Content about Cell to Plant

April 11, 2011

Leaves are flattened structures perfected for turning sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into sugar and oxygen.  Turning HD-ZIPIII proteins "ON" in some cells and "OFF" in neighboring cells gives the leaf blade its characteristic shape.  The Barton lab is investigating how HD-ZIPIII proteins are kept in the OFF state.   They have recently discovered a series of steps that prevents HD-ZIPIII proteins from coming together to form active dimers.  This work is a step toward understanding how diverse leaf shapes have evolved to adapt to a vast array of environmental conditions.

Leaf cells are specialized to optimize photosynthesis.  Cells in the upper portion of the leaf are tightly packed and dense with chloroplasts to capture light energy.  Cells in the lower portion are more irregularly shaped and loosely arranged to allow better exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide.  The difference between upper and lower parts of the leaf is also important for making new branches; new buds are made from the base of the upper, and not the lower, side of the leaf. 

November 30, 2010

Scientists have known how important plant steroids called brassinosteroids are for regulating plant growth and development. But until now, they did not know how extensive their reach is. Now Carnegie researchers have identified about a thousand brassinosteroid target genes showing links between the steroid and numerous cellular functions and other hormonal chain reactions. The study is the first comprehensive action map for a plant hormone and will help accelerate basic plant science and crop research.

March 22, 2010

Audio Press Release
To engineer better crops and develop new drugs to combat disease, scientists look at how the sensor-laden membranes surrounding cells interact with their environment. But remarkably little is known about how proteins interact with these protective structures. For the first time for any multicellular organism, Carnegie researchers have analyzed 3.4 million potential protein/membrane interactions and have found 65,000 unique relationships. Preliminary data are now available to the biological community at www.associomics.org/search.php.

September 8, 2009

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology have discovered a key missing link in the so-called signaling pathway for plant steroid hormones (brassinosteroids). Many important signaling pathways are relays of molecules that start at the cell surface and cascade to the nucleus to regulate genes. This discovery marks the first such pathway in plants for which all the steps of the relay have been identified. Since this pathway shares many similarities with pathways in humans, the discovery not only could lead to the genetic engineering of crops with higher yields, but also could be a key to understanding major human diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

August 6, 2009

Surprisingly little is known about the interactions that proteins have with each other and the protective membrane that surrounds a cell. These membrane proteins regulate nutrients, sense environmental threats, and are the communications interface between and within cells. Now researchers at Plant Biology have cloned genes to produce membrane proteins that may initiate instructions for genes to turn on in the nucleus. They just donated 2010 of them to the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center.

June 15, 2009

Cellulose makes up plant cell walls, gives plants shape and form and is a target of renewable, plant-based biofuels research. But how it forms, and thus how it can be modified to design energy-rich crops, is not well understood. Now a study led by researchers at Plant Biology has discovered that the underlying protein network that provides the scaffolding for cell-wall structure is also the traffic cop for delivering critical growth-promoting molecules where needed.

January 26, 2009

Michelle Davison, a 3rd year graduate student in the Bhaya/Grossman lab has received a SCORE grant from the Biology Department to support her dissertation research. The title of her grant is "A 'Heated' Arms Race: Analysis of Viral Warfare in a Hot Spring Microbial Mat Community". The purpose of these grants is to "allow students flexibility in exploring and developing innovative research projects, particularly in their first three years at Stanford". All SCORE recipients will participate in a symposium held by the Department in Fall 2009.

August 12, 2008

Former Plant Biology director, Chris Somerville, delivers keynote lecture on Developing Cellulosic Biofuels at the 19th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research. 

Listen to the lecture here:
MP3 Download
| Streaming Audio

Download the Powerpoint presentation here:
PowerPoint Presentation

June 19, 2008

The Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology today announced the launch of a new web-based resource that promises to help researchers around the world meet increasing demands for food production, animal feed, biofuels, industrial materials, and new medicines. It is the Plant Metabolic Network (PMN) at http://www.plantcyc.org/

Stanford, CA The Carnegie Institution’s Department of Plant Biology today announced the launch of a new web-based resource that promises to help researchers around the world meet increasing demands for food production, animal feed, biofuels, industrial materials, and new medicines. It is the Plant Metabolic Network (PMN) at http://www.plantcyc.org/

October 11, 2007

Genes of a tiny, single-celled green alga called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may contain scores more data about the common ancestry of plants and animals than the richest paleontological dig. This work is described in an article in the October 12, 2007, issue of Science.

Genes of a tiny, single-celled green alga called Chlamydomonas reinhardtii may contain scores more data about the common ancestry of plants and animals than the richest paleontological dig. This work is described in an article in the October 12, 2007, issue of Science.