White Paper from the International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium

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Published on: January 18, 2019

The International Arabidopsis Informatics Consortium (IAIC) has existed since 2010 to facilitate the maintenance, development and evolution of informatics tools that primarily support Arabidopsis researchers.

They have recently published a White paper on the future of Arabidopsis bioinformatics resources.

As we all know the first published plant genome was that of Arabidopsis thaliana in 2000 and since that time Arabidopsis has been used extensively around the globe as the primary plant experimental organism.

At the present time the use of Arabidopsis as a model organism has plateaued in most Western countries but is still on the rise in China and, as reported in the 2018 Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee (MASC) Annual Report, there remain more Arabidopsis-focused papers published than those than focus on any other single plant, although rice is catching up fast!!

Therefore with such a large number of researchers requiring effective bioinformatic tools to help their experimental planning and analysis it is essential that these tools are maintained and expanded.

The current situation sees TAIR and Araport existing as two complimentary resources. Active since 1999, TAIR is the older resource and now emphasizes high quality functional annotation. Araport was established in 2014 following a community recommendation from the last IAIC White paper and now focuses on the computational aggregation of diverse resources. TAIR is funded through an innovative subscription model that has maintained the resource over the past 5 years, Araport was funded by NSF and but unfortunately since publication of the White Paper it has emerged that NSF’s currently will not renew this funding.

Both these resources are clearly US-based as a holdover from the early uptake of Arabidopsis research in that country. As mentioned above TAIR received subscriptions from across the world so it remains to be seen how Araport might be funded as there is a clear community need for this resource.


In order to plan for the next phase of bioinformatics support for Arabidopsis and wider plant science researchers, the IAIC met in St Louis in May 2018 and the White Paper resulted from that meeting. One common theme that emerged from the meeting was the importance of metadata standards to facilitate comparable reuse of any deposited data. In addition it became clear that a robust upfront plan for gene ID assignment was critical for the future facile comparison of data from different experiments, across ecotypes and even between species.

Overall the workshop discussions resulted the formulation of the following recommendations:

Integration of data and tools: Identifying a need for a system for standardiSing and integrating data that is sustainable and not overly dependent on a few individuals. This can be achieved by development of a PlantHub or Arabidopsis Super-Portal as well as overseeing a managed expansion of fully integrated analysis tools.

Data formats and standards: This is extremely challenging but there should be community agreement on ontologies, standards and formats, their usage, and enforcement across all types of data. This would allow linkage with independently developed annotation and datasets and thus would require an authority to maintain a gold standard.

Tool development: With more data generation comes the requirement for new ways of browsing genomes that can be integrated with other overlapping ‘omic databases and then compared across genomes and networks. This type of higher level software development will need collaboration with the larger IT community, especially if the end goal is a set of simple GUIs (graphical user interfaces) that encompass more complex underlying information.


As ever the primary challenge lies in obtaining the funding and manpower to meet these recommendations. This should be a global effort given the international uptake of the resources that has been initially developed using US-based funding sources. The TAIR-type funding model is sufficient to maintain their excellent service but development of new tools requires a significant new commitment.

Over the short term the recommendations have resulted in the set up of an Arabidopsis Community Hub hosted by TAIR. This contains a list of software tools that will be of broad interest to plant scientists. They are happy to include additional appropriate links to other well-used tools. This site links to the GARNet Resources page that also contains a similar set of resources, arranged over a broader set of headings.

Please visit the TAIR Arabidopsis Community site and watch this space for updates on how the Arabidopsis bioinformatics community will evolve over the coming years.

GARNet Research Roundup: Jan 11th 2019

The inaugural GARNet Research Roundup of 2019 firstly includes a paper from the University of Sheffield that has identified new pericentromeric epigenetic loci that affect the pathogen response. Secondly is a collaboration between researchers in Birmingham, Nottingham and Oxford that has identified a new mode of regulation of the VRN2 protein. Next are two papers from Jonathan Jones’ lab at The Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich that firstly provides a toolkit for gene editing in Arabidopsis and secondly characterise the role of the NRG1 gene in the defense response. The penultimate paper is from Paul Devlin’s lab at RHUL and investigates the role of the circadian clock in the control of leaf overtopping whilst the final paper is a meeting report from a recent GARNet workshop on gene editing.


