And then there was light

And then there was light

New research from Washington University in St. Louis provides insight into how proteins called phytochromes sense light and contribute to how plants grow. Biologists used sophisticated techniques to structurally define the sequence of events that support the transition between light- and dark-adapted states.
Putting the brakes on lateral root development

Putting the brakes on lateral root development

Biologist Lucia Strader in Arts & Sciences discovered a cellular transporter that links two of the most powerful hormones in plant development — auxin and cytokinin — and shows how they regulate root initiation and progression. Understanding why and how plants make different types of root architectures can help develop plants that better cope with distinct soil conditions and environments.
Mustering a milder mustard

Mustering a milder mustard

Biologists in Arts & Sciences have mapped the crystal structure of a key protein that makes the metabolites responsible for the bitter taste in cruciferous plants like mustard and broccoli. The results could be used along with ongoing breeding strategies to manipulate crop plants for nutritional and taste benefits.
Plotting the path of plant pathogens

Plotting the path of plant pathogens

In a sneak attack, some pathogenic microbes manipulate plant hormones to gain access to their hosts undetected. Biologists at Washington University in St. Louis have exposed one such interloper by characterizing the unique biochemical pathway it uses to synthesize auxin, a central hormone in plant development.
Vierstra installed as the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor

Vierstra installed as the George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professor

Richard D. Vierstra was installed as the inaugural George and Charmaine Mallinckrodt Professorship at a ceremony held March 7 in Holmes Lounge. The professorship resides in Arts & Sciences and is designated for the field of plant biology, an area of great strength, and even greater potential, at Washington University. 
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