Recent Posts

Auronidins are a previously unreported class of flavonoid pigments that challenge anthocyanin biosynthesis evolved in plants (OA) (PNAS)

Plants produce pigments as a protective strategy against biotic and abiotic stress. In angiosperms, anthocyanins are the main flavonoids that play a role in this function. As the early-diverging land plant, Marchantia polymorpha also produces red pigments in response to environmental conditions, it was…

The “Ins and Outs” of ER–Chloroplast Lipid Trafficking

Karki et al. revisit the long-standing question of how and where lipid trafficking occurs during galactolipid synthesis. They report evidence for metabolically distinct pools of phosphatidylcholine, suggesting an underlying spatial organization in the ER–chloroplast metabolic interactions. Plant Cell…

Two bifunctional inositol pyrophosphate kinases/phosphatases control plant phosphate homeostasis (eLIFE)

Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and development. P is predominantly absorbed by plants in its inorganic form, phosphate (Pi). Because Pi homeostasis is critical for balanced growth and development, plants like many other eukaryotic organisms have developed a complex system…

Predicting metabolism during growth by osmotic cell expansion (bioRxiv)

Growth is driven by cell expansion, which is driven by both synthesis of metabolites and osmotically-driven expansion. This latter contribution is typically overlooked in metabolic flux analysis. To remedy this, Shameer et al. have developed a model, GrOE-FBA (Growth by Osmotic Expansion- Flux Balance…

Review: The evolution of betalain biosynthesis in Caryophyllales (New Phytol)

In the flowering plant order Caryophyllales (which includes beets), betalains substitute for anthocyanins, which are the most common form of pigmentation across the land plant phylogeny. Also found in the Basidiomycota fungal lineage, betalains are tyrosine-derived pigments that comprise of two groups…

Plant Direct Q&A with Joshua Windhalm

What does your lab work on? We combine functional genomics with synthetic biology approaches to study the metabolism of redox-active plant natural products that can harnessed for applications relevant to agriculture and human health.  We are particularly interested in specialized quinones like…

Critical residues for carotenoid biosynthesis by phytoene synthase (Plant Phys)

Carotenoids are diverse structures that contribute to photosynthetic light harvesting and serve as pigments, photoprotectants, and precursors for vitamin A and signalling molecules. Phytoene synthase is the first committed enzyme for carotenoid synthesis, and in tomato it is encoded by two genes, PSY1…

A specialized metabolic network selectively modulates Arabidopsis root microbiota (Science)

Plants have evolved to adapt to varied environmental niches. The ability to produce specialized metabolites is one of the evolved characteristics which help plants to thrive through varied biotic and abiotic conditions. Plant-associated microbes are always known to have a drastic impact on plant growth…

Gene networks underlying cannabinoid and terpenoid accumulation in cannabis (Plant Physiol)

Recent changes in the legal status of cannabis and cannabis-products have allowed renewed scientific interest in the genetic and metabolic basis of cannabis’ effects as well as the regulatory issues related to quality control of the products. Many varieties of Cannabis spp. have poorly documented pedigrees,…