Furci L, Jain R, Stassen J, Berkowitz O, Whelan J, Roquis D, Baillet V, Colot V, Johannes F, Ton J (2019) Identification and characterisation of hypomethylated DNA loci controlling quantitative resistance in Arabidopsis. Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.40655.

Open Access

Leonardo Furci and Ritushree Jain are the lead authors on this study conducted at the University of Sheffield. The authors used a population of epigenetic recombinant inbred lines (epiRILs) to screen for resistance to the oomycete pathogen Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. These lines each share genetic information but have varied epigenetic changes. This analysis enabled the identification of plants with hypomethylated pericentromeric regions that were primed to better respond to the presence of this pathogen. The authors discuss the mechanism through which this might affect the defence response albeit without altering other aspects of plant growth.

https://elifesciences.org/articles/40655

Gibbs DJ, Tedds HM, Labandera AM, Bailey M, White MD, Hartman S, Sprigg C, Mogg SL, Osborne R, Dambire C, Boeckx T, Paling Z, Voesenek LACJ, Flashman E, Holdsworth MJ (2018) Oxygen-dependent proteolysis regulates the stability of angiosperm polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit VERNALIZATION 2. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07875-7

Open Access

This collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham, Oxford and colleagues in Utrecht is led by Daniel Gibbs. They demonstrate that the amount of VRN2 protein, which is a member of the Polycomb Repressive Complex2, is controlled by the N-end rule pathway and that this regulation responses to both cold and hypoxia stress. Whilst the VRN2 gene is expressed throughout the plant, the N-end rule degradation pathway ensures that the protein is restricted to meristematic regions until the plant senses the appropriate abiotic stress. Classically VRN2 has been linked to the regulation of flowering time by altering gene expression at the FLC locus so this study introduces new complexity into this process through the involvement of the N-end rule pathway. More information on this linkage will undoubtedly follow over the coming years.

Daniel kindly discusses this paper on the GARNet YouTube channel.


Castel B, Tomlinson L, Locci F, Yang Y, Jones JDG (2019) Optimization of T-DNA architecture for Cas9-mediated mutagenesis in Arabidopsis. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204778

Open Access

Baptiste Castel is lead author of this work conducted at the Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich in Jonathan Jones’ group. They have conducted a detailed analysis of the factors that contribute to successful gene editing by CRISPR-Cas9, specifically in Arabidopsis. This includes assessing the efficacy of different promotor sequences, guideRNAs, versions of Cas9 enzyme and associated regulatory sequences in the editing of a specific locus. Given that researchers are finding that different plants have different requirements when it comes to successful gene editing, this type of analysis will be invaluable for anyone who plans to conduct a gene editing experiment in Arabidopsis.

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0204778

Castel B, Ngou PM, Cevik V, Redkar A, Kim DS, Yang Y, Ding P, Jones JDG (2018) Diverse NLR immune receptors activate defence via the RPW8-NLR NRG1. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.15659

In this second paper led by Baptiste Castel, they used the techniques outlined in the paper above to generate a set of CRISPR mutants deficient in NRG1, which is a RPW8-NLR resistance (R) gene. These nrg1 mutants have compromised signalling in all tested downstream TIR-NLR resistance genes. In addition the authors demonstrate that this signalling is needed for resistance to oomycete but not bacterial infection. Therefore this study reveals some significant details regarding the components of the disease response that are influenced by the activity of NRG1.


Woodley Of Menie MA, Pawlik P, Webb MT, Bruce KD, Devlin PF (2018) Circadian leaf movements facilitate overtopping of neighbors. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2018.12.012

This work is led by Michael Woodley Of Menie from Paul Devlin’s lab at Royal Holloway College and investigates the role of circadian leaf movements during shade avoidance and overtopping. Arabidopsis plants were grow in a grid system that meant leaves would interact with their neighbours and the authors show that plants with a normal circadian rhythm gained an advantage over those adapted to a longer period in which they were grown. This overtopping was additive to the advantage gained through shade avoidance and overall this paper shows that maintainance of clock-aligned leaf movements are beneficial to growth.


