GARNet Research Roundup: May 7th 2020

This edition of GARNet Research Roundup begins with two studies from the John Innes Centre. The first takes a detailed look at meiosis in Arabidopsis arenosa and the second introduces a novel mode of auxin perception.

The third paper from the Grierson lab in Bristol uses innovative methods to assess root-soil cohesion through study of root hairs. The fourth paper is also from Bristol and looks at the evolution of stomata.

The fifth and sixth papers are from Scotland. Firstly researchers at Edinburgh have developed a deep learning approach for plant phenotyping whilst in the second research from Glasgow looks at the role of UVR8 in the UV response of UV-B adapted plants.

The seventh paper is from The Sainsbury lab, Norwich and reveals a new role for phosphorylation in the formation of the RRS1-R/RPS4 immune receptor complex.

The final paper includes co-authors from Cambridge and looks at the role of epigenetic changes in the reponse to an experimentally evolved plant virus.

Morgan C, Zhang H, Henry CE, Franklin FCH, Bomblies K (2020) Derived alleles of two axis proteins affect meiotic traits in autotetraploid Arabidopsis arenosa. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1919459117 Open Access

Chris Morgan works at the John Innes Centre and leads this research that looks at meiosis in Arabidopsis arenosa. They use super resolution microscopy to look in great detail at the intertaction of the ASY1 and ASY3 loci. Chris discussed this work on the GARNet community podcast.

Kuhn A, Ramans Harborough S, McLaughlin HM, Natarajan B, Verstraeten I, Friml J, Kepinski S, Østergaard L (2020) Direct ETTIN-auxin interaction controls chromatin states in gynoecium development. Elife doi: 10.7554/eLife.51787 Open Access

Andre Kuhn works with Lars Ostergaard at the John Innes Centre and leads this research that has identified a novel mode of auxin perception in which the ETTIN transcription factor directly interacts with auxin. This allows a rapid response that does not rely on the canonical mode of auxin perception via protein degradation. Andre discussed this work on the GARNet community podcast.

De Baets S, Denbigh TDG, Smyth KM, Eldridge BM, Weldon L, Higgins B, Matyjaszkiewicz A, Meersmans J, Larson ER, Chenchiah IV, Liverpool TB, Quine TA, Grierson CS (2020) Micro-scale interactions between Arabidopsis root hairs and soil particles influence soil erosion. Commun Biol. doi: 10.1038/s42003-020-0886-4 Open Access

This work from the University of Bristol is led by Sarah De Baets S, Tom Denbigh, Kevin Smyth, Beth Eldridge. They have developed a series o fthree innovative assays to investigate the role of root hairs in the cohesion of the roots-soil interaction. This research shows that root hairs play a significant role in this process. Tom and Beth discussed this work on the GARNet community podcast.

Harris BJ, Harrison CJ, Hetherington AM, Williams TA (2020) Phylogenomic Evidence for the Monophyly of Bryophytes and the Reductive Evolution of Stomata. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.03.048 Open Access

This paper from the University of Bristol is led by Brogan Harris and investigates the evolutionary origins of genes that specify stomatal development and function in bryophytes. They show that important stomatal lineage genes are present in bryophytes, indicating that their stomata have undergone reductive evolution.

Dobrescu A, Giuffrida MV, Tsaftaris SA (2020) Doing More With Less: A Multitask Deep Learning Approach in Plant Phenotyping. Front Plant Sci. 2020 Feb 28;11:141. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2020.00141 Open Access

Andrei Dobrescu leads this methods paper from the University of Edinburgh that uses multitask deep learning to develop software for plant phenotying. They test their method on the analysis of Arabidopsis rosettes.

Liao X, Liu W, Yang HQ, Jenkins GI (2020) A dynamic model of UVR8 photoreceptor signaling in UV-B-acclimated Arabidopsis. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16581 Open Access

Xinyang Liao leads this work from the University of Glasgow that continues the Jenkins’ lab research on the UVR8 photoreceptor. In this paper they analysed the role of UVR8 in UV-B-acclimated plants in which the switch between between monomeric and dimeric states can response to high UV-B without the need for new translation. This response is also alters the interaction of UVR8 with the COP1 and RUP2 proteins.

Guo H, Ahn HK, Sklenar J, Huang J, Ma Y, Ding P, Menke FLH, Jones JDG (2020) Phosphorylation-Regulated Activation of the Arabidopsis RRS1-R/RPS4 Immune Receptor Complex Reveals Two Distinct Effector Recognition Mechanisms. Cell Host Microbe. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2020.03.008

Hailong Guo and Hee-Kyung Ahn work with Jonathan Jones at the Sainsbury lab, Norwich and lead this work that investigates the role of phosphorylation in the formation of the RRS1-R/RPS4 Immune Receptor Complex. This response is different to the effector-triggered conformational changes of RRS1 and represents a distinct novel route for immune signalling.

Corrêa RL, Sanz-Carbonell A, Kogej Z, Müller SY, Ambrós S, López-Gomollón S, Gómez G, Baulcombe DC, Elena SF (2020) Viral Fitness Determines the Magnitude of Transcriptomic and Epigenomic Reprogramming of Defense Responses in Plants. Mol Biol Evol. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa091

This Spanish led study includes Regis Corrêa as lead author and includes David Baulcombe from Cambridge as a co-author. They infected Arabidopsis with an ancestral and experimentally-evolved isolates of turnip mosaic potyvirus (TuMV). The evolved version was more virulent and triggered a greater transcriptomic response in the plant as well inducing other epigenetic changes.

GARNet Research Roundup: Jan 24th 2020

The first GARNet Research Roundup of 2020 begins with a study from the University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute in which they have adapted nanopore direct sequencing to analyse the Arabidopsis mRNA methylome. The second study is also from Dundee and is an analysis of alternative splicing in C4 sugarcane.

The next two papers look at the control of stomatal development. In the first, researchers from Bristol investigate the integration of temperature and light-induced signals whilst the second paper is from Sheffield and looks at the role, or lack thereof, of the HY5 protein. The fifth paper is also from Sheffield and looks at the role of the MALECTIN DOMAIN KINESIN 2 protein in dividing tissues.

The next two papers investigate the control of lateral root formation. Firstly researchers from Glasgow look at how potassium signaling integrates with both the mechanisms of RNA-directed DNA-methylation and the auxin response. The other paper looks at how auxin signaling integrates with the plasmodesmata development and includes co-authors from the University of Nottingham.

The eighth paper is led from Nottingham and looks at the role of the PROTEOLYSIS (PRT)1 during the plant immune response whilst the next paper, which is from the University of Cambridge, also looks at plant immunity, specifically at how the biosynthesis of phytic acid impacts this response.

The remaining four papers include UK-based co-authors from University of South Wales, Rothamsted and Cardiff, Durham, Oxford and Aberystwyth in international research teams led from Malaysian (the expression of Acyl-CoA-binding proteins in oil palm), China (the effect of silver nanoparticles on plant growth), Japan (convergent evolution of lateral organ formation) and Chile (the factors that influence grain filling in wheat) respectively.

Parker MT, Knop K, Sherwood AV, Schurch NJ, Mackinnon K, Gould PD, Hall AJ, Barton GJ, Simpson GG (2020) Nanopore direct RNA sequencing maps the complexity of Arabidopsis mRNA processing and m(6)A modification. Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.49658 Open Access

Matt Parker, Kasia Knop, Anya Sherwood and Nicholas Schurch are co-first authors on this study from the University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute in which they perform direct RNA sequencing using a nanopore sequencer. They used this technical advance to analyse the mRNA (m6A) methylome and reveal a contribution to the control of the circadian clock. Future use of this technique will undoubtedly allow for an improved annotation of the Arabidopsis genome (and others).

