22nd Oct 2013

  • Matsoukas IG, Massiah AJ and Thomas B. Starch metabolism and antiflorigenic signals modulate the juvenile-to-adult phase transition in Arabidopsis. Plant, Cell & Environment, September 2013. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12088.

In case you missed it when it was first published online in April, the first paper in this week’s Arabidopsis Research Round up is this one from Ianis Matsoukas (University of Bolton), Andrea Massiah and Brian Thomas (University of Warwick). It features in the October print issue of Plant, Cell & Environment, which also has Dr Matsoukas’ Arabidopsis image on the front cover. In this paper, the research team use Arabidopsis as a system to explore the factors affecting the length of the juvenile-to-adult phase transition. They found that mutants defective in sugar signaling and floral repressors demonstrated shortened juvenile phase lengths, while mutants with defective starch anabolism and catabolism genes showed prolonged juvenile phase length.


  • Springate DA and Kover PX. Plant responses to elevated temperatures: a field study on phenoloigical sensitivity and fitness responses to simulated climate warming. Global Change Biology, 16 October 2013. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12430

David Springate from the University of Manchester worked with Paula Kover from the University of Bath to produce this Global Change Biology paper. Here, the authors describe their work using A. thaliana exposed to a simulated global warming treatment in the field. Their findings suggest thatplants exposed to higher temperatures not only flower earlier, but flower at a larger vegetative size, suggesting that warming may cause more rapid vegetative development. This finding has implications for plant species which, if climate change is imminent, may become maladapted and incur fitness costs.


  • Knoch E, Dilokpimol A, Tryfona T, et al. A beta-glucuronosyltransferase from Arabidopsis thaliana involved in biosynthesus of type II arabinogalactan has a role in cell elongation during seedling growth. The Plant Journal, 15 October 2013. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12353.

With Danish, American and Japanese collaborators, Theodora Tryfona and Paul Dupree from the University of Cambridge worked on this Plant Journal paper investigating the role of a newly characterised beta-glucuronosyltransferase from A. thaliana. Mutations in the AtGlcAT14A gene result in a relative increase in longer and branched forms for beta-1,3- and beta 1,6-galactan, and T-DNA insertional mutants demonstrate 20-35% enhanced cell elongation during seedling growth compared to wild type. These findings suggest that the AtGlcAT14A protein is involved in the biosynthesis of type II arabinogalactan, which in turn has a biological role during seedling growth.


  • Raczynska KD, Stepien A, Kierkowski D, et al. The SERRATE protein is involved in alternative splicing in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nucleic Acids Research, 16 October 2013. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkt894.

This collaboration between Polish and German researchers, and scientists from the James Hutton Institute, increases our understanding of the little-known mechanisms of alternative splicing regulation in plants. In particular, the researchers demonstrate how SERRATE (AtSE), a protein involved in the microRNA biogenesis pathway, is involved in the regulation of alternative splicing, but in a distinct way from other regulatory proteins, HYL1 and DCL1.


  • Yant L, Hollister JD, Wright KM, Arnold BJ, Higgins JD, Franklin FCH and Bomblies K. Meiotic adaptation to genome duplication in Arabidopsis arenosa. Current Biology, 17 October 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2013.08.059.

Working with the species Arabidopsis arenosa, an outcrossing relative of A. thaliana, researchers from Harvard and the University of Birmingham are seeking to understand how polyploid plants can overcome the challenges of chromosome segregation. Firstly, they show that diploids are not preadapted to polyploidy meiosis. Secondly, using a genome-scanning approach, eight meiosis genes are identified that may offer a polygenic solution to whole genome duplication-associated challenges.