"Weeding the Gems" (http://blog.garnetcommunity.org.uk/) is a new community blog from GARNet that posts summaries of papers, events and items of general interest to the plant biology community.
Their latest two posts look at the fungal pathogen Botrytis cinerea. The first is an overview of a paper from The Plant Cell that looks at high resolution transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis to Botrytis (http://dx.doi.org/10.1105/tpc.112.102046).
They follow up with a fun post of a time-lapse video showing what Botrytis does to a strawberry, and a video about how the wine industry sometimes benefits from Botrytis infection - yummy
Fascinating topics from the rumination of a nobel prize laureate!
Public lecture by Sir Paul Nurse FRS...
Sir Paul Nurse FRS, The Rockefeller University
Three of the ideas of biology are the gene theory, the theory of evolution by natural selection and the proposal that the cell is the fundamental unit of all life. When considering the question of ‘what is life?’ these ideas come together, because the special way cells reproduce provides the conditions by which natural selection takes place allowing living organisms to evolve. A fourth idea is that the organization of chemistry within the cell provides explanations for life’s phenomena. A new idea is the nature of biological self organization on which living cells and organisms process information and acquire specific forms. Sir Paul Nurse will discuss how these great ideas have influenced and changed the way we think of science today.
What's behind the pretty cover of this week's Nature? An interesting article that shows that like animals, plants have an "hourglass" pattern of gene expression during embryogenesis. That is, if you plot the stage of embryogenesis on the y axis, and on the x axis either evolutionary age or sequence divergence of transcribed genes, you find that in mid-embryogenesis (torpedo stage), the genes expressed are relatively old/ conserved. This finding is particularly interesting because a similar pattern has been found during animal embryogenesis. Of course, since animals and plants evolved embryos independently, this means that this pattern has arisen independently - it is convergent, not conserved.
In plants, the hourglass pattern forms in part because some young genes expressed during early embryogenesis shut off prior to the torpedo stage, and then other young genes involved in maturation switch on in late embryogenesis.
Here is how the authors interpret their results, ".. convergent evolution of a molecular hourglass pattern in animals and plants suggests operation of a fundamental developmental profile controlling the expression of evolutionarily young or rapidly evolving genes across kingdoms. We speculate that such a mechanism may be required for enabling spatio-temporal organization and differentiation of complex multicellular life."
This is one of the most common conversation topics. The link above leads to a very nice article I was told about. It deals mostly with motherhood during the PhD, but it also covers other subjects related to PhD and what kind of change, or re-evaluation, is needed in academia.
The author is Mary Ann Mason,
Source: chronicle.com (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
and I heard about it from Plant Biology Teaching Resources (here in Scoop.it)
Clever! Plants engineered to use phosphite as a sole phosphorus source - they require less phosphorous than when fertilized by orthophosphate, and they outcompete weeds, which can't use phosphite! Nice study, big implications! ($)
The authors introduce this paper by referring to earlier findings that DNA sequences bound by TALE proteins correspond to sequence of the protein, meaning that site-specific DNA proteins can be designed.
This new article uncovers the code that confers the specificity by which PPR (pentatricopeptide repeat) proteins bind RNA, paving the way for designed RNA-binding proteins.
Here is their conclusion:
"PPR proteins play essential roles in all eucaryotes by enabling the expression of specific mitochondrial and chloroplast genes. Even for well-studied PPR proteins ... the exact binding sites still await discovery. The results and approaches described here offer the potential to eliminate this bottleneck by permitting candidate sites to be postulated from simple sequence analysis, providing information that will have broad application in the medical and agricultural sciences".
Mycorrhizal root endosymbiosis is an ancient property of land plants. Two parallel studies now provide novel insight into the mechanism driving this interaction and how it is used by other filamentous microbes like pathogenic oomycetes.
You know those songs that you love so much that you cry because they're over? Well, cry no more with the Inifinite Jukebox by Paul Lamere. Inspired by Infinite Gangnam Style, the Infinite Jukebox lets you upload a song, and it'll figure out how to cut the beats and piece them back together for a version of that song that goes forever.
Plant secondary metabolites play critical roles in plant-environment interactions. They are synthesized in different organs or tissues at particular developmental stages, and in response to various environmental stimuli, both biotic and abiotic. Accordingly, corresponding genes are regulated at the transcriptional level by multiple transcription factors. Several families of transcription factors have been identified to participate in controlling the biosynthesis and accumulation of secondary metabolites. These regulators integrate internal (often developmental) and external signals, bind to corresponding cis-elements — which are often in the promoter regions — to activate or repress the expression of enzyme-coding genes, and some of them interact with other transcription factors to form a complex. In this review, we summarize recent research in these areas, with an emphasis on newly-identified transcription factors and their functions in metabolism regulation.
Where's The Beef?The Jewish WeekToday, Klein operates a vegetarian eatery in the New Haven JCC, Mike's Center Café, which offers a health-conscious menu featuring salads, soups, smoothies, and more, in addition to a full-service vegan bakery (eggs...
I gave a public lecture tonight on the topic of "Why are Plants Fascinating". I was asked to speak on this topic as one of the organizers of the "Fascination of Plants Day" event at the local botanic garden. I spent part of my time talking about the role of light in the life of a plant, and much of the rest talking about the amazing chemical diversity of plants, and how they have a chemical language through which they interact with other organisms. I concluded with some of the challenges to plants and the production of food brought about by environmental change, including changes in rainfall patterns.
It was a lot of fun, and the audience found it "fascinating". If you get the opportunity to speak to the public about plants, say "yes". Plant biologists really do know a lot of fascinating things about plants, and we need to take advantage of opportunities to share our insights with the "plant blind" world.
This is a good article for young scientists. Sometimes the young and naive don't get the credit they deserve. Be prepared to argue for the credit you are due, and discuss authorship early in the project.
"Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) recommends that researchers decide who will be an author and what order they will be listed in before they even conduct experiments, and that the group revisits the author list as a project evolves. A handshake isn't enough to seal the deal — researchers should keep author agreements in writing."
This new paper "uncovers a mechanism of subcellular communication whereby ethylene stimulates phosphorylation-dependent cleavage and nuclear movement of the EIN2-C′ peptide, linking hormone perception and signaling components in the ER with nuclear-localized transcriptional regulators".