Reviews & Analysis

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  • The nitrate transporter NRT1.1 is a versatile plasma-membrane protein that mediates not only nitrate uptake in roots, but also nitrate sensing and signalling. A study of the structural features of NRT1.1 reveals how this protein can coordinate a range of physiological and morphological responses to nitrate.

    • Ricardo F. H. Giehl
    • Nicolaus von Wirén
    News & Views
  • Animal microRNAs appear to either cleave or repress the translation of target messenger RNAs depending on complementarity between the two. Contrastingly, the biogenesis of plant microRNAs seems to dictate their mode of action.

    • Hervé Vaucheret
    News & Views
  • The protein content of plant cells is constantly being updated. Proteomic analyses are revealing the cellular processes that contribute to protein synthesis and degradation in plants, and their sensitivity to developmental and environmental change.

    • Clark J. Nelson
    • A. Harvey Millar
    Review Article
  • Transposons are a major component of many plant genomes. A comparison of two related species differing in genome size and transposon content provides an opportunity to study how transposons contribute to shaping the genome and epigenome.

    • Nathan M. Springer
    News & Views
  • Asymmetric cell divisions establish the patterning of stomata in maize. PAN receptor-like kinases were thought to start a signalling cascade leading to pre-mitotic polarization of the cell. Re-analysis of mutants now reveals that the SCAR/WAVE complex is involved in the early initiation of polarity in mother cells.

    • Laura Serna
    News & Views
  • The development of a new jasmonate reporter further extends the tools that add greater detail to the investigation of plant hormones. Such reporters for the various types of plant hormones, exploiting different aspects of their activity, will help us to eventually study hormone signalling, distribution and dynamics in intact tissue.

    • Rainer Waadt
    News & Views
  • Modulating the expression of two flowering-genes can be used to produce wheat spikes with modified spikelet arrangement and higher grain number.

    • Fathey Sarhan
    News & Views
  • A 180-year-old ‘law’ in zoology has found its best support so far in a study of floral colour, which not only documents darker plants growing closer to the equator, but also supports the idea that the colour stems from ultraviolet protection.

    • Innes C. Cuthill
    News & Views
  • Sequencing ancient DNA from archaeological samples reveals both how maize was transported through North America, and the shifting genomic patterns in response to selection for drought tolerance and sugar content.

    • Greger Larson
    News & Views
  • Rubisco catalyses the first step in photosynthetic carbon fixation, but it can be easily poisoned by side-products of its activity. Structural and functional analyses of a protein conserved across plants, algae and bacteria shows how one such blockage is both removed and recycled.

    • Rebekka M. Wachter
    • J. Nathan Henderson
    News & Views
  • Ascorbate is synthesized in mitochondria but needed in chloroplasts. Identification of a transporter bridging the chloroplast envelope membranes that separate cell cytoplasm from chloroplast stroma reveals a connection between ascorbate transport and cellular redox homeostasis.

    • Christine H. Foyer
    News & Views