Recent Posts

Critical plant gene takes unexpected detour that could boost biofuel yields

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 15, 2018 - For decades, biologists have believed a key enzyme in plants had one function--produce amino acids, which are vital to plant survival and also essential to human diets. But for Wellington Muchero, Meng Xie and their colleagues, this enzyme does more than advertised.…

Alternative Splicing Plays a Major Role in Plant Response to Cold Temperatures

Plants in temperate regions experience near-freezing temperatures that allow them to develop a cold response prior to freezing. This cold acclimation process involves changes to chromatin structure, transcription, RNA processing, translation, post-translational modifications and protein stability. Genome-wide…

Review: Entering the next dimension - plant genomes in 3D (Trends Plant Sci)

The three-dimensional arrangement of DNA within the nucleus clearly affects gene expression, but its contribution remains relatively unexplored as compared to other factors. Sotelo-Silveira et al. review new chromosome conformation capture (3C) and derived techniques for assessing genomes in 3D, as well…

RecQ Proteins: Masters of Genome Surveillance

Wiedemann et al. show that RecQ6 in Physcomitrella enhances homologous recombination and gene targeting https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00632.  Background: All living cells have mechanisms to protect their DNA against breaks during duplication and against damage by UV-light or chemicals. RecQ helicases…

Mechanisms of Long-Distance mRNA Movement

Phloem has long been recognized as a tissue that transports carbohydrates and amino acids. In recent years, however, it has also been found that this tissue serves as a conduit for signals, e.g., mRNAs, small RNAs, proteins, small peptides, and hormones.  Several classical studies have shown that certain…

Genome-wide excision repair in Arabidopsis is coupled to transcription and reflects circadian gene expression patterns (Nature Comms)

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation and numerous other factors can cause mispairing of the nucleotides in the DNA, compromising genome integrity. Luckily, plants employ excision repair systems to recognize and repair such DNA damage. Oztas et al. examined the dynamics of such a repair system by using excision…

Rapid generation of a transgene-free powdery mildew resistant tomato by genome deletion (OA)

Using a traditional breeding approach, introducing a single gene into a desirable cultivar requires repeated backcrossing. This lengthy process can be circumvented through genetic engineering (making transgenic plants), but consumer concerns and extensive, expensive regulatory hurdles have stifled many…

MAC3 Proteins Regulate MicroRNA Biogenesis

Li et al. uncovered the roles of MAC3 in miRNA biogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell (2018). By Shengjun Li and Bin Yu Background: microRNAs (miRNAs) are tiny RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. Plants use miRNAs to control development and physiology. Consequently, understanding of the…

Gene Expression Study Reveals Distinct Virulence Modules of Corn Smut Fungus

Lanver et al. investigate fungal gene expression during corn infection by Ustilago maydis. The Plant Cell (2018) https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.17.00764 By Daniel Lanver and Regine Kahmann Background: The corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis is a model organism for studying how fungi can colonize living…