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Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education)
Hooks and hot topics for university teachers and students
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CurrBiol: Q&A with Cris Kuhlemeier

CurrBiol: Q&A with Cris Kuhlemeier | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The Professor of Plant Physiology at the University of Bern in Switzerland talks about how he "decided" to study biology, and the problems he has worked on during his career, from cyanobacteria to transcriptional regulation to phyllotaxis to pollination!

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PNAS: Plant elicitor peptides are conserved signals regulating direct and indirect antiherbivore defense

PNAS: Plant elicitor peptides are conserved signals regulating direct and indirect antiherbivore defense | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Characterization of the Plant elicitor peptide (Pep) family from maize.

 

"Direct and indirect defenses induced by ZmPep3 contribute to resistance against S. exigua through significant reduction of larval growth and attraction of Cotesia marginiventris parasitoids. ZmPep3 activity is specific to Poaceous species; however, peptides derived from PROPEP orthologs identified in Solanaceous and Fabaceous plants also induce herbivory-associated volatiles in their respective species."

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Genetic basis of cytokinin and auxin functions during root nodule development.

Genetic basis of cytokinin and auxin functions during root nodule development. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

\The phytohormones cytokinin and auxin are essential for the control of diverse aspects of cell proliferation and differentiation processes in plants. Although both phytohormones have been suggested to play key roles in the regulation of root nodule development, only recently, significant progress has been made in the elucidation of the molecular genetic basis of cytokinin action in the model leguminous species, and . Identification and functional analyses of the putative cytokinin receptors LOTUS HISTIDINE KINASE 1 and CYTOKININ RESPONSE 1 have brought a greater understanding of how activation of cytokinin signaling is crucial to the initiation of nodule primordia. Recent studies have also started to shed light on the roles of auxin in the regulation of nodule development. Here, we review the history and recent progress of research into the roles of cytokinin and auxin, and their possible interactions, in nodule development.

 

Suzaki T, Ito M, Kawaguchi M. (2013).  Front Plant Sci. 4:42. . Epub Mar 11.


Via IvanOresnik
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Edel Perez Lopez's curator insight, August 23, 2013 2:10 AM

Great, I need read this...

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Maple syrup mechanics

Maple syrup mechanics | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

It's maple syrup making time in the Northeast.  Jeanne explains the mechanics of sap flow, collecting sap for syrup making, and why maples are special in this regard."

Mary Williams's insight:

Students can apply their knowledge of transport in plants to understand how and why maple trees produce maple syrup in the spring. It's also interesting to consider how changing temperatures are affecting syrup production.

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Mary Williams's comment, March 18, 2013 4:02 AM
For your advanced students, here's a how-to guide for how to quantify conduits www.frontiersin.org/Technical_Advances_in_Plant_Science/10.3389/fpls.2013.00056/abstract
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National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. Botany and Plant Science Career and Information Day, Th 21 March

National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. Botany and Plant Science Career and Information Day, Th 21 March | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

On Thursday 21st March we will be hosting an information day for any students considering studying Life Sciences. This will be the perfect opportunity for those considering a university degree, or career in plant sciences, to learn more. The day will allow you to hear first hand from botanists engaged in sustainable development, biodiversity, ecology, conservation, genetics and environmental monitoring about the potentials and opportunities in one of the most important careers for saving our planet.
Time: 2.00-5.00pm

http://www.botanicgardens.ie/news/CareersDay.pdf

Mary Williams's insight:

This is a great idea! Check out their flyer for more information on the event, (how to woo a future botanist?)


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Whiz kid grows algae under her bed, wins Intel science fair 

Whiz kid grows algae under her bed, wins Intel science fair  | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Sara Volz, 17, from Colorado Springs, Colo., joined the quest for practical alternatives to petroleum-based fuels in the seventh grade. Now ...
Mary Williams's insight:

Maybe we should call this "why you should build your kid a loft bed" :)

But seriously, congratulations to Sara on a very cool project!

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Plant Cell Cover Photo — January 2013

Plant Cell Cover Photo — January 2013 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

BLUE LIGHT CONTROL OF CELL DIVISION IN DIATOMS
Diatoms are unicellular eukaryotic photoautotrophs that account for about one fifth of global carbon fixation. As they drift passively on ocean currents, they must be able to proliferate and photosynthesize over a wide range of different light intensities and wavelengths. Huysman et al. (pages 215–228) identified a signalling cascade linking blue light perception with cell cycle onset. The cover shows a centric diatom collected from Patagonia during the Tara Oceans expedition in 2011 (photo by Christian Sardet).