Parry G, Harrison CJ (2019) GARNet gene editing workshop. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.15573

Open Access

GARNet advisory committee member Jill Harrison and GARNet coordinator Geraint Parry are authors on this meeting report resulting from a GARNet organised workshop on gene editing that took place in March 2018 at the University of Bristol. Coincidentally part of the paper discusses the work that was presented at the meeting by Baptiste Castel, which is published in the paper described above.

Daniel Gibbs talks to GARNet

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Published on: January 9, 2019

Daniel Gibbs discusses a recent paper published in Nature Communications entitled ‘Oxygen-dependent proteolysis regulates the stability of angiosperm polycomb repressive complex 2 subunit VERNALIZATION 2

Grants to support Conference Travel to China and Oxford.

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Published on: January 7, 2019

As the festive period passes, thoughts turn to warmer times and summer conference plans. GARNet are delighted to provide and administer grants to support attendance at two major upcoming conferences.

Royal Microscopy Society Botanical Microscopy 2019. Oxford Brookes University, April 14th-18th 2019.

Scientific Organising Committee: Chris Hawes, Beatrice Satiat-Jeunemaitre, Verena Kriechbaumer, Katja Graumann, Louise Hughes, Imogen Sparkes.

GARNet are supporting the New Technologies session of this meeting that will include invited speaker Dr Sarah Robinson as well as a tribute to Professor Ian Moore.

GARNet will also supply 10x £150 travel grants to support ECRs travel to this meeting. More details about these awards can be found here in the ‘Delegate Information’ tab:

https://www.rms.org.uk/discover-engage/event-calendar/botanical-microscopy-2019.html


International Conference on Arabidopsis Research (ICAR2019): Wuhan, China, June 16th-21st 2019.

ICAR is the largest annual conference that focuses on discovery-led research. GARNet are administering four £500 travel grants available for UK-based PhD students to attend this meeting. Please contact the GARNet coordinator Geraint Parry to obtain an application form for these awards. The early registration date for this meeting means the deadline for these travel awards is January 28th.

Any other questions about these awards then please contact Geraint Parry.

Malcolm Bennett talks to GARNet

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Published on: December 28, 2018

Malcolm Bennett discussed a recent publication in Science entitled ‘Root branching toward water involves posttranslational modification of transcription factor ARF7‘.

GARNet Research Roundup: December 21st 2018

This bumper Festive Edition of the GARNet Research Roundup begins with two papers that have Beatriz Orosa-Puente as lead author following her work on SUMOylation with Ari Sadanandom at Durham. These papers looks at the role of SUMOylation in either auxin-mediated hydropatterning or in the defence response. Malcolm Bennett at Nottingham is a co-author on both papers and provided an audio description of the auxin-focused paper on the GARNet YouTube channel.

The next three papers are from the University of Edinburgh, the first that defines the role of HECT ubiquitin ligases in the defence response, the second that conducts a proteomic analysis of the GIGANTEA-interactome and the third that introduces a set of new tools for inducible gene expression in Arabidopsis roots.

The sixth and seventh papers feature authors from the John Innes Centre. Martin Howard and Caroline Dean are corresponding authors on a multi-scale analysis of the factors that control FLC expression whilst Myriam Charpentier’s lab has contributed to an investigation about LINC complexes in Medicago.

David Salt and Levi Yant from Nottingham lead the next paper that provides an analysis of the genetic determinants of adaptation to different salt conditions.

The final three papers are from Cambridge. Firstly Ian Henderson is the corresponding author on work that looks at crossover rates in specific disease resistance loci. Second is work from the Paszkowski lab at SLCU that introduces a new method for the analysis of active retrotransposons in crop plants whilst finally James Locke, also at SLCU, uses the method of distributed delays to simplify the complexity of biological network models.


