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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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Science as Theatre: Ten Billion at The Royal Court Theatre

Science as Theatre: Ten Billion at The Royal Court Theatre | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

It's so cool when these science / art collaborations work!

 

A reknowned computational scientist has developed a sold-out show in which he talks about the future of life on Earth, in the face of a population of 10 billion humans. I wonder what lessons we can learn from this about getting our messages about plant science to a wider audience?

 

Reviews and commentaries from the Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2012/jul/19/ten-billion-review-royal-court

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/aug/03/ian-jack-overpopulation-ten-billion

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Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Biotic interactions issue - Vol 15, Iss 4, Pgs 345-492, (August, 2012)

Current Opinion in Plant Biology | Biotic interactions issue - Vol 15, Iss 4, Pgs 345-492, (August, 2012) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Edited by Pamela C Ronald and Ken Shirasu

 

Front-runners in plant–microbe interactions

Pamela C Ronald, Ken Shirasu

 

Plant pattern recognition receptor complexes at the plasma membrane

Jacqueline Monaghan, Cyril Zipfel

 

Non-arginine-aspartate (non-RD) kinases are associated with innate immune receptors that recognize conserved microbial signatures

Chris Dardick, Benjamin Schwessinger, Pamela Ronald

 

The INs and OUTs of pattern recognition receptors at the cell surface

Martina Beck, William Heard, Malick Mbengue, Silke Robatzek

 

How to build a pathogen detector: structural basis of NB-LRR function

Frank LW Takken, Aska Goverse

 

Molecular and spatial constraints on NB-LRR receptor signaling

Katharina Heidrich, Servane Blanvillain-Baufumé, Jane E Parker

 

Ubiquitination in NB-LRR-mediated immunity

Yu Ti Cheng, Xin Li

 

Genetic and molecular basis of nonhost disease resistance: complex, yes; silver bullet, no

Jun Fan, Peter Doerner

 

Chemical warfare or modulators of defence responses – the function of secondary metabolites in plant immunity

Paweł Bednarek

 

Making new molecules – evolution of pathways for novel metabolites in plants

Daniel J Kliebenstein, Anne Osbourn

 

A sleigh ride through the SNO: regulation of plant immune function by protein S-nitrosylation

Manda Yu, Byung-Wook Yun, Steven H Spoel, Gary J Loake

 

Post-translational regulation of WRKY transcription factors in plant immunity

Nobuaki Ishihama, Hirofumi Yoshioka

 

Exploiting an ancient signalling machinery to enjoy a nitrogen fixing symbiosis

Rene Geurts, Alessandra Lillo, Ton Bisseling

 

Activation of calcium- and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CCaMK), the central regulator of plant root endosymbiosis

Sylvia Singh, Martin Parniske

 

Genetic and genomic glimpses of the elusive arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Luisa Lanfranco, J Peter W Young

 

Fungal endophytes of grasses

Aiko Tanaka, Daigo Takemoto, Tetsuya Chujo, Barry Scott

 

Plant–bacterial pathogen interactions mediated by type III effectors

Feng Feng, Jian-Min Zhou

 

Challenges and progress towards understanding the role of effectors in plant–fungal interactions

Maryam Rafiqi, Jeffrey G Ellis, Victoria A Ludowici, Adrienne R Hardham, Peter N Dodds

 

Oomycetes, effectors, and all that jazz

Tolga O Bozkurt, Sebastian Schornack, Mark J Banfield, Sophien Kamoun


Via Nicolas Denancé
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Olympians of the botanical world

Olympians of the botanical world | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Taking a look at some of the plants that push the boundaries in the botanical world.

Via Annals of Botany: Plant Science Research
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Teachable moments? Drought devastates US crops

Teachable moments? Drought devastates US crops | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

 

I guess the silver lining of the US drought will be an increased motivation of students and others to learn about plant stress physiology! 

 

Here are a few free review articles if you want to take advantage of the bad news with some targetted teaching:

 

Drought, salt, and temperature stress-induced metabolic rearrangements and regulatory networks (http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/63/4/1593.full)

 

Gene networks involved in drought stress response and
tolerance

(http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/58/2/221.full.pdf+html)

 

Transcriptional Regulatory Networks in Response to Abiotic Stresses in Arabidopsis and Grasses

(http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/149/1/88.full)

 

Narrowing Down the Targets: Towards Successful Genetic Engineering of Drought-Tolerant Crops (http://mplant.oxfordjournals.org/content/3/3/469.full)

 

Genetic and genomic tools to improve drought tolerance in wheat (http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/content/61/12/3211.full)

 

Coping Mechanisms for Crop Plants in Drought-prone Environments (http://aob.oxfordjournals.org/content/101/7/901.full)

 

An Update on Abscisic Acid Signaling in Plants and More … (http://mplant.oxfordjournals.org/content/1/2/198.full)

 

Physiological and Molecular Approaches to Improve Drought Resistance in Soybean (http://pcp.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/7/1260.long)

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"Career Planning for Research Bioscientists" book

"Career Planning for Research Bioscientists" book | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

At the ASPB plant biology 2012 we ran several events of interest for early-career scientists. There was a very strong interest in how to put oneself forward for various types of jobs. We read CVs and coverletters, and discussed how to write a Teaching Statement.