Dantas LLB, Calixto CPG, Dourado MM, Carneiro MS, Brown JWS, Hotta CT (2019) Alternative Splicing of Circadian Clock Genes Correlates With Temperature in Field-Grown Sugarcane. Front Plant Sci. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01614 Open Access

This study is led from Brazil with Luiza Dantas as first author and includes co-authors from the University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute. They investigate the level of alternative splicing (AS) in commercial sugarcane, which is an important C4 crop. Tissue samples were collected in winter and summer and this analysis reveals temperature- and organ-dependent differences in the levels of AS across a set of genes under circadian control.

Kostaki KI, Coupel-Ledru A, Bonnell VC, Gustavsson M, Sun P, Mclaughlin FJ, Fraser DP, McLachlan DH, Hetherington AM, Dodd AN, Franklin KA (2020). Guard cells integrate light and temperature signals to control stomatal aperture. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.01528 Open Access

Kalliopi-Ioanna Kostaki is first author on this study from the University of Bristol that begins to unpick the mechanisms that integrate light and temperature signals in the control of stomatal development. These signals converge on phototropin photoreceptors and multiple members of the 14-3-3 protein family. This work also reveals a currently uncharacterised pathway that controls temperature regulation of guard cell movement.

Zoulias N, Brown J, Rowe J, Casson SA (2020) HY5 is not integral to light mediated stomatal development in Arabidopsis. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0222480 Open Access

Nick Zoulias is first author on this study from the Casson lab at University of Sheffield. ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5) is a key regulator of light-mediated development yet in this study the authors show that the HY5-signaling cascade does not play a role in stomatal development. This key finding shows that phytochrome and cryptochrome signaling in guard cells is transmitted via non-HY5 signaling components.

Galindo-Trigo S, Grand TM, Voigt CA, Smith LM (2020) A malectin domain kinesin functions in pollen and seed development in Arabidopsis. J Exp Bot doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa023
This research from the Smith lab at the University of Sheffield is led by Sergio Galindo-Trigo. They show that MALECTIN DOMAIN KINESIN 2 (MDKIN2) is involved in pollen, embryo and endosperm development. Malectin domains bind polysaccharides and peptides when found extracellularly in receptor-like kinases so this might suggest that in dividing tissues MDKIN2 plays a role during the physical division of cells.

Shahzad Z, Eaglesfield R, Carr C, Amtmann A (2020) Cryptic variation in RNA-directed DNA-methylation controls lateral root development when auxin signalling is perturbed. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13927-3 Open Access

Zaigham Shahzad at the University of Glasgow is the first author in this study that looks at the relationship between potassium deficiency and lateral root formation. This effect is mediated via the impact of CLSY1, a key component of the RNA-directed DNA-methylation machinery, on the transcriptional repression of the AuxIAA protein IAA27. Interestingly this system appears to act as a backup to the auxin-dependent proteolysis pathway that is primarily responsible for the control of IAA27 activity.

Sager R, Wang X, Hill K, Yoo BC, Caplan J, Nedo A, Tran T, Bennett MJ, Lee JY (2020) Auxin-dependent control of a plasmodesmal regulator creates a negative feedback loop modulating lateral root emergence. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-14226-7.

This US study is led by Ross Sager and includes co-authors from the University of Nottingham. This research links the role of auxin in lateral root formation with plasmodesmata development through control of the plasmodesmal regulator PDLP5. They present a model wherein molecules required for lateral root emergence transit through plasmodesmata following an inductive auxin signal.

Till CJ, Vicente J, Zhang H, Oszvald M, Deery MJ, Pastor V, Lilley KS, Ray RV, Theodoulou FL, Holdsworth MJ (2019) The Arabidopsis thaliana N-recognin E3 ligase PROTEOLYSIS1 influences the immune response. Plant Direct. doi: 10.1002/pld3.194 Open Access

Christopher Till, Jorge Vicente and Hongtao Zhangis are co-first authors on this research led from the University of Nottingham and Rothamsted Research that involves use of quantitative proteomics to define the role of the N-recognin E3 ligase PROTEOLYSIS (PRT)1 during the plant immune response.

Poon JSY, Le Fevre RE, Carr JP, Hanke DE, Murphy AM (2019) Inositol hexakisphosphate biosynthesis underpins PAMP-triggered immunity to Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato in Arabidopsis thaliana but is dispensable for establishment of systemic acquired resistance. Mol Plant Pathol. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12902
This research from the University of Cambridge is led by Jacquelyne Poon and Alex Murphy and looks at the role of the phytic acid (inositol hexakisphosphate, InsP6) biosynthesis in dividing tissues during the plant immune response. They characterize Arabidopsis plants with mutations in biosynthetic enzymes to show that there are multiple mechanisms of basal resistance that are dependent upon InsP6.

Amiruddin N, Chan PL, Azizi N, Morris PE, Chan KL, Ong PW, Rosli R, Masura SS, Murphy DJ, Sambanthamurthi R, Haslam RP, Chye ML, Harwood JL, Low EL (2019) Characterisation of Oil Palm Acyl-CoA-Binding Proteins and Correlation of their Gene Expression with Oil Synthesis. Plant Cell Physiol. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcz237.
Nadzirah Amiruddin is lead author on this Malaysian-led research that includes collaborators from the University of South Wales, Rothamsted Research and Cardiff University. This paper looks at the expression of Acyl-CoA-binding proteins (ACBPs) in oil palm; providing important information about the role of this protein family during oil synthesis in the world’s most important oil crop.

Wang L, Sun J, Lin L, Fu Y, Alenius H, Lindsey K, Chen C (2019) Silver nanoparticles regulate Arabidopsis root growth by concentration-dependent modification of reactive oxygen species accumulation and cell division. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. doi: 10.1016/j.ecoenv.2019.110072.

This Chinese-study is led by Likai Wang and includes Keith Lindsey from Durham University as a co-author. They look at the effect of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on growth of Arabidopsis. AgNPs are taken up by roots and have opposing effects at either 50 mg L-1 or 100mg mg L-1. This is an important preliminary study to understand how plant growth might be altered if AgNP’s are used as a delivery mechanism.

Naramoto S, Jones VAS, Trozzi N, Sato M, Toyooka K, Shimamura M, Ishida S, Nishitani K, Ishizaki K, Nishihama R, Kohchi T, Dolan L, Kyozuka J (2019) A conserved regulatory mechanism mediates the convergent evolution of plant shoot lateral organs. PLoS Biol. 2019 doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000560 Open Access

This Japanese study is led by Satoshi Naramoto and Junko Kyozuka and includes co-authors from the University of Oxford. They performed a mutant screen in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha to identify the LATERAL ORGAN SUPRESSOR 1 (MpLOS1) gene, which regulates meristem maintenance and lateral organ development. Remarkably they showed this gene is also functions in the control of lateral organ development in rice, therefore demonstrating convergent evolution across plant lineages in the control of lateral organs.

Del Pozo A, Méndez-Espinoza AM, Romero-Bravo S, Garriga M, Estrada F, Alcaíno M, Camargo-Rodriguez AV, Corke FMK, Doonan JH, Lobos GA (2020) Genotypic variations in leaf and whole-plant water use efficiencies are closely related in bread wheat genotypes under well-watered and water-limited conditions during grain filling. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-57116-0 Open Access

Alejandro del Pozo leads this Chilean study that includes co-authors from Aberystwyth and NIAB. This large-scale glasshouse experiment looked at the effect of water deficit on the growth of 14 bread wheat genotypes. Measurement of multiple parameters revealed that plants face limitations to the assimilation process during grain filling due to natural senesce and water stress.

GARNet Research Roundup: October 17th 2019

This edition of the GARNet Research Roundup includes a superb selection of papers by scientists from across the UK. First is work from the Spoel lab in Edinburgh that characterizes the fine-tuning of NPR1 activity during the plant immune response. Second is work from SLCU and the University of Helsinki that is an extensive investigation into the molecular basis of cambial development. Next is research from Nottingham that looks at the importance of soil macro-structures during the growth of wheat roots.

Fourth are three papers that highlight the breadth of research occurring at the John Innes Centre. The first paper is from Enrico Coen’s lab that applies their expertise in computational modeling to leaf development in the carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba. Second is work from Saskia Hogenhout’s lab that looks at immunity to infection by Phytoplasma pathogens. Last is work from Lars Ostergaard’s lab that characterises the role of Auxin Binding promoter elements in floral development.

The seventh paper from Bristol and Glasgow looks at shade avoidance signaling via PIF5, COP1 and UVR8 whilst the eighth paper, which is from Rothamsted, demonstrates how metabolic engineering in Arabidopsis seeds can result in a high proportion of human milk fat substitute. The next paper is from the University of Durham and investigates how the composition of the Arabidopsis cell wall impacts freezing tolerance. The first author of this paper, Dr Paige Panter discusses the paper on the GARNet community podcast.

The tenth paper is from Julia Davies’s lab at the University of Cambridge and introduces an uncharacterised response to extracellular ATP signals in Arabidopsis roots. The next paper is from Mike Blatt’s group at University of Glasgow and characterises a new interaction between vesicular transport and ion channels. The penultimate entry includes co-authors from the JIC on a Chinese-led study that demonstrates improved seed vigour in wheat through overexpression of a NAC transcription factor. Finally are two methods papers taken from a special journal issue on ‘Plant Meiosis’.

Skelly MJ, Furniss JJ, Grey HL, Wong KW, Spoel SH (2019) Dynamic ubiquitination determines transcriptional activity of the plant immune coactivator NPR1. Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47005
Open Access

Michael Skelly is lead author on this paper from the lab of current GARNet chair Steven Spoel. In it they investigate the mechanisms that fine-tune the function of NPR1, a key player in the plant immune response. Progressive ubiquitination of NPR1 by an E3 ligase causes both its interaction with target genes and its subsequent degradation by an E4 ligase. This latter occurrence is opposed by the deubiquitinase activity of UBP6/7, setting up a complex regulatory environment that allows the plant to rapidly response to pathogen attack.

Zhang J, Eswaran G, Alonso-Serra J, Kucukoglu M, Xiang J, Yang W, Elo A, Nieminen K, Damén T, Joung JG, Yun JY, Lee JH, Ragni L, Barbier de Reuille P, Ahnert SE, Lee JY, Mähönen AP, Helariutta Y (2019) Transcriptional regulatory framework for vascular cambium development in Arabidopsis roots. Nat Plants. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0522-9

This pan-European-Korean collaboration has Jing Zhang from the University of Helsinki and the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge as first author. They use cambium cell-specific transcript profiling and follow-on network analysis to discover 62 new transcription factors involved in cambial development in Arabidopsis. This information was used to engineer plants with increased radial growth through ectopic cambial activity as well as to generate plants with no cambial activity. This understanding provides a platform for possible future improvements in production of woody biomass.

Atkinson JA, Hawkesford MJ, Whalley WR, Zhou H, Mooney SJ (2019) Soil strength influences wheat root interactions with soil macropores. Plant Cell Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13659
This work is led from the University of Nottingham by John Atkinson and Sacha Mooney. They use X-ray Computed Tomography to investigate a trait called trematotropism, which applies to the ability of deep rooting plants to search out macropores and avoid densely packed soil. They show root colonisation of macropores is an important adaptive trait and that strategies should be put in place to increase these structures within the natural soil environment.

Lee KJI, Bushell C, Koide Y, Fozard JA, Piao C, Yu M, Newman J, Whitewoods C, Avondo J, Kennaway R, Marée AFM, Cui M, Coen E (2019) Shaping of a three-dimensional carnivorous trap through modulation of a planar growth mechanism. PLoS Biol. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000427
Open Access

Karen Lee, Claire Bushell and Yohei Koide are co-first authors on this work led by Enrico Coen at the John Innes Centre and Minlong Cui at the Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in China. This study uses 3D imaging, cellular and clonal analysis, combined with computational modelling to analyse the development of cup-shaped traps of the carnivorous plant Utricularia gibba. They identify growth ansiotrophies that result in the final leave shape that develops from an initial near-spherical form. These processes have some similarities to the polar growth seen in Arabidopsis leaves. Overall they show that ‘simple modulations of a common growth framework underlie the shaping of a diverse range of morphologies’.

Pecher P, Moro G, Canale MC, Capdevielle S, Singh A, MacLean A, Sugio A, Kuo CH, Lopes JRS, Hogenhout SA (2019) Phytoplasma SAP11 effector destabilization of TCP transcription factors differentially impact development and defence of Arabidopsis versus maize. PLoS Pathog. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1008035
Open Access

This work from Saskia Hogenhout’s lab at the John Innes Centre is led by Pascal Pecher and Gabriele Moro. They look at the effect of SAP11 effectors from Phytoplasma species that infect either Arabidopsis or maize. They demonstrate that although both related versions of SAP11 destabilise plant TCP transcription factors, their modes of action have significant differences. Please look out for Saskia discussing this paper on the GARNet Community podcast next week.

Kuhn A, Runciman B, Tasker-Brown W, Østergaard L 92019) Two Auxin Response Elements Fine-Tune PINOID Expression During Gynoecium Development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Biomolecules. doi: 10.3390/biom9100526
Open Access

Andre Kuhn is first author of this research from Lars Østergaard’s lab at the John Innes Centre. They functional characterise two Auxin-responsive Elements (AuxRE) within the promotor of the PINOID gene, which are bound by the ETITIN/ARF3 Auxin Response Factor. Alteration of this AuxRE causes phenotypic changes during flower development demonstrating that even with a complex regulatory environment, small changes to cis-elements can have significant developmental consequences.

Sharma A, Sharma B, Hayes S, Kerner K, Hoecker U, Jenkins GI, Franklin KA (2019) UVR8 disrupts stabilisation of PIF5 by COP1 to inhibit plant stem elongation in sunlight. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12369-1
Open Access

Ashutosh Sharma is first author of this UK-Spanish-Germany collaboration led by Keara Franklin at University of Bristol. They have characterised the interaction between three significant molecular players that function during the shade avoidance response in Arabidopsis; PIF5, UVR8 and COP1. In shaded conditions, UVR8 indirectly promotes rapid degradation of PIF5 through their interactions with the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1.

van Erp H, Bryant FM, Martin-Moreno J, Michaelson LV, Bhutada G, Eastmond PJ (2019) Engineering the stereoisomeric structure of seed oil to mimic human milk fat. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1907915116

Open Access

Harrie Van Arp and Peter Eastmond at Rothamsted Research lead this extremely translational study in which they have modified the metabolic pathway for triacylglycerol (TAG) biosynthesis. By modifying the location of one biosynthesis enzyme and removing the activity of another, the fats produced in these Arabidopsis seeds are enriched to contain TAGs that are similar to those found in human milk. They propose that this technology could be used to develop a source of plant-derived human milk fat substitute.

Panter PE, Kent O, Dale M, Smith SJ, Skipsey M, Thorlby G, Cummins I, Ramsay N, Begum RA, Sanhueza D, Fry SC, Knight MR, Knight H (2019) MUR1-mediated cell-wall fucosylation is required for freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16209

Paige Panter led this work as part of her PhD at the University of Durham in the lab of Heather Knight. They characterise the role of the MUR1 protein in the control of cell wall fucosylation and how this contributes to plant freezing tolerance. Paige discusses this paper and the long history of MUR1 on the GARNet Community podcast. Please check it out!

Wang L, Stacey G, Leblanc-Fournier N, Legué V, Moulia B, Davies JM (2019) Early Extracellular ATP Signaling in Arabidopsis Root Epidermis: A Multi-Conductance Process. Front Plant Sci. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01064.