Orosa-Puente B, Leftley N, von Wangenheim D, Banda J, Srivastava AK, Hill K, Truskina J, Bhosale R, Morris E, Srivastava M, Kümpers B, Goh T, Fukaki H, Vermeer J, Vernoux T, Dinneny JR, French AP, Bishopp A, Sadanandom A , Bennett MJ (2018) Roots branch towarss water by post-translational modification of the transcription factor ARF7 Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aau3956

Orosa B, Yates G, Verma V, Srivastava AK, Srivastava M, Campanaro A, De Vega D, Fernandes A, Zhang C, Lee J, Bennett MJ, Sadanandom A (2018) SUMO conjugation to the pattern recognition receptor FLS2 triggers intracellular signalling in plant innate immunity. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07696-8 Open Access

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/362/6421/1407

Beatriz Orosa-Puente is the lead author on two publications that have arisen from a collaboration between the labs of Ari Sadanandom at Durham and Malcolm Bennett at Nottingham. In the first paper Beatriz is co-first author with Nicola Leftley and Daniel von Wangenheim in research that links the auxin response, SUMOylation and the search for water. They reveal a novel mechanism for controlling the auxin response in which SUMOylation regulates the interaction between the ARF7 and IAA3 proteins. In turn this controls asymmetric expression of genes downstream of ARF7 and determines how different parts of the root response to the presence or absence of water.

The second paper continues with the Sadanandom lab’s focus on SUMOylation, in this case during control of the defence response. They show that SUMO is conjugated to the FLAGELLIN-SENSITIVE 2 (FLS2) receptor that senses bacterial flagellin. This releases downstream cytoplasmic effectors and enhances the immune response. The authors show that there is additional complexity to this system by also showing that flagellin induces degradation of the deSUMOylating enzyme Desi3a, thus allowing the plant to make a stronger immune response.


Furniss JJ, Grey H, Wang Z, Nomoto M, Jackson L, Tada Y, Spoel SH (2018) Proteasome-associated HECT-type ubiquitin ligase activity is required for plant immunity. PLoS Pathog. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007447 Open Access

James Furniss is the lead author on this paper from the lab of current GARNet Chairman Steven Spoel at the University of Edinburgh. They show that a family of HECT domain-containing ubiquitin protein ligases (UPLs) are involved in defence responses mediated by the hormone salicylic acid (SA). Upl3 mutants show reprogramming of the entire SA transcriptional response and they are unable to establish immunity against a hemi-biotrophic pathogen, demonstrating their key role in this important process.


https://febs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/1873-3468.13311

Krahmer J, Goralogia GS, Kubota A, Zardilis A, Johnson RS, Song YH, MacCoss MJ, LeBihan T, Halliday KJ, Imaizumi T, Millar AJ (2018) Time-resolved Interaction Proteomics of the GIGANTEA Protein Under Diurnal Cycles in Arabidopsis. FEBS Lett. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.13311 Open Access

This paper is a collaboration between researchers in Edinburgh and Seattle for which Johanna Krahmer is lead author. They used a proteomic approach to identify proteins that interacted with a tagged-version of the key circadian regulator GIGANTEA. They successfully identified the novel transcription factor CYCLING DOF FACTOR (CDF)6. CDF6 was confirmed as interacting with GI and playing a role in the control of flowering. The time series of proteomic data produced in this study is available for use by any other interested researcher.

http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/cgi/GetDataset?ID=PXD006859


Machin FQ, Beckers M, Tian X, Fairnie A, Cheng T, Scheible WR, Doerner P (2018) Inducible reporter/driver lines for the Arabidopsis root with intrinsic reporting of activity state. Plant Journal. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14192

Frank Qasim Machin is the lead author on this Technical Advance from Peter Doerner’s lab at the University of Edinburgh. They have developed a Gateway-based system for tightly controlled inducible expression across all the major cell types of the Arabidopsis roots. They have fully characterised reference driver lines that can be adapted for specific experimental requirements and hope that this contributes towards enhancing reproducibility of qualitative and quantitative analyses.


https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2405471218304368?via%3Dihub

Antoniou-Kourounioti RL, Hepworth J, Heckmann A, Duncan S, Qüesta J, Rosa S, Säll T, Holm S, Dean C, Howard M (2018) Temperature Sensing Is Distributed throughout the Regulatory Network that Controls FLC Epigenetic Silencing in Vernalization. Cell Syst. doi: 10.1016/j.cels.2018.10.011 Open Access

