11th Jun 2014

Lots of new and interesting work from the UK Arabidopsis community this week, including: advances in our understanding of plant immunity, lateral root development, and cell wall structure. These new papers are from the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, and the Universities of Worcester, Cambridge, Newcastle, Birmingham and Nottingham.


  • Johansson ON, Fantozzi E, Fahlberg P, Nilsson AK, Buhot N, Tör M and Andersson MX. Role of the penetration resistance genes PEN1, PEN2 and PEN3 in the hypersensitive response and race specific resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 2 June 2014. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12571.

Mahmut Tör and PhD student Elena Fantozzi from the University of Worcester’s National Pollen and Aerobiology Research Unit worked with Swedish collaborators on this Plant Journal paper. Using Arabidopsis as a model plant, they identified that the three proteins PEN1, PEN2 and PEN3 act as central components in cell wall-based defense against the powdery mildew Blumeria graminis fsp. Hordei (Bgh), by decreasing the plant’s programmed cell death response to pathogen effectors. Analysis of combinations of PEN-protein double mutants reveals additive effects, though the plant’s ability to restrict bacterial growth is not affected.

To find out more about what the plant scientists at the University of Worcester are up to, stay tuned for the next issue of GARNish – coming very soon!


  • Huang S, Monaghan J, Zhong X, Lin L, Sun T, Dong OX and Li X. HSP90s are required for NLR immune receptor accumulation in Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal, 2 June 2014. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12573.

Though based in Canada when this paper was being developed, Jacqueline Monaghan is now based at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, where she is a post-doc in the lab of GARNet committee member Cyril Zipfel. In this paper, Jacqueline and her Chinese and Canadian colleagues explain that not only do heat shock proteins (HSPs) have positive roles in plant immunity, they are also involved in negative regulation of immune receptor accumulations.  


  • Busse-Wicher M, Gomes TCF, Tryfona T, Nikolovski N, Stott K, Grantham NJ, Bolam DN, Skaf MS and Dupree P. The pattern of xylan acetylation suggests xylan may interact with cellulose microfibrils as a two-fold helical screw in the secondary plant cell wall of Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 2 June 2014. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.12575.

Plant scientists from the Dupree lab at the University of Cambridge took the lead on this Plant Journal paper investigating the molecular arrangement of xylan in plant cell walls and its interaction with cellulose. David Bolam from Newcastle University, and Brazilian collaborators were also involved.  In previous work, it was proposed that evenly spaced glucuronic acid residues in dicot xylan might allow the xylan backbone to fold as a 2-fold helical screw. However, it was not known how random acetylation of the xylan backbone would affect this interaction, but molecular dynamics simulations have shed some further light. 


  • Gibbs DJ, Voss U, Harding SA, et al. AtMYB93 is a novel negative regulator of lateral root development in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist, 6 June 2014. DOI: 10.1111/nph.12879. [Open Access]

This Midlands collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the University of Nottingham has some familiar names in the author list, including current GARNet committee member Malcolm Bennett, former GARNet committee member Juliet Coates, and George Bassel who also appeared in last week’s Arabidopsis Research Round-up. Here the group describes their discovery that the MYB transcription factor AtMYB93 is a novel negative regulator of lateral root development in Arabidopsis.

You can read more about this research on our News pages, here: