"TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED1-CYCLOIDEA-PCF) transcription factors participate in plant developmental processes associated with cell proliferation and growth. Most members of class I, one of the two classes that compose the family, have a conserved Cys at position 20 of the TCP DNA binding and dimerization domain. We show that Arabidopsis thaliana class I proteins with Cys20 are sensitive to redox conditions.."
"There are several examples of transcription factors whose activity is modified by redox agents in plants. The best studied case is perhaps the NPR1-TGA system (Després et al., 2003; Mou et al., 2003; Lindermayr et al., 2010)."
If programmes to bolster STEM education are effective, they distort the labour market; if they aren’t, they’re a waste of money, argues Colin Macilwain.
Mary Williams's insight:
Ooh - that woke me up. Fantastic set of comments already appearing "below the line" - it's good to see the many reasons that justify the special funding science education gets. To me, science ed is training in critical, rational thinking, something society needs more of!
Grafting procedures are an excellent tool to study long range signalling processes within a plant. This improved protocol allows "grafting success that can reach up to 100%. At the same time, the protocol enables to process as many as 36 seedlings per hour, which combined with the high success percentage represents increased efficiency per time unit."
"One of the most astonishing secrets in biology is this: every plant you see makes two different plants from the same genome. And, scientists recently reported, a single gene from an ancient, powerful lineage can make the difference."
"Our global analysis of future climatic range change of common and widespread species shows that without mitigation, 57±6% of plants and 34±7% of animals are likely to lose ≥50% of their present climatic range by the 2080s."
From the abstract, "We identified almost 950 ubiquitylation substrates in whole Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. The list includes key factors regulating a wide range of biological processes, including metabolism, cellular transport, signal transduction, transcription, RNA biology, translation, and proteolysis.....
Taken together, this proteomic analysis illustrates the breadth of plant processes affected by ubiquitylation and provides a deep data set of individual targets from which to explore the roles of Ub in various physiological and developmental pathways."
From the abstract... "We found evidence suggestive of the incorporation of adaptive Zea mays ssp mexicana [aka teosinte] alleles into maize during its expansion to the highlands of central Mexico. In contrast, very little evidence was found for adaptive introgression from maize to mexicana."
Mary Williams's insight:
Very nice study of gene flow between a domesticated crop and its wild, conspecific relative, and its evolutionary and ecological implications.
"Compounds from the library of active compounds in Arabidopsis (LATCA) were screened for the ability to perturb developmental responses to sucrose in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. This screen found that sulfonamides, which inhibit folate biosynthesis in plants, restrict hypocotyl elongation in a sugar-dependent fashion."
Phytophthora infestans, the cause of potato late blight, is infamous for having triggered the Irish Great Famine in the 1840s. Until the late 1970s, P. infestans diversity outside of its Mexican center of origin was low, and one scenario held that a single strain, US-1, had dominated the global population for 150 years; this was later challenged based on DNA analysis of historical herbarium specimens. We have compared the genomes of 11 herbarium and 15 modern strains. We conclude that the nineteenth century epidemic was caused by a unique genotype, HERB-1, that persisted for over 50 years. HERB-1 is distinct from all examined modern strains, but it is a close relative of US-1, which replaced it outside of Mexico in the twentieth century. We propose that HERB-1 and US-1 emerged from a metapopulation that was established in the early 1800s outside of the species' center of diversity.
Parts of the vast High Plains Aquifer, once a prodigious source of water, are now so low that crops can’t be watered and bridges span arid stream beds.
Mary Williams's insight:
I'm starting to collect articles for the Teaching Tool on Plant Water Relations. I'm not sure that I can stand to read too many like this one. It's very depressing to wonder how food will be grown 50 years from now, when the water's all gone.
Sixty seven pages, twenty seven figures, but still very readable. If you ever teach about transport or homeostasis, add this comprehensive update to your folder.
As the title indicates, this big review pulls together the latest information on the evolution, development and functions of the plant vascular system (including its role as an effective long-distance communication system).
"Multiple biological structures have demonstrated fog collection abilities, such as beetle backs with bumps and spider silks with periodic spindle-knots and joints. Many Cactaceae species live in arid environments and are extremely drought-tolerant. Here we report that one of the survival systems of the cactus Opuntia microdasys lies in its efficient fog collection system."
A google search led to me this wonderful, information-rich site produced by the Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Australian National Herbarium. It's worth taking the time to explore the whole site - loads of well-written articles and photos about plants. The cultural history section is also interesting, especially the part about Aboriginal uses of plants.
This article reviews the many basic research breakthroughs derived from plant biology, and asks why students aren't choosing it and funders aren't funding it. Good questions! The review of the "Quiet Pioneers" is excellent.
We've prepared a guide for high school teachers called "How to Read a Scientific Paper". It includes an overview of the sections of a paper, as well as discussions on peer review and publication ethics. There is also an introduction to statistics and the meaning of statistical significance. You can find this free PDF guide here: http://bit.ly/15M6RlZ
For a more in-depth look, we've also provided a guided case study of a Plant Physiology article, that examines each component in detail. The full article is attached at the back of the PDF. You can find the case study here http://bit.ly/15rOZwM.
University teachers might find these useful as well, particularly for their first-year students. Please share the links with any teachers you know!
How and why to use your PhD as leverage to get into teaching. Pros include job security, the joy of teaching, and (somewhat) shorter hours. I'm not sure about the summers off claim - most teachers I know don't really sit by the pool all summer ....
"KQED Quest, based in San Francisco, has just posted a half-hour special on GMOs called Next Meal: Engineering your Food. It takes a look at the science of plant breeding and genetic engineering, interviewing Peggy Lemaux from UC Berkeley, Eduardo Blumwald at UC Davis, along with a host of other farmers, writers, and activists."