23rd Apr 2014

This week we have four new papers for you to digest, including new research from the Bruce lab at the University of York, and collaborative work involving the Universities of Glasgow, Cambridge, Aberystwyth and Rothamsted Research.


  • Gunning V, Tzafestas K, Sparrow H, Johnston EJ, Brentnall AS, Potts JR, Rylott EL and Bruce NC. Arabidopsis glutathione transferases U24 and U25 exhibit a range of detoxification activities with the environmental pollutant, and explosive, 2,4,6-trinitrotoluene. Plant Physiology, 10 April 2014. DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.237180.

The Bruce lab at the University of York is investigating the possibility that plants may be used for the bioremediation of harmful chemicals from industrial sites. Using Arabidopsis as a model, the group is exploring the metabolic pathways and processes that plants use to degrade the explosive TNT in soil. In this paper, the group presents the importance of two glutathione transferases (GSTs) – GST-U24 and GST-U25. These are upregulated in response to TNT exposure and catalyse the degradation of TNT into less toxic products that may be more likely to naturally biodegrade.


  • Larson ER, Domozych DS and Tierney ML. SNARE VTI13 plays a unique role in endosomal trafficking pathways associated with the vacuole and is essential for cell wall organization and root hair growth in Arabidopsis. Annals of Botany, 15 April 2014. DOI: ​10.1093/aob/mcu041.

Emily Larson, a postdoc from the University of Glasgow, was involved in this US-led paper to describe the role of VTI13 in root growth. VTI13 is a member of the VTI vesicular soluble NSF attachment receptor (SNARE) gene family in Arabidopsis and is thought to be involved with the organization of cell wall material at the growing root hair tip.   


  • Sampathkumar A, Krupinski P, Wightman R, Milani P, Berquand A, Boudaoud A, Hamant O, Jönsson H and Meyerowitz EM. Subcellular and supracellular mechanical stress prescribes cytoskeleton behaviour in Arabidopsis cotyledon pavement cells. eLife, 16 April 2014. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.01967. [Open Access]

There are some really lovely images and videos in this open access eLife paper!  In an international collaboration between scientists from the UK (University of Cambridge), US, Sweden, France and Germany, this paper reveals how the shape of Arabidopsis pavement cells is driven by tensile stress placed on microtubules, which in turn leads to reinforcement of the cell walls.

You can read more about this story here: For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes.


  • Scott IM, Ward JL, Miller SJ and Beale MH. Opposite variations in fumarate and malate dominate metabolic phenotypes of Arabidopsis salicylate mutants with abnormal biomass under chilling. Physiologia Plantarum, 16 April 2014. DOI: 10.1111/ppl.12210.

Scientists from Rothamsted Research and Aberystwyth University worked together on this paper to identify the role of salicylic acid (SA) in producing biomass in Arabidopsis. Under cold conditions (5°C), mutants deficient in SA produced more biomass than wild type plants, while those overexpressing SA were stunted in size. NMR analysis revealed that SA-deficient plants were high in fumarate, while malate was prominent in those plants negatively correlated with biomass.