5th Aug 2013

To keep you up to date with what’s happening in Arabidopsis research, here’s a round-up of papers that have recently been published by members of the UK’s Arabidopsis research community.

  • Zamariola L, De Storme N, Tiang CL, Armstrong SJ, Franklin FCH and Geelen D. SGO1 but not SGO2 is required for maintenance of centromere cohesion in Arabidopsis thaliana meiosis. Plant Reproduction, 25 July 2013. DOI: 10.1007/s00497-013-0231-x.  

A team of European and US researchers, including Professor Chris Franklin and Dr Sue Armstrong from the University of Birmingham, discuss the finding that cohesion of sister chromatids during meiosis I requires the Shugoshin-like protein SGO1, but not SGO2. Arabidopsis mutants lacking a functional SGO1 gene display premature separation of sister chromatids during the anaphase I stage.


  • Chao D-Y, Dilkes B, Luo H, Douglas A, Yakubova E, Lahner B and Salt DE.  Polyploids exhibit higher potassium uptake and salinity tolerance in Arabidopsis. Science, 25 July 2013. DOI: 10.1126/science.1240561

GARNet committee member Professor David Salt and his team from the University of Aberdeen worked alongside researchers from Purdue University in the US to demonstrate that polyploidy in Arabidopsis helps the plant to accumulate potassium in the leaves, which in turn helps it to survive in saline environments. In a press release, the University of Aberdeen said this finding could underpin research into improving crop yields to meet future demand in a growing world population.


  • Wang Y, Chen Z, Zhang B, Hills A and Blatt M. PYR/PYL/RCAR ABA receptors regulate K+ and Cl- channels through reactive oxygen species-mediated activation of Ca2+ channels at the plasma membrane of intact Arabidopsis guard cells. Plant Physiology, 25 July 2013. DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.219758. [Open Access]

Led by Professor Michael Blatt, this University of Glasgow-based team describe a method for recording Ca2+ channels at the plasma membrane of intact Arabidopsis guard cells. Using this method, direct evidence has been obtained to show that PYR/PYL/RCAR receptors are coupled to the activation by ABA of plasma membrane CA2+ channels involved in stomatal closure.


  • Krokida A, Delis C, Geisler K, Garagounis C, Tsikou D, Peña-Rodríguez LM, Katsarou D, Field B, Osbourn AE, Papadopoulou KK. A metabolic gene cluster in Lotus japonicus discloses novel enzyme functions and products in triterpene biosynthesis. New Phytologist, 26 July 2013. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12414.

Anne Osbourn and Ben Field from the John Innes Centre in Norwich contributed their Arabidopsis expertise to this project, which sought to identify metabolic gene clusters in Lotus japonicus analogous to those for triterpene biosynthetic pathways already characterised in Arabidopsis and oat. A novel triterpene structure (dihydrolupeol) was found, produced by AMY2, and a new plant cytochrome P450 (CYP71D353) was characterised and attributed to a sequential three-step oxidization process of 20-hydroxylupeol.


  • He X, Pierce O, Haselhorst T, von Itzstein M, Kolarich D, Packer NH, Gloster TM, Vocadlo DJ, Qian Y, Brooks D, Kermode AR. Characterization and downstream mannose phosphorylation of human recombinant a-L-iduronidase produced in Arabidopsis complex glycan-deficient (cgl) seeds. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 31 July 2013. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12096. [Open Access] 

In an international collaboration between universities in Australia, Canada, Germany, the US and the University of St Andrews in the UK, this paper proposes Arabidopsis seeds as an alternative system to produce recombinant lysosomal enzymes for enzyme replacement therapy to treat human diseases.


  • Pound MP, French AP, Atkinson JA, Wells DM, Bennett MJ and Pridmore T. RootNav: Navigating images of complex root architectures. Plant Physiology, August 2013. DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.221531.

In this paper, lead author and GARNet guest blogger Michael Pound, along with GARNet committee member Malcolm Bennett and colleagues from the University of Nottingham, describe a novel image analysis tool for quantifying complex root system architectures. Described as being analogous to ‘sat nav’ (for roots not routes!), the RootNav system has been evaluated in winter wheat and demonstrated in Arabidopsis, oilseed rape and rice.


  • Atkinson NJ, Lilley CJ and Urwin PE. Identification of genes involved in the response of Arabidopsis to simultaneous biotic and abiotic stresses. Plant Physiology, August 2013. DOI: 10.1104/pp.113.222372.

The Urwin lab at the University of Leeds here present the findings of their microarray investigation into Arabidopsis gene expression patterns in response to multiple biotic and abiotic stressors.  For example, Rapid Alkalinization Factor-like8 (AtRALFL8) was found to be induced by joint stresses, but conferred susceptibility to drought stress and nematode infection when overexpressed, while Methionine Gamma Lyase (AtMGL) was up-regulated by dual stress in leaves, conferring resistance to nematodes when overexpressed.