Recent Posts

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

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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…

Root angle modifications by the DRO1 homolog improve rice yields in saline paddy fields (PNAS)

The spatial configuration of roots is a complex and critical trait for productivity that is impacted by abiotic stresses such as drought, waterlogging, and salinity. Soil salinity is expected to affect 50% of agricultural land worldwide by 2050. This research describes that the loss of function of qSOR1…

Multiple QTL mapping in autopolyploids: A random-effect model approach with application in a hexaploid sweetpotato full-sib population (Genetics)

Gene mapping and QTL identification for the improvement of important traits have not been fully explored in an autopolyploid species like sweetpotatoes (2n=6x=90) due to its genetic complexity. Most sweet potato QTL mapping efforts have relied on models used for diploid species, leading to low density…

BonnMu: a sequence-indexed resource of transposon-induced maize mutations for functional genomics studies (Plant Physiol.)

Loss-of-function mutants have been invaluable tools in the geneticist’s toolbox for more than a century. More recently, libraries have been developed of knockout insertion mutants at known sites. Here, a new Mu-transposon insertion sequence-indexed maize resource is described. This new collection,…

A constitutively monomeric UVR8 photoreceptor allele confers enhanced UV-B photomorphogenesis (bioRxiv)

In response to UV-B light, the plant UV-B photoreceptor UV RESISTANCE LOCUS 8 (UVR8) monomerizes and activates, inducing UV-B acclimation and survival. Re-dimerization by REPRESSOR OF UV-B PHOTOMORPHOGENESIS 1 (RUP1) and RUP2 inactivates UVR8. In order to further clarify UVR8 pathway regulation, Podolec…

Lipid distribution in cuticles affects flower architecture in Medicago (Plant Physiol.)

Floral architecture influences pollination and reproduction: open flowers facilitate cross-pollination, while closed flowers limit outcross. Some plants of the Leguminosae family (i.e., members of the Papilionoideae subfamily that includes soybean, pea, medicago, lotus) possess a complex architecture,…

Variation in maize chlorophyll biosynthesis alters plant architecture (Plant Physiol)

This is an interesting paper that combines classical genetics with biochemistry and phenotypic analysis. Khangura et al. looked at maize lines with various allelic combinations of two loci that affect chlorophyll biosynthesis: the oil yellow1 (oy1) gene encodes magnesium chelatase, the first committed…

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…

Review. Endosperm variability: From endoreduplication within a seed to higher ploidy across species, and its competence ($) (Seed Sci. Res.)

In addition to its well-known nutritive function, the endosperm of seeds has a great deal of morphological, genomic and functional diversity. In this review, Rangan summarizes endosperm variability and the molecular mechanisms behind it. Although classically described as being triploid (2n from the mother…