This work results from the successful collaboration between Caroline Dean and Martin Howard at the John Innes Centre and includes Rea Antoniou-Kourounioti and Jo Hepworth as co-first authors. They attempt to understand how the upregulation of VERNALIZATION INSENSITIVE3 (VIN3) and silencing of FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) is controlled during fluctuating temperatures over month-long time scales. They develop a mathematical model that integrates information from hour, day and month-long datasets to show that temperature is sensed across the entire regulatory network and not focussed on specific nodes. This allows a final effect to only be realised once all parts of the network have been appropriately changed. This model with matches new field data and therefore represents a predictive tool for the effects of climate change on plant growth.


Newman-Griffis AH, Del Cerro P, Charpentier M, Meier I (2018) Medicago LINC complexes function in nuclear morphology, nuclear movement, and root nodule symbiosis Plant Physiol. http://www.plantphysiol.org/content/early/2018/12/10/pp.18.01111 Open Access
Pablo del Cerro and Myriam Charpentier at the John Innes Centre are co-authors on this paper from Iris Meier’s lab at The Ohio State University. They identify and characterise the Linker of Nucleoskeleton and Cytoskeleton (LINC) family of nucleus-membrane-associated proteins. They show that, as in Arabidopsis, these proteins are required for nucleus movement in the root tip cells of Medicago truncatula and that they are an important contributor to nodulation. Both Iris and Myriam are members of the INDEPTH consortium that includes researchers who study this broad area of plant cell biology.


https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/12/11/1816964115.long

Busoms S, Paajanen P, Marburger S, Bray S, Huang XY, Poschenrieder C, Yant L, Salt DE (2018) Fluctuating selection on migrant adaptive sodium transporter alleles in  coastal Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1816964115 Open Access

This UK-Sino-Spanish collaboration is led by David Salt and Levi Yant at the University of Nottingham. Silvia Busoms is the first author on the study that investigates the genetics of adaptive salt tolerance in a cohort of 77 individuals grown across a salinity gradient in a coastal region of Catalonia. By integrating their data with the 1135 genomes project they are able to trace the ancestry of these populations and define that growth in high salt conditions is associated with increased expression of the high-affinity K+ transporter (HKT1;1). This demonstrates that this gene plays a key role in the adaptation to salt stress.


Serra H, Choi K, Zhao X, Blackwell AR, Kim J, Henderson IR. Interhomolog polymorphism shapes meiotic crossover within the Arabidopsis RAC1 and RPP13 disease resistance genes (2018) PLoS Genet. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007843 Open Access

This UK-Korean collaboration is led by the Heidi Serra and Ian Henderson at the University of Cambridge. They mapped the meiotic crossover hotspots that are located within the RAC1 and RPP13 disease resistance genes in Arabidopsis. They assessed these locations in plants with altered recombination rates and surprisingly showed that these effects have little impact at the RAC1 loci. Therefore they show that chromosome location and local chromatin environment are important for regulation of crossover activity. Overall they demonstrate that interhomolog divergence is important in shaping recombination within plant disease resistance genes and crossover hotspots.


Cho J, Benoit M, Catoni M, Drost HG, Brestovitsky A, Oosterbeek M, Paszkowski J (2018) Sensitive detection of pre-integration intermediates of long terminal repeat retrotransposons in crop plants. Nat Plants. doi: 10.1038/s41477-018-0320-9

Open Access with link: rdcu.be/bdLjy

For the second edition in succession, the GARNet research roundup features work from Jerzy Paszkowski’s lab at SLCU. In this case Jungnam Cho is lead author on work that has developed a new technique called ALE-seq (amplification of LTR of eclDNAs followed by sequencing) for analysis of transposon-rich genomes from crop plants. Through characterisation of extrachromosomal linear DNA (eclDNA), ALE-seq allows the identification of active transposons. The authors use this technique in both rice and tomato and successfully identify a set of developmentally regulated transposable elements. This paper includes details of a bioinformatic pipeline that is adapted for ALE-seq data analyses, the scripts for which are available on GitHub.


