Volume 3 Issue 4, April 2017

Volume 3 Issue 4

Duplex silencing

Plants convert aberrant transcripts into double-stranded RNAs (dsRNAs), which trigger their post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS). The poly(A) tail, a hallmark of canonical mRNAs, inhibits such dsRNA conversion by RNA-DEPENDENT RNA POLYMERASE6 (RDR6), preventing 'self-attack' by PTGS.

See Nature Plants 3, 17036 (2017).

Image: K. Baeg & H. Iwakawa. Cover Design: L. Heslop


  • Editorial |

    If, as the former editor of The Washington Post Phil Graham said, “[journalism] is the first rough draft of history”, then it is sometimes worth looking back at recent news to try to identify the significant events among the noise.

Features & comment

  • Comment |

    The biodiversity of food plants is vital for humanity's capacity to meet sustainability challenges. This goal requires the rigorous integration of plant, environmental, social and health sciences. It is coalescing around four thematic cornerstones that are both interdisciplinary and policy relevant.

    • Karl S. Zimmerer
    •  & Stef de Haan

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Resurrection plants can survive extreme drying during periods of prolonged drought stress, maintaining a quiescent state for months to years until the return of water. Analysis of the genome and transcriptome of the resurrection plant Xerophyta viscosa links the evolution of desiccation tolerance to rewired pre-existing seed pathways.

    • Robert VanBuren
  • News & Views |

    Whole plant nutrient signalling involves bidirectional exchange of signal molecules between roots and shoots. For nitrogen uptake, in addition to the root-to-shoot delivery of nitrogen-deprivation information, a shoot-to-root path is now defined.

    • Sandrine Ruffel
    •  & Alain Gojon
  • News & Views |

    The time of flowering is important in crop production. Rice has now been genetically engineered to respond to agrochemical spraying, which results in floral induction. This research offers new perspectives to control the phenological development of crops in the field.

    • Christian Jung


  • Brief Communication |

    Plants evolved NLR sensors to detect bacterial effectors or their activity. A genetic analysis in Arabidopsis expands the role of the ZAR1 NLR protein. ZAR1 recognizes effector HopF2a through its association with pseudokinase ZRK3, inducing resistance without hypersensitive response.

    • Derek Seto
    • , Noushin Koulena
    • , Timothy Lo
    • , Alexandra Menna
    • , David S. Guttman
    •  & Darrell Desveaux
  • Article |

    The Malawian Farm Input Subsidy Programme has been credited with transforming the country's food security. However, an analysis based on net photosynthesis shows that production gains and the efficacy of fertilizer subsidies may have been overestimated.

    • Joseph P. Messina
    • , Brad G. Peter
    •  & Sieglinde S. Snapp


  • Article |

    The mechanism underlying vegetative desiccation tolerance (DT) of plants remains elusive. A study now sequences the genome and transcriptome for the resurrection plant, Xerophyta viscosa, and supports that vegetative DT arose by redirection of the seed DT pathway.

    • Maria-Cecília D. Costa
    • , Mariana A. S. Artur
    • , Julio Maia
    • , Eef Jonkheer
    • , Martijn F. L. Derks
    • , Harm Nijveen
    • , Brett Williams
    • , Sagadevan G. Mundree
    • , José M. Jiménez-Gómez
    • , Thamara Hesselink
    • , Elio G. W. M. Schijlen
    • , Wilco Ligterink
    • , Melvin J. Oliver
    • , Jill M. Farrant
    •  & Henk W. M. Hilhorst
  • Letter |

    A comprehensive gene stacking approach is used to rationally design rice varieties that combine multiple desirable quantitative traits to obtain both high yields and high grain quality.

    • Dali Zeng
    • , Zhixi Tian
    • , Yuchun Rao
    • , Guojun Dong
    • , Yaolong Yang
    • , Lichao Huang
    • , Yujia Leng
    • , Jie Xu
    • , Chuan Sun
    • , Guangheng Zhang
    • , Jiang Hu
    • , Li Zhu
    • , Zhenyu Gao
    • , Xingming Hu
    • , Longbiao Guo
    • , Guosheng Xiong
    • , Yonghong Wang
    • , Jiayang Li
    •  & Qian Qian
  • Letter |

    A Japanese group has developed an approach of generating transgenic rice plants with agrochemical-controlled flowering time by overexpressing a floral repressor gene, Ghd7, followed by transformation of an agrochemical-inducible florigen gene, Hd3a.

    • Ryo Okada
    • , Yasue Nemoto
    • , Naokuni Endo-Higashi
    •  & Takeshi Izawa
  • Article |

    Vascular plants use osmotic pressure differences to transport sugars. A synthetic microfluidic model explores the nonlinear dynamics of this process, showing that passive loading is sufficient to drive long-distance transport in large plants and trees.

    • Jean Comtet
    • , Kaare H. Jensen
    • , Robert Turgeon
    • , Abraham D. Stroock
    •  & A. E. Hosoi