 

This soon-to-be published book covers all of these topics and more, and we recommend it to those of you in the job market.

Sarah Blackford runs careers workshops regularly, including one next week at the FESPB meeting in Freiburg, Germany. She'll also be in the US in Providence,  Rhode Island (near New York) for the ASPB Plant Biology 2013 meeting, July 20 - 24th!

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AoB Blog: Anne Osterrieder: My favourite colour is structural colour »

AoB Blog: Anne Osterrieder: My favourite colour is structural colour » | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

How plant and others appear iridescent through physical phenomena

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Interspecific RNA Interference of SHOOT MERISTEMLESS-Like Disrupts Cuscuta pentagona Plant Parasitism

Interspecific RNA Interference of SHOOT MERISTEMLESS-Like Disrupts Cuscuta pentagona Plant Parasitism | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This gets my vote for "best paper to give undergraduates". It's straightforward and easy to read, but covers topics ranging from homeobox genes, RNA silencing, development, and the very exciting potential application of protecting crops from parastic plants, which is a major problem in some areas. This is one of those rare papers that has something for everybody, and is quite accessible in its approaches. Put it on your reading list!

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Genetic basis of the “sleeping leaves” revealed

Genetic basis of the “sleeping leaves” revealed | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is fun because it identifies the basis for one of the few kinds of plant movement easily seen. Here's a link to a video of leaves closing at nighttime (http://plantsinmotion.bio.indiana.edu/plantmotion/movements/leafmovements/clocks.html - click on the menu to the left to see the video).

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Hybrid vigour undressed - leap forward in understanding of the core crop breeding tool

Hybrid vigour undressed - leap forward in understanding of the core crop breeding tool | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Nice review of new papers that address the molecular basis of hybrid vigor by David Tribe aka @gmopundit

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Helen Sword: The WritersDiet Test

Helen Sword: The WritersDiet Test | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

The WritersDiet Test is an on-line  diagnostic tool that assesses whether your sentences are flabby or fit. This could be a great tool to help students learn to improve their writing - try it!

Helen Sword has written two books about writing, "The Writer's Diet", and "Stylish Academic Writing" (with a summary here: https://theconversation.edu.au/seven-secrets-of-stylish-academic-writing-7025)

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Plant Cell: AUX/LAX family of auxin influx transporters

Plant Cell: AUX/LAX family of auxin influx transporters | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's another one for the "auxin transport involves more than just PIN proteins" file. There's also a nice domain swapping experiment that suggests that different LAX proteins use different strategies to insert properly into the plasma membrane.

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Secret Signals - a short animated film about predatory mites

Secret Signals - a short animated film about predatory mites | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This short film by artist Rogier Arents is inspired by the research of Marijn Kant, co-author of the Teaching Tool "Plants and Arthropods: Friends or Foes?". The drawings are beautiful!

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Stimulating talks from the International Conference on Arabidopsis Research

Stimulating talks from the International Conference on Arabidopsis Research | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

As usual the ICAR meeting has been full of fascinating talks and new ideas. The full abstract book is available on line here http://www.icar2012.org/.

Here are links to a few topics that are particularly novel, exciting, or otherwise just interesting:

 

Proto-oncogenes and de novo gene birth (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11184.html) Not a plant talk, but a fascinating model of where new genes come, from studies in yeast. Proto-genes are genes being born; after they die they become pseudogenes.

 

The power of small molecules for genetic disection - (chemical biology) - probing the endomembrane system through chemical biology, by Natasha Raikhel. Here's their latest Annu Rev article: (http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev-arplant-042811-105456).

 

Jonathan Jones and Marie-Cecile Caillaud talked about oomycete pathogens of Arabidopsis and how effectors like to move into the nucleus - here's a taste (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-313X.2011.04787.x/abstract)

 

Jenny Russinova and Mark Estelle both talked about using fluorescently-tagged molecules to look at hormone and hormone receptor dynamics. Here's a BR analogue: (http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/v8/n6/abs/nchembio.958.html). Estelle described studies using a fluorescently labeled GA.

