Danila Group – Plant cell structure and intercellular communication

My group’s long-term goal is to make crops more climate-resilient and disease-resistant. Plasmodesmata (PDs) are the conduits connecting the cytoplasm of plant cells and are essential for intercellular transport in plants. The vital role PDs play in plant growth and development encompasses different plant tissues. In roots, PDs primarily contribute to water and solute transport. In leaves, PDs are fundamental for metabolite exchange and sugar unloading during photosynthesis. In stems, the presence of PDs is crucial for successful grafting as they facilitate exchange of genetic material between the rootstock and the scion. PDs also play important roles in resistance to pathogen infection, contribute to the plant’s ability to deter predators and respond to environmental stimuli. Therefore, understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying PD development will provide new avenues to improve crops.

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Molecule traps carbon dioxide in leaf tissue

Story | Thursday 15 April 2021
Florence Danila of Australian National University’s ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis has discovered how plants improve photosynthesis by trapping carbon dioxide inside cell layers.

Detective work inside plant cells finds a key piece of the C4 photosynthesis puzzle

Story | Tuesday 2 March 2021
An impressive body of evidence published this week reveals the answer to a mystery that has puzzled plant scientists for more than 30 years: the role of the molecule suberin in the leaves of some of our most productive crops.

Finding the best targets to improve crop yield by following CO2 journey inside the leaf

Story | Friday 12 February 2021
A team of scientists have measured the relative importance of the different obstacles that carbon dioxide (CO2) encounters in its voyage from the atmosphere to the interior of plant cells. This research leading method provides much needed information that will help to increase the yield of important food crops.

Tiny highways in leaves could lead to more productive crops

Story | Thursday 1 February 2018
Scientists at the Australian Research Council (ARC) ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis (CoETP) have found that some plants have ten times more communication channels inside their leaves than other plants, which they think is a crucial factor in determining photosynthetic efficiency.

Inside leaves, communication is the key

Story | Tuesday 5 July 2016
A new method to quantify plasmodesmata in leaves to compare photosynthesis transport mechanisms in C3 and C4 crops.