Volume 1 Issue 5, May 2015

Volume 1 Issue 5

Orchid architecture

Orchid flowers have a complex architecture and the molecular mechanisms underlying their development are no less arcane. Building on the classic ABC model of floral organ determination, competition between two protein complexes containing different AP3/AGL6 homologues determines the formation of the complex perianth patterns and their prominent lip.

See Hsu et al. 1, 15046 (2015)

K. Moore from picture by Chang-Hsien Yang


  • Editorial |

    The majority of biological research is concentrated on a handful of species for valid practical reasons. But it is important that such pragmatism does not distort our view of life's complexity.


  • Comment |

    Arabidopsis has provided significant insights into the molecular workings of plants. Agriculturally aligned model grasses can be used to bridge the gap between this basic understanding of plant biology and real world challenges.

    • Thomas P. Brutnell

Research Highlights

Books and Arts

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Most orchid flowers have an enlarged median petal, the ‘lip’, which plays a crucial role in attracting pollinators. The existence and appearance of this organ is due to the presence of specific protein complexes involved in floral development, which are differentially expressed in orchid species with more or less pronounced lips.

    • Barbara Gravendeel
    •  & Anita Dirks-Mulder
  • News & Views |

    Overexpressing a receptor–ligand pair specifically in their native tissue domains dramatically promotes wood formation and biomass production in trees.

    • Jing Zhang
    • , Juan Antonio Alonso Serra
    •  & Ykä Helariutta
  • News & Views |

    Cells associated with the male germlines of grasses produce huge amounts of small RNAs. A large survey of two types of small RNA in maize uncovers unique characteristics associated with male fertility, but the molecular mechanism by which these germline-associated small RNAs function remains unclear.

    • Michael J. Axtell
  • News & Views |

    The tricarboxcylic acid cycle has been exhaustively studied for decades so it is not unreasonable to expect that it would retain few undiscovered surprises. However, experimental analyses in cyanobacteria show it to be remarkably plastic, dependent on what it is producing and how much.

    • Daniel C. Ducat


  • Brief Communication |

    Orchid seeds are conventionally thought to be wind dispersed. However, extensive observation with motion sensor cameras shows that birds such as the brown-eared bulbul eat and disperse the seeds of at least one orchid, Cyrtosia septentrionalis.

    • Kenji Suetsugu
    • , Atsushi Kawakita
    •  & Makoto Kato
  • Article |

    The mechanisms of sepal/petal/lip determination in orchids remain obscure. Now a study reveals competition between two protein complexes containing different AP3/AGL6 homologues determine the formation of the complex perianth patterns in orchids.

    • Hsing-Fun Hsu
    • , Wei-Han Hsu
    • , Yung-I Lee
    • , Wan-Ting Mao
    • , Jun-Yi Yang
    • , Jen-Ying Li
    •  & Chang-Hsien Yang
  • Article |

    Analysis of a new Arabidopsis mutant shows that SGT1b protein associates with chaperones to stabilize jasmonate receptor Col1 and auxin hormone F-box receptor TIR1. This study highlights the importance of chaperone complexes in hormone signalling.

    • Xue-Cheng Zhang
    • , Yves A. Millet
    • , Zhenyu Cheng
    • , Jenifer Bush
    •  & Frederick M. Ausubel
  • Article |

    Natural rubber is composed of extremely long polymers of isoprene. In dandelion, a potential alternative source of latex for industry, a rubber transferase activator, homologous to the human Nogo-B receptor, is necessary for this synthesis.

    • Janina Epping
    • , Nicole van Deenen
    • , Eva Niephaus
    • , Anna Stolze
    • , Julia Fricke
    • , Claudia Huber
    • , Wolfgang Eisenreich
    • , Richard M. Twyman
    • , Dirk Prüfer
    •  & Christian Schulze Gronover
  • Article |

    Expressing the Pseudomonas ethylene-forming enzyme (Efe) in Synechocystis 6803 causes it to produce ethylene. Tracer experiments and metabolic modelling show that this is achieved by plasticity of fluxes through the tricarboxylic acid cycle.

    • Wei Xiong
    • , John A. Morgan
    • , Justin Ungerer
    • , Bo Wang
    • , Pin-Ching Maness
    •  & Jianping Yu