core proteins of…

Mystery of adventitious root formation in grapevine (Plant Physiol)

Grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.) are clonally propagated by stem cuttings, which depends on the formation of adventitious (stem-borne) roots. In this paper Chen at al., showed the function of microRNA encoded peptides (miPEPs) in adventitious root formation of cultured grape plantlets. MicroRNA biogenesis…

Innovation, conservation, and repurposing of gene function in plant root cell type development (bioRxiv)

Roots have many specialized cells arranged in concentric circles that are functionally homologous among various plant species but with varying cell-type-specific developmental programs. To further understand these developmental programs, Kajala et al. performed TRAPseq (Translating Ribosome Affinity…

AT-hook transcription factors restrict petiole elongation by inhibiting PIF-activated genes (Curr. Biol.)

The AT-hook motif nuclear localized (AHL) transcription factor family has one or two DNA-binding motifs to bind to AT rich DNA regions, and they also have a conserved PPC-DUF domain for protein-protein interactions. AHLs affect a wide range of biotic and abiotic responses but the mechanism of how they…

Structural basis for WUSCHEL binding (bioRxiv)

The transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS) plays a central role in organization of the shoot meristem. The three-helix bundle homeodomain in WUS can bind to several distinct DNA sequence motifs in many target genes promoters, but a structural view of these binding events has been lacking. Here Sloan et al.…

Gene balance predicts transcriptional responses immediately following ploidy change in Arabidopsis thaliana (Plant Cell)

Throughout evolutionary time polyploidization events have occurred frequently, increasing the gene copy number (gene dosage) of multiple angiosperms. The gene balance hypothesis proposes that there is selection on gene copy number to maintain the stoichiometric balance between dosage-sensitive genes…