Volume 2 Issue 8 August 2016

Volume 2 Issue 8

Dry fate

Farnesylation is a relatively common post-translational modification of proteins that can alter their function. For example, plants lacking a farnesylation site on a specific cytochrome p450 enzyme are more tolerant of drought.

See Nature Plants 2, 16114 (2016).

Image: Siyu Liang Cover Design: S. Whitham


  • Editorial |

    Science is not a solo endeavour but a social one, and the most social part is conference attendance. Regardless of their other strengths and weaknesses, scientific meetings are critical for encouraging researchers early in their careers.

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News and Views |

    Restoration of damaged ecosystems usually involves fairly crude techniques. A new study suggests that the use of soil inocula can ‘design’ new target communities more subtly.

    • Robert H. Marrs
  • News and Views |

    A detailed phylogenetic study now shows that there is a compelling association between polyploidy and domestication, and that polyploidy more frequently occurs before domestication.

    • Zhou Fang
    •  & Peter L. Morrell
  • News and Views |

    Roots must sort the good from the bad and distinguish the inside from the outside. In endodermal cells, a ring-like apoplastic diffusion barrier called the Casparian strip is established, splitting the cells down the middle into inner and outer lateral halves. Its integrity and polarity depends on a novel protein kinase called SCHENGEN1.

    • Silvia Melina Velasquez
    •  & Jürgen Kleine-Vehn
  • News and Views |

    The fitness costs of individual resistance (R) genes detected in previous studies suggest an impossibly high genetic load associated with disease resistance, if true for all R genes. However, new research shows that Arabidopsis plants with resistant Rps2 are no less fit than those with a susceptible Rps2 allele in the absence of disease.

    • Anna-Liisa Laine

Reviews and Perspective

  • Perspective |

    Increased legume production and consumption is a promising route to future food security for several reasons: legumes are nutritious foods in their own right, and their nitrogen-fixing capabilities can benefit subsequent crop cultivation. However, legumes are currently under-used and yields will need to be improved if legumes are to become a major food crop. This will entail improvement of genetic diversity in legume breeding programmes, more widespread cultivation of legumes currently grown in restricted regions (such as cowpea), and, possibly, increased government price support

    • Christine H. Foyer
    • , Hon-Ming Lam
    • , Henry T. Nguyen
    • , Kadambot H. M. Siddique
    • , Rajeev K. Varshney
    • , Timothy D. Colmer
    • , Wallace Cowling
    • , Helen Bramley
    • , Trevor A. Mori
    • , Jonathan M. Hodgson
    • , James W. Cooper
    • , Anthony J. Miller
    • , Karl Kunert
    • , Juan Vorster
    • , Christopher Cullis
    • , Jocelyn A. Ozga
    • , Mark L. Wahlqvist
    • , Yan Liang
    • , Huixia Shou
    • , Kai Shi
    • , Jingquan Yu
    • , Nandor Fodor
    • , Brent N. Kaiser
    • , Fuk-Ling Wong
    • , Babu Valliyodan
    •  & Michael J. Considine


  • Review Article |

    Dioecious species (those that have distinct male and female plants) are particularly vulnerable to climate change because male and female plants may be spatially segregated and specialized. Female plants will be more impacted by increasing aridity, especially in long-lived species in regions experiencing dramatic climate change. This could lead to an overabundance of male plants at the expense of females in a large number of populations.

    • Kevin R. Hultine
    • , Kevin C. Grady
    • , Troy E. Wood
    • , Stephen M. Shuster
    • , John C. Stella
    •  & Thomas G. Whitham


  • Letter |

    Intensive agricultural activity can degrade ecosystems, and restoration takes decades. This field study shows that soil inocula promote ecosystem restoration, and different inocula (such as grassland/heathland) can steer restoration towards different targets.

    • E. R. Jasper Wubs
    • , Wim H. van der Putten
    • , Machiel Bosch
    •  & T. Martijn Bezemer
  • Letter |

    More drought episodes are expected due to climate change. The authors test how beech tree metabolism is affected by drought, and show that the recovery is dependent on root carbon storage and increased sink activity in the rhizosphere.

    • Frank Hagedorn
    • , Jobin Joseph
    • , Martina Peter
    • , Jörg Luster
    • , Karin Pritsch
    • , Uwe Geppert
    • , Rene Kerner
    • , Virginie Molinier
    • , Simon Egli
    • , Marcus Schaub
    • , Jian-Feng Liu
    • , Maihe Li
    • , Krunoslav Sever
    • , Markus Weiler
    • , Rolf T. W. Siegwolf
    • , Arthur Gessler
    •  & Matthias Arend
  • Letter |

    A study examining a genetic data set including dozens of genera containing crop species and their wild relatives shows that domesticated species experienced more polyploidy events than their wild relatives, and domestication followed polyploidization.

    • Ayelet Salman-Minkov
    • , Niv Sabath
    •  & Itay Mayrose
  • Article |

    The Casparian strip (CS) is a hydrophobic endodermal barrier isolating the cortex from the vasculature in the roots. A visual genetic screen identifies SCHENGEN1, a novel receptor-like kinase crucial for the integrity and positioning of the CS.

    • Julien Alassimone
    • , Satoshi Fujita
    • , Verónica G. Doblas
    • , Maritza van Dop
    • , Marie Barberon
    • , Lothar Kalmbach
    • , Joop E. M. Vermeer
    • , Nelson Rojas-Murcia
    • , Luca Santuari
    • , Christian S. Hardtke
    •  & Niko Geldner