Volume 1 Issue 12 December 2015

Volume 1 Issue 12

Problem fixing 

Nitrogen shortage is a significant challenge for plant growth, yet forest trees that can fix nitrogen tend to be less, rather than more, prevalent in nitrogen poor soils. It's a matter of tactics. Outside the tropics, obligate nitrogen fixers lose out to trees with a more flexible approach, missing the opportunity to participate in mature forest ecosystems.

See Efrat Sheffer et al. 1, 15182 (2015).

Image: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Cover design: David Shand.


  • Editorial |

    Medical science has acknowledged that research resources are not always directed where they will be most effective. Is it time that we paid similar attention to blind spots within the plant sciences?

Features and Comment

  • News |

    Soil microorganisms have long been known to aid plants through nitrogen fixation and water and nutrient exchange. Now researchers are unearthing new ways in which this subterranean biome affects plant performance.

    • Karl Gruber
  • Comment |

    Agriculture is often viewed as a source of problems needing innovative solutions. But agriculture can actually be a source of innovations for the bioeconomy, if researchers embrace the cultural changes needed.

    • Angela Karp
    • , Michael H. Beale
    • , Frédéric Beaudoin
    • , Peter J. Eastmond
    • , Andrew L. Neal
    • , Ian F. Shield
    • , Belinda J. Townsend
    •  & Achim Dobermann

Research Highlights

News and Views

  • News and Views |

    The genome of a tiny resurrection plant has been sequenced using PacBio's long-read single-molecule real-time sequencing technology, aiding the understanding of extreme desiccation tolerance. The genome contiguity is comparable to that of genomes sequenced using far more laborious approaches.

    • Elizabeth A. Kellogg
  • News and Views |

    Causal signals for seed initiation have been sought ever since double fertilization was discovered in 1898. New research reveals that auxin is an early driver of endosperm proliferation in Arabidopsis central cells, with or without fertilization.

    • Anna Koltunow
    •  & David S. Rabiger
  • News and Views |

    Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone. The finding that unveils regulation of ethylene signalling at the translational level adds complexity to the ethylene signalling ‘regulatome’ and generates insightful questions that may advance our understanding of the pathway.

    • Jingyi Zhang
    •  & Chi-Kuang Wen
  • News and Views |

    The impacts of the prokaryotic ancestry of chloroplasts extend to the occurrence of a bacterial ‘alarm’ hormone, or alarmone, in plants, which is triggered by nutrient deficiency or stress. A new study shows that chloroplast development itself is reduced by alarmone, with seemingly paradoxical consequences for plant growth.

    • Enrique López-Juez


  • Brief Communication |

    Wheat stem rust is a devastating fungal disease, especially since the emergence of the virulent Ug99 lineage. An efficient resistance gene, encoding a CC–NB–LRR, is identified in a highly diverse locus of rye, and is effective against Ug99.

    • Rohit Mago
    • , Peng Zhang
    • , Sonia Vautrin
    • , Hana Šimková
    • , Urmil Bansal
    • , Ming-Cheng Luo
    • , Matthew Rouse
    • , Haydar Karaoglu
    • , Sambasivam Periyannan
    • , James Kolmer
    • , Yue Jin
    • , Michael A. Ayliffe
    • , Harbans Bariana
    • , Robert F. Park
    • , Robert McIntosh
    • , Jaroslav Doležel
    • , Hélène Bergès
    • , Wolfgang Spielmeyer
    • , Evans S. Lagudah
    • , Jeff G. Ellis
    •  & Peter N. Dodds
  • Brief Communication |

    Auxin-binding protein ABP1 has been characterized as a secreted receptor for the hormone. Embryonic lethality of insertion mutant abp1-1 hinted at a central role in development. However, this lethality is in fact due to deletion of neighbour gene BSM.

    • Xinhua Dai
    • , Yi Zhang
    • , Da Zhang
    • , Jilin Chen
    • , Xiuhua Gao
    • , Mark Estelle
    •  & Yunde Zhao
  • Article |

    Dinitrogen fixation by plants is a major source of new nitrogen to land ecosystems. Climatic constraints on the nitrogen cycle can explain biome-scale differences in the abundance of nitrogen fixing trees, according to an analysis of the ecological and evolutionary conditions under which different fixation strategies emerge.

    • Efrat Sheffer
    • , Sarah A. Batterman
    • , Simon A. Levin
    •  & Lars O. Hedin
  • Article |

    Double fertilization in flowering plants produces both the embryo and the endosperm that is going to nourish it, forming a seed. Development of the endosperm is triggered by auxin production, derepressed by an epigenetic pathway after fertilization.

    • Duarte D. Figueiredo
    • , Rita A. Batista
    • , Pawel J. Roszak
    •  & Claudia Köhler
  • Article |

    Manganese is an essential metal for plant growth. A series of laboratory experiments suggest that metal tolerance protein 9 (MTP9), a member of the cation diffusion facilitator family, is required for manganese translocation, and thereby uptake, in rice.

    • Daisei Ueno
    • , Akimasa Sasaki
    • , Naoki Yamaji
    • , Takaaki Miyaji
    • , Yumi Fujii
    • , Yuma Takemoto
    • , Sawako Moriyama
    • , Jing Che
    • , Yoshinori Moriyama
    • , Kozo Iwasaki
    •  & Jian Feng Ma
  • Article |

    The ppGpp-dependent control of cell activities, namely the stringent response, has been elusive in eukaryotes. Arabidopsis mutant analysis now shows that plant stringent response controls organelle function and contributes to systematic growth.

    • Mikika Maekawa
    • , Rina Honoki
    • , Yuta Ihara
    • , Ryoichi Sato
    • , Akira Oikawa
    • , Yuri Kanno
    • , Hiroyuki Ohta
    • , Mitsunori Seo
    • , Kazuki Saito
    •  & Shinji Masuda
  • Article |

    To ensure efficient photosynthesis the flow of electrons through the two photosystems in the chloroplast must be carefully balanced. This paper shows that LHCI mediates interactions between LHCII peripheral to the core and the PSI supercomplex.

    • Samuel L. Benson
    • , Pratheesh Maheswaran
    • , Maxwell A. Ware
    • , C. Neil Hunter
    • , Peter Horton
    • , Stefan Jansson
    • , Alexander V. Ruban
    •  & Matthew P. Johnson