Mary Williams's insight:

I love this cover - I wonder if I can convince the editors to release it as a poster...

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Jennifer Mach's comment, March 14, 2013 9:02 AM
How about earrings?
Mary Williams's comment, March 15, 2013 4:53 AM
or buttons!
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Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS): Tropism resource special, plus teachers' top tips

Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS): Tropism resource special, plus teachers' top tips | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Great resources and suggestions here! Thanks SAPS!

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Major cash for ash | News from the John Innes Centre

Major cash for ash | News from the John Innes Centre | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

“We are not going to just let the fungus take over without at least seeing if anything can be done to halt its progress.”

 

Innovative approach led by scientists at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England, to combat ash dieback disease through crowdsourced analyses and open access data. Read about the significance of "Tree 35".

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Mary Williams's comment, March 8, 2013 3:37 AM
Here's the BBC News summary of the release of genome sequence data of Chalara fraxinea, the fungal agent of the disease: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21433466
Mary Williams's comment, March 8, 2013 3:49 AM
And more info on the funding of the project, from Rothamsted: http://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/PressReleases.php?PRID=218
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Formative Cell Divisions: Principal Determinants of Plant Morphogenesis

Formative Cell Divisions: Principal Determinants of Plant Morphogenesis | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Via Andres Zurita
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, March 6, 2013 10:15 AM

Formative cell divisions utilizing precise rotations of cell division planes generate and spatially place asymmetric daughters to produce different cell layers. Therefore, by shaping tissues and organs, formative cell divisions dictate multicellular morphogenesis. In animal formative cell divisions, the orientation of the mitotic spindle and cell division planes relies on intrinsic and extrinsic cortical polarity cues. Plants lack known key players from animals, and cell division planes are determined prior to the mitotic spindle stage. Therefore, it appears that plants have evolved specialized mechanisms to execute formative cell divisions. Despite their profound influence on plant architecture, molecular players and cellular mechanisms regulating formative divisions in plants are not well understood. This is because formative cell divisions in plants have been difficult to track owing to their submerged positions and imprecise timings of occurrence. However, by identifying a spatiotemporally inducible cell division plane switch system applicable for advanced microscopy techniques, recent studies have begun to uncover molecular modules and mechanisms for formative cell divisions. The identified molecular modules comprise developmentally triggered transcriptional cascades feeding onto microtubule regulators that now allow dissection of the hierarchy of the events at better spatiotemporal resolutions. Here, we survey the current advances in understanding of formative cell divisions in plants in the context of embryogenesis, stem cell functionality and post-embryonic organ formation.

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Plant Cell: Allosteric Regulation of Transport Activity by Heterotrimerization of Arabidopsis Ammonium Transporter Complexes in Vivo

Plant Cell: Allosteric Regulation of Transport Activity by Heterotrimerization of Arabidopsis Ammonium Transporter Complexes in Vivo | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

In microbial and plant cells, ammonium transport activity is controlled by ammonium-triggered feedback inhibition to prevent cellular ammonium toxicity. This study demonstrates in planta a regulatory role in transport activity of heterooligomerization of transporter isoforms, which may enhance their versatility for signal exchange in response to environmental triggers.

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Natural Variation of Arabidopsis Root Architecture Reveals Complementing Adaptive Strategies to Potassium Starvation

Natural Variation of Arabidopsis Root Architecture Reveals Complementing Adaptive Strategies to Potassium Starvation | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Via Andres Zurita
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Andres Zurita's curator insight, March 1, 2013 1:41 PM

Root architecture is a highly plastic and environmentally responsive trait that enables plants to counteract nutrient scarcities with different foraging strategies. In potassium (K) deficiency (low K), seedlings of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) reference accession Columbia (Col-0) show a strong reduction of lateral root elongation. To date, it is not clear whether this is a direct consequence of the lack of K as an osmoticum or a triggered response to maintain the growth of other organs under limiting conditions. In this study, we made use of natural variation within Arabidopsis to look for novel root architectural responses to lowK. A comprehensive set of 14 differentially responding root parameters were quantified in K-starved and K-replete plants. We identified a phenotypic gradient that links two extreme strategies of morphological adaptation to low K arising from a major tradeoff between main root (MR) and lateral root elongation. Accessions adopting strategy I (e.g. Col-0) maintained MR growth but compromised lateral root elongation, whereas strategy II genotypes (e.g. Catania-1) arrested MR elongation in favor of lateral branching. K resupply and histochemical staining resolved the temporal and spatial patterns of these responses. Quantitative trait locus analysis of K-dependent root architectures within a Col-0 × Catania-1 recombinant inbred line population identified several loci each of which determined a particular subset of root architectural parameters. Our results indicate the existence of genomic hubs in the coordinated control of root growth in stress conditions and provide resources to facilitate the identification of the underlying genes.

