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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
Curated by Mary Williams
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Regulation of Specialized Metabolism by WRKY Transcription Factors

Regulation of Specialized Metabolism by WRKY Transcription Factors | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

WRKY transcription factors (TFs) are well known for regulating plant abiotic and biotic stress tolerance. However, much less is known about how WRKY TFs affect plant-specialized metabolism. Analysis of WRKY TFs regulating the production of specialized metabolites emphasizes the values of the family outside of traditionally accepted roles in stress tolerance. WRKYs with conserved roles across plant species seem to be essential in regulating specialized metabolism. Overall, the WRKY family plays an essential role in regulating the biosynthesis of important pharmaceutical, aromatherapy, biofuel, and industrial components, warranting considerable attention in the forthcoming years.

 

 


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SEB Prague 2015, 29 June - 3 July

SEB Prague 2015, 29 June - 3 July | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

In addition to the exciting science sessions, I'd like to highlight three events I've helped to organize at this upcoming meeting:

Careers Day Monday 29th June (I'm running the publishing workshop; http://www.sebiology.org/meetings/Prague/careersday.html)
Innovations in Undergraduate Education Tues 30th June 11:00 - 17:00 (http://www.sebiology.org/meetings/Prague/education.html)


Women in Science dinner Wed 1 July, featuring Susan Singer, plant biologist and Director of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation.


See you there?

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Climate variation explains a third of global crop yield variability

Climate variation explains a third of global crop yield variability | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"While some areas show no significant influence of climate variability, in substantial areas of the global breadbaskets, >60% of the yield variability can be explained by climate variability. Globally, climate variability accounts for roughly a third (~32–39%) of the observed yield variability."
Nice paper to remind students of the need for genetic diversity even within major crops like rice, wheat, maize and soybean, as they are grown in regions with tremendously varying conditions and stresses.

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Photosynthesis and citizen science

Photosynthesis and citizen science | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
By building PhotosynQ - a handheld device with sensors and an online data-sharing and analysis platform - a team of MSU researchers is creating the plant-science equivalent of Facebook.
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ISME J: Exploring functional contexts of symbiotic sustain within lichen-associated bacteria by comparative omics

ISME J: Exploring functional contexts of symbiotic sustain within lichen-associated bacteria by comparative omics | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Symbioses represent a frequent and successful lifestyle on earth and lichens are one of their classic examples. Recently, bacterial communities were identified as stable, specific and structurally integrated partners of the lichen symbiosis, but their role has remained largely elusive in comparison to the well-known functions of the fungal and algal partners. We have explored the metabolic potentials of the microbiome using the lung lichen Lobaria pulmonaria as the model. Metagenomic and proteomic data were comparatively assessed and visualized by Voronoi treemaps. The study was complemented with molecular, microscopic and physiological assays. We have found that more than 800 bacterial species have the ability to contribute multiple aspects to the symbiotic system, including essential functions such as (i) nutrient supply, especially nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur, (ii) resistance against biotic stress factors (that is, pathogen defense), (iii) resistance against abiotic factors, (iv) support of photosynthesis by provision of vitamin B12, (v) fungal and algal growth support by provision of hormones, (vi) detoxification of metabolites, and (vii) degradation of older parts of the lichen thallus. Our findings showed the potential of lichen-associated bacteria to interact with the fungal as well as algal partner to support health, growth and fitness of their hosts. We developed a model of the symbiosis depicting the functional multi-player network of the participants, and argue that the strategy of functional diversification in lichens supports the longevity and persistence of lichens under extreme and changing ecological conditions.


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Remote sensing of soil moisture and plant growth - then and now (fascinating!)

Remote sensing of soil moisture and plant growth - then and now (fascinating!) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A new satellite will help probe the unknowns about what global warming will do to the planet's fertility
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Best of Plants 2014: A few research highlights, summaries and educational resources, and some fun

Best of Plants 2014: A few research highlights, summaries and educational resources, and some fun | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

A very few research highlights

Biosensors: Plant biologists FRET over stress. Two independent research labs have developed fluorescent biosensors to report the levels of the stress hormone, abscisic acid, within cells in living plants in real-time. http://elifesciences.org/content/3/e02763

PLETHORA gradient formation mechanism separates auxin responses. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v515/n7525/full/nature13663.html

Multiscale digital Arabidopsis predicts individual organ and whole-organism growth. http://www.pnas.org/content/111/39/E4127.abstract

The Structure of the Catalytic Domain of a

Plant cellulose synthase and its assembly into dimers. http://www.plantcell.org/content/26/7/2996.abstract

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v510/n7503/full/nature13179.html

