Recent Posts

Differential growth and shape formation in plant organs (PNAS)

This paper is kind of fun because it explores plant leaf and petal shape from an engineering perspective, identifying “fundamental mechanistic insights into how nature invokes mechanics in the evolution of commonly found shapes in plant organs by differential growth.” For each organ, the authors…

Opinion: Limits to tree growth and longevity (TIPS)

I think trees are awesome, and I mean that in the truest sense of the word. They dwarf us in height, and when we look at a tree that has lived for hundreds or thousands of years it is impossible not to think of that span in terms of human generations and human history. But, trees don’t live or grow…

Protein Phosphatases AUN1&2 Regulate Tip-Growth

Franck et al. demonstrate that protein phosphatases ATUNIS1 and 2 negatively regulate cell wall integrity in pollen tubes and root hairs of Arabidopsis. Plant Cell (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00284 By C. M. Franck, J. Westermann, S. Bürssner, R. Lentz, D. Lituiev, and A. Boisson-Dernier Background:…

Transcriptional regulation of the immune receptor FLS2 controls the ontogeny of plant innate immunity (Plant Cell)

FLS2 is a well-known cell-surface receptor that triggers plant immune response. Zou et al. asked whether its expression level is age-dependent, and found that FLS2 is expressed at very low levels in newly-emerged seedlings. They identified two closely related transcription factors TOE1 and TOE2 that…

JAZ repressors of metabolic defense promote growth and reproductive fitness in Arabidopsis (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

Jasmonates promote defense reponses but at the expense of growth. JAZ proteins repress jasmonate responses. Guo et al. examined the consequences of knocking out 10 of the 13 JAZ genes in Arabidopsis, by producing a jaz decuple, or jazD mutant. They compared jazD mutant to previously described jazQ mutants…

β-cyclocitral is a conserved root growth regulator (bioRxiv)

Enhancing root growth can aid plant survival in challenging environments such as salty soils. Dickinson et al. built upon a previous study that identified D15, an inhibitor of lateral root development. They treated roots with D15 and also components of a small-molecule library to search for suppressors…

Integrated regulation of apical hook development by EIN3/EIL1 and PIFs ($) (Plant Cell)

The apical hook helps to protect the fragile cotyledons and shoot apical meristem while pushing through the soil, and hook angle determines the success of emergence from soil. Multiple hormones and light signals have contrasting roles in the regulation of hook formation; e.g., auxin, ethylene and gibberellic…

A single transcription factor promotes both yield and immunity in rice ($) (Science)

Plants regularly prioritize either growth or defense, leading to reduced growth rate when the plant is under attack. Wang et al. have identified a simple switch  in rice that demonstrates this principle beautifully. The Ideal Plant Architecture 1 (IPA1) transcription factor is involved in controlling…

The Healing Power of Light

Light is life, especially for plants. It fuels photosynthesis and, when perceived by photoreceptors, directs important developmental programs, including photomorphogenesis and shade avoidance. Red and blue light wavelengths activate phytochrome (phy) and cryptochrome (cry) photoreceptors, respectively,…