New Teaching Tool: It’s not easy being not green

There’s a new Teaching Tool in town! It’s not easy being not green: the making of a parasitic plant – By Caitlin E. Conn and David C. Nelson. This Teaching Tool explores the biology and evolution of parasitic plants, and their impact on agriculture. In the last portion of the Teaching Tool, the molecular evolution … Read more

Plant Cell papers get cited: non-citation rate is zero

by Nan Eckardt, Senior Features Editor, The Plant Cell  neckardt@aspb.org Update 5/9/2017: So I couldn’t get that poor paper out of my mind – the only one pubished in The Plant Cell prior to 2015 that, apparently, had received zero citations to date, and decided to double-check. Turns out the paper is listed incorrectly in … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, March and April 2017

Rakesh David, featured first author of Transcriptome-wide Mapping of RNA 5-Methylcytosine in Arabidopsis mRNAs and non-coding RNAs Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology, University of Adelaide. Education: PhD, Plant Molecular Biology, Plant Science Division, Research School of Biology, Australian National University, Australia. Non-scientific Interests: Cycling, cricket, movies and reading. … Read more

What We’re Reading: April 14

Note: Read Why We’re Writing “What We’re Reading” Review: Ion transport at the vacuole during stomatal movement Gas exchange and transpiration are regulated by the stomatal aperture, which is itself regulated by the changes in volume of the guard cells that overlie the stomatal pore. When triggered to open, solutes such as K+ and Cl– … Read more

What We’re Reading: April 7

Note: See Why We’re Writing “What We’re Reading” Review: Ammonium as a signal for physiological and morphological responses ($) Ammonium is one of the major forms in which nitrogen is assimilated. Besides being a nutrient, it also acts as signal that affects gene expression and root system architecture. Some ammonium-induced genes are also induced by … Read more

Why we’re writing “What We’re Reading”

In Episode 36 of the classic comedy television show I Love Lucy, Lucy and her friend Ethel get a job wrapping chocolates in a candy factory. Their boss warns, “If one piece of candy gets past you and into the packing room unwrapped, you’re fired!” Naturally, as the candy conveyer belt moves faster and faster, … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, February 2017

Masanori Izumi, featured first author of Entire Photodamaged Chloroplasts Are Transported to the Central Vacuole by Autophagy Current Position: Assistant Professor, Frontier Research Institute for Interdisciplinary Sciences, Tohoku University. Education: Ph.D. (2012), Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Tohoku University, Japan. Non-scientific Interests: Playing tennis, Travel to Japanese hot springs. When I was an undergraduate student, … Read more

What We’re Reading: March 31

Review: Wheat genomics comes of age Due to its highly repetitive, polyploid genome, wheat genomics has lagged behind that of other cereals, but new tools promise to begin closing that gap.  Uauy reviews these new tools, which include access to full genomes of several wheat varieties, gene expression data from hundreds of publicly available RNA-sequencing … 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

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

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

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

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