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Trends in Plant Science - Evolution of the plant–microbe symbiotic ‘toolkit’

Trends in Plant Science - Evolution of the plant–microbe symbiotic ‘toolkit’ | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Beneficial associations between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi play a major role in terrestrial environments and in the sustainability of agroecosystems. Proteins, microRNAs, and small molecules have been identified in model angiosperms as required for the establishment of arbuscular mycorrhizal associations and define a symbiotic ‘toolkit’ used for other interactions such as the rhizobia–legume symbiosis. Based on recent studies, we propose an evolutionary framework for this toolkit. Some components appeared recently in angiosperms, whereas others are highly conserved even in land plants unable to form arbuscular mycorrhizal associations. The exciting finding that some components pre-date the appearance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi suggests the existence of unknown roles for this toolkit and even the possibility of symbiotic associations in charophyte green algae.


Via Jennifer Mach, Jean-Michel Ané
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Forbes: CRISPR-associated nuclease could change biotech forever

Forbes: CRISPR-associated nuclease could change biotech forever | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"A tiny molecular machine used by bacteria to kill attacking viruses could change the way that scientists edit the DNA of plants, animals and fungi, revolutionizing genetic engineering."

Mary Williams's insight:

The figure is from this Perspective in Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6121/768.summary)

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Transport and Metabolism in Legume-Rhizobia Symbioses

Transport and Metabolism in Legume-Rhizobia Symbioses | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Symbiotic nitrogen fixation by rhizobia in legume root nodules injects approximately 40 million tonnes of nitrogen into agricultural systems each year. In exchange for reduced nitrogen from the bacteria, the plant provides rhizobia with reduced carbon and all the essential nutrients required for bacterial metabolism. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation requires exquisite integration of plant and bacterial metabolism. Central to this integration are transporters of both the plant and the rhizobia, which transfer elements and compounds across various plant membranes and the two bacterial membranes. Here we review current knowledge of legume and rhizobial transport and metabolism as they relate to symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Although all legume-rhizobia symbioses have many metabolic features in common, there are also interesting differences between them, which show that evolution has solved metabolic problems in different ways to achieve effective symbiosis in different systems.

 

Michael Udvardi and Philip S. Poole (2013).  Annual Review of Plant Biology 64: first posted online March 1.


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NatRevMicrobiol. Speak, friend, and enter: signalling systems that promote beneficial symbiotic associations in plants

NatRevMicrobiol. Speak, friend, and enter: signalling systems that promote beneficial symbiotic associations in plants | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Subscription required, but worth it if you can get it!

I love this area of research - signaling between kingdoms, and the common roots of plant mutualisms with fungi and bacteria.

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Sohini Guha's comment, April 11, 2013 10:07 AM
sohiniguha1985@gmail.com
Jennifer Mach's comment, April 11, 2013 10:54 AM
Dear Sohini, I generally have better luck asking for a reprint directly from the corresponding author. Good luck! I don't have library access either, so I feel your pain!
Sohini Guha's comment, April 11, 2013 1:14 PM
thanx jennifer....
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Genetics: Transposing from the Laboratory to the Classroom to Generate Authentic Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Genetics: Transposing from the Laboratory to the Classroom to Generate Authentic Research Experiences for Undergraduates | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Here we propose a model that provides beginning biology students with an inquiry-based, active learning laboratory experience. The Dynamic Genome course replicates a modern research laboratory focused on eukaryotic transposable elements where beginning undergraduates learn key genetics concepts, experimental design, and molecular biological skills."

Mary Williams's insight:

Here's a hands-on, inquiry based model using plants for undergraduate students, from the Sue Wessler group!

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Seeds without sex – some racy findings on the cloning of plants

Seeds without sex – some racy findings on the cloning of plants | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

John Bowman (Professor of Genetics at Monash University) writes about apomixis, the transitions between diploid and haploid generations, and his recent Science article. (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6123/1067)

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Plant Cell (OA): The Origin of Primary Plastids: A Pas de Deux or a Ménage à Trois?