Tokuda IT, Akman OE, Locke JCW. Reducing the Complexity of Mathematical Models for the Plant Circadian Clock by Distributed Delays (2018) J Theor Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2018.12.014

This UK-Japanese study includes James Locke at SLCU as corresponding author. They address the challenge of integrating an increasing number of parameters into large biological network models. Their system of study is the Arabidopsis circadian clock and they use the method of distributed delays to simplify the complexity of existing models. They demonstrate this effect by updating a model that explains the regulation of the PRR9 and PRR7 genes by LHY. They use recent experimental data and revise the previous model to show that it is more accurately reproduces the LHY-induction experiments of core clock genes. As stated they show that overall use of distributed delays facilitates the optimisation and reformulation of genetic network models.

30th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research

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Published on: December 5, 2018

Chinese researchers publish a lot of papers in which Arabidopsis is the primary organism of study. The 2018 MASC annual report showed that in 2017 Chinese researchers published 1318 papers, which was over double the number published by researchers in the USA.

This is the exciting backdrop for the 30th International Conference for Arabidopsis Research (ICAR) that will take place in Wuhan on June 16th-21st 2019.

The conference website went live last weekend: http://icar2019.arabidopsisresearch.org/index.html


ICAR is the largest annual conference that focuses almost exclusively on discovery-led fundamental plant research. The only time ICAR has been held in China was for ICAR2007. This remains the highest ever attended ICAR with over 1400 delegates yet took place at a time when Chinese researchers published ‘just’ 248 papers, which was a 1/3 of the number published by US researchers.

At that time China was beginning its research relationship with fundamental plant science but in 2019 it is very much the most productive nation.

There is understandable excitement for ICAR2019 as it will undoubtedly be the most highly attended ICAR and will introduce excellent Chinese research to a global conference that is conducted in English.

The organisers have kept student registration cheap at $350 for early bird registration. However be aware that on February 1st his deadline is early in the year. Abstract submission for an oral presentation is on March 1st. General registration ends on May 1st.

International attendees require a VISA to enter China so make sure you apply early to your home consulant. More information on this can be found here: http://icar2019.arabidopsisresearch.org/visa.html 

To encourage UK PhD students to attend the meeting GARNet are administering a set of 4 £500 studentships. If you are interested in these awards please contact Geraint Parry
geraint@garnetcommunity.org.uk

GARNet Research Roundup: November 22nd 2018

This GARNet Research Roundup begins with two studies from the University of Sheffield. First is research from Jurriaan Ton’s lab that looks at the interaction between CO2 concentration, the soil microbiome and plant growth. The second paper from Matt Davey and Peter Quick looks at the effect of cold acclimation on freezing tolerance in Arabidpsis lyrata.

The third study includes authors from Dundee and Durham and also looks at an impact of altered CO2 concentrations, in this case on nitrogen assimilation.

The next paper looks at the role of a GA signaling module on endosperm expansion during seed germination and includes authors from Nottingham and Birmingham.

The fifth paper includes Richard Morris at the JIC as a co-author and looks at the relationship between calcium signaling and changes in cellular pH. The penultimate study features co-authors from Warwick and Exeter in work that looks at the role of 3′-O-β-D-ribofuranosyladenosine during plant immunity. Finally is a paper that includes Steve Long from Lancaster and characterises the rubisco-chaperone BSD2.


Williams A, Pétriacq P, Beerling DJ, Cotton TEA, Ton J (2018) Impacts of Atmospheric CO(2) and Soil Nutritional Value on Plant Responses to Rhizosphere Colonization by Soil Bacteria. Front Plant Sci. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01493

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2018.01493/full

Open Access

Alex Williams is the lead author of this paper and works with Jurriaan Ton at the University of Sheffield. The impact of the soil rhizosphere on plant growth is emerging as an important growth determinant. In this paper the authors assess the role of altered [CO2] and soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) concentration in the colonisation of Arabidopsis roots by two different bacteria. Firstly they showed that altered [CO2] did not change the growth dynamics of the saprophytic bacteria Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and was independent of soil C or N. In contrast growth of the rhizobacterial strain Pseudomonas simiae WCS417 was sensitive to both changing [CO2] and soil composition. These results show the importance of the interaction between atmospheric CO2 and soil nutritional status during plant interactions with soil bacteria.


