Volume 3 Issue 3, March 2017

Volume 3 Issue 3

Wall planner

Xa4 is a widely exploited and lasting disease resistance gene in rice breeding. It encodes a cell wall-associated kinase that slightly reduces plant height by partially preventing culm cell elongation.

See Nature Plants 3, 17009 (2017).

Image: S. Wang Cover Design: L. Heslop


  • Editorial |

    Plant biology has a long history in helping to illuminate the most detailed workings of living organisms. This tradition is amply represented by a trio of structures appearing this month.

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    The novel features of the CRISPR–Cpf1 RNA-guided endonuclease system facilitate precise and efficient genome engineering. Application of CRISPR–Cpf1 in plants shows promise for robust gene editing and regulation, opening exciting possibilities for targeted trait improvement in crops.

    • Magdy M. Mahfouz
  • News & Views |

    A large-scale study covering a wide range of arable farming systems reveals that, besides the obvious environmental benefits, low pesticide use rarely decreases productivity and profitability.

    • Vasileios P. Vasileiadis
  • News & Views |

    Trehalose-6-phosphate (T6P) is an essential signalling molecule in plants. A novel chemical intervention strategy to increase in planta T6P levels has now been presented, with remarkable effects on plant yield and drought tolerance.

    • Sjef Smeekens
  • News & Views |

    The rice gene Xa4 encodes a wall-associated kinase and controls disease resistance and mechanical strength, possibly through a common mechanism.

    • Simon G. Krattinger
    •  & Beat Keller
  • News & Views |

    Plant cell walls incorporate a variety of acetylated polysaccharides. In addition to enzymes catalysing acetylation (acetyltransferases), plants could produce enzymes to remove acetyl groups (acetylesterases). Previously, pectin acetylesterases were known and now a xylan acetylesterase has been identified — and it has many surprises.

    • Henrik V. Scheller
  • News & Views |

    The chloroplast evolved from a symbiotic cyanobacterium and it still divides like one. Bacterial inner division machinery recruits the eukaryotic outer complex, which in turn condenses the inner ring. This reciprocal communication across the double membrane is essential for coordinated fission of the organelle.

    • Shin-ya Miyagishima


  • Review Article |

    Molecular dating has suggested that angiosperms existed earlier than the Late Cretaceous. Scattered fossil evidence for Triassic or Jurassic angiosperms exists but this Review concludes that the case remains unproven at best.

    • Patrick S. Herendeen
    • , Else Marie Friis
    • , Kaj Raunsgaard Pedersen
    •  & Peter R. Crane