Arabidopsis Research Round-up

There are some really interesting new papers for you this week. We have two different protein interaction studies, one on microtubules involving scientists from Durham, and one on meiotic chromosome movement from Oxford Brookes and Birmingham. There’s also a report on ‘FANS’, a new technique used to study Arabidopsis embryos from Nottingham researchers, a US–UK collaborative project to develop Araport – a new online resource for plant scientists, and an exciting new rapid report from theJohn Innes Centre. Enjoy!


Researchers from the University of Durham were collaborators on this paper, which describes efforts to understand the interactions between the microtubule plus-end tracking proteins (+TIPS) EB1b and SPR1. Data suggest that SPR1 and EB1b have complex interactions as they load onto microtubule plus ends and direct polar cell expansion and organ growth in response to directional cues.


Ive De Smet from the University of Nottingham worked with a German–Belgian team to put together this ‘Techniques and Resources’ paper in Development journal. Here, the team describes the use of fluorescence-activated nuclear sorting (FANS) to conduct cell type-specific transcriptome analysis in the early Arabidopsis embryo.


This paper, involving scientists from the University of Cambridge, describes the Arabidopsis Information Portal (AIP, or Araport), a new online resource for plant biologists. At its core, it is the home for the Arabidopsis thaliana genome sequence and associated annotation, but it does much more than this. Users can access data curated from a variety of sources – including TAIR, GO, BAR, EBI, UniProt, PubMed and EPIC CoGe – as well as make use of feature-rich web applications to search, download, data-mine and genome-browse to their hearts content.

Araport also posts news, jobs and information relevant to the global Arabidopsis community – in fact, GARNet regularly posts information, including this Round-Up!


In eukaryotes, Sad1/UNC-84 (SUN)-domain proteins are part of a complex responsible for forming attachments between the chromosome telomeres and the components of the cytoplasm, which help the chromosomes to move appropriately during meiosis. This paper, involving scientists from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Birmingham, describes the discovery of homologous proteins – AtSUN1 and AtSUN2 – in Arabidopsis thaliana.


This rapid report comes from Hans-Wilhelm Nützmann and Anne Osbourn from the John Innes Centre. Comparing gene expression in chromatin mutants, they find that ARP6 and H2A.Z are involved in the regulatory process required for the normal expression of metabolic gene clusters in Arabidopsis. Specifically, these proteins are implicated in localized chromatin modifications that allow contiguous genes to be expressed in a coordinated way. This is a major finding that could open up new opportunities for the discovery and manipulation of specific metabolic pathways in plants!

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