GARNet Research Roundup: July 17th 2020

This edition of GARNet Research Roundup begins with a remarkable four papers that include work from Caroline Dean’s lab at the John Innes Centre. The first two papers are collaborations with members of Martin Howard’s lab and look at the molecular mechanisms that control long-term cold sensing or the antisense regulation of FLC respectively. The third paper looks at the function of the ICU1-associated PRC2 complex while the final ‘Dean-lab’ paper is a collaboration with Judith Irwin and looks at regulation of flowering time in Brassica napus.

The next three papers also feature authors from the John Innes Centre. The first looks at the role of mRNA methylation in the control of leaf organogenesis; the second paper investigates how AXR1 functions in the methylation of transposable elements and the final paper characterises a new method for the automated measurement of seeds.

The first non-JIC paper in this Roundup is led by Robert Caine from the University of Sheffield and characterises stomatal development in Physcomitrium patens. Andrea Harper at the University of York leads the next paper that applies an associative transcriptomics approach to the genome of Brassica juncea.

The next paper includes co-authors from Aberystwyth and characterises a molecular interaction from pollen tubes that can stimulate ectopic programmed cell death. The final two papers include co-authors from the University of Oxford. Firstly Paul Jarvis is involved with a Japanese study that looks at chloroplast autophagy and ubiquitination. Finally Nick Harberd is co-author on a Chinese study looking at iron accumulation in Arabidopsis seeds.

Zhao Y, Antoniou-Kourounioti RL, Calder G, Dean C, Howard M (2020) Temperature-dependent growth contributes to long-term cold sensing Nature; 10.1038/s41586-020-2485-4. doi:10.1038/s41586-020-2485-4

Yusheng Zhao is first author on this work from the Howard and Dean labs at the John Innes Centre. They reveal a molecular mechanism that underpins the ability of plants to sense the winter period. They show that abundance of the transcription factor NTL8 is critical for the control of expression of the VERNALIZATION INSENSITIVE 3 protein, which in turn epigenetically silences FLC throughout the winter.

Fang X, Wu Z, Raitskin O, et al (2020) The 3′ processing of antisense RNAs physically links to chromatin-based transcriptional control Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;202007268. doi:10.1073/pnas.2007268117

Open Access

Xiaofeng Feng works with the Howard and Dean labs at the John Innes Centre and is lead author on this research. The authors provide molecular detail to the complex control of antisense RNA regulation of the FLC locus, which provides a link to epigenetic silencing via the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2.

Bloomer RH, Hutchison CE, Bäurle I, et al (2020) The Arabidopsis epigenetic regulator ICU11 as an accessory protein of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020;201920621. doi:10.1073/pnas.1920621117 Open Access

Rebecca Bloomer is first author on this collaboration between researchers at the John Innes Centre and the University of Edinburgh. They identify INCURVATA11 (ICU11) as a Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) accessory protein that co-localises with the core components of the PRC2. The ICU1-associated PRC2 complex controls H3K36me3 demethylation at the FLC locus, revealing an additional mechanism for the control of flowering time.

Tudor EH, Jones DM, He Z, et al (2020) QTL-seq identifies BnaFT.A02 and BnaFLC.A02 as candidates for variation in vernalization requirement and response in winter oilseed rape (Brassica napus) Plant Biotechnol J. 2020;10.1111/pbi.13421. doi:10.1111/pbi.13421 Open Access

Eleri Tudor is first author on this work from the Dean and Irwin labs at the John Innes Centre. They characterise the key floral regulators FLOWERING LOCUS C (BnaFLC.A02) and FLOWERING LOCUS T (BnaFT.A02) in Brassica napus, showing that allelic variation at these loci is importance for the close-association between vernalisation and flowering time.

Arribas-Hernández L, Simonini S, Hansen MH, et al (2020) Recurrent requirement for the m6A-ECT2/ECT3/ECT4 axis in the control of cell proliferation during plant organogenesis Development. doi:10.1242/dev.189134 Open Access

Laura Arribas-Hernández is lead author on this Danish-UK collaboration that includes Sara Simonini and Lars Ostergaard from the John Innes Centre as co-authors. They look at the role of YTH-domain proteins ECT2, ECT3 and ECT4 during leaf development. They show that the methylated mRNA (m6A)-binding site of these proteins is essential for their function, highlighting the m6A-ECT2/ECT3/ECT4 axis as an important module to stimulate plant organogenesis.

Christophorou N, She W, Long J, et al (2020) AXR1 affects DNA methylation independently of its role in regulating meiotic crossover localization PLoS Genet. 16(6):e1008894. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008894 Open Access

This collaboration between Université Paris-Saclay and the John Innes Centre includes Nicolas Christophorou as first author. They investigate the role of the well-characterised NEDD8/RUB1 E1 ligase AXR1 in DNA methylation of transposable elements. This links the role of AXR1 with its previously characterised effects in hormone signalling and in the control of the formation of meiotic crossovers.

Colmer J, O’Neill CM, Wells R, et al (2020) SeedGerm: a cost-effective phenotyping platform for automated seed imaging and machine-learning based phenotypic analysis of crop seed germination New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.16736. doi:10.1111/nph.16736 Open Access

This UK-Chinese-Dutch collaboration is led by Joshua Colmer and introduces a new phenotyping platform that was tested against a diverse panel of Brassica napus varieties. This SeedGerm hardware and software measures seed germination, automates seed imaging and is a platform for machine-learning based phenotypic analysis. This will hopefully be a useful tool for the investigation of critical seed phenotypes.

Caine RS, Chater CCC, Fleming AJ, Gray JE (2020) Stomata and Sporophytes of the Model Moss Physcomitrium patens. Front Plant Sci. 2020;11:643. doi:10.3389/fpls.2020.00643 Open Access

Bobby Caine from the University of Sheffield is lead author on this research that characterises stomatal development in the model moss species Physcomitrium patens. Although they show key differences in stomatal development between Physcomitrium and Arabidopsis, key regulators of this process in higher plants also functions in mosses, providing important evolutionary insights.

Harper AL, He Z, Langer S, et al (2020) Validation of an Associative Transcriptomics platform in the polyploid crop species Brassica juncea by dissection of the genetic architecture of agronomic and quality traits Plant J. 2020;10.1111/tpj.14876. doi:10.1111/tpj.14876  Open Access

GARNet committee member Andrea Harper from the University of York leads this research that employs associative transcriptomics analysis in Brassica juncea. To generate this analysis platform they mapped transcriptome data from a diverse panel of B. juncea accessions to produce a pan-transcriptome reference. This will be a useful research for the mapping of loci involved in important agronomic traits.

