20th Mar 2014

We have a juicy list of new Arabidopsis papers to whet your appetite today! In our round-up this week we have newly published research from the Universities of Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham and Manchester, and King’s College London and the Sainsbury Lab in Norwich. We also feature (yet another!) Science paper from our committee member Cyril Zipfel, and two from Malcolm Bennett.

Before you get stuck in to reviewing this research, I just wanted to point out - in case you hadn't notied - that I always try to indicate whether an article is open access or not by putting [Open Access] in square brackets at the end of the reference. If you ever have difficulty in accessing a paper because of a paywall, whether that is because you are trying to access from outside an academic institution, or because your institution doesn’t subscribe to the journal in question, make sure you click the Open Access Button! This free little add-on to your internet browser is helping to track and raise awareness of the impact of non-open access material in research and education. You can find out more at


  • Band LR, Wells DM, Fozard JA, et al. Systems analysis of auxin transport in the Arabidopsis root apex. The Plant Cell, 14 February 2014. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.113.119495. [Open Access]

This study was led by GARNet committee member Malcolm Bennett, and involved several members of his Centre for Plant Integrative Biology team from the University of Nottingham, alongside collaborators from France, Spain and the US. Using an auxin transport model based on actual root cell geometries and carrier subcellular localizations, this paper presents the finding that AUX1/LAX influx carriers are required to create the pattern of auxin distribution at the root tip, as well as auxin efflux carriers.


  • Foyer CH, Karpinska B and Krupinska K. The functions of WHIRLY1 and REDOX-RESPONSIVE TRANSCRIPTION FACTOR 1 in cross tolerance responses in plants: a hypothesis. Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B, 3 March 2014. DOI: ​10.1098/rstb.2013.0226.

Though GARNet Towers generally has very good journal access, I unfortunately hit a paywall in trying to access the full text of this paper – perhaps you’ll have better luck than me, and if not be sure to hit that Open Access Button! Anyway, Christine Foyer and Barbara Karpinska from the University of Leeds are collaborating with a German colleague to investigate the components of chloroplast-to-nucleus signaling, and which components facilitate cross-tolerance to biotic-abiotic stresses.


Derived from lipids, prostaglandins (PGs) are a class of autocrine or paracrine messengers in the animal body that mediate a variety of physiological effects. Mohamed and Lazarus, from the University of Bristol, have been trying to create a transgenic variety of Arabidopsis thaliana, in the hope that plants may become a viable factory for mammal-derived prostaglandins for use in medicine. This Phytochemistry paper presents the results of a successful Arabidopsis transformation with mouse genes encoding precursors to prostaglandin F.


  • Aubry S, Smith-Unna RD, Boursnell CM, Kopriva S and Hibberd JM. Transcript residency on ribosomes reveals a key role for the Arabidopsis thaliana bundle sheath in sulphur and glucosinolate metabolism. The Plant Journal, 11 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12502.

Though much is known about some of the specific cell types in angiosperms, little is known about the role of the bundle sheath (BS).  To address this gap in our knowledge, the Hibberd lab at the University of Cambridge tagged BS ribosomes in Arabidopsis thaliana with a FLAG tag, then used immunocapture to isolate these ribosomes, before sequencing the BS translatome. Their findings provide the first evidence to suggest that the BS is involved in sulphur transport and metabolism, glucosinolate biosynthesis and trehalose metabolism.


  • Bojar D, Martinez J, Santiago J, Rybin V, Bayliss R and Hothorn M. Crystal structures of the phosphorylated BRI1 kinase domain and implications for brassinosteroid signal initiation. The Plant Journal, 12 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12445. [Open Access]

Working with colleagues in Germany, Richard Bayliss from the University of Leicester is named as an author on this Plant Journal paper. Having resolved the crystal structures of the phosphorylated BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (BRI1) kinase domain in both its activated form and in complex with nucleotides, the researchers propose a model, contrary to one previously published, to explain the mechanism of action of this enzyme.


  • Macho AP, Schwessinger B, Ntoukakis V, et al. A bacterial tyrosine phosphatase inhibits plant pattern recognition receptor activation. Science, 13 March 2014. DOI: 10.1126/science.1248849.

Probably our most prolifically published committee member of late, Cyril Zipfel from the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich took the lead on this paper, which describes how the Arabidopsis receptor kinase EF-TU RECEPTOR EFR is activated upon ligand binding by phosphorylation of its tyrosine residues.  Though phosphorylation of one particular tyrosine residue confers downstream immunity to Pseudomonas syringae, P. syringae also secretes its own tyrosine phosphatase that can inhibit activation of the plant’s pattern recognition receptor.


  • Dyson RJ, Vizcay-Barrena G, Band LR, et al. Mechanical modeling quantifies the functional importance of outer tissue layers during root elongation and bending. New Phytologist, 18 March 2014. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12764. [Open Access]

This New Phytologist paper is an all-UK collaborative effort between the Universities of Birmingham, Nottingham and Manchester, and King’s College London – it’s also a second appearance in the round up today for Malcolm Bennett, one of our current committee members. Using a mathematical model, the research team demonstrates how cell properties and shapes contribute to root elongation and bending in the elongation zone of the Arabidopsis root.