News & Comment

  • Editorial |

    Cryo-electron microscopy is currently one of the most productive structural techniques, especially for large protein complexes such as photosystems. This success is built on a very long history of technological advances.

  • News & Views |

    Comprehensive phylogenomics and molecular dating support a Triassic origin for flowering plants that is substantially earlier than their appearance in the fossil record, leaving a puzzling gap spanning the entire Jurassic period.

    • Jennifer R. Mandel
  • News & Views |

    A new strategy based on a sophisticated and efficient system of modified pentatricopeptide repeat 10 proteins boost plastid transgene expression and the accumulation of foreign proteins by up to 40-fold.

    • Francis Quétier
  • News & Views |

    A previously unknown biologically active gibberellin present in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana is formed by hydration of the gibberellin precursor GA12 through the action of GAS2, a 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase that decreases sensitivity to abscisic acid and promotes seed germination and seedling establishment.

    • Peter Hedden
  • News & Views |

    Pathogen perception triggers a monomeric nucleotide-binding leucine-rich plant immune receptor to form a pentameric wheel-like complex termed a resistosome, with the N-terminal α helices forming a funnel-shaped structure that may perturb plasma membrane integrity to cause hypersensitive cell death.

    • Hiroaki Adachi
    • , Sophien Kamoun
    •  & Abbas Maqbool
  • Editorial |

    In June 2019, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations will elect a new Director General, an individual who will be central to global development for the next decade.

  • News & Views |

    Adenine base editors (ABEs) and cytosine base editors (CBEs) are powerful tools for targeted base conversions, but their editing specificities are largely unknown. Now, two reports demonstrate that ABEs are highly specific, but BE3-type CBEs tend to generate genome-wide off-target single nucleotide variations.

    • Jintao Tang
    • , Letian Chen
    •  & Yao-Guang Liu
  • News & Views |

    Genome sequences from archaeological sorghum plants raise questions about our understanding of plant domestication.

    • Terence A. Brown
  • News & Views |

    Optimal plant growth requires an appropriate balance of mineral nutrients. A novel mechanism involving the physical interaction between nitrate and phosphate sensors in rice provides a regulatory framework for balanced acquisition and utilization of these nutrients.

    • César Poza-Carrión
    •  & Javier Paz-Ares
  • News & Views |

    Fusion of lipid bilayers to deliver genetic information is a process common to both viral infection and fertilization, and the two share common molecular mechanisms. Now, identification of fusion-facilitators shows that plants have their own unique slant on the fusion process.

    • Jun Zhang
    • , Jennifer F. Pinello
    •  & William J. Snell
  • News & Views |

    An efficient route to the transformation of Arabidopsis plastids will allow the full power of molecular genetics to be brought to bear on the study of this key compartment.

    • Ian Small
  • Editorial |

    Two recent Escherichia coli outbreaks, a United States government shutdown and the imminent departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union bring into focus the fragility of global food supply systems.

  • News & Views |

    The target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase regulates crucial cellular processes. Characterization of its signalling pathway in plants has lagged behind animals and yeast. A large-scale phosphoproteome and interactome analysis in Arabidopsis has now uncovered plant-specific and conserved TOR targets and interactors.

    • Céline Forzani
    •  & Christian Meyer
  • News & Views |

    Detailed electron microscopy and tomography analyses reveal a previously unappreciated complexity of extracellular membranes at the host–microbe interface during arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis.

    • Erik Limpens
  • Comment |

    Extinct, or just extinct in the wild? Plants lost from in situ habitat, but represented in seed banks, are labelled extinct despite the potential for restoration. A change in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List definition of extinct in the wild is needed to improve the status and prospects of threatened plant species.

    • Sarah E. Dalrymple
    •  & Thomas Abeli
  • Editorial |

    The belated arrival of the Antirrhinum genome sequence brings this classic model plant into the genomic age and opens up increased avenues for plant biology research.

  • News & Views |

    Curcumin, an aromatic diarylheptanoid, is a principal component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), commonly used in Asian cooking, giving curry its orange colour. Introducing two enzymes into Arabidopsis thaliana caused incorporation of curcumin into its lignin polymer, enhancing sugar release from the cell wall and turning it yellow.

    • Gerald A. Tuskan
  • News & Views |

    A new protein degradation pathway driven by late-endosome-localized MULTIDRUG AND TOXIC COMPOUND EXTRUSION (MATE) efflux transporters opposes autophagy at the onset of senescence. Paradoxically, the new pathway requires a central component of autophagy.

    • Ulrike Zentgraf
  • Research Highlight |

    • Ryan Scarrow
  • News & Views |

    The vacuole is a plant’s major phosphate (Pi) pool. Cellular Pi homeostasis highly depends on shuttling Pi between vacuoles and the cytosol. Glycerol 3-phosphate transporter types have now been identified as tonoplast-localized vacuolar Pi efflux transporters, integrating vacuolar Pi transport systems in plants.

    • Mingda Luan
    •  & Wenzhi Lan
  • Editorial |

    We live in uncertain times, but the changing of the year provides a time not only to look back on the year that has passed, but also to look forward to what might happen in the year to come.

  • News & Views |

    Magnoliid genomes provide novel insight into early angiosperm evolution, showing how whole-genome duplication and proliferation of transposable elements have shaped these genomes. Now, two papers giving differing views of early angiosperm phylogeny, raise questions about the relationships among eudicots, monocots and magnoliids.

    • Douglas E. Soltis
    •  & Pamela S. Soltis
  • News & Views |

    Sporopollenin, which encapsulates gametes in spore and pollen grains, is probably the most chemically inert biopolymer. This inertness is essential for gamete protection, but also hinders the elucidation of sporopollenin molecular structure. Now, the macromolecular network forming sporopollenin is described in unprecedented detail.

    • Paula Guzmán-Delgado
    •  & Maciej A. Zwieniecki
  • Editorial |

    Despite depressingly common misconceptions, fungi are not plants. However, the alliances made between these two forms of life could be an inspiration for the research communities that study them.

  • News & Views |

    Light is a critical environmental factor that influences nutrient uptake in roots and the subsequent use of nutrients, which is necessary to sustain plant growth. The positive effect of red light on phosphorus uptake has now been defined, along with the pivotal role of the phytochrome-B signalling cascades that mediate this effect.

    • Hatem Rouached
  • News & Views |

    How plants control the composition of proanthocyanidins has been the subject of much interest and speculation. The elucidation of parallel routes to the starter and extension units in Medicago provides an explanation.

    • Brenda S. J. Winkel