Recent Posts

Flowering time in the real world (Nature Plants)

There are pros and cons to growing plants in controlled conditions. On the one hand, controlling light, temperature, humidity and other environmental factors should aid reproducibility between experiments and labs. But what if the conditions used profoundly and unexpectedly affect the process you are…

Red Light and the Plasma Membrane H+-ATPase in Guard Cells

Stomatal opening is stimulated by light, including blue and red light. Blue light-induced stomatal opening is fairly well understood: it is mediated by blue-light photoreceptor phototropins (phot1 and phot2). Blue light activates the plasma membrane (PM) H+-ATPase via phosphorylation of its penultimate…

Esculin, a Sucrose Proxy for Phloem Transport

The study of phloem transport and its vital roles in long distance communication and carbon allocation have been hampered by a lack of suitable tools that allow high-throughput, real-time studies. Since the 1970s, several studies have used 11C or 14C isotopes to measure rates of phloem transport in large…

An Improved Tool for Mapping the Membrane-Associated Protein Interactome

Protein-protein interactions mediate fundamental biological processes. Yeast two-hybrid assays can be used to detect protein-protein interactions in a fast and large-scale manner. However, in traditional yeast-two hybrid assays, the prey and bait proteins must be located in the nucleus to activate reporter…

Review: Harnessing synthetic chemistry to probe and hijack auxin signaling (New Phytol)

Auxin has been studied since Charles Darwin observed the phototropic response. More recently, chemical genetic approaches using auxin agonists and antagonists have been applied to studies of auxin. Torii et al. review how synthetic chemistry and chemical genetics have provided insights into and new tools…

Review: X-ray fluorescence microscopy imaging (Plant Physiol.)

Kopittke et al. review the use of synchrotron-based X-ray fluorescence microscopy as a tool to quantify and localize diverse elements in plants. The authors describe how this method can be used to study nutrients in plants and human foods, as well as metal hyperaccumulating plants, and toxic metal(oid)…

Carbon nanotubes deliver functional genetic material into mature plants without DNA integration

Introducing DNA or RNA into plant cells remains a challenge. Demirer et al. describe a new method for transient expression studies through delivery of DNA or RNA via carbon nanotubes (CNTs); the size of the nanoparticles is smaller than the exclusion limit for plant cell walls. The authors show that…

Genome-scale sequence disruption following biolistic transformation in rice and maize (bioRxiv)

The two classic approaches to introducing DNA into a plant’s genome are by harnessing Agrobacterium tumefaciens’ fascinating gene-transfer skill, or by shooting the new DNA into the cell using a “biolistic” (gun) approach. Because of Agrobacterium’s restricted choice of hosts, the biolistic…

A single cis-element that controls cell-type specific expression in Arabidopsis (bioRxiv)

Multicellular organisms have different tissues that carry out diverse and specialized functions, and tissue-specific expression is the feature that gives each tissue its specific protein content. Despite its importance, the mechanisms that control spatial patterning is poorly understood. In this work,…