 

 And, here's a very exciting integrative biology post-doc opportunity at VIB in Gent, Belgium http://www.vib.be/en/training/postdoc-program/Pages/default.aspx

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Nature: Root microbiome (back-to-back papers)

Nature: Root microbiome (back-to-back papers) | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Hooray! Papers from Dangl and Schulze-Lefert labs defining the microbiome of roots - just as interesting and important as the human gut microbiome! (But why no news and views for the root papers?)

From the Dangle lab abstract,  "Land plants associate with a root microbiota distinct from the complex microbial community present in surrounding soil. The microbiota colonizing the rhizosphere (immediately surrounding the root) and the endophytic compartment (within the root) contribute to plant growth, productivity, carbon sequestration and phytoremediation. Colonization of the root occurs despite a sophisticated plant immune system, suggesting finely tuned discrimination of mutualists and commensals from pathogens."

 

Here are direct links:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7409/full/nature11237.html

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v488/n7409/full/nature11336.html

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A pair of Plant Cell papers that illuminate phytochrome structure carpel evolution

A pair of Plant Cell papers that illuminate phytochrome structure carpel evolution | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here are two brand new papers from Plant Cell that illuminate phytochrome structure and the role of light signaling on carpel evolution.

 

Arabidopsis Phytochrome A Is Modularly Structured to Integrate the Multiple Features That Are Required for a Highly Sensitized Phytochrome (http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2012/07/25/tpc.111.094201.abstract)

and

A Light-Regulated Genetic Module Was Recruited to Carpel Development in Arabidopsis following a Structural Change to SPATULA (http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2012/07/31/tpc.112.097915.abstract)

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Purdue University: Quick tutorial on Reading Scientific Papers

Purdue University: Quick tutorial on Reading Scientific Papers | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's a nice graphical introduction to reading scientific papers from Purdue University! 

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There's more! Turn the page.....

just in case you missed the green arrows below....

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How to Collaborate - Science Careers -

How to Collaborate - Science Careers - | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
Scientist seeks honest, reliable partner for meaningful research discussions and maybe more, ideally for a long-term relationship .
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ASPB Plant Biology 2012: Education minisymposium - innovations for undergraduate teaching and learning

ASPB Plant Biology 2012: Education minisymposium - innovations for undergraduate teaching and learning | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Terrific set of talks at the Education and Outreach minisymposium.

David Micklos talked about the programs developed by the DNA learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Labs (http://www.dnalc.org/). We loved the student-initated, inquiry based projects that came out of the urban barcode project (http://www.urbanbarcodeproject.org/) - students used DNA extraction, amplification and sequencing methods to determine a) is there any ginkgo in your ginkgo supplement, b) what's in your sushi (hint - might not really be tuna!), and c) fungal diversity in Central Park, along with others.

 

Stacey Lundy talked about a program in which undergraduates teach genetics to high school students, using heirloom tomato varieties (http://mudayja.capeville.wfunet.wfu.edu/tomatogenetics/outreach).

 

Jalena Brkjacic (http://abrcoutreach.osu.edu/) shared teaching modules from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center (ABRC), including "Play Mendel" and "Life in Bloom", and also made an appeal for more donations of educational resources.

 

Eric Brenner (http://biology.as.nyu.edu/object/EricBrenner.html) talked about using Arabidopsis gene expression patterns to help students in a large, introductory class learn about pathways, and pointed out that spoon-feeding leads to automatons, whereas mentoring leads to independent investigators. He also showed us how to help students make home-made Arabidopsis seed pipettors from a P1000 tip, a pipet bulb and some parafilm.

 

Finally, Robert Donaldson (http://www.gwu.edu/~clade/faculty/donaldson/) from Washington University talked about lecture-free learning in introductory biology, making use of lots of methods to help students take ownership of their learning, including Immediate Feedback Assessment Technologies (http://www.epsteineducation.com/home/), aka scratcher cards. He also mentioned the responsibility that senior faculty have towards mentoring junior faculty in effective teaching practices!

 

It was a terrific and inspring set of talks, and led to lively discussions throughout the evening. Thanks innovators!

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Peer review: The nuts and bolts · Resources · Sense about Science

Yet another excellent resource from Sense about Science. This one is produced with the help of early career scientists, and written to help early career researchers understand how the peer review process works, some of the limitations of peer review, and the role of peer review in society. Free PDF.

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Fascinating case study - science and politics of non-browing "arctic" apples

Fascinating case study - science and politics of non-browing "arctic" apples | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

This is going to be an interesting case to follow.

