Recent Posts

Suns out, guns out: Plant defense responses are enhanced under long-day photoperiods ($)

As sessile organisms, plants must constantly sense and respond to a dynamic range of stimuli in their environment, which includes both the duration of light (photoperiod) and the presence of microbial invaders. In a recent article published in Plant Physiology, Cagnola et al. (2018) investigate how plant…

Reconstituting Arabidopsis CRY2 signaling pathway in mammalian cells reveals regulation of transcription by direct binding of CRY2 to DNA (Cell Rep)

Cryptochromes (CRYs) are blue-light receptors that were first identified in plants more than 20 years ago, but with modes of action that have remained obscure. Yang, Mo, and Yu, et al. reassembled this blue-light signaling module in mammalian cells in order to better understand CRY function. Previously,…

Opinion. Location matters: Canopy light responses over spatial scales ($) (Trends Plant Sci)

Light is arguably one of the most important signals recognized by plants. Not surprisingly, plants exhibit a wide range of light responses, ranging from cell-specific to large-scale. Küpers et al. review these responses, with an emphasis on their spatial scales. For example, the production of extrafloral…

Etioplasts: The Role of Digalactosyldiacylglycerol

In dark-grown plants, the plastids of cotyledon cells develop as etioplasts. Etioplasts contain unique internal lattice membrane structures called prolamellar bodies (PLBs) and lamellar prothylakoids (PTs). PLBs accumulate protochlorophyllide (Pchlide), a chlorophyll intermediate, in a complex with NADPH…

Tomato fruit localized phytochromes regulate chloroplast biogenesis, starch synthesis and carotenoid metabolism (J. Exp. Bot)

The earliest report about the influence of light quality in tomato fruit biology dates back to 1954, in which it was shown that red /far red light regulates fruit pigmentation reversibly. Using fruit-specific RNAi silencing of SlPHYA, SlPHYB2 or SlPHYB1/B2, Bianchetti and co-workers  have shown the…

Roles of AGCVIII kinases in the hypocotyl phototropism of Arabidopsis seedlings (Plant Cell Physiol.)

Phosphorylation and de-phosphorylation are fundamental events for signal transduction. Phytohormone and light signaling are no exception in this case. Plants face towards light by creating lateral auxin gradient between exposed and shaded sides. This asymmetric auxin distribution is mediated through…

Phytochrome B mutants discern distinct roles of PIF degradation and sequestration (Plant Cell)

The interaction between phytochromes and phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs) is key to light signaling. Both sequestration and degradation of PIFs occurs, and Park et al. have explored the relative contributions of these two PIF fates to the light response. They studied two mutants, one with a point…

Root-expressed phytochrome B1 and B2 regulate shoot growth in nature (Plant Cell Environ.)

Light is not only a driving force of photosynthesis, but also an important environmental signal. Oh et al. report that a number of light sensing phytochromes are expressed in roots of native tobacco (N. attenuata) at higher levels than in the shoots. The authors investigated the roles of those root phytochromes…

Regulation of Arabidopsis hypocotyl growth by transcriptional regulators (PNAS)

The integration of light-based environmental signals with photoreceptors and transcriptional regulators is essential for coordinating plant growth, development and energy production. One such integrator of light and signaling components is the Arabidopsis thaliana TANDEM ZINC-FINGER PLUS3 (TZP). TZP…