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Simpler & smaller: a new synthetic nanofactory inspired by nature Simpler & smaller: a new synthetic nanofactory inspired by nature

The genetically engineered shell is based on natural structures and the principles of protein evolution. Scientists see such structures as a source of new industrial or medical technologies.

April 29, 2019 Tags: Kerfeld lab, fundamental research
Our first look at a new light absorbing protein in cyanobacteria Our first look at a new light absorbing protein in cyanobacteria

The HCP2 protein is an ancestor of proteins that are known to protect against damage caused by excess light exposure. The study is the first of its kind to structurally and biophysically analyze a protein from the recently discovered HCP family.

April 2, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Kerfeld lab
Keeping plants nourished: the workings of a photosynthesis backup system Keeping plants nourished: the workings of a photosynthesis backup system

Plants use the shunt to quickly reboot the Calvin-Benson cycle, the crucial process that makes their food and nourishes the planet's food chain.

March 25, 2019 Tags: Sharkey lab, fundamental research
[LINK] Brandizzi lab to study the effect of space flight on seeds [LINK] Brandizzi lab to study the effect of space flight on seeds

The goal is to help increase the nutritional value of plants grown in spaceflight. The seeds will be on NASA's Orion spacecraft, on its maiden voyage to the moon and back.

March 18, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Brandizzi lab
New insights into plant cell organelle and molecule movement New insights into plant cell organelle and molecule movement

New research reveals a protein, TGNap1, that supports the poorly-understood Trans-Golgi Network in structure, function, and motion. The study also provides evidence for microtubule-driven organelle movement, a new line of thought in plant science.

January 29, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Brandizzi lab
[LINK] How do you grow plants in space? Michigan State researchers are on the case [LINK] How do you grow plants in space? Michigan State researchers are on the case

A Lansing State Journal story features Dr. Brandizzi, Evan Angelos, a fourth-year doctoral student, Starla Zemelis-Durfee, Brandizzi lab manager, and their research on how plants grow in and respond to stressful environments. 

January 3, 2019 Tags: fundamental research, Brandizzi lab
Overspending on defense arsenal bankrupts a plant's economy Overspending on defense arsenal bankrupts a plant's economy

Can plants defend and grow simultaneously? The answer could help us understand natural ecosystems or help farmers increase yields without increasing dependence on pesticides.

October 22, 2018 Tags: Howe lab, fundamental research
Plants, put in the dark, reveal over 100 active peroxisome proteins Plants, put in the dark, reveal over 100 active peroxisome proteins

A new study identifies 111 peroxisomal proteins, including six newly identified ones, in dark-treated plants. It is part of an effort to fully map the functions of plant peroxisomes.

October 1, 2018 Tags: Hu lab, fundamental research
Stressed plant roots warn the rest of the plant of looming dangers Stressed plant roots warn the rest of the plant of looming dangers

When facing drought or heat stress, roots are advance scouts that warn the rest of the plant to prepare for the big 'hit.'

September 25, 2018 Tags: Brandizzi lab, fundamental research
Blazes of light reveal how plants signal danger over long distances Blazes of light reveal how plants signal danger over long distances

A multi-university study reveals how plant communication systems respond to threats from herbivores. Once wounded, plants use calcium signals to warn distant tissues of future attacks.

September 24, 2018 Tags: Howe lab, fundamental research
As climate changes, plants might not suck carbon from the air fast enough As climate changes, plants might not suck carbon from the air fast enough

Atmospheric scientists factor lesser known photosynthesis research into their models. The result: carbon levels in the air could be much higher by 2100 than previously predicted.

September 13, 2018 Tags: Sharkey lab, fundamental research
Keeping up with lipids on the move: a new molecular tracking method Keeping up with lipids on the move: a new molecular tracking method

Scientists have created a new tracking method for plant lipids. The approach could fill our knowledge gaps of lipid movement and help us improve yields in crops targeted for biofuels.

June 29, 2018 Tags: Benning lab, fundamental research
Microbiologists and plant scientists find secret to tackling cholera [LINK] Microbiologists and plant scientists find secret to tackling cholera [LINK]

While cholera rages across many regions of the world, a team of microbiologists and plant scientists from the Benning lab has pinpointed a genetic weakness in the pandemic’s armor, which could lead to future treatments.

June 26, 2018 Tags: Benning lab, fundamental research
Two plant cell 'hotspots' tell the cell where to import its resources Two plant cell 'hotspots' tell the cell where to import its resources

The two proteins, called VAP, indicate where endocytosis, a form of transport in which a living cell imports molecules, should occur.

June 19, 2018 Tags: Stefano, Brandizzi lab, fundamental research
Study shows how a gene helps plants manage their protein production in stressful times Study shows how a gene helps plants manage their protein production in stressful times

The NPR1 gene keeps the unfolded protein response, a plant fail-safe for stressful times, in check.

June 12, 2018 Tags: Brandizzi lab, fundamental research
SPL1 protein plays a positive role in building plant cell peroxisomes SPL1 protein plays a positive role in building plant cell peroxisomes

Understanding how the plant cell's food processors are built might help us breed better plants and even benefit human medicine.

May 29, 2018 Tags: Hu lab, fundamental research
When lipids meet hormones: plants' answer to complex stresses When lipids meet hormones: plants' answer to complex stresses

How plants harvest their own chloroplasts - photosynthesis machines that make their food - to help defend against outside threats.

May 7, 2018 Tags: Benning lab, future scientists, fundamental research
Stress tested: how algae change their internal solar panels to stay alive Stress tested: how algae change their internal solar panels to stay alive

The natural solar panels constantly grow and shrink in size to adjust to changes in their hosts' environments. Scientists want to tap into this energy source for biofuels and food purposes.

February 21, 2018 Tags: Benning lab, Kramer lab, fundamental research
How detecting light in the water affects how much food cyanobacteria get How detecting light in the water affects how much food cyanobacteria get

Scientists have linked how water-dwelling bacteria monitor light wavelengths in their surroundings with their capacity to do photosynthesis. The research has medical/biofuels implications.

February 15, 2018 Tags: fundamental research, Montgomery lab
SP1 protein interacts with three energy-related cellular organelles SP1 protein interacts with three energy-related cellular organelles

The protein, which helps to construct peroxisomes, also interacts with chloroplasts and mitochondria. The organelles are important for generating and managing plant energy supplies.

February 5, 2018 Tags: Hu lab, fundamental research

Top Stories

Recently discovered protein enhances understanding of photosynthesis Recently discovered protein enhances understanding of photosynthesis

MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory (PRL) scientists have published a new study that furthers our understanding of how plants make membranes in chloroplasts, the photosynthesis powerhouse

Using Artificial Intelligence to delve into plant cell secrets Using Artificial Intelligence to delve into plant cell secrets

A new AI system, called DeepLearnMOR, can identify organelles and classify hundreds of microscopy images in a matter of seconds and with an accuracy rate of over 97%. The study illustrates the potential of AI to significantly increase the scope, speed, and accuracy of screening tools in plant biology.

Study links energy metabolism to reduced fertility in overheated bean crops Study links energy metabolism to reduced fertility in overheated bean crops

The study reports that the activity levels of the carbon metabolism protein, G6PDH, are related to decreased production of pollen in bean flowers. As global temperatures rise, some bean crops, including Michigan-grown varieties, might be more sensitive to higher heat levels.