 

The science - Agrobacterium transformation used to introduce a silencing construct (derived from the endogenous apple gene) to switch off the four apple polyphenol oxidase (PPO) genes. PPO produces quinones, that upon cell damage non-enzymatically produce brown, lingin-like compounds (more science here http://www.aphis.usda.gov/brs/aphisdocs/10_16101p.pdf).

 

The articTM apples were developed by a small Canadian biotech company Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc. (http://www.okspecialtyfruits.com/).

 

Here's a summary of some of the issues surrounding these biotech apples (http://appliedmythology.blogspot.ca/2012/07/consumers-should-get-to-try-first.html)

 

The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is soliciting comments about the petition by OSF for the apples to be granted non-regulated status. They say, "We are particularly interested in receiving comments regarding biological, cultural, or ecological issues, and we encourage the submission of scientific data, studies, or research to support your comments." (https://federalregister.gov/a/2012-17144).

 

As of today, 54 comments have been submitted, and they are available for anyone to read (top right of the federal register page, under the green button).

 

It's a great learning opportunity for students, and chance for them to see and participate in the intersection of science, policy, and public opinion. I would recommend asking students to draft and share their own comments!

 

 Here's good companion piece - the "artic grape" - also with a deficiency in PPO, but this deficiency has a different origin. How do they compare biologically and in consumer response? Check it out.  http://networkedblogs.com/zZDjd

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Freddy Monteiro's comment, July 17, 2012 11:27 AM
Really Useful Mary. Every once in a couple years I am invited to present 2nd year BSc biotechnology students with techniques to improve crop production and resistance to pests. Most of the time we end up with the typical GMO Vs Breeding case, and go further with the technology required. In the past year I explored the Sarpo Mira potato case, which RXLR recognition was recently unveiled.
Although this Artic apple story is a bit controversial, it raises a new kind of question and concern when we talk about transgenic plants, and for that it is worth studying and talking about. For the first time, to my knowledge, we have an aesthetic trait being improved, and for sure we don't know about the social outcome this GMO will have.

A very interesting case for biology, biotech, and plant science clases. It will make everyone think for a while.

Thank you!
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Nature Reviews Microbiology: The Microbial Olympics

Nature Reviews Microbiology: The Microbial Olympics | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Terrific article, get it!

 

Every four years, the Olympic Games plays host to competitors who have built on their natural talent by training for many years to become the best in their chosen discipline. Similar spirit and endeavour can be found throughout the microbial world, in which every day is a competition to survive and thrive. Microorganisms are trained through evolution to become the fittest and the best adapted to a particular environmental niche or lifestyle, and to innovate when the 'rules of the game' are changed by alterations to their natural habitats. In this Essay, we honour the best competitors in the microbial world by inviting them to take part in the inaugural Microbial Olympics.

 

Plant pathogens among the Microbial Olympics medalists!


Via Kamoun Lab @ TSL
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Plant Cell: Paleohistory of miRNA Evolution in Plants.

Plant Cell: Paleohistory of miRNA Evolution in Plants. | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

What's not to love - paleogenomics of the grass genomes leads to the identification of conserved ancestral miRNA families, and indications of how some miRNAs have been selectively retained or lost. It's an intellectually satisfying study, and useful too....

"Together, our data suggest that overretained miRNAs in grass genomes may be implicated in connected gene regulations for stress responses, which is essential for plant adaptation and useful for crop variety innovation."

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BBC: crop scientists win $10m grant from Gates Foundation to develop N-fixing cereals

BBC: crop scientists win $10m grant from Gates Foundation to develop N-fixing cereals | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it
A team of British plant scientists wins a $10m (£6.4m) grant from the Gates Foundation to develop GM cereal crops.

"Professor Giles Oldroyd from the John Innes Centre, who is leading the team, said the project was vital for poorer producers and could have a "huge impact" on global agriculture.

"We believe if we can get nitron fixing cereals we can deliver much higher yields to farmers in Africa and allow them to grow enough food for themselves."

 

As usual, reading the comments that follow an article such as this renews our committment to promoting education.....

 

Here's a link to a lecture by Giles earlier this year http://www.lancs.ac.uk/other/bsajxb/JXB/UKGiles.htm

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Nature: The vast majority of US faculty members have simply not been taught how to teach

Nature: The vast majority of US faculty members have simply not been taught how to teach | Plant Biology Teaching Resources (Higher Education) | Scoop.it

Here's an article describing a study of US academics, asking them "questions focused on more than 120 types of behaviour, asking respondents to rate them from 1 to 5, with 1 being appropriate behaviour that should be encouraged, and 5 being totally unacceptable actions requiring formal administrative intervention". Being routinely late for class is "generally ignorable".  How nice, students' time doesn't matter, does it?

 

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v487/n7406/full/487165a.html

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