Open Access

The UK-French collaboration is led by Limin Wang from Julia Davies’s lab in Cambridge. They use patch clamp electrophysiology to identify previously uncharacterized channel conductances that respond to extracellular ATP across the root elongation zone epidermal plasma membrane.

Waghmare S, Lefoulon C, Zhang B, Lileikyte E, Donald NA, Blatt MR (2019) K+ channel-SEC11 binding exchange regulates SNARE assembly for secretory traffic. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00919

Open Access

This work from Mike Blatt’s lab in Glasgow is led by Sakharam Waghmare. They look at the interaction between SNARE proteins, which are involved in vesicular fusion and K+ channels, which help control turgor pressure during cell expansion. Through combining analysis of protein-protein interactions and electrophysiological measurement they have found that this interaction requires the activity of the regulatory protein SEC11.

Li W, He X, Chen Y, Jing Y, Shen C, Yang J, Teng W, Zhao X, Hu W, Hu M, Li H, Miller AJ, Tong Y (2019) A wheat transcription factor positively sets seed vigour by regulating the grain nitrate signal. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16234
Wenjing Li is first author of this Chinese study that includes Yi Chen and Anthony Miller from the John Innes Centre as co-authors. This research shows that seed vigour and nitrate accumulation in wheat is regulated by the TaNAC2 transcriptions factor through its control of the TaNRT2.5 nitrate transporter. The authors suggest that both genes could be used as potential future targets to increase grain yield and nitrogen use efficiency.

The Special Issue of Methods in Molecular Biology on Plant Meiosis includes papers from the University of Cambridge, led by Christophe Lambing and the James Hutton Institute, led by Benoit Darrier.

Lambing C, Choi K, Blackwell AR, Henderson IR (2019) Chromatin Immunoprecipitation of Meiotically Expressed Proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana Flowers. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9818-0_16
Darrier B, Arrieta M, Mittmann SU, Sourdille P, Ramsay L, Waugh R, Colas I (2019) Following the Formation of Synaptonemal Complex Formation in Wheat and Barley by High-Resolution Microscopy. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9818-0_15

Report from 2019 FASEB meeting on Plant Development

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Published on: September 30, 2019

By Vicky Spencer, University of Bristol

This past summer I was very fortunate to receive a travel grant from GARNet to attend the highly anticipated FASEB Mechanisms in Plant Development conference. Many prominent scientists regularly join this biennial event; this time held in the quiet town of Olean (New York) at Bonaventure University. Over 150 PIs, post docs and students attended from across the world, making it an exciting and diverse event. It was clear that the regular attendees have a lot of affection for this meeting, and there was a strong sense of support and community that was very welcoming.

I am a newly appointed postdoc at the University of Bristol, researching the genetic mechanisms of shoot branching evolution in vascular plants. This conference gave me a great opportunity to discuss the data that I have already collected and to elaborate my future project plans. I was lucky to present a poster in one of the three evening poster and drink sessions. After three hours of presenting, I had a lot of useful advice and inspiration for future experiments, including technical help for protoplast extraction and transformation.

Many tasks were added to my to-do list when I got back to Bristol!! 

The conference had an exciting and busy schedule of talks from many renowned scientists. This was a great opportunity to learn about the recent advances in the plant development field, and its future directions. Many talks focused on the role of the CLV signalling pathway; including kernel row patterning by Paula McSteen, maize meristem organisation and ROS signalling by Andrea Gallavotti, and filament identity in Physcomitrella patens from our lab member, Zoe Nemec Venza. I thoroughly enjoyed that there was a strong focus on evolution, with many examples of research in Marchantia polymorpha . In particular, I enjoyed talks about the role of CLE peptides in meristem specification by Yuki Hirakawa and ZHOUPI function in cuticle and pegged rhizoid formation by Yen-Ting Lu (also a recipient of a GARNet travel grant: Ed). 

Due to the alarming problems of plastic pollution and energy consumption, it is more critical than ever that biologists take responsibility for their environmental impact in the lab. Such issues were discussed in the Sustainability forum, which was a great way to raise awareness and share eco-friendly ideas between scientists. I think that this kind of event should become commonplace in scientific meetings, to encourage a sustained effort to reduce the environmental damage from our work. A single cell RNA-Seq workshop was also held, which was very timely and useful for the community as many attendees presented novel data from this new and exciting technique.

All meals and coffee breaks were held within the University campus, which was a great way to promote interactions between scientists at different stages of their careers. As well as thought-provoking scientific discussion, it was very useful for me to discuss career development with both new and established PIs and postdocs. I also talked to PhD students about my experiences and hope I have encouraged others to stay in research after graduating and be excited about life after the PhD thesis! 

Between the full schedule of talks and workshops, we went to ‘enjoy’ the local NY wine in the nearby winery, after a fun trip on an iconic yellow school bus.  We also visited a local lake for paddle boarding, which (once stood on the board) was very relaxing after a busy morning. These events were great fun and a lovely way to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Everybody was so welcoming and friendly, and it was clear that both the people and the quality of science are why researchers come back to this meeting throughout their careers. 

As well as the generous travel funding from GARNet, thanks are due to Dr Jill Harrison and Dr Kenneth Birnbaum for organising such a great conference. I hope I have the opportunity to attend again in the future! 

GARNet Research Roundup: September 24th 2019

Due to a significant delay this GARNet Research Roundup is a bumper overview of recent(ish) publications across discovery-led plant science, which have at least one contributor from a UK institution.

These can be (very) loosely separated into the following categories:

Circadian Clock: Greenwood et al, PloS Biology. Belbin et al, Nature Communications.

Environmental responses: Rodríguez-Celma et al, PNAS. Walker and Bennett, Nature Plants. Conn et al, PLoS Comput Biology. de Jong et al,PLoS Genetics. Molina-Contreras et al,The Plant Cell.

Defence signaling: Van de Weyer et al, Cell.Hurst et al, Scientific Reports. Xiao et al, Nature. Wong et al, PNAS.

Cell Biology: Miller et al, The Plant Cell. Coudert et al, Current Biology. Burgess et al,The Plant Cell. Harrington et al, BMC Plant Biology.

Metabolism: Jia et al, J Biol Chem. Perdomo et al, Biochem J. Gurrieri et al, Frontiers in Plant Science. Mucha et al, The Plant Cell. Atkinson et al, JXBot.

Cell Wall Composition: Wightman et al, Micron. Milhinhos et al, PNAS.

Signaling: Hartman et al, Nature Communications. Dittrich et al, Nature Plants. Villaécija-Aguilar et al, PLoS Genetics

Greenwood M, Domijan M, Gould PD, Hall AJW, Locke JCW (2019) Coordinated circadian timing through the integration of local inputs in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Biol. 17(8):e3000407. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.300040 Open Access

Lead author is Mark Greenwood. UK contribution from The Sainsbury lab University of Cambridge, University of Liverpool and Earlham Institute. Using a mixture of experimental and modeling this paper shows that individual organs have circadian clocks that runs at different speeds.

Belbin FE, Hall GJ, Jackson AB, Schanschieff FE, Archibald G, Formstone C, Dodd AN (2019) Plant circadian rhythms regulate the effectiveness of a glyphosate-based herbicide. Nat Commun. 2019 Aug 16;10(1):3704. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-11709-5 Open Access

Lead author is Fiona Belbin. UK contribution from University of Bristol and Syngenta Jealott’s Hill. Activity of the circadian clock determines that the plant response to the herbicide glyphosate is lessened at dusk, promoting the idea of agricultural chronotherapy. Fiona discusses this paper on the GARNet Community Podcast.