Lin Z, Xie F, Trivino M, et al. (2020) Ectopic expression of a self-incompatibility module triggers growth arrest and cell death in vegetative cells Plant Physiol. doi:10.1104/pp.20.00292 Open Access

Zongcheng Lin is first author on this Belgium-led study that includes Marina Trivino and Maurice Bosch from IBERS, Aberystwyth University as co-authors. They look at the interaction between cognate PrsS and PrpS proteins that are involved in the pollen self-incompatibility response in poppy. By ectopic expression in Arabidopsis roots they show that this interaction can cause programmed cell death (PCD) in vegetative tissues. This signalling module may become an important tool for inducible PCD in other developmental contexts.

Kikuchi Y, Nakamura S, Woodson JD, et al (2020) Chloroplast autophagy and ubiquitination combine to manage oxidative damage and starvation responses Plant Physiol. 2020;pp.00237.2020. doi:10.1104/pp.20.00237 Open Access

Paul Jarvis from the University of Oxford is a co-author on this Japanese study led by Yuta Kikuchi. This work demonstrates that autophagy and chloroplast-associated ubiquitin ligase E3s cooperate for protein turnover, management of ROS accumulation, and adaptation to starvation.

Sun Y, Li JQ, Yan JY, et al (2020) Ethylene promotes seed iron storage during Arabidopsis seed maturation via ERF95 transcription factor J Integr Plant Biol. 10.1111/jipb.12986. doi:10.1111/jipb.12986

Nick Harberd from the University of Oxford is a co-author on this Chinese study led by Ying Sun at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. In this work they show that the ERF95 transcription factor regulates Arabidopsis seed Fe accumulation and through a series of investigations they are able to conclude that the gaseous hormone ethylene promotes seed Fe accumulation during seed maturation via an EIN3-ERF95-FER1-dependent signaling pathway.

GARNet Research Roundup: March 13th 2020

This edition of the GARNet Research Roundup begins with research from Durham University that links environmental sensing, SUMOylation and BR signaling. The second paper is from the Baulcombe lab in Cambridge and investigates the epigenetic control of transposons. The third paper is from Aberystwyth University and introduces the DeepPod learning framework for the automated counting of Arabidopsis siliques.

The fourth paper includes co-authors from the University of Nottingham in research that conducts a comprehensive analysis of the Arabidopsis auxin receptor gene family. The next paper from the University of Bristol looks at different statistical methods to measure segregation distortion.

The sixth paper is a structural-biology study of an Arabidopsis histone methyltransferase and includes co-authors from King’s College London and the Crick Institute. The penultimate paper includes Brian Forde from Lancaster University as a co-author and analyses the ZmTMM1 transcription factor from maize. The final paper investigates the role of the WRKY6 transcription factor during seed development and includes Ian Bancroft as a co-author.

Srivastava M, Srivastava AK, Orosa-Puente B, Campanaro A, Zhang C, Sadanandom A (2020) SUMO Conjugation to BZR1 Enables Brassinosteroid Signaling to Integrate Environmental Cues to Shape Plant Growth. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.01.089 Open Access

Moumita Srivastava is first author on this study from Durham University that introduces SUMO regulation of brassinosteroid (BR) signalling through the BZR1 transcription factor. During salt stress Arabidopsis plants arrest growth by upregulating the SUMO protease ULP1a that in turn deSUMOylates BZR1 allowing for its destabilizing interaction with the BIN2 kinase. This study environmental sensing, SUMOylation and the BR response.

Wang Z, Baulcombe DC (2020) Transposon age and non-CG methylation. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-14995-6 Open Access

Zhengming Wang and David Baulcombe from the University of Cambridge are authors on this research that assesses the ordering of the mechanisms through which transposon-containing chromatin is silenced. They demonstrate that both RNA-directed DNA methylation (RdDM) and RNA-independent silencing through chromodomain DNA methyltransferases (CMTs) occurs to provide long-term control of transposons and concomitant alterations to the transcriptome.

Hamidinekoo A, Garzón-Martínez GA, Ghahremani M, Corke FMK, Zwiggelaar R, Doonan JH, Lu C (2020) DeepPod: a convolutional neural network based quantification of fruit number in Arabidopsis. Gigascience doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giaa012 Open Access

This research from Aberystwyth University includes Azam Hamidinekoo as first author in which they have developed the DeepPod deep learning framework for the automated identification of Arabidopsis siliques from complex images. They used a training set of over 2400 images to develop prediction software that had comparable success with manual expert human counting. The project code is available on GitHub.

Prigge MJ, Platre M, Kadakia N, Zhang Y, Greenham K, Szutu W, Pandey BK, Bhosale RA, Bennett MJ, Busch W, Estelle M (2020) Genetic analysis of the Arabidopsis TIR1/AFB auxin receptors reveals both overlapping and specialized functions. Elife doi: 10.7554/eLife.54740 Open Access

Mike Prigge from UCSD in California leads this research that includes co-authors from the University of Nottingham. They analyse the phenotypes of all mutant combinations of the six-member TIR1/AFB family of auxin receptors, demonstrating significant functional overlap but that the presence of a functional TIR1 or AFB2 is needed to maintain growth throughout the life cycle. Interestingly they find that the mysterious AFB1 receptor appears to play a specalised role in processes dependent on more rapid auxin-mediated effects.

Coulton A, Przewieslik-Allen AM, Burridge AJ, Shaw DS, Edwards KJ, Barker GLA (2020) Segregation distortion: Utilizing simulated genotyping data to evaluate statistical methods. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0228951 Open Access

Alexander Coulton is the first author on this study from the University of Bristol that looks at different statistical tests that are used to confirm segregation distortion in high-density SNP data. In this data they find that the false discovery rate correction best fits the traditional p-value threshold of 0.05 and they perform empirical tests using mapping populations generated between different wheat varieties.

Dobrovolska O, Brilkov M, Madeleine N, Ødegård-Fougner Ø, Strømland Ø, Martin SR, De Marco V, Christodoulou E, Teigen K, Isaksson J, Underhaug J, Reuter N, Aalen RB, Aasland R, Halskau Ø (2020) The Arabidopsis (ASHH2) CW domain binds monomethylated K4 of the histone H3 tail through conformational selection. FEBS J doi: 10.1111/febs.15256

This Norwegian-led study has Olena Dobrovolska as first author and co-authors from King’s College London and the Crick Institute. They have performed a structural analysis using NMR and molecular dynamics of the Arabidopsis Histone lysine methyltransferase ASHH2.

Liu Y, Jia Z, Li X, Wang Z, Chen F, Mi G, Forde B, Takahashi H, Yuan L (2020) Involvement of a truncated MADS-box transcription factor ZmTMM1 in root nitrate foraging. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa116

Ying Liu leads this Chinese study that includes Brian Forde from Lancaster as a co-author. They show that the maize ZmTMM1 transcription factor is able to rescue the nitrate foraging defect in Arabidopsis anr1agl21 double mutants, demonstrating a link between nitrate-induced transcriptional regulation in grasses and dicots.

