13th Jan 2014

This week’s Arabidopsis Research Round-up features new work from the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, the Universities of Exeter, Cambridge and Durham, and Rothamsted Research.


  • Stegmann M, Anderson RG, Westphal L, Rosahl S, McDowell JM and Trujillo M. The exocyst subunit Exo70B1 is involved in the immune response of Arabidopsis thaliana to different pathogens and cell death. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 03 January 2014. DOI: 10.4161/psb.27421.

Martin Stegmann is currently based in GARNet committee member Cyril Zipfel's lab at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich. Together with his German and US colleagues, this paper describes the finding that Exo70B1, a subunit of the exocyst complex that mediates early tethering during exocytosis in vesicle trafficking, is involved in plant resistance to pre-invasive pathogen penetration.


  • Sultana N, Florance HV, Johns A and Smirnoff N. Ascorbate deficiency influences the leaf cell wall glycoproteome in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant, Cell & Environment, 6 January 2014. DOI: 10.1111/pce.12267.

Knowing that vtc Arabidopsis mutants, which are deficient in ascorbate, have increased cell wall peroxidase activity, this team from the University of Exeter set out to investigate the cell wall glycoproteome of vtc2-2. Their findings suggest that deficiency in ascorabte impacts the expression of cell wall proteins involved in pathogen responses. It is likely that this is responsible for the increased resistance to biotrophic pathogens shown by vtc mutants.


  • Salmon J, Ward SP, Hanley SJ, Leyser O and Karp A. Functional screening of willow alleles in Arabidopsis combined with QTL mapping in willow (Salix) identified SxMAX4 as a coppicing response gene. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 7 January 2014. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12154.

This paper is the result of collaboration between Rothamsted Research and the University of Cambridge (including GARNet founder Ottoline Leyser). Knowledge and methodologies garnered from Arabidopsis research was successfully used to identify a gene in Willow (Salix spp.) that influences stem number. Since Willow is an important biomass crop, this finding is highly significant as it may allow scientists to improve Willow coppicing.

You can read more about this story here:


  • Smith SJ, Wang Y, Slabas AR and Chivasa S. Light regulation of cadmium-induced cell death in Arabidopsis. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 7 January 2014. DOI: 10.4161/psb.27578.

In previous work, researchers from the University of Durham, with a Chinese colleague, identified that light plays an important role in the regulation of cadmium-induced cell death in Arabidopsis thaliana. In this addendum to that work, the authors consider how both cadmium and fumonisin B1 could be useful tools in dissecting plant cell death signalling.