Showing posts from August, 2015

Root Array

The plant root is an amazing system to study. Because in both radial and longitudinal axis, it is highly organized during developmental period. And, all sorts of cell division for root only happens in root apical meristem and later those cells move upward and acquire their identities. In addition, the expression of genes in longitudinal axis either progressive or repetitive based on the role of particular genes during different developmental stage. (See the animation) Philip Benfey, one of the leading researcher in root biology, studies the developmental mystery of root.  His research focus is to understand how cells acquire their identities. To answer this question, he uses Arabidopsis thaliana root as a model system because of its simplicity, organization and organized pattern. His lab employs the combination of genetics, molecular biology and genomics to study the genes necessary for root development along with radial and longitudinal patterning. His lab discovered two gen

Book Review : My Life As A Plant

The book, My Life As A Plant, is an initiative of Dr. Alan M. Jones and Dr. Jane Ellis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to provide an illustrative understanding about the basic of plant biology for school kids. The book is written in a story telling way to explore the world of plants.  They become the winner of  ASPB Education Foundation Grant program for such an interactive story.  And it has been published by American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). In addition, the book is available in not only English, but also in Japanese, German, Spanish, Russian, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Farsi, Arabic, Catalan, Lituanian.  The American Society of Plant Biologists has developed the following  Principles of Plant Biology   to provide basic plant biology concepts for science education at the K-12 levels and to help students gain a better understanding of plant biology. This book tries to disseminate this knowledge through a digestible way.    Plants co

Luminaries : Inspiration #01

"At all career stages, we must understand the layer below us (a more fundamental one) and a layer above us (a more applied or complex one). Thus, if we are working looking at a single plant level, we should aim to understand what is happening at a cellular/molecular level and also the crop level. This gives us entry into more fundamental science and entry into the application of our science."  Richard Richards CSIRO Fellow, CSIRO Plant Industry, Canberra, Australia  Source: Luminaries ASPB news (March/April 2015. Volume 42, Number 2)

Measuring Cytokinin In Zeptomole Level

Phytohormone cytokinin is well studied since its discovery by Folke Skoog and colleagues around 60 years ago. Cytokinin promotes cell division (cytokinesis), cell growth, differentiation and affect apical dominance, axillary bud growth, leaf senescence and so on. Most interestingly, it interacts with other hormones like auxin, ethylene, abscisic acid, gibberellins, and strigolactones. More precisely, the balance between cytokinin and auxin underlies their critical, antagonistic roles in regulating organ initiation, embryogenesis, meristem function, and other crucial processes. Phytohormone levels are thought to be tightly regulated both temporally and spatially. In the root of Arabidopsis thaliana , an auxin gradient is observed. But, such a gradient study for cytokinin has not done yet.  This is challenging for cytokinin, because cytokinins are present at extremely low levels (pmol/ g -21  fresh weight, 100-fold lower than auxin levels) and consist of several related molecule

Root Architecture : Known and Unknown Facts

Root is the most amazing part of a plant to answer so many questions. Over the decades, it's become popular among plant scientist to study because of the simplicity of its organization and stereotyped developmental program.  Philip Benfey from Duke University is one of the leading scientist of root developmental research and his study focus is to know how cells divide and acquire their identities in root.  These discoveries originated with screens for mutants with roots that had altered cell division potential. Characterization of these mutants revealed alterations in cell division and cell identity leading to dramatic changes in the radial pattern of the root.  His lab  has isolated the genes mutated in these lines and found that several of them encode transcriptional regulators. One of these called SHORT-ROOT is made in the vascular cylinder of the root and then moves to the adjacent tissue where it activates the expression of a second transcription factor, SCARECROW. The S