Programmed cell death in plants

By Jessica Lu Programmed cell death (PCD) is a genetically regulated form of cell death that occurs in response to intracellular events. 1 PCD is employed to remove damaged or redundant cells, and is an essential process for development and survival in both animals and plants. 2 The mechanisms underlying PCD differ between animals and plants. Whilst apoptosis isContinue reading “Programmed cell death in plants”

Zt3LysM: a key effector protein in the fungal plant pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici

By Fiona Zhang Introduction The love-hate ‘tug of war’ between plants and fungi has long been one of nature’s most fascinating enigmas. On the one hand, the mutualistic mycorrhizal symbiosis allowed embryophytes to colonise the terrestrial biosphere ca. 500 Mya by expanding the nutrient uptake repertoire of plants;1 on the other hand, pathogenic fungi accountContinue reading Zt3LysM: a key effector protein in the fungal plant pathogen Zymoseptoria tritici

The unfaithful companion of plants – mycorrhizae

By Runtian Wu Mycorrhizae are fungi that share a close relationship with the plant’s roots. Such a relationship often involves a direct exchange of resources such as carbon and phosphorus that can impact the growth of plants. Although hidden on earth and invisible to most non-specialists, mycorrhiza has an important role in the ecosystem. TheyContinue reading The unfaithful companion of plants – mycorrhizae

Cytoplasmic streaming in plants

By Andres Hernandez Maduro Though seemingly docile on the outside, plants, like all other multicellular organisms, are in constant dynamic turmoil on the inside. Under the microscope, you might notice that live plant cells are never quite motionless in place; their outer membrane fluctuates and vibrates, organelles swim around in the cytoplasm, and the veryContinue reading Cytoplasmic streaming in plants

Potato blight can hijack the plant autophagic system

By Wang Guo Plant pathogens secrete molecules not only to neutralise the immune system of the host, but also to make the host work for them. Oomycota is a group of around 500 species that date back to the Cretaceous period (144 – 66 million years ago). These are unicellular eukaryotic organisms that absorb nutrientsContinue reading Potato blight can hijack the plant autophagic system

How plants defend themselves

By Justin Bauer In the 350 million years that plants and insects have coexisted, both have evolved strategies to avoid each other’s defense systems. Plants have developed an elegant defense system that can recognize foreign molecules or damaged cells that activate the immune response.1 Plants have two main forms of defense: direct defense and indirectContinue reading “How plants defend themselves”

Aquaporins in rice- germination and drought resistance

By Shi Yeung Aquaporins, also known as water channels, are proteins embedded in the cell membrane that facilitate water transport across the membrane in various organisms including microorganisms, plants, and animals. Plant aquaporins are classified into subfamilies, which includes plasma membrane intrinsic proteins (PIP), tonoplast intrinsic proteins (TIP), Nod26-like intrinsic proteins (NIP), small and basicContinue reading “Aquaporins in rice- germination and drought resistance”

Fungi: the forgotten kingdom in conservation

By Cara Burke When you picture conservation, you probably picture teams of people working with large animals, collecting plants or restoring ecosystems. Fungi are very often kept out of the conservation picture. However, they definitely deserve a place there, and their importance in conservation is increasingly being recognised. Fungi are incredibly important to ecosystems andContinue reading “Fungi: the forgotten kingdom in conservation”

Reducing methane emissions from rice cultivation

By Malini Williams Rice is one of the most important crops in the world, representing an essential staple in the diets of billions of people around the world. It represents one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide and is grown on more than 140 million hectares (Hawken, 2017; Wassman, Hosen, & Sumfleth, 2009). However, rice cultivationContinue reading “Reducing methane emissions from rice cultivation”

Can plants get cancer?

By Jessica Lu Cancer can be defined as a group of diseases characterised by uncontrolled cell division and genomic instability, eventually leading to dispersion to different sites (metastasis). In general, multicellular organisms are at risk of failure in the mechanisms that prevent continuous cell proliferation, leading to tumours (Doonan & Sablowski, 2010). Plants are multicellularContinue reading “Can plants get cancer?”