Recent Posts

Review: Structural biology of cell surface receptor–ligand interactions (COPB)

In recent months, a flurry of papers have come out that reveal new insights into the structural interactions of cell-surface receptors with each other and with their ligands. This timely review by Moussu and Santiago captures the highlights, in case you haven’t been following along. The review features…

An insulator of CLE-signaling boosts cell-differentiation in protophloem formation

Waddington’s epigenetic landscape, a famous metaphor in developmental biology, depicts how a stem cell progresses from an undifferentiated state to a differentiated one. To some degree this metaphor can also be applied to root cell differentiation. It’s well-known that the CLE-45 peptide and its…

Cytokinin functions as an asymmetric and anti-gravitropic signal in lateral roots (Nature Comms)

Lateral roots help plants to explore the soil and environmental conditions. Waidmann et al. took advantage of natural variants to understand lateral growth angle by analyzing gravitropic set point angle (GSA). Using Col-0 as a reference, lines that over- or under-respond (steeper or shallower root angle)…

Review: Imaging technologies to uncover the role of Ca2+ signaling in plant nutrient homeostasis (Plant Cell Environ)

Maintaining nutrient homeostasis is ridiculously challenging, in large part due to the tremendous effects individual nutrients have on other nutrients’ uptake and action, as well as the interactions between nutrient homeostasis and environmental conditions. In order to maintain the “right” amount…

Review: Sulfated plant peptide hormones (J. Exp. Bot)

It’s hard to believe that when I was a student we were taught that “plants don’t have peptide hormones”. Since then we’ve discovered many diverse families of plant peptide hormones (see the Teaching Tool on peptide hormones for an excellent overview). Here, Kaufmann and Sauter review one family,…

Plasma membrane-associated receptor like kinases relocalize to plasmodesmata in response to osmotic stress (Plant Phys)

Plasmodesmata are channels through the cell wall that allow molecules and substances to move back and forth as needed; they also play a central role in growth, development and defence of all higher plants. In this study, Grison et al. describe the rapid relocation to the plasmodesmata pores of two plasma…

Forces required for Venus flytrap trigger hairs to detect small insect prey (Nature Plants) ($)

The remarkable adaptations of Venus flytrap traps enable them to sense and respond to insects, snapping shut to capture and then digest the unfortunate meal. Previous studies showed that the sensors, trigger hairs on the inner surface of the leaves, need at least two touches to initiate trap closure.…

Opinion: Plants neither possess nor require consciousness (TIPS)

Don’t miss this opinion article by Taiz et al, which tries to close the door on the eternal question of how to describe and label the ability of plants to perceive and respond to their environment. Are plants intelligent? Can they learn? Do they have consciousness? The article draws on recent studies…

12 inquiry-based labs to explore the 12 principles of plant biology

The 12 Principles of Plant Biology are a framework to support understanding of the critical roles of plants to create, improve and sustain life These 12 inquiry-based activities were developed to support the teaching of plant biology, and are developed for use by students in middle school (approximately…