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Showing posts from November, 2016

Why Arabidopsis Why: High Yielding Maize Variety

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This post is written by me as part of Why Arabidopsis Why and edited by Dr. Ian H. Street. First published in The Quiet Branches. Please follow the link below or read here.
Shoot Apical Meristem Development: Model Plant for High Yielding Crops
Like us, plants have stem cells too. These are innate, undifferentiated cells localized in both root and shoot meristems. They house precursor cells that divide, elongate/expand, and finally form differentiated tissues and organs of plants. It’s how plants generate the roots, trunks, branches, leaves, flowers, and all the other structures we witness as the green world.
The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is a complex structure consisting of three distinct layers (denoted L1, L2 and L3) in the dicot (one of the two major groups of flowering plants) Arabidopsis thaliana. L1, L2 and L3 form the epidermis, sub-epidermal tissues, and inner tissues of the shoot, respectively [1]. Cells in the L1 and L2 layer divide in a sideways fashion, keeping these layers…

Lab Made Story #4

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Plants make their own food using sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. The process is known as photosynthesis. Based on the location and time, the supply of light is variable. We may connect this to our life by simply thinking about a solar energy source for our house. If it rains today, there is no energy to turn the light on for our house. Sometimes it's sunny, sometimes it's cloudy. Apart from that there is other side also, for example: excessive sunlight. During the time of excessive sunlight, plants convert that excessive light into heat energy and release it. It's an amazing self protective mechanism of plant. 


Now think about a weather situation where plants are exposed from high light to low light. During the high light condition, plants will release their energy as heat. And shifting to low light or cloudy situation will help them to stop releasing energy as heat and using raw materials only for photosynthesis. You may understand that it's a cycling process. And,…

Philip Benfey's Interview

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Philip N. Benfey is currently Paul Kramer Professor and Director of Duke Center for Systems Biology; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Investigator. He graduated from the University of Paris and received his PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Philip Leder. He did post-doctoral research at Rockefeller University in the field of Plant Molecular Biology working with Dr. Nam-Hai Chua and was appointed an assistant professor there in 1990. In 1991 he moved to New York University where he became an associate professor in 1996 and full professor in 2001. He was the founding director of the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at NYU. In 2002 he was named professor and chair of the Biology department at Duke University and in 2003 was named a distinguished professor. Benfey is the recipient of a Helen Hay Whitney post-doctoral fellowship and an NSF pre-doctoral fellowship. He was named a Fellow of the American Association for …

Lab Made Story #3

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Plants have simply two parts. Shoot and Root. Shoot, above the soil, can experience light and root, below the ground, have no physical accessibility to light. Interestingly, root also contains light receptors, known as phytochromes. First question, why root requires photo receptor under the soil? 
When shoot is exposed to light, phytochrome B (phyB) induces the expression of HY5 (Elongated Hypocotyl 5), a transcription factor required for root growth. That provides the clue that light is regulating root growth. The next question is how light is transmitted from shoot to root?
Two possible answers on that case. It's traveling through signaling molecules or directly transmitted through plant. Auxin, Methyl Jasmonic Acid and Sucrose are known to travel through plant tissues in response to light. But, experiments showed that these molecules are not able to induce the photo activation of phyB and HY5. 


It left the remaining possibility, direct transmission of light through plant. Hyo-Juu …

Lab Made Story #2

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Did you ever wonder how leaf has different color? 
Make it simple. Leaf is usually green in color and this color is due to Chlorophyll. But Chlorophyll has much more important job rather than providing green color of leaf. Plants produce their food through photosynthesis, a process of converting sun light to energy, where Chlorophyll plays major role. If we focus about green color, the degradation of Chlorophyll explains the change of leaf color. The first step of Chlorophyll catabolic pathway is the conversion of Chlorophyll a to Pheophytin a. This step is driven by Mg-dechelatase. But, it was unknown, which gene is encoding this Mg-dechelatase? So far mutants identified from Chlorophyll catabolic pathway shows "stay-green" phenotype. This "stay-green" phenotype is reminiscing about Mendel's classic experiment where he observed a green cotyledon mutant. That protein was identified and known as STAY GREEN (SGR). But the function biology study of SGR was elusive …

Lab Made Story #1

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"Gravity" is one of the things we learn from high school physics classes and the tendency of any object towards gravity is known as "Gravitropism". Plants are no exception to that universal rule. The gravitropism of plant root was revealed by Charles Darwin and his son almost 140 years ago and published in the book The Power of Movement in Plants. So far our understanding about root gravitropism is connected to plant hormone auxin, master molecule responsible (or believe) for almost every developmental process. Auxin flows from both shoot to root and root to shoot directions. Asymmetric auxin distribution during root to shoot transport helps plant root to bend towards gravity. This has been well established through auxin transport mutant (eir1/pin2) phenotype. This protein actually works as an auxin transporter from root to shoot direction. Its mutant doesn't follow gravity at all. We may call it, blind to gravity. 

Recently Liangfa Li and Rujin Chen have publis…

Lab Made Story: Prologue

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Ever wonder everything written "Home Made" gives us the idea that particular food item is fresh. Home Made Pizza to Home Made Juice, what-so-ever. It feels like something is cooked just now and served in front of you with a promise of deliciousness and freshness, as well as. 
In science, everything we read in journals are happening at lab. As soon as we get the data or something interesting, we start writing and publish it. I love to read latest research articles, reviews and highlights from my respective field (Plant Biology) regularly. At that time, I feel the same way I was treated with Home Made food. Latest research articles are like "Lab Made Story" to me! 
It's Arif Ashraf, a "novice" plant biologist who knows less and keeps writing more, and welcome to my brand new blog series from ARIBIDOPSIS: "Lab Made Story"! 


I'll review recent published articles of plant science in short to get the idea who doesn't have much time or patienc…