What We’re Reading: March 24

Have you seen an exciting new paper you’d like to summarize for the community? Contact Mary Williams to inquire about contributing to this series! Reviews: Nature Insight: Plants ($) Nature journal published a special “Plant Insights” section featuring several excellent reviews.  Zipfel and Oldroyd review Plant signalling in symbiosis and immunity (10.1038/nature22009), Bevan et al. … Read more

A community repository of plant illustrations

Guest post by Erin Sparks, Guillaume Lobet, Larry York and Frédéric Bouché It is midnight on a cold winter evening and you are scheduled to give a seminar at 8 am the next morning. All you are missing to complete your presentation is one last graphic to illustrate your conclusions. You wearily open Adobe Illustrator, … Read more

What We’re Reading: March 17

Review: Methods of cell-specific hormone analysis ($) Plant hormones are active at very small quantities and often act differently in different cell types. Various methods, primarily involving mass spectrometry and sensors, have been developed to identify and quantify hormones with cellular-level precision. Novák et al. review these methods and discuss their strengths and limitations, as … Read more

What We’re Reading: March 10

Review: The increasing impact of activity-based protein profiling in plant science Activity-based protein profiling is a proteomics approach that involves covalently labeling reporter tags to subsets of proteins based on their active sites. Morimoto and van der Hoorn define different types of probes and the types of proteins that they bind to. Activity profiling can … Read more

What We’re Reading: March 3

Update: Stomatal biology of CAM plants Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) plants open their stomata at night, decreasing water loss and increasing water-use efficiency as well as drought tolerance. Males and Griffiths review the stomatal biology of CAM plants as compared to C3 plants. For example, CAM stomata are relatively insensitive to blue light, which is … Read more

New Competition! Teaching Tools in Plant Biology pre-proposals: 30 April 2017

Have you got a passion for plant science that you are eager to share? Do you have a favorite paper, experiment, topic, or method that you like to share with undergraduates? Have you found a clever way to engage students and stimulate their curiosity? We want to hear your ideas for new content for The … Read more

What We’re Reading: February 24

Insight: Why we need more non-seed plant models There is much to be learned from comparing plant genomes, but as Rensing writes, currently available genomic data are skewed heavily towards angiosperms. He argues that a richer understanding of plant evolution depends upon gaining insights into the non-seed plants, including ferns, mosses and liverworts, but particularly … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, January 2017

Recently, we’ve been profiling first authors of Plant Cell papers that are selected for In Brief summaries. Here are the first-author profiles from the December issue of The Plant Cell. Michael Sandmann, featured first author of Targeting of A. thaliana KNL2 to centromeres depends on the conserved CENPC-k motif in its C-terminus Current Position: PhD … Read more

What We’re Reading: February 10

Review: Plant diversity change across scales during the Anthropocene ($) We’re living in the Anthropocene, a term that reflects the profound impact of human activities on Earth’s geology and ecology. A hallmark of the Anthropocene is a decrease in biodiversity due to an increase in the rate of extinctions. Vellend et al. examined how plant … Read more

How can genomics help neglected crops fight disease?

Guest post by Kelsey Wood (@klsywd) a PhD student researching the genetics and genomics of plant-pathogen interactions at the University of California, Davis. I recently attended a Plant Pathology symposium on “Genomics Strategies for Developing Sustainable Disease Resistance for Neglected Crops in the Developing World“. The symposium was held at the University of California, Berkeley and … Read more

What We’re Reading: February 3rd

Review: Cyanobacterial metabolites as a source of sunscreens and moisturizers The cosmetic industry uses many different chemicals to produce the seven or so skin care products used by the average American every day. Efforts are underway to develop renewable sources for some of these. Derikvand et al. review the chemistry and potential applications behind compounds … Read more

BotanyOnline: Shared learning-support resources for improving Botanical Literacy

Guest post by Rosanne Quinelle, an Associate Professor in the School of Life and Environmental Science at the University of Sydney, Australia. Proficiency in any discipline requires exposure to both breadth and depth, where “breadth” is akin to acquiring the vocabulary and “depth” is akin to an understanding of the prevailing patterns, the rules of … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 27th

Review: The sexual advantage of looking, smelling and tasting good, the metabolic network that produces signals for pollinators ($) The interaction between angiosperms and their pollinators provides an excellent system to study co-evolution, and underpins the evolution of the biosynthesis of numerous interesting and useful specialized metabolites, from pigments to fragrances. Borghi et al. review … Read more

Alternative careers in science: My experience as an informal educator

By Courtney Price, Education & Outreach Specialist,  Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center & Center for Applied Plant Sciences, and Plantae Fellow With a passion for life science, conservation and education, my academic and professional experience has taken me on a convoluted path. That unique path has led me to my current role as the Education & … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 20th

Two Reviews: CRISPR/Cas for genome engineering in plants, and Genome editing in cereal crops ($) The gene-editing technology CRISPR/Cas, which introduces double-strand breaks that are repaired by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), is best known for the promise it holds in modifying an organism’s DNA sequence without the introduction of exogenous genes. However, as Puchta describes … Read more

In Brief: More than Window Dressing: Revealing 5-Methylcytocine Patterns that Decorate Arabidopsis RNA

IN BRIEF by Jennifer Lockhart jlockhart@aspb.org DNA is sculpted by several types of epigenetic modifications with profound effects on gene expression, development, and stress responses. Much less is known about the more than 100 chemical modifications shaping plant RNA, a topic explored in the newly emerging field of epitranscriptomics (reviewed in Burgess et al., 2016). … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 13

Editorial: Rigorous Science: a How-To Guide Casadevall and Fang set out several proposals for research training to help ensure scientific “rigor”, which they define as promoting confidence in the truth or accuracy of the findings. The authors propose and elaborate on five foundations for scientific rigor: Redundancy in experimental design, recognition of error, intellectual honesty, … Read more

What We’re Reading: January 6th

Review: Transport and homeostasis of K and P ($) Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the three macronutrients required in highest amounts for plant growth. N is abundant in the atmosphere, therefore plentiful if we overlook the energetic costs of converting N2 to usable form. By contrast, K and P are present in … Read more