Davey MP, Palmer BG, Armitage E, Vergeer P, Kunin WE, Woodward FI, Quick WP (2018) Natural variation in tolerance to sub-zero temperatures among populations of Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea. BMC Plant Biol. doi: 10.1186/s12870-018-1513-0

Open Access

Matthew Davey, now working in Cambridge, collaborated with Peter Quick at the University of Sheffield on this research that looks at the tolerance of Arabidopsis lyrata to freezing. They showed that populations from locations with colder winter climates were better able to survive subzero temperatures, particular when they have been acclimated at near zero for longer periods. This demonstrates that the adaptation of plants to cold temperatures allows them to better survive freezing, although surprisingly this effect is lessened when this acclimation period does not occur.


Andrews M, Condron LM, Kemp PD, Topping JF, Lindsey K, Hodge S, Raven JA (2018) Effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2] on nitrogen (N) assimilation and growth of C3 vascular plants will be similar regardless of N-form assimilated. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ery371

This UK-New Zealand collaboration is led by Mitchell Andrews and looks at the effect of elevated [CO2] on the nitrogen (N) assimilation when the plant is exposed to a variety of different N-sources. They show that in C3 plants the overall N assimilated will be the same whether the plant is under ammonium (NH4+) nutrition or under nitrate (NO3-) nutrition. These results are contrary to previous results that suggest elevated [CO2] reduces plant growth under NO3- nutrition.


Sánchez-Montesino R, Bouza-Morcillo L, Marquez J, Ghita M, Duran-Nebreda S, Gómez L, Holdsworth MJ, Bassel G, Oñate-Sánchez L (2018) A regulatory module controlling GA-mediated endosperm cell expansion is critical for seed germination in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant. doi: 10.1016/j.molp.2018.10.009 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674205218303356

Open Access

This Spanish-led project includes authors from the Universites of Nottingham and Birmingham. They look at the influence of a GA signalling module on endosperm cell separation, which is essential for Arabidopsis seed germination. They show the NAC transcription factors NAC25 and NAC1L control expression of the EXPANSION2 gene and that the GA signalling component RGL2 has a controlling influence by repressing this activity.


Behera S, Xu Z, Luoni L, Bonza C, Doccula FG, DeMichelis MI, Morris RJ, Schwarzländer M, Costa A (2018) Cellular Ca2+ signals generate defined pH signatures in plants. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.18.00655

Open Access

Richard Morris (John Innes Centre) is a co-author on this Italian-led study that investigates the role of Calcium ions in cell signalling. They use a set of genetically-encoded fluorescent sensors to visualise a link between Ca2+ signaling and changes in pH. If this link is maintained across all cell types it might represent an extra layer of complexity and control of cellular signal transduction.


Drenichev MS, Bennett M, Novikov RA, Mansfield J, Smirnoff N, Grant M, Mikhailov S (2018) A role for 3′-O-β-D-ribofuranosyladenosine in altering plant immunity. Phytochemistry. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2018.10.016

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942218301997?via%3Dihub

This Russian-led study includes UK-based researchers Mark Bennett, Murray Grant, Nick Smirnoff and John Mansfield as co-authors. They show that the natural disaccharide nucleoside, 3′-O-β-D-ribofuranosyladenosine accumulated in plants infected with the bacterial pathogen P. syringae. Perhaps surprisingly the application of this nucleoside to the plant doesn’t effect bacterial multiplication, indicating that adds a significant metabolic burden to plants already battling new infections.


Conlan B, Birch R, Kelso C, Holland S, De Souza AP, Long SP, Beck JL, Whitney SM (2018) BSD2 is a Rubisco specific assembly chaperone, forms intermediary hetero-oligomeric complexes and is non-limiting to growth in tobacco. Plant Cell Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13473

Steve Long is a Professor at Lancaster Environment Centre and is a co-author on this Australia-led study that characterizes the role of the Rubisco chaperone BSD2 during Rubisco biogenesis. These results suggest this is the sole role of BSD2 and its activity is non-limiting to tobacco growth.

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