Plant Biology


Salk Institute for Biological Studies - Plant Biology - Videos


Understanding how DNA is selectively tagged with “do not use” marks

LA JOLLA—Not all of your genome needs to be active at any given time. Some regions are prone to hopping around the genome in problematic ways if left unchecked; others code for genes that need to be turned off in certain cells or at certain times. One way that cells keep these genetic elements under control is with the chemical equivalent of a “do not use” sign. This chemical signal, called DNA methylation, is known to vary in different cell types or at different stages of cellular development, but the details of how cells regulate exactly where to put DNA methylation marks have remained unclear. Read more »

How plant architectures mimic subway networks

Salk scientists use 3D laser scanner to reveal mysteries of plant growth not apparent to the naked eye. Read more »

Cellular damage control system helps plants tough it out

LA JOLLA–As food demands rise to unprecedented levels, farmers are in a race against time to grow plants that can withstand environmental challenges–infestation, climate change and more. Now, new research at the Salk Institute, published in Science on October 23, 2015, reveals details into a fundamental mechanism of how plants manage their energy intake, which could potentially be harnessed to improve yield. Read more »

bak1 Binding Surface

Joanne Chory, a Professor in the Plant Biology Laboratory, is interested in identifying the mechanisms by which plants respond to changes in their light environment. She and her colleagues use genetic, genomic and biochemical approaches in the reference plant, Arabidopsis, to identify components of the phototransduction pathways, with emphasis placed on the events mediated through a family of red/far-red-light-absorbing receptors. Her laboratory has identified mutants in these photoreceptors and in nuclear-localized signal transduction components. Work in Dr. Chory’s lab has also led to the discovery of a steroid hormone, brassinolide, that controls plant development in response to light, and has identified the plant steroid receptor and signaling pathway.

Discovery may help protect crops from stressors

Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have discovered a key genetic switch by which plants control their response to ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone best known for its ability to ripen fruit, but which, under stress conditions, can cause wilted leaves, premature aging and spoilage from over-ripening. The findings, published August 30 in Science magazine, may hold the key to manipulating plants’ ethylene on/off switch, allowing them to balance between drought resistance and growth and, therefore, decrease crop losses from drought conditions. Read more »