What We’re Reading: Dec 2

Featured Review: Programmed Cell Death in Development and Disease Programmed cell death (PCD) is an active process that occurs as part of normal development and also contributes to defense against pathogens. While there are many similarities in developmental PCD (dPCD) and pathogen-triggered PCD (pPCD), there are also differences. Huysmans et al. review and contrast these … Read more

What We’re Reading: November 25

Featured Review: The Broad Footprint of Climate Change From Genes to Biomes to People ($) In this review, Scheffers et al. collate a vast amount of data to summarize the impact of climate change on terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems; their findings are sobering. A key conclusion is that across the 94 processes analyzed, 84% … Read more

What We’re Reading: November 18

Featured Review: Effects of water stress on rhizodeposition Rhizodeposition refers to the release of organic compounds from roots into soil. Rhizodeposits alter the composition and structure of soil and also provide food for soil microbes whose actions can increase the bioavailability of soil organic matter. Preece and Peñuelas review how drought affects rhizodeposition, which in … Read more

What We’re Reading: Nov 11

We start with a trio of papers that explore plant cell proliferation Featured Review: Plants grow with a little help from their organelle friends ($) Mitochondria and chloroplasts are semi-autonomous organelles that provide cells with energy, metabolites and hormones. Van Dingenen et al. review organelles’ dynamic roles during organ growth. As an obvious example, many … Read more

What We’re Reading: Nov 4

Featured Review: Role of Mass Spectrometry in Biology Mass spectrometry (MS) has become a core tool for molecular and structural biology. Lössl et al. review the history of MS and provide an accessible explanation for how it works and its applications, with numerous examples. This is a must-read for students of biochemistry as well as … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, October 2016

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 October issue of The Plant Cell. Olivia Wilkins and Christoph Hafemeister, featured first authors of EGRINs (Environmental Gene Regulatory Influence Networks) in Rice That Function in the Response to Water Deficit, … Read more

What We’re Reading: Oct 28

Featured Review: Evolution of ROS signaling ($) Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are partially reduced or excited forms of oxygen (for example, O2·−) that are reactive and damaging towards cellular components. Because ROS are produced as byproducts of metabolism, cells have evolved ROS detoxification pathways; more than 150 Arabidopsis genes contribute to ROS detoxification. Inupakutika et … Read more

What We’re Reading: October 21

Featured Review: Update of Arabidopsis floral meristem formation ($) Genetic approaches using Arabidopsis have identified key players in the initiation and elaboration of floral meristems and flowers. These core findings are now expanded to encompass the roles of hormone fluxes and mechanical forces, and systems-wide modeling of gene regulatory networks. In this review, Denay et … Read more

What We’re Reading: Oct 14th

Featured Review: Celebrating 150 years since Mendel’s Discoveries ($) This review describes Mendel’s seminal work and how it laid the foundation for today’s plant breeding (as well as all of genetics). Smýka et al. trace the evolution of our understanding from Mendel’s discrete traits through continuous traits and quantitative trait loci (including the contributions of … Read more

A Fresh Look at the Role of Auxin in PIN Trafficking

This Commentary, written by Emily Larson, is from the October issue of Plant Physiology. The spatial and temporal accumulation of auxins promotes and regulates polarized, gravitropic, and phototropic growth in plants. The proteins involved in initiating and maintaining the auxin gradients have been studied and remain active areas of research in the hormonal regulation of … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, September 2016

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 September issue of The Plant Cell. Inmaculada Couso, featured first author of Synergism between inositol polyphosphates and TOR kinase signaling in nutrient sensing, growth control and lipid metabolism in Chlamydomonas Current … Read more

In Brief. Field of genes: Uncovering Environmental Gene Regulatory Influence Networks in Rice that Function During High-temperature and Drought Stress

This Research in Focus is reprinted from an In Brief by Science Editor Jennifer Lockhart in The Plant Cell, which summarizes a new article by Wilkins et al. This study explores stress response networks in rice using by combining chromatin accessibility analysis with co-expression data and network inference algorithms. Heat and drought stress greatly restrict … Read more

In Brief. Swept Away: Protein Mobility in the Phloem

This Research in Focus is reprinted from an In Brief by Science Editor Jennifer Mach in The Plant Cell, which summarizes a new article by Paultre et al. This study explores how proteins move through the phloem. Transport of macromolecules through the phloem has received increasing interest since the discovery that FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) … Read more

New in Plant Physiology: Laticifer Function and Development

This Research in Focus is written by science writer Peter Minorsky (ASPB and Mercy College) who writes the monthly On the Inside column for Plant Physiology. This summary describes a paper by Castelblanque et al., in the October 2016 issue. Laticifers are specialized cells (or row of cells) that synthesize and accumulate latex. The latex … Read more

In Brief: A Breakthrough in Monocot Transformation Methods

This week’s Research in Focus is reprinted from an In Brief by Science Editor Nancy Hofmann in The Plant Cell, which summarizes a new article by  Lowe et al. This study uncovers a new way to transform and regenerate plants in culture, greatly increasing the efficiency. The method involves expressing genes that promote developmental transitions, … Read more

Pushing back the dawn of life

Our understandings of the forces that have shaped Earth and the forces that have shaped life on Earth have common roots. Charles Darwin was famously inspired by the work of early geologists such as Charles Lyell, who proposed that Earth was subject to slow but gradual change. This idea recurs in Darwin’s insights about evolution … Read more

Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors, August 2016

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 August issue of The Plant Cell. Aman Y. Husbands and Vasudha Aggarwal, featured first authors of In Planta Single-Molecule Pull-down (SiMPull) Reveals Tetrameric Stoichiometry of HD-ZIPIII:LITTLE ZIPPER Complexes. Aman Y. Husbands … Read more

Food for thought: Digital farming, Food Computers and OpenAg

There’s a lot of buzz right now about indoor farming. I’m sure you’ve seen photos of fuchsia-illuminated lettuces hydroponically growing in abandoned warehouses, airplane hangars, and disused subway terminals (see for examples here and here and here.)  One of the goals of these programs is to cut the energy costs of food shipping, and another … Read more

Chemical Inhibition of Lignification

Chemical genetics is a powerful complement to conventional genetics. Rather than knocking out gene functions, protein (or other) functions can be perturbed through the addition of small molecules. One advantage is that several related proteins can be affected at the same time, avoiding the difficulties that come from genetic redundancy. Another is that treatment regimes … Read more

Molecular Insights into the Evolution of Floral Heads in the Asteraceae

When is a flower not a flower? When it’s an inflorescence (cue laughter). Plants in the family Asteraceae produce inflorescences that look like single flowers, but are actually made up of hundreds of individual flowers. In many species, their are two types of flowers. The ray flowers (also known as ray florets) produce an elongated … Read more