Tagged: cell biology


A conceptual model of events during reproduction of diploid B. stricta.

Establishing the cell biology of apomixis in Boechera

The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) is comprised of both sexual and apomictic species, permitting comparative analyses of meiotic disturbances and parthenogenesis. Hybridization, polyploidy and environmental adaptation that arose during the evolution of Boechera may serve as (epi)genetic regulators of apomictic initiation in this genus. Rojek et al. focus on B. stricta, a primarily sexually reproducing species which is also characterized by apomictic individuals, thus implying variation from strictly sexual seed formation. They address this reproductive conundrum through molecular and cyto-embryological investigations of flower development. The results imply that B. stricta is a species with an underlying ability to initiate apomixis. The...

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Peter Barlow

Call for Papers: A Special Issue on Developmental Plant Cell Biology, in honour of Peter Barlow

From Root Biology, via Plant Cytoskeleton, Polarity, Gravity, Plant Signalling and Intelligence, Biological Rhythms up to Patterns, and Evolution of Eukaryotic Cells Recently, Peter Barlow (latterly Research Fellow at the University of Bristol, UK), formerly of Long Ashton Research Station (UK), Letcombe Laboratory (Wantage, UK), and Cambridge University’s Unit of Developmental Botany, passed away. Peter was a multi-talented individual with interests in many aspects of plant biology. A Special Issue of the Annals of Botany is planned as a tribute to Peter’s achievements and major contributions to plant science and will be edited by Prof. František Baluška, Prof. Dieter Volkmann,...

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Image: Frank Boumphrey/Wikimedia Commons.

Homage to a nanotubule…

Frequently, journals will devote a whole issue to a particular theme, maybe even to a single species (even whole journals are seemingly devoted to Arabidopsis thaliana…). But rarely will they be devoted to a single journal article. Well, such is the power of ‘Ledbetter and Porter (1963)’ that the July 2013 issue of the Plant Journal pays due homage to that seminal publication. Why does L&B ’63 deserve this honour? Simply stated, that rather modest paper, entitled ‘A “microtubule” in plant cell fine structure’, virtually single-handedly initiated a whole new area of plant cell biology research – the role of...

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Image: Mariana Ruiz/Wikimedia Commons.

Waste not, want not…

A little while ago we looked at auxotrophic algae getting a helping hand from bacteria; now we’ll take a look at ‘proper plants’ that get a little help from animals (in a sort of mixotrophy). But it’s not exactly willing on the animal’s part! We talk of those amazing angiosperms known as carnivorous plants (‘the most wonderful plants in the world’) who supplement their nitrogen requirements by digesting animals that they often trap. Impressive as that is,  a danger with this external digestion is that other opportunistic organisms could help themselves to the products of that expensively-produced enzyme catabolism, thereby...

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Free paper — Cytogenetic characterization and genome size of the medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don

The genome size and organization of the important medicinal plant Catharanthus roseus is shown to correspond to 1C = 0.76 pg (~738 Mbps) and 2n=16 chromosomes. The data  in this recently published paper provide a sound basis for future studies including cytogenetic mapping, genomics and breeding.

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Stained plant cells

The Vacuole: not just an empty hole!

The vacuole is the largest organelle of a plant cell. It accumulates proteins, ions and secondary metabolites while providing turgor for cell growth via water content. It is also a major site for the degradation of macromolecules. A full understanding of the vacuole’s roles in salt and metal ion accumulation and water uptake are hot topics in current research. It is a necessity to understand these processes for potential exploitation in production of future stress tolerant crops. How the vacuole is made and where it comes from remain unanswered questions. What we do know is a plant without vacuoles is a...

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Free paper — Dividing without centrioles

Innovative MTOCs organize mitotic spindles in bryophytes, the earliest extant lineages of land. Triple staining of γ-tubulin, microtubules, and nuclei here reveal that three types of MTOCs initiate spindles in bryophytes. Polar organizers in liverworts and plastid MTOCs in hornworts are unique and nuclear envelope MTOCs in mosses appear like those in seed plants. Roy C. Brown and Betty E. Lemmon Dividing without centrioles: innovative MTOCs organize mitotic spindles in bryophytes, the earliest extant lineages of land plantsAoB PLANTS  http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aobpla/plr028

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Plant cell biology in the frame

Plant cell biology in the frame!

Notwithstanding the centuries we’ve spent peering at, poking, prodding and penetrating the inner workings of plant cells with various types of microscopes and decades undertaking investigations at the sub-cellular level, there are still new discoveries to be made. Here are two, united by the theme of cell–cell transport. First, the recent revelation by Deborah Barton et al. (The Plant Journal 66: 806–817, 2011) that small molecules – up to 10.4 kDa in size – can move between adjacent plant cells via the plasmodesmata. No, that’s not the news, the novelty is the fact that this transport took place within the...

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