Recent Posts

Modulating plant growth–metabolism coordination for sustainable agriculture

Green revolution varieties of rice and wheat are dwarfed, making them resistant to lodging, and DELLA proteins contribute to this dwarfing. At the same time, green-revolution varieties are not very good at taking up nitrogen, so much of the applied fertilizer is wasted (and polluting). Li et al. have…

A conserved role for flavonoids in the protection of plant tissues from UV damage ($)

The transition from aquatic to terrestrial environments exposed the earliest land plants to higher doses of damaging ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation. To cope with this stress, land plants evolved complex signalling mechanisms and an inventory of protective ‘sunscreen-like’ flavonoids. To explore whether…

Heat Trims the Fat: HIL1 Functions in Lipid Homeostasis

Global climate change is one of the most pressing issues facing our world today. The impact of increasing temperatures can be felt in diverse areas, including human health and disease, natural ecosystems, and food security. In the agricultural sector, deciphering how plants respond to changing environmental…

Diterpenoid Metabolism in Switchgrass

Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial C4 grass native to North America primarily valued as a next-generation feedstock for biofuel production. Its high net energy yield and 
wide habitat range make switchgrass an attractive crop for cultivation on marginal lands with minimal agronomic inputs,…

Diterpenoid Defense in Host- and Non-host Disease Resistance in Rice

Lu et al. show that diterpenoids contribute to disease resistance in rice. Plant Cell. (2018). https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00205 Background: Rice (Oryza sativa) is an important food crop. Diseases caused by the fungal blast pathogen Magnaporthe oryzae and bacterial leaf blight pathogen Xanthomonas…

Paint the tobacco red: Anthocyanin production in tobacco cells lines

Anthocyanins are common plant pigments that provide dietary benefits, causing an increase in their use as a food coloring agents. However, purifying anthocyanins from current plant sources (such as waste grape skins, red cabbage and berries) is expensive and creates a variable product. Modifying biosynthetic…

Subcellular Spice Trade Routes: Crocin Biosynthesis in the Saffron Crocus (Crocus sativus)

Commentary by Trevor H. Yeats and Raimund Nagel Saffron is produced from the stigmas and styles of Crocus sativus flowers and is one of the most expensive spices. In C. sativus, both stigma and style are intensely crimson red in color due to the presence of three major classes of apocarotenoids: crocins,…

Managing Competing Interests: Partitioning S between Glutathione and Protein Synthesis

Sulfur (S) is an essential element for cell function and responses to the environment. The primary S source is sulfate, which, following uptake by specific transporters, is reduced and incorporated into the amino acids Cysteine (Cys) and Methionine, and thereafter into proteins and peptides, including…

A Lipid Synthesis Enzyme Confers Freezing Tolerance

Despite major advances in understanding cold signaling, cold acclimation, and freezing protection in model and crop species, and extensive studies of natural variation in freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis accessions, the question of which genes and mechanisms underlie freezing tolerance of wild species…