Rodríguez-Celma J, Connorton JM, Kruse I, Green RT, Franceschetti M, Chen YT, Cui Y, Ling HQ, Yeh KC, Balk J (2019) Arabidopsis BRUTUS-LIKE E3 ligases negatively regulate iron uptake by targeting transcription factor FIT for recycling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1907971116 Open Access

Lead author is Jorge Rodríguez-Celma. UK contribution from John Innes Centre, University of East Anglia.The Arabidopsis E3 ubiquitin ligases, BRUTUS-LIKE1 (BTSL1) and BTSL2 target the FIT transcription factor for degradation, altering the plant response to harmful level of iron.

Walker CH, Bennett T (2019) A distributive ‘50% rule’ determines floral initiation rates in the Brassicaceae. Nat Plants. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0503-z
Lead author Catriona Walker. UK contribution from the University of Leeds. The authors introduce the 50%-rule that defines the relationshop between the total number of flowers the number of secondary inflorescences

Conn A, Chandrasekhar A, Rongen MV, Leyser O, Chory J, Navlakha S (2019) Network trade-offs and homeostasis in Arabidopsis shoot architectures. PLoS Comput Biol. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.100732 Open Access

Lead author is Adam Conn. UK contribution from Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge. This study performed 3D scanning of 152 Arabidopsis shoot architectures to investigate how plants make trade-offs between competing objectives.

de Jong M, Tavares H, Pasam RK, Butler R, Ward S, George G, Melnyk CW, Challis R, Kover PX, Leyser O (2019) Natural variation in Arabidopsis shoot branching plasticity in response to nitrate supply affects fitness. PLoS Genet. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008366 Open Access

Lead author is Maaike de Jong. UK contribution from the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge, the University of York and the University of Bath. This study looks at phenotypic plasticity of shoot branching in Arabidopsis diversity panels grown until different nitrate concentrations.

Molina-Contreras MJ, Paulišić S, Then C, Moreno-Romero J, Pastor-Andreu P, Morelli L, Roig-Villanova I, Jenkins H, Hallab A, Gan X, Gómez-Cadenas A, Tsiantis M, Rodriguez-Concepcion M, Martinez-Garcia JF (2019) Photoreceptor Activity Contributes to Contrasting Responses to Shade in Cardamine and Arabidopsis Seedlings. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00275 Open Access

Lead author is Maria Jose Molina-Contreras. UK contribution from the University of Oxford. The authors looks at the response to different light conditions and how they contribute to phenotypic determination in Cardamine and Arabidopsis seedlings.

Van de Weyer AL, Monteiro F, Furzer OJ, Nishimura MT, Cevik V, Witek K, Jones JDG, Dangl JL, Weigel D, Bemm F (2019) A Species-Wide Inventory of NLR Genes and Alleles in Arabidopsis thaliana. Cell. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.07.038 Open Access

Lead author is Anna-Lena Van de Weyer. UK contribution from The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich. Using sequence enrichment and long-read sequencing the authors present the pan-NLRome constructed from 40 Arabidopsis accessions.

Hurst CH, Wright KM, Turnbull D, Leslie K, Jones S, Hemsley PA (2019) Juxta-membrane S-acylation of plant receptor-like kinases is likely fortuitous and does not necessarily impact upon function. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-49302-x Open Access

Lead author is Charlotte Hurst. UK contribution from the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee. They look at the functional role of post-translational modification S-acylation with a focus on the plant pathogen perceiving receptor-like kinase FLS2.

Xiao Y, Stegmann M, Han Z, DeFalco TA, Parys K, Xu L, Belkhadir Y, Zipfel C, Chai J (2019) Mechanisms of RALF peptide perception by a heterotypic receptor complex. Nature. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1409-7
Lead author is Yu Xiao. UK contribution from The Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich. This study investigates how RAPID ALKALINIZATION FACTOR (RALF) peptides induce receptor complex formation to regulate immune signaling.

Wong JEMM, Nadzieja M, Madsen LH, Bücherl CA, Dam S, Sandal NN, Couto D, Derbyshire P, Uldum-Berentsen M, Schroeder S, Schwämmle V, Nogueira FCS, Asmussen MH, Thirup S, Radutoiu S, Blaise M, Andersen KR, Menke FLH, Zipfel C, Stougaard J (2019). A Lotus japonicus cytoplasmic kinase connects Nod factor perception by the NFR5 LysM receptor to nodulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1815425116
Open Access

Lead author is Jaslyn Wong. UK contribution from The Sainsbury Laboratory, University of East Anglia. This work was conducted in the legume Lotus and after a proteomic screen, the authors identified NFR5-interacting cytoplasmic kinase 4 that is involved in control of Nod factor perception.

Miller C, Wells R, McKenzie N, Trick M, Ball J, Fatihi A, Dubreucq B, Chardot T, Lepiniec L, Bevan MW (2019) Variation in expression of the HECT E3 ligase UPL3 modulates LEC2 levels, seed size and crop yield in Brassica napus. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.18.00577
Open Access

Lead author in Charlotte Miller. UK contribution from the John Innes Centre. Activity of the Brassica napus HECT E3 ligase gene BnaUPL3 controls seed weight per pod through degradation of LEC2, a master transcriptional regulator of seed maturation and reveals a potential target for crop improvement

Coudert Y, Novák O, Harrison CJ (2019) A KNOX-Cytokinin Regulatory Module Predates the Origin of Indeterminate Vascular Plants. Curr Biol. 2019 Aug 19;29(16):2743-2750.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.083

Lead author is Yoan Coudert. UK contribution from the University of Cambridge and University of Bristol. Class I KNOX gene activity is shown to be necessary for axis extension from an intercalary region of determinate moss shoots, in part through promotion of cytokinin biosynthesis.

Burgess SJ, Reyna-Llorens I, Stevenson SR, Singh P, Jaeger K, Hibberd JM (2019) Genome-wide transcription factor binding in leaves from C3 and C4 grasses Plant Cell.  doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00078 Open Access

Lead author is Steven Burgess. UK contribution from University of Cambridge, The Sainsbury lab University of Cambridge, University of Leeds The authors use DNaseI-SEQ to assess the similarities and differences in transcription factor binding sites in the leaves across a set of four C3 and C4 grasses.

Harrington SA, Overend LE, Cobo N, Borrill P, Uauy C (2019) Conserved residues in the wheat (Triticum aestivum) NAM-A1 NAC domain are required for protein binding and when mutated lead to delayed peduncle and flag leaf senescence. BMC Plant Biol. doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-2022-
Lead author is Sophie Harrington. UK contributions from the John Innes Centre and University of Birmingham. The authors used a wheat TILLING resource to investigate mutrant allele with the NAC domain of the NAM-A1 transcription factor and their contribution to phenotypes in lab and field.

Jia Y, Burbidge CA, Sweetman C, Schutz E, Soole K, Jenkins C, Hancock RD, Bruning JB, Ford CM (2019) An aldo-keto reductase with 2-keto- L-gulonate reductase activity functions in L-tartaric acid biosynthesis from vitamin C in Vitis vinifera. J Biol Chem. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.010196 Open Access

Lead author Yong Jia. UK contribution from the James Hutton Institute. This work conducted in grape reveals the mechanism by which an aldo-keto reductase functions in tartaric acid biosynthesis.

Perdomo JA, Degen GE, Worrall D, Carmo-Silva E (2019) Rubisco activation by wheat Rubisco activase isoform 2β is insensitive to inhibition by ADP. Biochem J. doi: 10.1042/BCJ2019011 Open Access

Lead author is Juan Alejandro Perdomo. UK contribution from Lancaster University. They show through analysis of site-directed mutations across three isoforms of wheat Rubisco activase that these isoforms have different sensitivities to ADP.