Plant Cell (OA): The Origin of Primary Plastids: A Pas de Deux or a Ménage à Trois? | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Fascinating new hypothesis about the origin of primary endosymbiotic plastids. Why, among all of life’s diversity, did one specific lineage make the leap? This commentary provides a critical summary of a recent proposal that primary plastid endosymbiosis was facilitated by the secretion into the host cytosol of effector proteins from intracellular Chlamydiales pathogens that allowed the host to utilize carbohydrates exported from the incipient plastid. In other words, perhaps it involved a three-way interaction. Check out the short commentary and the longer article, here http://www.plantcell.org/content/25/1/7.full.

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Mary Williams's comment, March 12, 2013 12:33 PM
If you're interested in plastid and mitochondrial origins, you'll like the Feb 2013 special issue of Planta (subsription required) http://link.springer.com/journal/425/237/2/page/1
Freddy Monteiro's comment, March 12, 2013 7:26 PM
it is like revisiting the biochemistry course. Now Updated!! =)
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Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): Text Recycling Guidelines

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): Text Recycling Guidelines | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Self-plagerism is plagerism, and shouldn't happen. COPE is looking for feedback on some proposed new guidelines. How much text-recycling is acceptable? Your students might find this discussion (and the comments) interesting.

 

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HHMI. Got Lactase? The Co-Evolution of Genes and Culture (teaching video)

HHMI. Got Lactase? The Co-Evolution of Genes and Culture (teaching video) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

15 minute video examining the evolution of lactase persistance (the ability to digest lactose from milk into adulthood) and human evolution. Suitable for high school students or first year undergraduates - excellent teaching resource!

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Hidden layer of genome unveils how plants may adapt to environments throughout the world

Hidden layer of genome unveils how plants may adapt to environments throughout the world | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Hidden layer of genome unveils how plants may adapt to environments throughout the world

Via R K Upadhyay
Mary Williams's insight:

Here's a link to the OA article in Nature by the fabulous Ecker group:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11968.html

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Mary Williams's comment, March 8, 2013 3:51 AM
Here's a nice summary from Scientific American: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=can-epigentics-help-crops-adapt-to-climate-change
sonia ramos's comment, March 8, 2013 4:19 AM
Thanks for the Scientific American link. I do not work on it but I found it fascinating. Evolution and adaptation throgh epigenetics. And interesting thought about epigenetics like diversity source, should be a good research line
Nanci J. Ross's curator insight, August 12, 2013 12:27 PM

This would be cool to study as a biogeography question!

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Plant Cell: Genomic Distribution of Maize Facultative Heterochromatin Marked by Trimethylation of H3K27

Plant Cell: Genomic Distribution of Maize Facultative Heterochromatin Marked by Trimethylation of H3K27 | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

"Trimethylation of histone H3 Lys-27 (H3K27me3) plays a critical role in regulating gene expression during plant and animal development. We characterized the genome-wide distribution of H3K27me3 in five developmentally distinct tissues in maize (Zea mays) plants of two genetic backgrounds, B73 and Mo17. There were more substantial differences in the genome-wide profile of H3K27me3 between different tissues than between the two genotypes.

 

A comparison of the H3K27me3 targets in rice, maize, and Arabidopsis thaliana provided evidence for conservation of the H3K27me3 targets among plant species. However, there was limited evidence for conserved targeting of H3K27me3 in the two maize subgenomes derived from whole-genome duplication, suggesting the potential for subfunctionalization of chromatin regulation of paralogs."

Mary Williams's insight:

More evidence for the truly special epigenetic state of the endosperm tissue, as seen in the picture.

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Future of Food: Mouths to feed

ABC News 24's Jeremy Fernandez talks about some of the challenges facing global food producers.
Mary Williams's insight:

Well presented 3 min video outlining some of the questions about food security

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Plant Breeding and Genomics News's curator insight, March 4, 2013 2:49 PM

A  concise review of Australian food production and global food production challenges.  

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Ann Bot: Streptophyte algae and the origin of embryophytes

Ann Bot: Streptophyte algae and the origin of embryophytes | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Mary Williams's insight:

This terrific drawing is from Becker, B. and Marin, B. (2009). Streptophyte algae and the origin of embryophytes. Annals of Botany. 103: 999-1004.http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/103/7/999.full

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