30th Apr 2014

Lots of new papers for your reading pleasure this week, including one from our very own Chairman, Professor Jim Murray from Cardiff University, and one from Alistair Hetherington from the University of Bristol, who is one of our plenary speakers at GARNet 2014 – have you registered yet?!


  • Soyk S, Simkova K, Zurcher E, Luginbuhl L, Brand LH, Vaughan CK, Wanke D and Zeeman SC. The enzyme-like domain of Arabidopsis nuclear ß-amylases is critical for DNA sequence recognition and transcriptional activation. The Plant Cell, 18 March 2014. DOI: ​10.1105/tpc.114.123703. [Open Access]

Though led by a Swiss and German collaboration, Cara Vaughan from Birkbeck College, University of London is also listed as an author on this paper for her expertise in crystallography. The paper reveals new information about the functions of the ß-amylase (BAM)-like domains of BZR1-BAM transcription factors in sequence recognition and transcriptional activation.


  • Simpson CG, Lewandowska D, Liney M, Davidson D, Chapman S, Fuller J, McNicol J, Shaw P and Brown JWS. Arabidopsis PTB1 and PTB2 proteins negatively regulate splicing of a mini-exon splicing reporter and affect alternative splicing of endogenous genes differentially. New Phytologist, 22 April 2014. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12821.

This Invergowrie-based collaboration involved scientists working at the James Hutton Institute (JHI), the JHI-based division of the University of Dundee, and mathematicians from Biomathematics and Statistics Scotland. The team undertook a range of experiments to deduce the roles of AtPTB1 and AtPTB2 in Arabidopsis thaliana


  • Breitenbach HH, Wenig M, Wittek F, et al. Contrasting roles of apoplastic aspartyl protease AED1 and legume lectin-like protein LLP1 in Arabidopsis systemic acquired resistance. Plant Physiology, 22 April 2014. DOI: 10.1104/pp.114.239665.

Working with colleagues from Germany and the US, Ana Maldonado-Alconada, then at the John Innes Centre, was involved in this Plant Physiology paper to investigate the roles of newly identified proteins AED1 and LLP1 in Arabidopsis thaliana.  Results suggest that AED1 is involved in a homestatic feedback mechanism regulating systemic plant immunity, while LLP1 promotes systemic immunity, possibly in parallel with salicylic acid.


  • Quain MD, Makgopa ME, Marquez-Garcia B, Comadira G, Fernandez-Garcia N, Olmos E, Schnaubelt D, Kunert KJ and Foyer CH. Ectopic phytocystatin expression leads to enhanced drought stress tolerance in soybean (Glycine max) and Arabidopsis thaliana through effects of strigolactone pathways and can also result in improved seed traits. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 22 April 2014. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12193.

Led by Christine Foyer at the University of Leeds, this Plant Biotechnology Journal offering was published in collaboration with colleagues from Ghana, South Africa and Spain. This study explored the effects of a rice cystatin, oryzacystatin-I (OCI), expressed in Arabidopsis and soybean, on these plants’ ability to withstand stress. In addition, they looked at the inhibitory effect of OCI on cysteine proteases, which might also have important functions in the control of plant lifespan and stress tolerance.


  • Marchadier E and Hetherington AM. Involvement of two-component signaling systems in the regulation of stomatal aperture by light in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist, 24 April 2014. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12813. [Open Access]

Alistair Hetherington from the University of Bristol, together with visiting researcher Elodie Marchadier from INRA in France, here describe roles for genes involved in two-compenent signaling (TCS) connected with stomatal functions. The histidine phosphotransferase AHP2 is shown to be involved in light-induced stomatal opening; the cytokinin receptors AHK2 and AHK3 also appear to be involved in light-induced opening, and in controlling the stomatal sensitivity to abscisic acid.


  • Scofield S, Dewitte W and Murray JAH. STM sustains stem cell functin in the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem and controls KNOX gene expression independently of the transcriptional repressor AS1. Plant Signaling & Behaviour, 28 April 2014. DOI: 10.4161/psb.28934. [Open Access]

And finally…GARNet’s Chairman Jim Murray was the lead on this Plant Signaling & Behavior contribution to the literature. Jim and his colleagues investigated the role of SHOOT MERISTEMLESS in the organization of the shoot apical meristem, stem cell maintenance and the regulation of KNOX gene expression.