A reference genome for common bean and genome-wide analysis of dual domestications. http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v46/n7/full/ng.3008.html


Research syntheses and other educational resources

The Art of Being Flexible: How to Escape from Shade, Salt, and Drought http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/1/5

Epigenetic Memory for Stress Response and Adaptation in Plants http://pcp.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/11/1859.abstract

Traversing organizational scales in plant salt-stress responses http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369526614001435

Rice special issue in Nature http://www.nature.com/nature/outlook/rice/

Plant Physiology published Focus Issues on

Water (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/164/4.toc),  

Roots (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/2.toc),

Weed Control (http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/166/3.toc),  and

The Plant Cell started the year with an excellent set of review articles on Photobiology (http://www.plantcell.org/content/26/1.toc).

CourseSource. CourseSource is an open-access journal of peer-reviewed teaching resources for undergraduate biological sciences; the development of these resources, including plant-based resources, was supported by ASPB and BSA. http://www.coursesource.org/

The Plant Detectives Manual. A research-led approach for teaching plant science, by Gonzalo M. Estavillo, Ulrike Mathesius, Michael Djordjevic and Adrienne B. Nicotra. http://press.anu.edu.au/titles/anu-etext/the-plant-detectives-manual/

Campus Flora Oz App. Explore campus flora on your phone! https://campusflora.wordpress.com/

Countdown to 400: Oxford Herbarium’s ongoing weekly series of plants, counting downt to its 400th anniversary!  http://herbaria.plants.ox.ac.uk/bol/plants400

In 2014, Teaching Tools in Plant Biology started a series of topics on plant physiology, including water relations and plant nutrition! http://www.plantcell.org/site/teachingtools/teaching.xhtml


Finally, some end of year fun

Fifi the Oomycete, a holiday song, by Kamoun Lab. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9ikfDWZaT8&feature=youtu.be

#AdventBotany. By Alastair Culham and Dr. M. (AKA Jonathan Mitchley) (@BotanyRNG and @drmgoeswild) http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/crg/2014/12/page/4/ & http://drmgoeswild.com/advent-botany/

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Carla Pinheiro's curator insight, December 31, 2014 5:23 AM

A great tool to explore subcellular compartmentalization

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Best of Plants 2014: Plant-based antibodies used to treat Ebola Virus Disease

Best of Plants 2014: Plant-based antibodies used to treat Ebola Virus Disease | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it


One of the biggest stories of 2014 was the spread of Ebola Virus Disease, and antibodies produced in plants are one of the few therapies shown to be effective. Plant-derived antibodies produced by MAPP pharmaceuticals in tobacco had previously been tested successfully on monkeys (http://www.pnas.org/content/109/44/18030), but this summer were used to save the lives of two American missionaries (http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/03/health/ebola-tobacco-plant/). Plant-production of phamaceuticals (aka molecular pharming) can be cheaper than production in animals or cell lines, and this year has demonstrated this technology to be fast, versatile and effective.

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Solving Biology's Mysteries with Plants (Science Out Loud S2 Ep2) - YouTube

Some of the most powerful and useful things in our world come from plants. Who knew they could help us unlock some of the biology's mysteries - all using an ...
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The internal plumbing of algal chloroplasts

The internal plumbing of algal chloroplasts | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

High-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis

h-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis. - See more at: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05983#.dpuf
h-resolution images of chloroplast structure in the alga Chlamydomonas offer new insights into photosynthesis. - See more at: http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05983#.dpuf
Mary Williams's insight:

If you think this image is nice, check out the rest http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e04889

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Plant biologist Caroline Dean receives the 2015 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

Plant biologist Caroline Dean receives the 2015 FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Professor Dean receives the award for her outstanding contributions to plant biology, in particular for her work to understand how changes in temperature affect the molecular events that control the timing and duration of flowering in higher plants."

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Teaching for the future (by examining the past)

Teaching for the future (by examining the past) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
eLife - Open access to the most promising advances in science
Mary Williams's insight:

A new article in eLIFE, "Teaching for the future" (http://elifesciences.org/content/4/e05846) discusses the educational value of reading classic scientific papers. Yes, it's true - many of the older papers are fascinating, show extraordinary insights, and reveal the development of our understanding of life processes.
Here's a classic of plant science:
Arnon et al, (1961). "Photosynthetic phosphorylation and molecular oxygen" http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC223142/

Or for an even older text, Ingenhousz, Jan (1796). "Essay on the food of plants and the renovation of soils"
http://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924001696362


Do you have a favorite classic plant science paper you like to read with your students?

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Strategies for transferring resistance into wheat: from wide crosses to GM cassettes

Strategies for transferring resistance into wheat: from wide crosses to GM cassettes | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Very interesting review of classical and contemporary approaches to breeding resistance in wheat.

