Recent Posts

Hydrogen Cyanide Regulation by S-Cyanylation

Despite its toxicity, cyanide has been proposed to act as a regulator of several biological processes such as seed dormancy and germination, resistance to fungal and viral infection. Arabidopsis null mutants of the mitochondrial enzyme β-CYANOALANINE SYNTHASE (CAS-C1) accumulate cyanide to apparently…

Setting and Diffusing the Cyanide Bomb in Plant Defense

Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a potent inhibitor of cytochrome c oxidase, a conserved component of the respiratory electron transport chain in all aerobic life. Thus, HCN is well suited to serve as a broad-spectrum chemical defense, and indeed it plays such a role in many interactions between plants and…

Update: Engineering of metabolic pathways using synthetic enzyme complexes

By Nicholas Smirnoff, University of Exeter. This article is part of the forthcoming Synthetic Biology focus issue. Plants provide a source of enzymes for metabolic engineering to produce valuable or useful products in micro-organisms or can themselves be engineered (Andre et al., 2016; Vickery et…

How Peroxisomes Modulate Chloroplast Activity in a Microalga

Background: Chloroplasts are the major powerhouse of plant and algal cells, where photosynthesis—the conversion of carbon dioxide into organic compounds using sunlight energy—occurs. Chloroplasts are also where important cell components (such as membrane lipids and pigments) and energy-rich compounds…

Taking the TOC/TIC path to the chloroplast

Richardson et al. explore the molecular topology of the chloroplast transit peptide and its nucleotide-dependent movement within the chloroplast protein import channel. Plant Cell https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00172. By Lynn GL Richardson and Danny J Schnell Background: Chloroplasts, the site…

Setting and Diffusing the Cyanide Bomb in Plant Defense

Hydrogen cyanide (HCN) is a potent inhibitor of cytochrome c oxidase, a conserved component of the respiratory electron transport chain in all aerobic life. Thus, HCN is well suited to serve as a broad-spectrum chemical defense, and indeed it plays such a role in many interactions between plants and…

Review: Changing form and function through carotenoids and synthetic biology (Plant Physiol)

Plants produce hundreds of carotenoids with functions ranging from photoprotection to signalling, and with important roles in human health as well. Wurtzel describes opportunities arising from applying the tools of synthetic biology to carotenoids. The regulation of carotenoid biosynthesis is complex,…

Inhibition of TOR, Nitrogen Assimilation, and Amino Acid Biosynthesis: Lessons from Chlamydomonas

To survive, organisms must sense their nutritional status (including nutrient availability and quality) and regulate their growth and metabolism accordingly. In plants, animals, and fungi, the Target of Rapamycin (TOR) kinase regulates metabolism, nutrient sensing, and growth (reviewed in Dobrenel et…

Studies have found that key enzymes of plant oxalate metabolism affect corn nutrition quality

(From a press release written in Chinese - original here) On September 10th , The Plant Cell published a research paper entitled Maize Oxalyl-CoA Decarboxylase1 Degrades Oxalate and Affects the Seed Metabolome and Nutritional Quality by the Wu Yongrui Research Group of the Institute of Plant and Plant…