Song G, Li X, Munir R, Khan AR, Azhar W, Yasin MU, Jiang Q, Bancroft I, Gan Y (2020) The WRKY6 transcription factor affects seed oil accumulation and alters fatty acid compositions in Arabidopsis thaliana. Physiol Plant. doi: 10.1111/ppl.13082

Ian Bancroft from the University of York is a co-author on this Chinese-led study in which Ge Song is first author. They discovered a high expression level of the WRKY6 transcription factor in developing seeds of Arabidopsis and that wrky6 mutants have larger seeds with altered fatty acid (FA) content and composition. The authors suggest that WRKY6 could be a target for the genetic improvement of FA content in the oil-seed crop of Brassica napus.

GARNet Research Roundup: December 23rd 2019

The final GARNet Research Roundup of 2019 begins with three studies from the John Innes Centre. Firstly Steve Penfield’s group conducts a field-experiment that monitors FLC levels in winter oilseed rape. Second is a study from the Zilberman lab looking at the relationship between Histone H1 and DNA methylation.

Third is work from the Yant lab in JIC/Nottingham that investigates adaptive gene flow between Arabidopsis arenosa and Arabidopsis lyrata.

The next two papers are led from the Etchells lab in Durham, the first has developed a vascular-localised transcriptional network and the second is a methods paper for image analysis.

The sixth paper includes co-authors from Southampton and investigates nuclear-chloroplast signaling in Arabidopsis mediated by the GUN1 protein.

The next two papers include members of the current GARNet advisory committee. Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso from the University of Leeds is an author on a paper that models plasmodesma geometry whilst members of the Kaiserli lab in Glasgow are involved in a study that investigates the factors involved in auxin-dependent thermomorphogenesis.

The Dupree lab in Cambridge leads the next research paper that looks at the detailed composition of the cell wall in the softwood Spruce.

The next two papers are from the Sainsbury lab, Norwich. Firstly the Kamoun lab looks at the molecular code of a plant NLR immune receptors whilst in the second paper members of the Zipfel lab are co-authors on a study that looks at defence-related protease activity from a fungal pathogen of strawberry.

The twelfth paper is from Ian Graham’s lab at the University of York and looks at the role of light signaling during seed development.

Sue Armstrong from Birmingham is a co-author on the next paper in which researchers present a genetic map of the field cress Lepidium campestre.

The final two papers include researchers from Royal Holloway University of London and look at the role of different transcription factors during embryo or root meristem development.

O’Neill CM, Lu X, Calderwood A, Tudor EH, Robinson P, Wells R, Morris R, Penfield S (2019) Vernalization and Floral Transition in Autumn Drive Winter Annual Life History in Oilseed Rape. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.10.051
Open Access

Carmel O’Neill is first author on the research from the Morris and Penfield labs at the John Innes Centre. This paper describes experiments that monitored FLC levels in field-growth winter oilseed rape. Surprisingly they shows that decline of FLC during October in relatively mild-temperatures of 10-15C reduce FLC levels, leading to floral transition prior to the colder winter temperatures. This work shows the importance of field experiments to understand real-world mechanisms that control crop development.

Choi J, Lyons DB, Kim MY, Moore JD, Zilberman D (2019) DNA Methylation and Histone H1 Jointly Repress Transposable Elements and Aberrant Intragenic Transcripts. Mol Cell. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2019.10.011
This research from the Zilberman lab at the John Innes Centre is led by Jaemyoung Choi and looks at the relationship between histone H1 and the DNA methylation machinery during the maintenance of transcriptional homeostasis.

Marburger S, Monnahan P, Seear PJ, Martin SH, Koch J, Paajanen P, Bohutínská M, Higgins JD, Schmickl R, Yant L (2019) Interspecific introgression mediates adaptation to whole genome duplication. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13159-5
Open Access

Sarah Marburger from Levi Yant’s lab at the John Innes Centre/University of Nottingham leads this research that includes co-authors from Leicester, Edinburgh and the Czech Republic. They look at the effect of whole-genome duplication on gene flow between Arabidopsis arenosa and Arabidopsis lyrata.

Smit M, McGregor S, Sun H, Gough C, Bågman AM, Soyars CL, Kroon JTM, Gaudinier A, Williams CJ, Yang X, Nimchuk ZL, Weijers D, Turner SR, Brady SM, Etchells P (2019) A PXY-Mediated Transcriptional Network Integrates Signaling Mechanisms to Control Vascular Development in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00562
Open Access

This large-scale systems-biology paper is a UK-US-China-Dutch collaboration led by Margot Smit at Wageningen, Shauni McGregor and Peter Etchells at Durham University. They have developed a detailed transcriptional network based on the vascular-localised PHLOEM INTERCALATED WITH XYLEM (PXY) receptor kinase.

Bagdassarian KS, Connor KA, Jermyn IH, Etchells JP (2019) Versatile method for quantifying and analyzing morphological differences in experimentally obtained images. Plant Signal Behav. doi: 10.1080/15592324.2019.1693092
This paper from Peter Etchells lab in Durham is led by Kristine Bagdassarian and introduces a bespoke method for inspecting the differences between the morphologies of several plant mutants at the cellular level.

Shimizu T, Kacprzak SM, Mochizuki N, Nagatani A, Watanabe S, Shimada T, Tanaka K, Hayashi Y, Arai M, Leister D, Okamoto H, Terry MJ, Masuda T (2019) The retrograde signaling protein GUN1 regulates tetrapyrrole biosynthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1911251116

Open Access

Sylwia M. Kacprzak and Matthew Terry from the University of Southampton are co-authors on this Japanese-led study that looks at the interaction between nuclear and chloroplast genomes as controlled by role that the GUN1 protein plays in control of tetrapyrrole metabolism.

Deinum EE, Mulder BM, Benitez-Alfonso Y (2019) From plasmodesma geometry to effective symplasmic permeability through biophysical modelling. Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.49000
Open Access

Eva Deinum is lead author of this study that includes GARNet Committee member Yoselin Benitez-Alfonso as co-author. They have applied biophysical modeling to calculate effective symplasmic permeability for the transport of molecules through plasmodesmata. The resulting open-source model has been refined through experimental observations.

