Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

A cis-regulatory atlas in maize at single-cell resolution (bioRxiv)

Cis-regulatory elements (CREs) are DNA sequences found near or within genic regions that drive proper gene expression in time and space. Thus, CREs play essential roles in the diversification of spatially distinct cell-types with specialized function in multicellular organisms. To identify CREs underlying…

A GRF–GIF chimeric protein improves the regeneration efficiency of transgenic plants (Nature Biotechnol.)

Producing a genetically-modified or -edited plant requires two distinct processes: DNA modification, followed by regeneration of a plant from the edited cells. The first process has been greatly enhanced by CRISPR/Cas9, but the second has continued to present challenges. Here, Debernardi et al. demonstrate…

Highly efficient DNA-free plant genome editing using virally delivered CRISPR–Cas9 (Nature Plants)

CRISPR-Cas is a revolutionary technology that has taken the science of genetic manipulation to higher levels by leaps and bounds. In spite of the ease with which it is used for genome editing, the present delivery methods are not without shortcomings; undesirable effects on non-target regions and…

Review: Applications of CRISPR–Cas in agriculture and plant biotechnology (Nature Rev. Mol. Cell Biol.)

This week’s announcement of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry being awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing” comes as no surprise to many. CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)– Cas (CRISPR-associated…

SNAP ‘n’ Track: Protein localization using fluorescent dyes (Plant Cell)

Proteins’ sub-cellular localizations provide a wealth of information regarding their functional attributes. Protein localization in plant cells is usually done through genetically combining fluorescent proteins to the protein-of-interest. Now, Iwatate and colleagues report the successful localization…

PlaCCI (Plant cell cycle indicator); fluorescent sensor for spatiotemporal cell cycle analysis (Nature Plants)

The cell cycle requires a series of transitions from G1 to S, S to G2, G2 to M and M to G1 phases. Determining the cell cycle phase is critical for understanding the molecular events specific to a given stage of cell cycle. However, markers for identifying these cell cycle transitions in plants are not…

POME: Quantitative and dynamic cell polarity tracking pipeline (bioRxiv)

Many proteins polarize in the cell creating a subcellular niche for various functions. Asymmetric distribution of proteins is a general mechanism for localized growth, directional long-range signaling, cell migration, and asymmetric cell divisions. Well-known examples of polarity proteins include PIN-FORMED1…

Mini foxtail millet as a new C4 model species (Nat. Plants) ($)

The three most widely adopted plant models all use C3 photosynthesis, but discoveries made in these plants are not always applicable to C­4 plants. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) has been emerging as a potential C4 model species, but its use for genomics research is challenging due to long generation…

Real time quantitative imaging of transcriptional activity at the single cell level (bioRxiv)

How plants transcriptionally operate developmental programs and responses to stress in time and space has been an important question in plant biology. Fluorescent protein reporters are commonly used to address this question, but their performance is limited at short timescales (<30 min) before the…