Gurrieri L, Distefano L, Pirone C, Horrer D, Seung D, Zaffagnini M, Rouhier N, Trost P, Santelia D, Sparla F (2019) The Thioredoxin-Regulated α-Amylase 3 of Arabidopsis thaliana Is a Target of S-Glutathionylation. Front Plant Sci. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00993 Open Access

Lead author is Libero Gurrieri. UK contribution from John Innes Centre. The chloroplastic α-Amylases, AtAMY3 is post-translationally modified by S-glutathionylation in response to oxidative stress.

Mucha S, Heinzlmeir S, Kriechbaumer V, Strickland B, Kirchhelle C, Choudhary M, Kowalski N, Eichmann R, Hueckelhoven R, Grill E, Kuster B, Glawischnig E (2019) The formation of a camalexin-biosynthetic metabolon. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00403 Open Access

Lead author is Stefanie Mucha. UK contribution from Oxford Brookes University and University of Warwick. The authors performed two independent untargeted co-immunoprecipitations to identify components involved in biosynthesis of the antifungal phytoalexin camalexin.

Atkinson N, Velanis CN, Wunder T, Clarke DJ, Mueller-Cajar O, McCormick AJ (2019) The pyrenoidal linker protein EPYC1 phase separates with hybrid Arabidopsis-Chlamydomonas Rubisco through interactions with the algal Rubisco small subunit. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz275
Open Access

Lead author is Nicky Atkinson. UK contribution from the University of Edinburgh. This study uses Arabidopsis-Chlamydomonas to investigate the protein-protein interaction between Rubisco and essential pyrenoid component 1 (EPYC1).

Wightman R, Busse-Wicher M, Dupree P (2019) Correlative FLIM-confocal-Raman mapping applied to plant lignin composition and autofluorescence. Micron. doi: 10.1016/j.micron.2019.102733
Lead author Raymond Wightman. UK contribution from the Sainsbury Laboratory, University of Cambridge and the University of Cambridge. This study uses applies a novelmethod of correlative FLIM-confocal-Raman imaging to analyse lignin composition in Arabidopsis stems.

Milhinhos A, Vera-Sirera F, Blanco-Touriñán N, Mari-Carmona C, Carrió-Seguí À, Forment J, Champion C, Thamm A, Urbez C, Prescott H, Agustí J (2019) SOBIR1/EVR prevents precocious initiation of fiber differentiation during wood development through a mechanism involving BP and ERECTA. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1807863116
Lead author is Ana Milhinho. UK contribution from the University of Oxford. The authors used GWAS in Arabidopsis to identify the SOBIR1/EVR as an important regulator of the control of secondary growth in xylem fibers.

Hartman S, Liu Z, van Veen H, Vicente J, Reinen E, Martopawiro S, Zhang H, van Dongen N, Bosman F, Bassel GW, Visser EJW, Bailey-Serres J, Theodoulou FL, Hebelstrup KH, Gibbs DJ, Holdsworth MJ, Sasidharan R, Voesenek LACJ (2019) Ethylene-mediated nitric oxide depletion pre-adapts plants to hypoxia stress. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12045-4 Open Access

Lead author is Sjon Hartman. UK contribution from the University of Nottingham, Rothamsted Research and the University of Birmingham. This multinational collaboration looks into the relationship of how ethylene mediated nitric-oxide signaling responds to environmental signals.

Dittrich M, Mueller HM, Bauer H, Peirats-Llobet M, Rodriguez PL, Geilfus CM, Carpentier SC, Al Rasheid KAS, Kollist H, Merilo E, Herrmann J, Müller T, Ache P, Hetherington AM, Hedrich R (2019) The role of Arabidopsis ABA receptors from the PYR/PYL/RCAR family in stomatal acclimation and closure signal integration. Nat Plants. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0490-0
Lead author Marcus Dittrich. UK contribution from the University of Bristol. This work looks at the role of ABA signaling in stomatal responses and that the multiple ABA receptors can be modulated differentially in a stimulus-specific manner.

Villaécija-Aguilar JA, Hamon-Josse M, Carbonnel S, Kretschmar A, Schmid C, Dawid C, Bennett T, Gutjahr C (2019). SMAX1/SMXL2 regulate root and root hair development downstream of KAI2-mediated signalling in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genet. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008327 Open Access

Lead author Jose Antonio Villaécija-Aguilar. UK contribution from the University of Leeds and The Sainsbury lab, University of Cambridge. This demonstrates that KAI2 signalling through SMAX1/SMXL2 , is an important new regulator of root hair and root development in Arabidopsis.

GARNet Research Roundup: August 16th 2019

This holiday-time edition of the GARNet research roundup begins with two papers that include the late Ian Moore from the University of Oxford as a co-author. The first looks at the role of RAB-A5c in the control of cellular growth anisotropy whilst the second characterises the Transport Protein Particle II (TRAPPII) complex.

The third paper is a UK-wide collaboration that assesses the role of UVA signaling on stomatal development. Next is a paper from Cambridge and the JIC that has identified the TAF4b protein as a novel regulator of meiotic crossovers.

The fifth paper is from the University of York and characterizes a role for cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) during seed germination.

The next three papers feature scientists from the University of Leeds in research that investigates 1, a peroxisomal ABC transporter; 2, the role of LRR-RLKs in plasmodesmata development and 3, the cell wall characteristics of banana and mango fruit.

The ninth paper is from the University of Edinburgh and investigates the role of S-nitrosylation in the control of SUMO conjugation.

The next two papers include Steve Penfield at the JIC as a corresponding author; the first looks at the role of endosperm-expressed transcriptional factors during seed dormancy and the second, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Warwick, identifies novel QTLs involved in seed dormancy.

The penultimate study is from Lancaster and presents a surprising outcome resulting from the overexpression of the wheat CA1Pase gene. The final paper includes Alison Tidy and Zoe Wilson from University of Nottingham as co-authors on a study that looks at male fertility in Arabidopsis.

Kirchhelle C, Garcia-Gonzalez D, Irani NG, Jérusalem A, Moore I (2019) Two mechanisms regulate directional cell growth in Arabidopsis lateral roots. Elife. pii: e47988. doi: 10.7554/eLife.47988

Open Access

Charlotte Kirchhelle leads this work that was conducted in the lab of the late Ian Moore at the University of Oxford. She investigates the role of the plant-specific small GTPase RAB-A5c during growth anisotropy in lateral roots, which involves coordinated orientations of cellulose microfibrils (CMFs) and by cortical microtubules (CMTs). They identify RAB-A5c dependent and independent mechanisms to control cellular growth anisotropy in this growing tissue.


Kalde M, Elliott L, Ravikumar R, Rybak K, Altmann M, Klaeger S, Wiese C, Abele M, Al B, Kalbfuß N, Qi X, Steiner A, Meng C, Zheng H, Kuster B, Falter-Braun P, Ludwig C, Moore I, Assaad FF (2019) Interactions between Transport Protein Particle (TRAPP) complexes and Rab GTPases in Arabidopsis. Plant J. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14442

This German-led study includes Monika Kalde from the University of Oxford as first author as well Ian Moore as co-author. They characterize the components and function of the Transport Protein Particle II (TRAPPII) complex. TRAPPII plays multiple roles in intra-cellular transport and this study identified 13 subunits, including several that were previously uncharacterised.

Isner JC, Olteanu VA, Hetherington AJ, Coupel-Ledru A, Sun P, Pridgeon AJ, Jones GS, Oates M, Williams TA, Maathuis FJM, Kift R, Webb AR, Gough J, Franklin KA, Hetherington AM (2019). Short- and Long-Term Effects of UVA on Arabidopsis Are Mediated by a Novel cGMP Phosphodiesterase. Curr Biol.29(15):2580-2585.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.071

Open Access

Jean-Charles Isner is the first author on this collaboration between labs in Bristol, York, Oxford and Cambridge. They show that UVA radiation (which represents 95% of the UV radiation reaching earth) inhibits stomatal opening through a process that involves a reduction in the cytosolic level of cGMP. The AtCN-PDE1 gene (a cGMP-activated phosphodiesterase) is needed to decrease cGMP levels in Arabidopsis. This response is present across the tree of life except in metazoans. They show AtCN-PDE1 is needed for the UVA response and that prolonged UVA exposure causes increased growth yet reduced water use efficiency.

