Recent Posts

Structural basis for WUSCHEL binding (bioRxiv)

The transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS) plays a central role in organization of the shoot meristem. The three-helix bundle homeodomain in WUS can bind to several distinct DNA sequence motifs in many target genes promoters, but a structural view of these binding events has been lacking. Here Sloan et al.…

The Way Out: A Transcriptionally Unique Group of Endosperm Cells Implicated in Nutrient Export to the Embryo

Successful development of the maize (Zea mays) kernel requires proper nutrient transport and signaling among its genetically distinct components: the embryo that gives rise to the next generation, the endosperm that nourishes the embryo, and the maternal tissues that surround the embryo and the endosperm…

Metabolic labeling of RNAs uncovers hidden features and dynamics of the Arabidopsis transcriptome (Plant Cell)

The ability to directly sequence RNAs (RNA-seq) has revolutionized our understanding of gene expression, but it can miss or underestimate short-lived RNAs. Several methods have been developed to identify newly-synthesized mRNAs to provide a snapshot of transcription as it happens. Szabo present Neu-seq,…

Reprogramming of root cells during nitrogen-fixing symbiosis involves dynamic polysome association of coding and noncoding RNAs ($) (Plant Cell)

The symbiotic relationship between Rhizobium bacteria and leguminous plants like Medicago results in the development of secondary root organs called nodules. The bacteria housed in the nodule infection zone assimilate atmospheric nitrogen for plant growth. In this paper, Traubenik et al. used (RNA-seq)…

Transcriptomic and cell wall analysis of stinging nettle, an underutilized fibre crop (Plant Direct)

Plant fibres from crops such as flax and hemp have diverse uses from rope to clothing, and are increasingly being incorporated into eco-friendly biocomposite materials.  These long, flexible, useful fibres, called “bast” fibres, are not derived from the xylem, but instead are derived from specialized…

Male sterility in maize after transient heat stress (Plant Physiol)

The corn we eat is a seed, which is a product of fertilization. It is widely known that corn yields are highly susceptible to abiotic stress conditions that occur during the repdroductive stage of development. Begcy et al. used a metabolomic / transcriptomic approach to understand why transient heat…

Molecular mechanisms driving switch behavior in xylem cell differentiation (Cell Reports)

Xylem is involved in the movement of water and mineral nutrients through the plants from the roots to leaves; its cells are not totipotent and undergo programmed cell death. VASCULAR-RELATED NAC-DOMAIN (VND) transcription factors are master switches of xylem cell differentiation in Arabidopsis and much…

Drop-Seq for plants: High-throughput, single cell transcriptomics (Cell Reports)

Drop-Seq is an exciting high-throughput technology for single cell transcriptomics. Using microfluidics, single cells are encapsulated in drops with beads carrying “bar-coded” primers. The RNA from each individual cell is labeled with a unique primer code, then sequenced. Now, Shulse et al. have…

High-temporal-resolution transcriptome landscape of early maize seed development (Plant Cell)

Seeds determine the yield and quality of the plants. In maize, seed development initiates from a double fertilization event where one pollen sperm fuses with the egg and the other with the central cell of female gametophyte to produce the progenitors of embryo and endosperm, respectively. The embryo…