Dr Deinum will be leading a GARNet-supported workshop on this multilevel model during the July 2020 EMBO workshop on ‘Intercellular communication and plasmodesmata in plant development and disease’.

van der Woude LC, Perrella G, Snoek BL, van Hoogdalem M, Novák O, van Verk MC, van Kooten HN, Zorn LE, Tonckens R, Dongus JA, Praat M, Stouten EA, Proveniers MCG, Vellutini E, Patitaki E, Shapulatov U, Kohlen W, Balasubramanian S, Ljung K, van der Krol AR, Smeekens S, Kaiserli E, van Zanten M (2019) HISTONE DEACETYLASE 9 stimulates auxin-dependent thermomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis thaliana by mediating H2A.Z depletion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1911694116

This wide collaboration is led by Lennard van der Woude at Utrecht University and includes Giorgio Perrella and Eirini Kaiserli from Glasgow as co-authors. This research looks at the complex relationship between thermomorphogenesis, auxin and light signaling, histone deacylation and the regulation of histone variant H2A.Z.

Terrett OM, Lyczakowski JJ, Yu L, Iuga D, Franks WT, Brown SP, Dupree R, Dupree P (2019) Molecular architecture of softwood revealed by solid-state NMR. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12979-9

Open Access

This research from the Dupree lab in Cambridge is led by Olivier Terrett and uses solid-state NMR to analyse the cell wall composition of the softwood spruce, in part through comparison with Arabidopsis cell walls. This information is an essential requirement to build experimental strategies for the biorefining of particular wood-types.

Adachi H, Contreras M, Harant A, Wu CH, Derevnina L, Sakai T, Duggan C, Moratto E, Bozkurt TO, Maqbool A, Win J, Kamoun S (2019) An N-terminal motif in NLR immune receptors is functionally conserved across distantly related plant species. Elife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.49956

Open Access

Hiroaki Adachi leads this study from lab of Sophien Kamoun at the Sainsbury lab, Norwich. In this research they interrogate the molecular code of a plant NLR immune receptor to identify the minimal functional motifs that are required to induce hypersensitive cell death in response to a plant pathogen.

Caro MDP, Holton N, Conti G, Venturuzzi AL, Martínez-Zamora MG, Zipfel C, Asurmendi S, Díaz-Ricci JC (2019) The fungal subtilase AsES elicits a PTI-like defence response in Arabidopsis thaliana plants independently of its enzymatic activity. Mol Plant Pathol. doi: 10.1111/mpp.12881
Open Access

Nicolas Holton and Cyril Zipfel from the Sainsbury Lab in Norwich are co-authors on this Argentinian-led study with María del Pilar Caro as both first and corresponding author. They characterize the proteolytic role of the elicitor subtilisin (AsES) from strawberry fungal pathogen Acremonium strictum during an immune response.

Barros-Galvão T, Dave A, Gilday AD, Harvey D, Vaistij FE, Graham IA (2019) ABA INSENSITIVE4 promotes rather than represses PHYA-dependent seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16363
Open Access

Thiago Barros-Galvão and Ian Graham at the University of Leeds lead this research that investigates the role of phytochrome A (PHYA) and PHYB signaling during seed development in Arabidopsis.

Desta ZA, Kolano B, Shamim Z, Armstrong SJ, Rewers M, Sliwinska E, Kushwaha SK, Parkin IAP, Ortiz R, de Koning DJ (2019) Field cress genome mapping: Integrating linkage and comparative maps with cytogenetic analysis for rDNA carrying chromosomes. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-53320-0

Open Access

This Swedish led study has Zeratsion Abera Desta as lead author and includes Sue Armstrong from the University of Birmingham as a co-author. They have produced an early genome map of field cress (Lepidium campestre), which is a potential oilseed plant. They show that diploid Lepidium campestre has 16 chromosomes.

Leviczky T, Molnár E, Papdi C, Őszi E, Horváth GV, Vizler C, Nagy V, Pauk J, Bögre L, Magyar Z (2019) E2FA and E2FB transcription factors coordinate cell proliferation with seed maturation. Development. doi: 10.1242/dev.179333
Open Access

Tünde Leviczky is first author on this Hungarian-led study that includes co-authors from Royal Hollaway University of London. This work characterises the role of the E2F transcription factors and the RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED repressor protein during Arabidopsis embryo development.

Lokdarshi A, Papdi C, Pettko-Szandtner A, Dorokhov S, Scheres B, Magyar Z, von Arnim AG, Bogre L, Horváth B (2019) ErbB-3 BINDING PROTEIN 1 Regulates Translation and Counteracts RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED to Maintain the Root Meristem. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.0080
This UK-US-Hungary collaboration includes Ansul Lokdarshi and Csaba Papdi as co-first authors and Laszlo Bogre and Beatrix Horvath from Royal Hollaway University of London as corresponding authors. They assessed the role of the ErbB-3 BINDING PROTEIN 1 transcription factor during Arabidopsis root meristem development

GARNet Research Roundup: November 22nd 2019

This bumper edition of the GARNet Research Roundup begins with three papers that have a focus on the circadian clock. First is from Cambridge and looks at a novel role for TTG1 in control of the clock. The second paper also includes co-authors from Cambridge and looks at the clock Evening Complex. The final clock paper includes co-authors from York and looks at the new roles for EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA.

The next four papers include researchers from the John Innes Centre. Yiling Ding’s lab lead an exciting study into the role of RNA G-quadruplex to define liquid-liquid phase separations. Next David Seung and Alison Baker look at production of amylose starch across Arabidopsis accessions. The third JIC paper is from the Charpentier lab and looks at nuclear calcium signaling in the root. Finally Lars Ostergaard is a co-author on a paper that identifies a novel biostimulant that controls podshatter in Brassica.

The eighth paper is from Glasgow and describes the bioengineering of plants to express a novel antibiotic bacteriocin.

Next are three papers introduce exciting new research tools. 1. Weibei Yang in the Meyerowitz lab introduces a method for co-labeling of RNAs and protein 2. Researchers in Nottingham introduce RootNav2.0 for the automated measurement of root archtiectures 3. The Haydon Lab has developed a GAL4-GFP luciferase system for tissue-specific gene expression analysis.

Two Photosynthesis-based papers come next with firstly an analysis on the link between metabolism and the light response curve (from Manchester) and secondly a look at the role of aquaporins in control of CO2 conductance (Cambridge and Lancaster).

The fourteenth paper is from Durham and characterises an important protein regulator of the autophagy-dependent degradation pathway whilst the fifteenth is from Cambridge and uses cryo-SEM to analyse cell wall structures.

The penultimate paper is from Birmingham and looks at the role of redox signaling in aphid fecundity and the final paper includes co-authors from RHUL and looks at the interaction between the E2FB and RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED proteins.

