This summer-time-reading bumper edition of the GARNet Research Roundup begins with two papers from the University of Sheffield that each use advanced imaging techniques. Firstly Andrew Fleming’s group leads a study on the link between stomatal function and mesophyll space morphology. Second is a study from Matthew Johnson’s group that looks at the dynamic arrangement of thylakoid stacks.
Next are two papers that include Alison Smith from the JIC as a corresponding author. The first also includes Vasilios Andriotis from the University of Newcastle and looks at the role of the plastidial pentose phosphate pathway during post-germination growth. Second uses a gene-editing strategy to generate potatoes with altered starch morphologies.
The fifth paper also looks at starch; researchers from Cambridge and Norwich are involved in a study that characterises the role of the LIKE SEX4 1 protein in starch degradation.
The sixth paper is from Aberystwyth University and identifies a transcription factor that alters secondary cell wall composition in Brachypodium and maize. Next is research from the University of Bath that looks at the role of a protein S-acyl transferase during seed germination.
The eighth and ninth papers are led by Spanish research groups and include contributions from UK-based co-authors in Cambridge and Nottingham, working on photoperiod perception or phosphate signaling respectively.
The tenth paper features work from Cardiff University and looks at the role of heterologous expression of the Arabidopsis WEE1 protein. The Bancroft lab from the University of York leads the next paper that investigates glucosinolate signaling in Brassica napus.
The final three manuscripts are methods papers. The first from Edinburgh introduces a new NanoLUC reporter whilst the other two include techniques involved in the investigation of light-regulated growth processes.
MR, Mathers A, Baillie AL, Dunn J, Wilson MJ, Hunt L, Pajor R,
Fradera-Soler M, Rolfe S, Osborne CP, Sturrock CJ, Gray JE, Mooney SJ,
Fleming AJ (2019) Mesophyll porosity is modulated by the presence of functional stomata. Nat Commun. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10826-5
This UK-wide study is led from Andrew Fleming’s lab in Sheffield and includes Marjorie Lundgren as first author (now working in Lancaster). They use microCT imaging alongside more traditional measurements linked to analysis of gas exchange to show that mesophyll airspace formation is linked to stomatal function in both Arabidopsis and wheat. This allows the authors to propose that coordination of stomata and mesophyll airspace pattern underpins water use efficiency in crops.
Wood WH, Barnett SFH, Flannery S, Hunter CN, Johnson MP (2019) Dynamic thylakoid stacking is regulated by LHCII phosphorylation but not its interaction with photosystem I. Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.00503
William Wood is the first author on this study from the University of Sheffield that uses 3D structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM) to look at the dynamics of thylakoid stacking in both Arabidopsis and spinach. They show that the processes they observe are dependent on light harvesting complex II phosphorylation.
Andriotis VME, Smith AM (2019) The plastidial pentose phosphate pathway is essential for postglobular embryo development in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1908556116
Vasilios Andriotis (now at the University of Newcastle) is the lead author of this work performed in Alison Smith’s lab at the JIC. They look at the role of the plastidial oxidative pentose phosphate pathway (OPPP) during embryo development. This involved demonstrating that production of ribose-5-phosphate (R5P), which in turn leads to synthesis of purine nucleotides, is a critical function of the OPPP.
Tuncel A, Corbin KR, Ahn-Jarvis J, Harris S, Hawkins E, Smedley MA, Harwood W, Warren FJ, Patron NJ, Smith AM (2019) Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of potato starch-branching enzymes generates a range of tuber starch phenotypes. Plant Biotechnol J. doi: 10.1111/pbi.13137
Alison Smith and Nicola Patron who work in Norwich Research Park are corresponding authors of this study that includes Aytug Tuncel as
first author. They have used Cas9-mediated gene editing to generate
potato plants that have a range of different tuber starch structures.
This shows that gene-editing techniques allows the transgene-free
alteration to generate potentially healthier crops.
Umhang M, Lee SK, Lue WL, Shen Z, Silver D, Graf A, Müller A, Eicke S,
Stadler M, Seung D, Bischof S, Briggs SP, Kötting O, Moorhead GB, Chen
J, Zeeman SC (2019) LIKE SEX4 1 acts as a β-amylase-binding scaffold on starch granules during starch degradation. Plant Cell. doi: 10.1105/tpc.19.00089
from the University of Cambridge is the first author on this
international study led from Switzerland that also includes Alexander
Graf and David Seung
from the JIC as co-authors. This study defines a precise role for the
LIKE SEX FOUR 1 (LSF1) protein that binds starch and is required for
normal starch degradation. Through a variety of experiments they show
that the glucan binding, rather than phosphatase activity, is required
for LSF1 function during starch degradation.
