News & Views

Filter by:

  • In a feat of protein engineering alchemy, a FRET biosensor for tryptophan has been engineered into a direct biosensor for auxin, after a determined journey of over 2,800 steps to switch to a sensitivity appropriate for a plant hormone.

    • Martin Balcerowicz
    • Kartika N. Shetty
    • Alexander M. Jones
    News & Views
  • Upon first exposure to light, plants initiate the synchronized biogenesis of chlorophyll and thylakoid membranes. Two new studies have revealed a molecular view of the light-dependent step of chlorophyll synthesis within the membranes of developing angiosperm chloroplasts.

    • Wojciech Wietrzynski
    • Benjamin D. Engel
    News & Views
  • Plant defence is based on a two-tiered immune system comprising pattern-triggered immunity (PTI) and effector-triggered immunity (ETI). Effective defence against host-adapted microbial pathogens relies on mutual potentiation of immunity by both PTI and ETI components.

    • Rory N. Pruitt
    • Andrea A. Gust
    • Thorsten Nürnberger
    News & Views
  • Root nodules that form on legumes, such as garden pea and soybean, are the salient feature of symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria. It is now shown that formation of these unique lateral root organs necessitates co-option of elements mediating radial root patterning.

    • Krzysztof Szczyglowski
    • Loretta Ross
    News & Views
  • Managing root nitrate transport is required by plants to meet ongoing nitrogen demands, and is coordinated by bidirectional communication between roots and shoots. Shoot-derived signals can now be directly linked to the activation of nitrate transport by CEPH, a targeted NRT2;1-specific phosphatase.

    • Brent N. Kaiser
    News & Views
  • The lipid biopolymer suberin is an integral component of the root diffusion barrier, yet its deposition changes dynamically in response to both developmental and physiological cues. A new study identified GELP family proteins as strong candidates for suberin polymerases and degradases acting in suberin remodelling.

    • Keiji Nakajima
    News & Views
  • Manipulating three important genes in the CLAVATA–WUSCHEL signalling pathway quantitatively enhances grain-yield-related traits in maize.

    • Qiuyue Chen
    • Feng Tian
    News & Views
  • In plants, the absence of the retinal cofactor hinders the implementation of light-gated ion channels and optogenetic control of membrane potentials through rhodopsins. The engineering of β-carotene conversion into retinal now makes this powerful approach possible.

    • Uriel Urquiza-Garcia
    • Matias D. Zurbriggen
    News & Views
  • The genetic control of crop growth and behaviour can be modified through traditional plant breeding or genetic engineering, but is fixed once a variety is sown. New spray-on viral transfection technology can transiently alter gene expression to fine-tune agronomic traits within the season while avoiding modifications to the genome.

    • Karen Massel
    • Ian Godwin
    • Lee Hickey
    News & Views
  • Small RNAs, not mRNAs, are the real messengers when it comes to long-distance communication.

    • Quentin Gouil
    • Mathew G. Lewsey
    News & Views
  • The budding field of precision genome editing in plants expands with an engineered CRISPR–Cas9 variant named SpRY, which enables mutagenesis of virtually any genomic sequence.

    • Logan T. Hille
    • Benjamin P. Kleinstiver
    News & Views
  • A chromatin-based, RNA interference (RNAi)-independent mechanism re-establishes DNA methylation on heterochromatic transposable elements that lost silent marks in previous generations. Multiple factors including CG methylation and H2A.W replacement influence the efficiency of this methylation reprogramming mechanism.

    • Yiming Yu
    • Jixian Zhai
    News & Views
  • A direct link between DNA repair and heat tolerance has been revealed in Arabidopsis thaliana.

    • Annika Dorn
    • Holger Puchta
    News & Views
  • The peel of fruits represents a major defensive barrier. A new study analysing comprehensive transcript and metabolite data from tomato skin provides mapping of the genomic regions allowing for the coordinated regulation of metabolism, development and fungal defence at an exquisite resolution.

    • Alisdair R. Fernie
    • Saleh Alseekh
    News & Views
  • 1-Aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) has emerged as a signalling molecule in its own right, regulating distinct plant processes independently from its conversion to ethylene. Now it seems that ACC signalling has been steering plant development for hundreds of millions of years, predating the diversification of seed plants.

    • Bram Van de Poel
    News & Views
  • Mothers and fathers contribute equally to the early embryonic transcriptome in plants, but the full extent of parental control of embryogenesis is unknown. Now it has been reported that expression of parental alleles can vary across cell types.

    • Michael D. Nodine
    News & Views
  • Polar cell growth requires spatiotemporal regulation of Rho of plants (ROPs) small G proteins in membrane domains. In addition to localized activation of membrane-anchored ROPs, a mechanism for their local inactivation has now been identified.

    • Gil Feiguelman
    • Shaul Yalovsky
    News & Views
  • Rubisco is a complex, ubiquitous protein composed of eight large and eight small subunits. By assembling Rubisco in bacterial cells, the specific characteristics of individual small subunits have been investigated with a view to engineering more efficient carbon fixation.

    • Robert E. Sharwood
    News & Views
  • Plant roots have to orchestrate their growth pattern to access available nutrients. Root architecture is governed by auxin that locally steers growth and development of lateral roots, thereby increasing the uptake capacity. A new mechanism for ammonium acquisition by influencing cellular auxin import has been defined.

    • Hans Motte
    • Tom Beeckman
    News & Views