2nd Dec 2013

Just a couple of papers to highlight in this week’s Arabidopsis Research Round-up; one from the John Innes Centre, and the other a new software resource from the University of Glasgow.


  • Tantanarat K, O’Neill EC, Rezjek M, Field R and Limpanseni T. Expression and characterization of 4-a-glucanotransferase genes from Manihot esculenta Crantz and Arabidopsis thaliana and their use for the production of cycloamyloses. Process Biochemistry, 25 October 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.procbio.2013.10.009.

Working with Thai collaborators, scientists from the John Innes Centre analysed the genes encoding two 4-a-glucotranferases: MeDPE1 from Manihot esculenta Crantz, and AtDPE1 from Arabidopsis thaliana. They found that MeDPE1 encodes 585 amino acid residues, including a 56-residue signal peptide, while AtDPE1 encoded 576 amino acids, including a 45-residue signal peptide. Both enzymes produce cycloamyloses, MeDPE1 in the range of 16 to >60 glucose residues, and AtDPE1 in the range 15–50. Understanding these recombinant enzymes could help to elucidate their roles in starch metabolism and lead to commercial applications for the starch industry.  


  • Blatt MR, Wang Y, Leonhardt N and Hills A. Exploring emergent properties in cellular homeostasis using OnGuard to model K+ and other ion transport in guard cells. Journal of Plant Physiology, 21 November 2013. DOI: 10.1016/j.jplph.2013.09.014.

Scientists from the University of Glasgow, and a French colleague, have developed OnGuard; a fully integrated and quantitative modeling tool for the study of ion transport dynamics in a plant cell. It allows researchers to explore complex homeostatic properties emerging from the interactions of ion transport, both at the plasma membrane and tonoplast in the guard cell. The authors say that it has already been used to guide phenotypic and mutational studies, and represents a step towards ‘reverse engineering’ of the stomatal guard cell physiology to improve water use efficiency and carbon assimilation.

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