Bhatia R, Dalton S, Roberts LA, Moron-Garcia OM, Iacono R, Kosik O, Gallagher JA, Bosch M (2019) Modified
expression of ZmMYB167 in Brachypodium distachyon and Zea mays leads to
increased cell wall lignin and phenolic content. Sci Rep. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45225-9
Rakesh Bhatia is the first author on this work from the lab of Maurice Bosch
at Aberystwyth University. They overexpress the maize MYB transcription
factor ZmMYB167 in both Brachypodium and maize. Both species show
increased lignin content with Brachypodium but not maize showing a
biomass deficit. This indicates that ZmMYB167 could be a useful
molecular tool for the alteration of secondary cell wall biosynthesis.
Li Y, Xu J, Li G, Wan S, Batistic O, Sun M, Zhang Y, Scott R, Qi B (2019) Protein S-acyl Transferase 15 is Involved in Seed Triacylglycerol Catabolism during Early Seedling Growth in Arabidopsis (2019) J Exp Bot. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erz282
First author on this UK-Chinese collaboration is Yaxiao Li who works with Baoxiu Qi at the University of Bath. The authors characterise the function of Arabidopsis Protein Acyl Transferase 15, AtPAT15. This protein is involved in essential β-oxidation of triacylglycerols during post-germination growth.
Ramos-Sánchez JM, Triozzi PM, Alique D, Geng F, Gao M, Jaeger KE, Wigge PA, Allona I, Perales M (2019) LHY2 Integrates Night-Length Information to Determine Timing of Poplar Photoperiodic Growth. Curr Biol. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.06.003
Spanish-led study includes co-authors from the Sainsbury Laboratory in
Cambridge and attempts to define the factors that control photoperiod
perception in trees, using poplar as a model system. FLOWERING LOCUS T2
(FT2) has been previously shown to be involved in this process and this
study builds on that work to show that night-length information is
transmitted by the clock gene LATE ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL 2 (LHY2) and is
able to control FT2 expression.
Silva-Navas J, Conesa CM, Saez A, Navarro-Neila S, Garcia-Mina JM, Zamarreño AM, Baigorri R, Swarup R, Del Pozo JC (2019) Role of cis-zeatin in root responses to phosphate starvation. New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16020
from the University of Nottingham is a co-author on this Spanish-led
study that has Javier Silva-Navas as first author. Through analysis of
dark-grown seedlings they have identified a set of new genes involved in
root phosphate signaling. In addition they provide evidence of a links
between cytokinin and phosphate signaling through modulation of the cell
Siciliano I, Lentz Grønlund A, Ševčíková H, Spadafora ND,
Rafiei G, Francis D, Herbert RJ, Bitonti MB, Rogers HJ, Lipavská H
(2019) Expression of Arabidopsis WEE1 in tobacco induces unexpected morphological and developmental changes. Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 18;9(1):8695. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45015-3
Ilario Siciliano leads this work that includes colleagues from Hilary Rogers’
lab at Cardiff University. The WEE1 protein regulates the cell cycle
across eukaryote lineages. In this work they show that overexpression of
AtWEE1 in tobacco causes precocious flowering and increased shoot
morphogenesis of stem explants whilst in cell culture this WEE1 OX
causes smaller cell sizes.
Kittipol V, He Z, Wang L, Doheny-Adams
T, Langer S, Bancroft I (2019) Genetic architecture of glucosinolate
variation in Brassica napus. J Plant Physiol. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2019.06.001
This study from the Bancroft lab at the University of York is led by Varanya Kittipol. Through use of Associative Transcriptomics (AT) across a diversity panel of 288 Brassica napus genotypes they are able to identify a set of genes involved in synthesis of glucosinate hydrolysis products.
Urquiza-García U, Millar AJ (2019). Expanding the bioluminescent reporter toolkit for plant science with NanoLUC. Plant Methods. doi: 10.1186/s13007-019-0454-4
study from the University of Edinburgh introduces NanoLUC, a new more
stable luciferase-based reporter for use by the plant community.
final two papers are methods papers that focus on different aspects of
light-regulated growth. These are from the University of Southampton and
University of York.
Terry MJ, Kacprzak SM (2019) A Simple Method for Quantification of Protochlorophyllide in Etiolated Arabidopsis Seedlings. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9612-4_14
Oakenfull RJ, Ronald J, Davis SJ (2019) Measuring Phytochrome-Dependent Light Input to the Plant Circadian Clock. Methods Mol Biol. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9612-4_15