Airoldi CA, Hearn TJ, Brockington SF, Webb AAR, Glover BJ (2019) TTG1 proteins regulate circadian activity as well as epidermal cell fate and pigmentation. Nat Plants. doi: 10.1038/s41477-019-0544-3

This study from the University of Cambridge is led by Chiara Airoldi and introduces a new role for the TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA 1 (TTG1) WD-repeat (WDR) subfamily in the regulation of the circadian clock. TTG1 regulates epidermal cell differentiation and pigment production, while LIGHT-REGULATED WD1 and LIGHT-REGULATED WD2A are known to regulate the clock. The triple lwd1 lwd2 ttg1 mutant has no detectable circadian rhythym. This suggests that members of this protein family have undergone subfunctionalization to diverge from their core functions. This paper is of interest to those who research evolution of protein function as well as the to those interested in the control of the circadian clock.

Tong M, Lee K, Ezer D, Cortijo S, Jung J, Charoensawan V, Box MS, Jaeger K, Takahashi N, Mas P, Wigge PA, Seo PJ (2019) The Evening Complex establishes repressive chromatin domains via H2A.Z deposition. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00881

This collaboration between the UK and South Korea is led by Meixuezi Tong and investigates how the Evening Complex (EC) component of the circadian clock interacts with chromatin to control gene expression at dusk. This occurs through direct interaction with the SWI2/SNF2-RELATED complex and together they bind to the core clock genes PRR7 and PRR9, causing the deposition of H2A.Z at these loci subsequent to causing their repression at dusk.

Anwer MU, Davis A, Davis SJ, Quint M (2019) Photoperiod sensing of the circadian clock is controlled by EARLY FLOWERING 3 and GIGANTEA. Plant J. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14604

Amanda Davies and Seth Davies from the University of York are co-authors on this German-led study with Muhammad Anwer as both first and corresponding author. They look at the role of important circadian regulators ELF3 and GIGANTEA through generation of previously unanalysed elf3gi double mutants. In these plants the circadian oscillator fails to synchronize to light-dark cycles even under diurnal conditions, demonstrating that these genes act together to convey photoperiod sensing to the central oscillator.

Zhang Y, Yang M, Duncan S, Yang X, Abdelhamid MAS, Huang L, Zhang H, Benfey PN, Waller ZAE, Ding Y (2019) G-quadruplex structures trigger RNA phase separation. Nucleic Acids Res. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz978
Open Access

Yueying Zhang is the first author of this study conducted in the lab of Yiliang Ding at the John Innes Centre, in collaboration with the Benfey lab in the USA. They reveal an exciting mode of regulating RNA activity through the formation of RNA G-quadruplex (GQ) complexes. They use the SHORTROOT mRNA as the model for this study, showing that GQ-mediated complex formation can bring liquid-liquid phase separation. This study is of fundamental importance as it provides the first evidence that RNA can adopt structural motifs to trigger and/or maintain the specificity of RNA-driven phase separation.

Seung D, Echevarría-Poza A, Steuernagel B, Smith AM (2019) Natural polymorphisms in Arabidopsis result in wide variation or loss of the amylose component of starch. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.01062
Open Access

David Seung at the John Innes Centre the first and corresponding author of this study that used data from the Arabidopsis 1135 Genome project to investigate the prevelance of amylose production. Plants with amylose-free starch have no detrimental phenotypes so the function of this glucose-polymer, that accounts for up to 30% of all natural starch, is unknown. They looked at the polymorphisms within the GRANULE-BOUND STARCH SYNTHASE (GBSS) enzyme, identifying natural accessions that have no GBSS activity yet are viable within their natural environments. This study is a prelude to future research that will discover the adaptive significance of amylose.

Leitão N, Dangeville P, Carter R, Charpentier M (2019) Nuclear calcium signatures are associated with root development. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12845-8
Open Access

Nuno Leitao is first author on this research from the Charpentier lab at the John Innes Centre. They looked at the role of nuclear Ca2+ signalling on primary root meristem development and auxin homeostasis through activity of the nuclear membrane localised ion channel DOES NOT MAKE INFECTIONS 1 (DMI1). This study discovers a previously unappreciated role for intracellular Ca2+ signalling during plant development.

Łangowski Ł, Goñi O, Quille P, Stephenson P, Carmody N, Feeney E, Barton D, Østergaard L, O’Connell S (2019 A plant biostimulant from the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (Sealicit) reduces podshatter and yield loss in oilseed rape through modulation of IND expression. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52958-0
Open Access

Lars Ostergaard is a co-author on this Irish-study led by Lukasz Łangowski that investigates the factors that control pod shatter in oil seed rape. They show that the seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum-based biostimulant (Sealicit) is able to reduce podshatter by effecting the expression of the major regulator of pod shattering, INDEHISCENT. This has implications for the use of this compound by farmers wanting to reduce the amount of seed loss due to premature pod shatter.

Rooney WM, Grinter RW, Correia A, Parkhill J, Walker DC, Milner JJ (2019) Engineering bacteriocin-mediated resistance against the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Plant Biotechnol J. doi: 10.1111/pbi.13294
Open Access

William Rooney at the University of Glasgow is lead author on this study that attempts to combat Pseudomonas syringae infections through expression of a novel protein antibiotic bacteriocin, putidacin. They show that transgenic expression of this bacterial protein provides effective protection against Pseudomonas. This proof of concept opens the possibility for more widespread use of bacteriocins as an effective plant protection strategy.

Yang W, Schuster C, Prunet N, Dong Q, Landrein B, Wightman R, Meyerowitz EM (2019) Visualization of Protein Coding, Long Non-coding and Nuclear RNAs by FISH in Sections of Shoot Apical Meristems and Developing Flowers. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00980
This extended methods paper is led by Weibing Yang at the Sainsbury lab in Cambridge. They have adapted RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (rnaFISH) to explore RNA localization in the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis. They are able to label mRNA as well as long ncRNAs and have developed double labeling to assay two separate RNAs in the same cell and to assess nucleo-cytoplasmic separation of RNA species. Finally they link rnaFISH with fluorescence immunocytochemistry for the simultaneous localization of a single genes mRNA and protein.

Yasrab R, Atkinson JA, Wells DM, French AP, Pridmore TP, Pound MP (2019) RootNav 2.0: Deep learning for automatic navigation of complex plant root architectures. Gigascience. doi: 10.1093/gigascience/giz123
Open Access

Robail Yasrab is lead author on this work from the University of Nottingham that introduces the RootNav2.0 software tool. This was developed by modern deep-learning approaches and allows the fully automated measurement of vertically growth root systems. RootNav2.0 was favourably compared with its semi-automated predecessor RootNav1.0 and can be used for measurement of root architectures from a range of different plant species.

Román Á, Golz JF, Webb AA, Graham IA, Haydon MJ (2019) Combining GAL4 GFP enhancer trap with split luciferase to measure spatiotemporal promoter activity in Arabidopsis. Plant J. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14603

This technical advance is led by Angela Roman, was in the Haydon lab during its time at the University of York. They have used the GAL4-GFP enhancer trap system, to develop a tissue-specific split luciferase assay for non-invasive detection of spatiotemporal gene expression in Arabidopsis. In this example they use the study to measure dynamics of circadian gene expression but is clearly applicable to answer many other experimental questions.

