Recent Posts

Review: Molecular regulators of nitrate response in plants (Curr. Biol.)

Nitrate is the major form of nitrogen used by plants in an aerobic crop cultivation scenario. Lamig et al. review recent additions to the already vast knowledge of nitrate signaling. A first line of regulation concerns nitrate uptake through post-transcriptional and post-translational regulation of nitrate…

Review: Protein phosphorylation “toggle switch” for plant iron balance (Trends Plant Sci)

Protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation act as a switch regulating a multitude of protein properties, be it their activity, interaction with other proteins, stability, or even cellular localization. This review by Li et al. describs the many ways that protein phosphorylation contributes to iron…

PDX1.1-dependent vitamin B6 synthesis alleviates ammonium toxicity-associated ROS production (Mol Plant)

Ammonium is a nitrogen form preferred by many plant species. However, high ammonium concentrations lead to decreased primary root elongation due to membrane depolarization and lower apoplastic pH.  Liu et al. report that ammonium toxicity results in iron-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) production…

Nitrate transporter NPF7.9 is a regulator nitrogen use efficiency and stress-induced nitrate allocation to roots in rice (Plant Physiol)

In addition to its role as a nutrient and a developmental signal, nitrate regulates stress responses in plants. By homology to nitrate transporters previously identified in Arabidopsis as contributing to stress induced-nitrate allocation to roots (SINAR) and nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), Guan et al.…

Crosstalk between phosphate transport and plant immunity (Curr. Biol.)

Plants have evolved signaling cascades to survive biotic and abiotic stresses, and recent studies have shown that there is crosstalk between many of these pathways.  In a recent study, Dindas et al. developed a micro-electrode-based system to detect active inorganic phosphate (Pi) transport in Arabidopsis…

Focus Issue on Architecture and Plasticity (Plant Physiol)

The November issue of Plant Physiology is a Focus Issue on Architecture and Plasticity. One of the most intriguing aspects of plant growth and development is the environmental responsiveness (also known as “plasticity”) of plant architecture (growth form). Depending on environmental conditions, roots…

IRON MAN sequesters BTS to activate iron deficiency response (PNAS)

Plants need to maintain an optimum level of iron (Fe) for normal growth and development. Many Fe-responsive molecular players have been identified in Arabidopsis, including the IRON MAN (IMA) peptides. These peptides are induced by Fe deficiency, but their role in maintaining Fe homeostasis remains poorly…
Manuel and his grandfather, Antonio Mora who continues to farm and tend his crops every day, except for Sundays which he reserves for family and church. This image was taken during a hike we shared in Santiago Tangamandapio Michoacan during December 2019, where he took Manuel to share the site and tree where his own grandfather passed.

URM Plant Scientist Highlights - Manuel Mora (he/him)

Manuel Mora (he/him) is a doctoral student in the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Developmental Program (MBIDP)  at UCLA. Born in Santa Ana, CA, Manuel was raised between California and the town of Santiago Tangamandapio in Michoacan, Mexico. Growing up he enjoyed playing soccer, but when living…
An arrow points from left to right, showing steps to sustainable nitrogen use. These include traditional agricultural practices, improved agricultural practices, plant breeding, beneficia N-fixation, and soi N-cycling.

A research road map for responsible use of agricultural nitrogen (Front. Sustain. Food Syst.)

Recently, the UN Environment Programme identified excessive reactive nitrogen (N) resulting from anthropogenic activity as one of the five emerging threats facing our planet. Much of this derives from agricultural practices in which N fertilizers are inefficiently applied to crops, a significant proportion…