Arabidopsis Research Round-Up

Here’s your weekly round-up of the latest Arabidopsis research from the UK, this week including a mixed bag of studies from the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford,Worcester, Warwick and Nottingham.


Janice Miller and Stephen Fry from the University of Edinburgh (with former lab member Tim Gregson now at the Lancaster Environment Centre) worked with Chinese collaborators on this study to further understand the roles of the xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolases (XTHs). They looked at two very different XTHs – XTH15 and XTH31 – to analyse their modes of action compared to the rest of this enzyme family.


Though a former member of the Coupland lab at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, which led this study, Réka Tóth is now on staff at the University of Oxford. This paper explores the role of Arabidopsis GIGANTEA in its contributions to photoperiodic flowering, circadian clock control and photoreceptor signaling; in particular its transcription, which is regulated by light and the circadian clock. Three evolutionarily contrained motifs (CRMs) are identified within the GIGANTEA promoter which, combined with EVENING ELEMENTs and ABA RESPONSE ELEMENT LIKE motifs, contribute to diurnal transcription patterns.


Working with Swedish and American partners, Gülin Boztas and Mahmut Tör from the University of Worcester were also collaborators on this paper. While the hypersenstive response of plants to pathogen effector molecules has long been documented, this research provides new detail on the nature of that response; specifically that sulforaphane – a compound triggering programmed cell death – is released by Arabidopsis thaliana when infected by Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis.


GARNet PI Jim Beynon is co-corresponding author for this helpful review. In it, Jim and colleagues from the University of Warwick describes how the use of Arabidopsis and tomato as model organisms for plant research have contributed knowledge and understanding of plant defense mechanisms, and how these have been and will continue to be applied to modern crop improvement programmes.


Former GARNet committee member Malcolm Bennett, together with colleagues from Nottingham, France and Sweden, present this paper in Journal of Theoretical Biology. They describe their development of a single-cell model of the auxin influx carrier LAX3 (which is mediated by the ARF7/19 IAA14 signalling module) to demonstrate that hysteresis and bistability may explain the experimentally observed ‘all-or-nothing’ LAX3 spatial expression pattern in cortical Arabidopsis root cells containing a gradient of auxin concentrations.

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