Herrmann HA, Schwartz JM, Johnson GN (2019) From empirical to theoretical models of light response curves – linking photosynthetic and metabolic acclimation. Photosynth Res. doi: 10.1007/s11120-019-00681-2
Open Access

Helena Herrmann is lead author on this work fro the University of Manchester. In this study they developed and then empirically tested a series of simple kinetic models that explains the metabolic changes that are required to alter light response curves (LRCs) across a range of temperatures. This allowed them to show how changes in NADPH and CO2 utilization respond to environmental changes. This provides useful information as to how a plant adapts its metabolic response to light depending on the growth temperature.

Helena explaining her research

Kromdijk J, Głowacka K, Long SP (2019) Photosynthetic efficiency and mesophyll conductance are unaffected in Arabidopsis thaliana aquaporin knock-out lines. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz442

Open Access
Wanne Kromdijk leads this US-led research that includes contributions from the Universities of Cambridge and Lancaster. They looked at the potential role of membrane-bound aquaporins in the control of diffusion conductance for CO2 transfer from substomatal cavity to chloroplast stroma (gm). They tested three aquaporin mutants across a range of light and CO2 concentrations and surprisingly found that they appear to play no significant contribution to the control of gm. The reporting of this type of ‘negative’ result will prevent unnecessary replication of experiments and help to streamline the research process.

Wang P, Pleskot R, Zang J, Winkler J, Wang J, Yperman K, Zhang T, Wang K, Gong J, Guan Y, Richardson C, Duckney P, Vandorpe M, Mylle E, Fiserova J, Van Damme D, Hussey PJ (2019) Plant AtEH/Pan1 proteins drive autophagosome formation at ER-PM contact sites with actin and endocytic machinery. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12782-6
Open Access

Pengwei Wang is first author in this research led from Durham University that incudes Chinese and Belgian collaborators. They show that the AtEH/Pan1 protein is involved with actin cytoskeleton regulated autophagy and recruits multiple other components to autophagosomes during this process. In addition they show vesicle bound-AtEH/Pan1 interact with VAP27-1 at the ER-PM. This demonstrates that AtEH/Pan1 is a key component of the autophagy-dependent degradation pathway.

Lyczakowski JJ, Bourdon M, Terrett OM, Helariutta Y, Wightman R, Dupree P (2019) Structural Imaging of Native Cryo-Preserved Secondary Cell Walls Reveals the Presence of Macrofibrils and Their Formation Requires Normal Cellulose, Lignin and Xylan Biosynthesis. Front Plant Sci. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01398
Open Access

Jan Lyczakowski from the Dupree lab at the University of Cambridge is first author on this study that has adapted low temperature scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) to visualize the cell walls of both angiosperm and gymnosperms. They have used Arabidopsis mutants to reveal that cell wall macrofibrils at composed of cellulose, xylan, and lignin. They demonstrate that cryo-SEM is a useful tool for native nanoscale cell wall architectures.

Rasool B, Karpinska B, Pascual J, Kangasjärvi S, Foyer CH (2019) Catalase, glutathione and protein phosphatase 2A-dependent organellar redox signalling regulate aphid fecundity under moderate and high irradiance. Plant Cell Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13669
Brwa Rasool is first author on this collaboration between the Universities of Birmingham and Helsinki that looks at how aphids respond to redox changes in Arabidopsis thaliana grown under different light conditions. They also identified defence-related transcription factors differentially upregulated by aphid predation in different light conditions. Overall they show aphid fecundity is in part determined by the plants cellular redox signaling.

Őszi E, Papdi C, Mohammed B, Pettkó-Szandtner A, Vaskó-Leviczky T, Molnár E, Ampudia CG, Khan S, Lopez-Juez E, Horváth B, Bögre L, Magyar Z (2019) E2FB interacts with RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED and regulates cell proliferation during leaf development. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00212
Erika Oszi is first author of this Hungarian-led research that includes co-authors from Royal Holloway University of London. This research looks at the interaction between the transcription factors E2FB and RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR) and how this contributes to cell proliferation during organ development in Arabidopsis leaves. The relationship between these proteins changes throughout the stages of leaf development and is critical to determine final leaf cell number.

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: July 26th 2019

This summer-time-reading bumper edition of the GARNet Research Roundup begins with two papers from the University of Sheffield that each use advanced imaging techniques. Firstly Andrew Fleming’s group leads a study on the link between stomatal function and mesophyll space morphology. Second is a study from Matthew Johnson’s group that looks at the dynamic arrangement of thylakoid stacks.

Next are two papers that include Alison Smith from the JIC as a corresponding author. The first also includes Vasilios Andriotis from the University of Newcastle and looks at the role of the plastidial pentose phosphate pathway during post-germination growth. Second uses a gene-editing strategy to generate potatoes with altered starch morphologies.

The fifth paper also looks at starch; researchers from Cambridge and Norwich are involved in a study that characterises the role of the LIKE SEX4 1 protein in starch degradation.

The sixth paper is from Aberystwyth University and identifies a transcription factor that alters secondary cell wall composition in Brachypodium and maize. Next is research from the University of Bath that looks at the role of a protein S-acyl transferase during seed germination.

The eighth and ninth papers are led by Spanish research groups and include contributions from UK-based co-authors in Cambridge and Nottingham, working on photoperiod perception or phosphate signaling respectively.

The tenth paper features work from Cardiff University and looks at the role of heterologous expression of the Arabidopsis WEE1 protein. The Bancroft lab from the University of York leads the next paper that investigates glucosinolate signaling in Brassica napus.

The final three manuscripts are methods papers. The first from Edinburgh introduces a new NanoLUC reporter whilst the other two include techniques involved in the investigation of light-regulated growth processes.

Lundgren MR, Mathers A, Baillie AL, Dunn J, Wilson MJ, Hunt L, Pajor R, Fradera-Soler M, Rolfe S, Osborne CP, Sturrock CJ, Gray JE, Mooney SJ, Fleming AJ (2019) Mesophyll porosity is modulated by the presence of functional stomata. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10826-5

Open Access

This UK-wide study is led from Andrew Fleming’s lab in Sheffield and includes Marjorie Lundgren as first author (now working in Lancaster). They use microCT imaging alongside more traditional measurements linked to analysis of gas exchange to show that mesophyll airspace formation is linked to stomatal function in both Arabidopsis and wheat. This allows the authors to propose that coordination of stomata and mesophyll airspace pattern underpins water use efficiency in crops.