I particularly enjoyed this quote, originally from a 1945 article about wheat breeder Edgar S. McFadden, "McFadden’s Hope: Fighting Plant Breeders Win Battle for Bread."

You can read more about McFadden here:

http://www.sdstate.edu/mcfadden/upload/McFaddenArticle-CapJournal.pdf


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Secrets Of Nature - Peas And Cues (1930-1939) - YouTube

Pro Patria films presentation. Produced by British Instructional Films Ltd. Seed of a pea plant shown growing through time lapse photography. 

Wow, amazing for its time, and still pretty fascinating.

Watch out for heartbreak at 8:30!

(Thanks to International Society for Seed Science  http://seedscisoc.org/  for sharing)

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Structure, variation, and assembly of the root-associated microbiomes of rice

Structure, variation, and assembly of the root-associated microbiomes of rice | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Using rice as a model, we show that there exist three different root niches hosting different microbial communities of eubacteria and methanogenic archaea. These microbial communities are affected by geographical location, soil source, host genotype, and cultivation practice.
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Why Poor Places Are More Diverse. (featuring plant life of SW Australia & rainforests)

Thanks to The Kwongan Foundation at the University of Western Australia for supporting this video: http://www.plants.uwa.edu.au/alumni/kwongan MinuteEarth is...
Mary Williams's insight:

Love  it, love it, love it.

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Wise words from a tree physiologist

Wise words from a tree physiologist | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Really enjoyed reading the biographies of Dennis Hoagland and William Chander, who collaborated on studies of mineral nutrition of plants. This quote from Chandler is abridged from a speech he gave during the second world war, but it's just as appropriate now.


http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/chandler-william-h.pdf

http://www.nasonline.org/publications/biographical-memoirs/memoir-pdfs/hoagland-dennis-r.pdf

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The Plant Cell Reviews Dynamic Aspects of Plant Hormone Signaling and Crosstalk

The Plant Cell Reviews Dynamic Aspects of Plant Hormone Signaling and Crosstalk | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The Roles of ROS and ABA in Systemic Acquired Acclimation

Ron Mittler and Eduardo Blumwald

Plant Cell 2015 tpc.114.133090; First Published on January 20, 2015; doi:10.1105/tpc.114.133090 OPEN

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2015/01/20/tpc.114.133090.abstract

 

SCFTIR1/AFB-Based Auxin Perception: Mechanism and Role in Plant Growth and Development

Mohammad Salehin, Rammyani Bagchi, and Mark Estelle

Plant Cell 2015 tpc.114.133744; First Published on January 20, 2015; doi:10.1105/tpc.114.133744

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2015/01/20/tpc.114.133744.abstract

 

The PB1 Domain in Auxin Response Factor and Aux/IAA Proteins: A Versatile Protein Interaction Module in the Auxin Response

Tom J. Guilfoyle

Plant Cell 2015 tpc.114.132753; First Published on January 20, 2015; doi:10.1105/tpc.114.132753 OPEN

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2015/01/20/tpc.114.132753.abstract

 

PIN-Dependent Auxin Transport: Action, Regulation, and Evolution

Maciek Adamowski and Jiří Friml

Plant Cell 2015 tpc.114.134874; First Published on January 20, 2015; doi:10.1105/tpc.114.134874

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2015/01/20/tpc.114.134874.abstract

 

The Yin-Yang of Hormones: Cytokinin and Auxin Interactions in Plant Development

G. Eric Schaller, Anthony Bishopp, and Joseph J. Kieber

Plant Cell 2015 tpc.114.133595; First Published on January 20, 2015; doi:10.1105/tpc.114.133595

http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2015/01/20/tpc.114.133595.abstract

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Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015)

Super schedule of speakers, PlantBiology2015 (26-30 July 2015) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

See the full schedule here - minisymposium speakers TBA

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Manipulation and Misconduct in the Handling of Image Data (2013 editorial)

Manipulation and Misconduct in the Handling of Image Data (2013 editorial) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

New week, new year. What better time to have a lab / course / departmental conversation about what is and isn't permitted in data handling? This 2013 editorial by Mike Blatt and Cathie Martin is a good place to start, and includes some additional useful references.

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J. Chem. Edu.- Simple, Small-Scale Lego Colorimeter with a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Used as Detector

J. Chem. Edu.- Simple, Small-Scale Lego Colorimeter with a Light-Emitting Diode (LED) Used as Detector | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

I like the idea of this - have students make their own LED & Lego-based colorimeter, & then explore the world! The article says that an LED can emit current proportional to the light that hits it, and recommends using a red LED as sensor and yellow, green or orange LEDs as emitters.