Lawrence EJ, Gao H, Tock AJ, Lambing C, Blackwell AR, Feng X, Henderson IR (2019) Natural Variation in TBP-ASSOCIATED FACTOR 4b Controls Meiotic Crossover and Germline Transcription in Arabidopsis. Curr Biol. pii: S0960-9822(19)30844-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.084

Open Access

This work from Ian Henderson’s lab in Cambridge and Xiaoqi Feng’s lab at the JIC is led by Emma Lawrence and isolates a novel modifier of meiotic crossover frequency, TBP-ASSOCIATED FACTOR 4b (TAF4b), which encodes a subunit of the RNA polymerase II general transcription factor TFIID. They show TAF4b expression is enriched in meiocytes, compared to the more general expression of its paralog TAF4. Ultimately they reveal TAF4b drives a novel mode of meiotic recombination control through its activity as a general transcription factor.

Barros-Galvão T, Dave A, Cole A, Harvey D, Langer S, Larson TR, Vaistij FE, Graham IA (2019) cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid represses Arabidopsis thaliana seed germination in shade light conditions. J Exp Bot. pii: erz337. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz337

Open Access

Thiago Barros-Galvão is first author on this study from Ian Graham’s lab at the University of York. They investigate how the jasmonic acid pre-cursor cis-12-oxo-phytodienoic acid (OPDA) contributes to control of seed germination, particularly under shade conditions. OPDA acts through the activity of the transcription factor MOTHER-OF-FT-AND-TFL1 (MFT).


Carrier DJ, van Roermund CWT, Schaedler TA, Rong HL, IJlst L, Wanders RJA, Baldwin SA, Waterham HR, Theodoulou FL, Baker A (2019) Mutagenesis separates ATPase and thioesterase activities of the peroxisomal ABC transporter, Comatose. Sci Rep. 9(1):10502. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46685-9

Open Access

Alison Baker at the University of Leeds is the corresponding author of this UK, Dutch collaboration that includes David Carrier as first author. They characterise the peroxisomal ABC transporter, Comatose (CTS) through mutagenesis of key residues responsible for the proteins intrinsic acyl-CoA thioesterase (ACOT) activity. Ultimately they show that ACOT activity depends of endogenous ATPase activity but that these activities could be functional separated by mutagenesis of key residues.

Grison M, Kirk P, Brault M, Wu XN, Schulze WX, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Immel F, Bayer EMF (2019). Plasma membrane-associated receptor like kinases relocalize to plasmodesmata in response to osmotic stress. Plant Physiol. pii: pp.00473.2019. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00473

Open Access

GARNet advisory committee member Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso and members of her research group are co-authors on the next two studies. This work is led by Magali Grison in Emmanuelle Bayer’s lab in Bordeaux. They show that the PM-localised Leucine-Rich-Repeat Receptor-Like-Kinases (LRR-RLKs), QSK1 and IMK2 relocate and cluster to the plasmodesmata under osmotic stress conditions. Through a variety of assays that focuses on QSK1 the authors show that reorganisation of RLKs can be important for the regulation of callose deposition at plasmodesmata and under osmotic stress this can have a functional effect on lateral root development.

Rongkaumpan G, Amsbury S, Andablo-Reyes E, Linford H, Connell S, Knox JP, Sarkar A, Benitez-Alfonso Y, Orfila C (2019) Cell Wall Polymer Composition and Spatial Distribution in Ripe Banana and Mango Fruit: Implications for Cell Adhesion and Texture Perception. Front Plant Sci. 10:858. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.00858

Open Access

Ganittha Rongkaumpan is first author on this interdisciplinary collaborative research from multiple departments at the University of Leeds. They characterise the composition of the cell wall in two fruits, banana and mango, which soften during ripening. The authors compared structural information, obtained using Atomic Force Microscopy and biochemical analysis, with data from rheology and tribology assays to understand why these fruits feel different in the mouth during ingestion.

Skelly MJ, Malik SI, Le Bihan T, Bo Y, Jiang J, Spoel SH, Loake GJ (2019) A role for S-nitrosylation of the SUMO-conjugating enzyme SCE1 in plant immunity Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. pii: 201900052. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1900052116

Michael Skelly from the University of Edinburgh is the lead author of this study from the labs of Gary Loake and GARNet chairman Steven Spoel. They investigate the mechanism through which nitric oxide signaling after pathogen recognition stimulates inhibitory S-nitrosylation of the Arabidopsis SUMO E2 enzyme, SCE1. S-nitrosylation occurs on the evolutionary conserved Cys139 of SCE1 and they investigate the wider significant of this residue in the control of immune responses across eukaryotes.

MacGregor DR, Zhang N, Iwasaki M, Chen M, Dave A, Lopez-Molina L, Penfield S (2019) ICE1 and ZOU determine the depth of primary seed dormancy in Arabidopsis independently of their role in endosperm development. Plant J. 98(2):277-290. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14211

Open Access

Dana MacGregor (now at Rothamsted Research) leads this work from the lab of Steve Penfield at the JIC that investigates the extent of control on depth of primary dormancy that is mediated by the endosperm-expressed transcription factors ZHOUPI (ZOU) and INDUCER OF CBF EXPRESSION1 (ICE1). These effects are additive and independent of their role in endosperm development since the dormancy defect in ice1 and zou mutants can be ameliorated without altering seed morphology. They show that ICE1 acts primarily through control of ABA INSENSITIVE 3 (ABI3).

Footitt S, Walley PG, Lynn JR, Hambidge AJ, Penfield S, Finch-Savage WE (2019) Trait analysis reveals DOG1 determines initial depth of seed dormancy, but not changes during dormancy cycling that result in seedling emergence timing. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16081

This research is a collaboration between the John Innes Centre and the Universities Liverpool and Warwick, from which Steven Footitt is first author. They used two Arabidopsis ecotypes that have differences in the timing of seedling emergence to identify new QTLs involved in depth of seed dormancy and Seedling Emergence Timing (SET). They revealed that DOG1 is important for determining depth of dormancy. In addition they identified three new SET QTLs, which are each physically close to DOG1, that play a role in the control of SET in the field.

Lobo AKM, Orr D, Gutierrez MO, Andralojc J, Sparks C, Parry MAJ, Carmo-Silva E (2019) Overexpression of ca1pase decreases Rubisco abundance and grain yield in wheat. Plant Physiol. pii: pp.00693.2019. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00693

Open Access

This research from Lancaster Environmental Centre and their Brazilian collaborators is led by Ana Karla Lobo and demonstrates that overexpression of 2-carboxy-D-arabinitol-1-phosphate phosphatase (CA1Pase) in wheat causes a reduction in above ground biomass and compromises wheat grain yields. As CA1Pase is involved in removing inhibitors of Rubisco activity this result is contrary to the anticipated outcome. This suggests that Rubisco inhibitors might actually protect enzyme activity, thus maintaining the number of active sites that the enzyme is able to support.

Zhao SQ, Li WC, Zhang Y, Tidy AC, Wilson ZA (2019) Knockdown of Arabidopsis ROOT UVB SENSITIVE4 Disrupts Anther Dehiscence by Suppressing Secondary Thickening in the Endothecium. Plant Cell Physiol. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcz127

Shu-Qing Zhao is the lead author on this China-UK collaboration that includes Alison Tidy and Zoe Wilson from the University of Nottingham. They show that using an artificial microRNA to reduce levels of the RUS4 gene in Arabidopsis causes a decline in male fertility. They perform a detailed analysis of the RUS4 expression module and how it impacts fertility.

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.

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.

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.