Wood WH, Barnett SFH, Flannery S, Hunter CN, Johnson MP (2019) Dynamic thylakoid stacking is regulated by LHCII phosphorylation but not its interaction with photosystem I. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00503

Open Access

William Wood is the first author on this study from the University of Sheffield that uses 3D structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) to look at the dynamics of thylakoid stacking in both Arabidopsis and spinach. They show that the processes they observe are dependent on light harvesting complex II phosphorylation.

Andriotis VME, Smith AM (2019) The plastidial pentose phosphate pathway is essential for postglobular embryo development in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908556116

Open Access

Vasilios Andriotis (now at the University of Newcastle) is the lead author of this work performed in Alison Smith’s lab at the JIC. They look at the role of the plastidial oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (OPPP) during embryo development. This involved demonstrating that production of ribose-5-phosphate (R5P), which in turn leads to synthesis of purine nucleotides, is a critical function of the OPPP.

Tuncel A, Corbin KR, Ahn-Jarvis J, Harris S, Hawkins E, Smedley MA, Harwood W, Warren FJ, Patron NJ, Smith AM (2019) Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of potato starch-branching enzymes generates a range of tuber starch phenotypes. Plant Biotechnol J. doi: 10.1111/pbi.13137

Open Access

Alison Smith and Nicola Patron who work in Norwich Research Park are corresponding authors of this study that includes Aytug Tuncel as first author. They have used Cas9-mediated gene editing to generate potato plants that have a range of different tuber starch structures. This shows that gene-editing techniques allows the transgene-free alteration to generate potentially healthier crops.

Schreier TB, Umhang M, Lee SK, Lue WL, Shen Z, Silver D, Graf A, Müller A, Eicke S, Stadler M, Seung D, Bischof S, Briggs SP, Kötting O, Moorhead GB, Chen J, Zeeman SC (2019) LIKE SEX4 1 acts as a β-amylase-binding scaffold on starch granules during starch degradation. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00089

Open Access

Tina Schreier from the University of Cambridge is the first author on this international study led from Switzerland that also includes Alexander Graf and David Seung from the JIC as co-authors. This study defines a precise role for the LIKE SEX FOUR 1 (LSF1) protein that binds starch and is required for normal starch degradation. Through a variety of experiments they show that the glucan binding, rather than phosphatase activity, is required for LSF1 function during starch degradation.

Bhatia R, Dalton S, Roberts LA, Moron-Garcia OM, Iacono R, Kosik O, Gallagher JA, Bosch M (2019) Modified expression of ZmMYB167 in Brachypodium distachyon and Zea mays leads to increased cell wall lignin and phenolic content. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45225-9

Open Access

Rakesh Bhatia is the first author on this work from the lab of Maurice Bosch at Aberystwyth University. They overexpress the maize MYB transcription factor ZmMYB167 in both Brachypodium and maize. Both species show increased lignin content with Brachypodium but not maize showing a biomass deficit. This indicates that ZmMYB167 could be a useful molecular tool for the alteration of secondary cell wall biosynthesis.

Li Y, Xu J, Li G, Wan S, Batistic O, Sun M, Zhang Y, Scott R, Qi B (2019) Protein S-acyl Transferase 15 is Involved in Seed Triacylglycerol Catabolism during Early Seedling Growth in Arabidopsis (2019) J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz282

First author on this UK-Chinese collaboration is Yaxiao Li who works with Baoxiu Qi at the University of Bath. The authors characterise the function of Arabidopsis Protein Acyl Transferase 15, AtPAT15. This protein is involved in essential β-oxidation of triacylglycerols during post-germination growth.

Ramos-Sánchez JM, Triozzi PM, Alique D, Geng F, Gao M, Jaeger KE, Wigge PA, Allona I, Perales M (2019) LHY2 Integrates Night-Length Information to Determine Timing of Poplar Photoperiodic Growth. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.003

Open Access

This Spanish-led study includes co-authors from the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge and attempts to define the factors that control photoperiod perception in trees, using poplar as a model system. FLOWERING LOCUS T2 (FT2) has been previously shown to be involved in this process and this study builds on that work to show that night-length information is transmitted by the clock gene LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 2 (LHY2) and is able to control FT2 expression.

Silva-Navas J, Conesa CM, Saez A, Navarro-Neila S, Garcia-Mina JM, Zamarreño AM, Baigorri R, Swarup R, Del Pozo JC (2019) Role of cis-zeatin in root responses to phosphate starvation. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16020

Ranjan Swarup from the University of Nottingham is a co-author on this Spanish-led study that has Javier Silva-Navas as first author. Through analysis of dark-grown seedlings they have identified a set of new genes involved in root phosphate signaling. In addition they provide evidence of a links between cytokinin and phosphate signaling through modulation of the cell cycle.

Siciliano I, Lentz Grønlund A, Ševčíková H, Spadafora ND, Rafiei G, Francis D, Herbert RJ, Bitonti MB, Rogers HJ, Lipavská H (2019) Expression of Arabidopsis WEE1 in tobacco induces unexpected morphological and developmental changes. Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 18;9(1):8695. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45015-3

Open Access

Ilario Siciliano leads this work that includes colleagues from Hilary Rogers’ lab at Cardiff University. The WEE1 protein regulates the cell cycle across eukaryote lineages. In this work they show that overexpression of AtWEE1 in tobacco causes precocious flowering and increased shoot morphogenesis of stem explants whilst in cell culture this WEE1 OX causes smaller cell sizes.

Kittipol V, He Z, Wang L, Doheny-Adams T, Langer S, Bancroft I (2019) Genetic architecture of glucosinolate variation in Brassica napus. J Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2019.06.001

Open Access

This study from the Bancroft lab at the University of York is led by Varanya Kittipol. Through use of Associative Transcriptomics (AT) across a diversity panel of 288 Brassica napus genotypes they are able to identify a set of genes involved in synthesis of glucosinate hydrolysis products.

Urquiza-García U, Millar AJ (2019). Expanding the bioluminescent reporter toolkit for plant science with NanoLUC. Plant Methods. doi: 10.1186/s13007-019-0454-4

Open Access

This study from the University of Edinburgh introduces NanoLUC, a new more stable luciferase-based reporter for use by the plant community.

The final two papers are methods papers that focus on different aspects of light-regulated growth. These are from the University of Southampton and University of York.