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Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet

Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet
Mary Williams's insight:

Important paper updating the areas of concern for keeping the planet in the "safe operating zone" - note the danger coming from the P and N biogeochemical flows, which are entirely a consequence of the use of agricultural fertilizers.

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Standing on the Shoulders of Giantesses

Standing on the Shoulders of Giantesses | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

From the blog of the Biochemical Society:

"We in the biochemistry community are truly standing on the shoulders of giantesses.

In recognition of this fact, the Biochemical Society commissioned a research project into the lives and work of prominent female biochemists from 1945-1975 as part of our recent Women in Biochemistry year.

Today, we release the result of this project: Women in Biochemistry: 1945 –1975 – a collection of interviews and profiles that paints an insightful picture of the day-to-day happenings, motivations, hurdles and successes of women working in molecular biology at the time".

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Arbuscular mycorrhizal dialogues: do you speak ‘plantish’ or ‘fungish’?

Arbuscular mycorrhizal dialogues: do you speak ‘plantish’ or ‘fungish’? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Plants rely on their associated microbiota for crucial physiological activities; realization of this interaction drives research to understand inter-domain communication. This opinion article focuses on the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis, which involves the Glomeromycota, fungi that can form a symbiosis with most plants. Here we propose the hypothesis that the molecules involved in inter-kingdom symbiotic signaling, such as strigolactones, cutin monomers, and chitin-related molecules, also have key roles in development, originally unrelated to symbiosis. Thus, the symbiotic role of these molecules relies on the co-evolved capacity of the AM partners to perceive and interpret them as symbiotic signals.

Via Francis Martin
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Best of Plants 2014: Communications beyond our boundaries (to the public and non-plant scientists)

Best of Plants 2014: Communications beyond our boundaries (to the public and non-plant scientists) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Plant scientist are uinified in our need to communicate what we do and why to the broader community, and we applaud all of the positive “press” plants have received this year.

Here are a few efforts (articles, podcasts, video series and even hashtags) that spread beyond our disciplinary boundaries:


Professor Kathy Willis presented a 30-part series, “Plants, From Roots to Riches” on BBC Radio 4, available to download as podcast (and with video clips too) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b048s3my


National Geographic ran a series on food called “Feeding 9 billion” including “A Five Step Plan to Feed the Word” by Jonathan Foley http://www.nationalgeographic.com/foodfeatures/feeding-9-billion/


Making Hunger Yield, by C. Robertson McClung (Science) http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6185/699.summary


Opinion: The Planet Needs More Plant Scientists by Alan Jones (The Scientist). http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/41133/title/Opinion--The-Planet-Needs-More-Plant-Scientists/


Research Funders and the Public Must Wake up to Looming Food Shortages, Agriculture Experts Say, by Kathleen O’Neil (AAAS News) http://www.aaas.org/news/research-funders-and-public-must-wake-looming-food-shortages-agriculture-experts-say


The world’s most interesting vegetable, by Bill Gates (Gates Blog) http://www.gatesnotes.com/Development/The-Worlds-Most-Interesting-Vegetable


I am a botanist (and No, I don’t grow marijuana), by Chris Martine (Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-chris-martine/i-am-a-botanist-no-i-dont-grow-marijuana_b_5673557.html and the Plants are Cool, Too! (video series) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2b5k1ur--g


Why  Study Plants, an overview of plant science goals, was published in 14 languages http://www.plantcell.org/site/teachingtools/TTPB1.xhtml


Grist journalist Nathanael Johnson (@SavorTooth) continues to write good, evidence-based articles on all aspects of food. His even-handed approach was recognized with the ASPB Leadership in Science Public Service Award (http://my.aspb.org/?page=AF_Awards#leadership).


Two plant-based hashtags were popular this year on social media:

#iamabotanist (https://twitter.com/hashtag/iamabotanist) and

#whyplants (https://twitter.com/hashtag/whyplants)

 

 Popular Infographics featuring plants

What is the world’s biggest cash crop?

Which crops are most planted, most fecund (yield / km2), most popular (ton harvested) and produce the most revenue?

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/whats-the-worlds-biggest-cash-crops/

Climate change and farming: what you need to know about the IPCC report

http://ccafs.cgiar.org/blog/climate-change-and-farming-what-you-need-know-about-ipcc-report#.VJ5pef8DA

How your food would look if not genetically modified over millennia?

http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2014/06/19/how-your-food-would-look-if-not-genetically-modified-over-millennia/


What else would like to add to this list?

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Christophe Jacquet's comment, December 30, 2014 12:40 PM
Thanks for all these references, I'm sure my students will love many of them!