GARNet Research Roundup: December 7th 2018

The first four papers in this GARNet Research Roundup includes research from Norwich Research Park. Firstly members of Jonathan Jones’ lab have identified a new Avr gene from Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis. Secondly Anne Osbourn’s lab characterises two novel arabinosyltransferases that are involved in the plant defence response. Thirdly Cathie Martin’s group is involved in a study that investigates the biosynthesis of the metabolite ubiquinone. Finally in research from NRP is from Silke Robatzek’s lab, where they use a novel quantitative imaging system to characterise stomatal mutants.

The next two papers arise from work at SLCU, firstly looking at the possible role of a novel transposon family during gene-shuffling and secondly a paper that investigates the structure of an important component of the strigolactone signaling pathway.

The seventh paper from Peter Eastmond’s lab at Rothamsted Research identifies a novel gene involved in seed oil composition. The penultimate paper is from Peter Unwin at the University of Leeds and assesses the cell wall composition of ‘giant’ root cells induced by nematode Meloidogyne spp. Finally is a methods paper that describes how microCT imaging can be used to measure different leaf parameters.

Asai S, Furzer O, Cavik V, Kim DS, Ishaque N, Goritschnig S, Staskawicz B, Shirasu K, Jones JDG (2018) A downy mildew effector evades recognition by polymorphism of expression and subcellular localization. Nature Communications doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-07469-3

Open Access

Shuta Asai from Jonathan Jones’ lab at The Sainsbury Lab, Norwich is the lead-author on this study that looks at co-evolution of host and pathogen resistance genes. The relationship between Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis (Hpa) and Arabidopsis is defined by the gene-for-gene model of host Resistance (R) genes and pathogen Avirulence (AVR) genes. In this study the authors identify the HaRxL103Emoy2 AVR gene that is recognised by the R gene RPP4 and how this resistance is broken by altered expression or cellular localization.

Louveau T, Orme A, Pfalzgraf H, Stephenson M, Melton RE, Saalbach G, Hemmings  AM, Leveau A, Rejzek M, Vickerstaff RJ, Langdon T, Field R, Osbourn AE (2018) Analysis of two new arabinosyltransferases belonging to the carbohydrate-active enzyme (CAZY) glycosyl transferase family 1 provides insights into disease resistance and sugar donor specificity. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.18.00641

Open Access

This research from the John Innes Centre, East Maling and Aberystwyth University is led by Thomas Louveau and Anne Osbourn and characterises two new arabinosyltransferases from oat and soybean. These enzymes are involved in the production of saponins that are involved in defence responses. These enzymes normally transfer arabinose to their substrates but through targeted mutations the authors modified one of them to instead transfer glucose. This study provides insights into the specifics of ‘sugar-donation’ and has identified potential novel targets for manipulating defence responses in two crop species.

Soubeyrand E, Johnson TS, Latimer S, Block A, Kim J, Colquhoun TA, Butelli E,  Martin C, Wilson MA, Basset G (2018) The Peroxidative Cleavage of Kaempferol Contributes to the Biosynthesis of the Benzenoid Moiety of Ubiquinone in Plants. Plant Cell. 2018 Nov 14. pii: tpc.00688.2018. doi: 10.1105/tpc.18.00688

Open Access

This US-led study includes members of Cathie Martin’s lab at the John Innes Centre as co-authors in which they investigate the flavonoid-biosynthesis pathway, in particular the land-plant-specific synthesis of ubiquinone. They used Arabidopsis and tomato mutants to dissect the ubiquinone biosynthesis pathway, revealing that the B-ring of the specalised metabolite kaempferol is incorporated into the primary metabolite ubiquinone.

Bourdais G, McLachlan DH, Rickett LM, Zhou J, Siwoszek A, Häweker H, Hartley M, Kuhn H, Morris RJ, MacLean D, Robatzek S (2018) The use of quantitative imaging to investigate regulators of membrane trafficking in Arabidopsis stomatal closure. Traffic. doi: 10.1111/tra.12625

This work from both Norwich Research Park and the University of Bristol is led by Gildas Bourdais and describes a high-throughput quantitative imaging, reverse genetic screen to characterize known stomatal mutants on the basis of their effect on the endomembrane system. This screen allowed them to precisely define the point in the signaling pathway at which each mutant was affected, providing a genetic framework for the control of stomatal closure. This image-based tool should be a valuable addition to future studies that aim to use quantitative image analysis.

Catoni M, Jonesman T, Cerruti E, Paszkowski J (2018) Mobilization of Pack-CACTA transposons in Arabidopsis suggests the mechanism of gene shuffling (2018) Nucleic Acids Res. doi: 10.1093/nar/gky1196

Open Access

This work was performed at SLCU in Jerzy Paszkowski’s lab by current University of Birmingham lecturer Marco Catoni and analyses the genomic impact of the mobilisation of Pack-TYPE transposons. They track the movement of these transposons over multiple generations, showing that they can insert into genic regions and that their subsequent incomplete excisions can cause deleterious effect on gene function. Over evolutionary time the action of this type of mobile element might therefore importantly influence gene shuffling.

Shabek N, Ticchiarelli F, Mao H, Hinds TR, Leyser O, Zheng N (2018) Structural plasticity of D3-D14 ubiquitin ligase in strigolactone signalling. Nature. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0743-5

Nitzan Shabek is the lead author on his US-led paper that includes Fabrizio Ticchiarelli and Ottoline Leyser from SLCU as co-authors. This paper reveals the structure of the interaction between the Arabidopsis α/β hydrolase D14 and the D3 F-box protein, which is important for multiple aspects of strigolactone signaling. They show that structural plasticity of the D3 C-terminal α-helix, which can switch between two different forms, enables the interaction between D14 and the D53 repressor protein. Providing insight into these specific interactions is key to increasing understanding of how the D14-D3 complex influences strigolactone signaling.

Menard GN, Bryant FM, Kelly AA, Craddock CP, Lavagi I, Hassani-Pak K, Kurup S, Eastmond PJ (2018) Natural variation in acyl editing is a determinant of seed storage oil composition. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35136-6

Open Access

This work is led from Rothamsted Research with Guillaume Menard as first author and uses the Arabidopsis MAGIC population to identify novel genetic loci involved in seed oil composition. They identified multiple QTLs associated with the quantity of the major very long chain fatty acid species 11-eicosenoic acid (20:1), showing that the enzyme LYSOPHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE ACYLTRANSFERASE 2 (LPCAT2), which is involved in the acyl-editing pathway, was the primary QTL. Subsequently they show LPCAT2 expression was key for varying seed 20:1 content and that natural variation in the capacity for acyl editing is an important determinant of oil content.

Bozbuga R, Lilley CJ, Knox JP, Urwin PE (2018) Host-specific signatures of the cell  wall changes induced by the plant parasitic nematode, Meloidogyne incognita (2018). Sci  Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35529-7

Open Access

Refik Bozbuga at the University of Leeds is first author on this study that investigates the cell wall composition of nutrient-supplying ‘giant cells’ that are induced in roots following infection with Meloidogyne spp nematodes. They analysed the cell walls of giant cells from three species (Arabidopsis, maize and aduki bean) as well as using a set of Arabidopsis mutants to characterise the possible cell wall components that might influence infection rates.

Mathers AW, Hepworth C, Baillie AL, Sloan J, Jones H, Lundgren M, Fleming AJ,  Mooney SJ, Sturrock CJ (2018) Investigating the microstructure of plant leaves in 3D with lab-based X-ray computed tomography. Plant Methods. doi:  10.1186/s13007-018-0367-7

Open Access
This paper from the Universities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Lancaster provides a methodology that uses a microCT image pipeline to measure leaf intercellular airspace and to provide quantitative data on descriptors of leaf cellular architecture. They measured 6 different plant species, showing that this 3D method generates an improved dataset when compared to traditional 2D methods of measurement.

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