Terry MJ, Kacprzak SM (2019) A Simple Method for Quantification of Protochlorophyllide in Etiolated Arabidopsis Seedlings. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9612-4_14

Oakenfull RJ, Ronald J, Davis SJ (2019) Measuring Phytochrome-Dependent Light Input to the Plant Circadian Clock. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9612-4_15

GARNet Research Roundup: May 27th 2019

This bumper edition of the GARNet research roundup begins with a set of papers from the John Innes Centre. Anne Osbourn’s group is involved with two papers; firstly they discover how altering metabolic networks in the Arabidopsis root can cause changes in the associated microbiota. Second they characterise the role of a light-induced transcription factor in Artemisia. Next Caroline Dean’s group leads a global consortium that investigates the role of liquid-liquid phase separation in the formation of nuclear bodies. The final paper from the JIC is from Philippa Borrill and Cristobal Uauy, in which they identify novel transcription factors in wheat.

The fourth paper is led by Peter Etchells at Durham and characterises receptor kinase activity involved in vascular patterning in Arabidopsis.

The next two papers focus on stomatal patterning; firstly Julie Gray’s group at Sheffield looks at the stomatal responses to long-term pathogen infections. The second paper is from Glasgow and describes improvements in the OnGuard2 software, which models the factors controlling stomatal density.

Jose Gutierrez-Marcos is a co-author on a paper that uses FACS/ATAC-seq to define chromatin changes within cells of the shoot apical meristem. Richard Harrison leads the next paper that is also method-focused; describing use of CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing in Strawberry.

Andrew Miller at the University of Edinburgh is the corresponding author of the penultimate paper, which presents a whole-life-cycle, multi-model Framework that links many aspects of the Arabidopsis life cycle. The final paper is Seth Davies’s group at York and investigates the role of sucrose in the control of the circadian clock.

Huang AC, Jiang T, Liu YX, Bai YC, Reed J, Qu B, Goossens A, Nützmann HW, Bai Y, Osbourn A (2019) A specialized metabolic network selectively modulates Arabidopsis root microbiota. Science. doi: 10.1126/science.aau6389

Ancheng Huang and Ting Jiang are first authors on this UK, Chinese and Belgian collaboration led by Anne Osbourn at the John Innes Centre. They reconstitute three biosynthesic pathways in the Arabidopsis roots and show how this affects the associated microbiota.

Hao X, Zhong Y, Nützmann HW, Fu X, Yan T, Shen Q, Chen M, Ma Y, Zhao J, Osbourn A, Li L, Tang K (2019) Light-induced artemisinin biosynthesis is regulated by the bZIP transcription factor AaHY5 in Artemisia annua. Plant Cell Physiol. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcz084

Anne Osbourn is a co-author on this Chinese-led study that has identified that the basic leucine zipper transcription factor (TF) AaHY5 regulated of light-induced biosynthesis of artemisinin in Artemisia annua.

Fang X, Wang L, Ishikawa R, Li Y, Fiedler M, Liu F, Calder G, Rowan B, Weigel D, Li P, Dean C (2019) Arabidopsis FLL2 promotes liquid-liquid phase separation of polyadenylation complexes. Nature. doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1165-8

Xiaofeng Fang, Liang Wang and Ryo Ishikawa are first authors of this UK, German and Chinese collaboration led by Caroline Dean’s lab at the John Innes Centre. They characterise the molecular factors that are required for the formation of nuclear bodies through liquid-liquid phase separation (PDF). These proteins are the Arabidopsis RNA-binding protein FCA and the coiled-coil protein FLL2.


Borrill P, Harrington SA, Simmonds J, Uauy C (2019) Identification of transcription factors regulating senescence in wheat through gene regulatory network modelling. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00380

Open Access

Philippa Borrill, now a faculty member at the University of Birmingham, conducted this work with Cristobal Uauy at the John Innes Centre. They have developed a range of research tools for use in wheat and this paper describes the identification of novel transcription factors involved in senescence.

Wang N, Bagdassarian KS, Doherty RE, Kroon JT, Connor KA, Wang XY, Wang W, Jermyn IH, Turner SR, Etchells JP (2019) Organ-specific genetic interactions between paralogues of the PXY and ER receptor kinases enforce radial patterning in Arabidopsis vascular tissue. Development. doi: 10.1242/dev.177105

Ning Wang works with Peter Etchells at Durham University where they have characterised the interactions between the receptor kinase gene families that regulate radial patterning in the development of vascular tissue.

Dutton C, Hõrak H, Hepworth C, Mitchell A, Ton J, Hunt L, Gray JE (2019) Bacterial infection systemically suppresses stomatal density. Plant Cell Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13570

Christian Dutton leads this work conducted at the University of Sheffield. They have investigated the longer-term systemic response to the presence of pathogens that involves reducing stomatal density. This process is mediated via salicylic acid signaling and slows disease progression.


Jezek M, Hills A, Blatt MR, Lew VL (2019) A constraint-relaxation-recovery mechanism for stomatal dynamics. Plant Cell Environ. doi: 10.1111/pce.13568

Mareike Jezek leads this work from the University of Glasgow in which they have updated the OnGuard2 modelling software that has demonstrated substantial predictive power to describe stomatal dynamics. Their improvements allow for the development of models that are more similar to in vivo observations.

Frerichs A, Engelhorn J, Altmüller J, Gutierrez-Marcos J, Werr W (2019) Specific chromatin changes mark lateral organ founder cells in the Arabidopsis thaliana inflorescence meristem. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz181

Jose Gutierrez-Marcos from the University of Warwick is a co-author on this German study led by Anneke Frerichs in which they analysed the chromatin state of lateral organ founder cells (LOFCs) in the peripheral zone of the Arabidopsis inflorescence meristem in wildtype and apetala1-1 cauliflower-1 double mutants. Importantly they showed that the combined application of FACS/ATAC-seq is able to detect chromatin changes in a cell-type specific manner.

Wilson FM, Harrison K, Armitage AD, Simkin AJ, Harrison RJ (2019) CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of phytoene desaturase in diploid and octoploid strawberry. Plant Methods. doi: 10.1186/s13007-019-0428-6. eCollection 2019

Open Access

This paper is lead by Fiona Wilson at NIAB-EMR in which they present their methods to undertake gene editing in the challenging experimental system of diploid and octoploid strawberries.


Zardilis A, Hume A, Millar AJ (2019) A multi-model framework for the Arabidopsis life cycle. J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ery394

Open Access

Argyris Zardilis conducted this modeling-focussed research at University of Edinburgh. The authors present a whole-life-cycle, multi-model Framework that links vegetative, inflorescence as fruit growth as well as seed dormancy in Arabidopsis. This Framework allows the authors to simulate at the population level in various genotype × environment scenarios.


Philippou K, Ronald J, Sánchez-Villarreal A, Davis AM, Davis SJ (2019) Physiological and Genetic Dissection of Sucrose Inputs to the Arabidopsis thaliana Circadian System. Genes (Basel). doi: 10.3390/genes10050334

Open Access

Koumis Philippou from Seth Davis’ research group the University of York leads this work that investigates the role of sucrose into the function of the circadian clock.

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August 2020

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