Welcome to the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee!

 MASC subcommittees, proposed in 2002, were established to help track the progress and advances made by the international Arabidopsis community.

The requirements for a subcommittee to be considered active were formulated in 2009:

  1. Submission of an annual report
  2. Input at MASC annual meetings
  3. MASC subcommittee chair has to be nominated with a 3-year minimum term to provide continuity
  4. Co-chairs could help promote activity of the subcommittee
  5. MASC subcommittee chairs/co-chairs should confirm leadership annually, if necessary, new subcommittee chairs should be found
  6. Chair/co-chair should confirm and represent the interest of subcommittee members.

The most recent 2019-2020 Subcommittee Report can be downloaded here. If you require reports from each different Subcommittee then please contact the MASC secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


  • Bioinformatics Open or Close
    Compiled by Nicholas Provart (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) with input from MASC Bioinformatics Subcommittee members and the wider Arabidopsis community. 6th August 2020

    Arabidopsis Informatics – TAIR, BAR and the National Center for Genome Resources (NCGR) in New Mexico collaborated to ensure that the data and tools formerly provided by Araport remain available to the community.
    Araport’s JBrowse instance migrated to TAIR, Thalemine was redeployed with updated data at the BAR, and a new tool for exploring micro- and macrosynteny in Arabidopsis thaliana ecotypes was released by the NCGR.

        TAIR also continues to provide quarterly public releases of year-old datasets (https://www.Arabidopsis.org/download/index-auto.jsp?dir=/download_files/Public_Data_Releases). The 18th public release from TAIR contains cumulative curated data sets up to March 31, 2018. Educators can continue to request access to the “full” version of TAIR for teaching purposes. We look forward to integrating JBrowse into TAIR in the coming year

    TAIR: With help from members of the Araport and GMOD projects, TAIR installed the latest version of JBrowse at TAIR (see an example region here: https://bit.ly/2Qhb5xC) starting with the tracks that were available at Araport, fixing ones that had become non-functional and adding to these with new community tracks, e.g. TRAP-seq data under hypoxia from Lee and Bailey-Serres (2019). TAIR staff also performed software updates and technical improvements, updating TAIR’s BLAST service (https://www.arabidopsis.org/Blast/index.jsp) to the latest version of NCBI BLAST (2.9.0) and providing a graphical display of alignments.

        TAIR curators continued to extract experimental gene function data from the current literature and codify the data in the form of annotations to Gene Ontology and Plant Ontology terms as well as curated gene summaries, alleles and phenotypes, and gene symbols. In 2019 TAIR started an initiative to add GO terms for sets of genes for which there were no GO annotations at all, by reviewing linked literature, and adding annotations where possible. TAIR continues to produce quarterly updates of current data for subscribers (https://www.arabidopsis.org/download/index-auto.jsp?dir=/download_files/Subscriber_Data_Releases), and year old data for use by all (https://www.arabidopsis.org/download/index-auto.jsp?dir=/download_files/Public_Data_Releases).
    Bio-Analytic Resource (BAR): BAR rolled out a revived and updated version of Araport’s Thalemine at https://bar.utoronto.ca/thalemine/ as part of the aforementioned multi-lab effort to resuscitate Araport.

        The BAR also published its eFP-Seq Browser at https://bar.utoronto.ca/eFP-Seq_Browser/ for exploring RNA-seq data as both read map profiles and summarized gene expression levels across two large compendia, in order to be able to quickly identify samples with the highest level of expression or where alternative splicing might be occurring (Sullivan et al., 2019).

    NCGR: Andrew Farmer and Alan Cleary developed their Genome Context Viewer (GCV) to enable the dynamic comparison of multiple genomes on the basis of their shared functional elements such as genes (Cleary and Farmer, 2017). An instance of the GCV is now running at https://gcv-arabidopsis.ncgr.org as the third component of the revamped Araport. The reference Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 genome (TAIR10/Araport11) and genomes from several other data sources, including two sets of newly assembled A. thaliana genomes of various ecotypes from Jiao and Schneeberger (2020) and from the 1001 Genomes project from the Weigel lab (Bemm, Kubica, and Weigel, unpublished), as well as a number of Brassicaceae genomes from Phytozome and the BMAP project are available. Check it out!

    Large-scale Data Sets of Note

        Edward Marcotte’s group used co-fractionation mass spectrometry to identify protein complexes in 13 plant species, including Arabidopsis. An astonishing 3,076,999 pairwise interactions were elucidated in this amazing study, which permits the identification of conserved and rewired protein complexes in plants (McWhite et al., 2020). The data set is searchable at http://plants.proteincomplexes.org/search.

        The Gazzarrini and Lumba Labs (Carianopol et al. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-0866-8) identified 125 SnRK1 complex interacting proteins using a meso-scale Y2H screening approach against ABA-regulated gene products. The Desveaux Lab (Cao et al. 2019, https://doi.org/10.1111/tpj.14425) generated an ABA-T3SE interactome network (ATIN) between P. syringae Type 3 Secreted Effectors (T3SEs) and Arabidopsis proteins encoded by ABA-regulated genes in order to further understand how plant pathogens can manipulate endogenous hormone signaling pathways. ATIN consists of 476 PPIs between 97 Arabidopsis ABA-regulated gene products and 56 T3SEs from four pathovars of P. syringae, as determined using Y2H.
        Also in terms of plant-pathogen interactions, The Guttman and Desveaux Labs (Laflamme et al., 2020) published an analysis of the plant pan-genome immunity landscape using their PsyTEC compendium, which consisted of 529 representative P. syringae T3SEs screened against Arabidopsis to identify those which trigger an immune response. The results showed that relatively few genes (including two novel ones) in Arabidopsis recognize the majority of P. syringae effectors.  

        An interesting large-scale data set for Arabidopsis and 12 other species was generated by a “meltome” analysis, using a mass-spec-based proteomics approach for 48,000 proteins across 13 species covering melting temperatures of 30–90 °C (Jarzab et al., 2020).

        scRNA-Seq Search Tools. While several scRNA-seq data sets were published in the past year, two useful tools are now available to query some of these data sets. The Wang Lab developed its Root Cell Atlas search tool at http://wanglab.sippe.ac.cn/rootatlas/ based on scRNA-seq data they generated (Zhang et al., 2019) and the BAR’s eFP Browser (http://bar.utoronto.ca/efp/cgi-bin/efpWeb.cgi?dataSource=Single_Cell) provides the ability to query scRNA-seq data from Ryu et al. (2019).

        A Plant Cell Atlas project kicked-off in 2019 (Rhee et al., 2019), which will provide unprecedented cell-level resolution of many different ‘omes in plants, along with models to describe cell growth and behaviour. Keep an eye on http://www.plantcellatlas.org/ for updates!

    Pedagogy, Policy and Outreach: Nicholas Provart released a Plant Bioinformatic Methods Specialization encompassing 4 courses on Coursera.org: Bioinformatic Methods I, Bioinformatic Methods II, Plant Bioinformatics, and a Plant Bioinformatics Capstone. See https://www.coursera.org/specializations/plant-bioinformatic-methods. You can audit the courses for free, or obtain certificates for a small fee.

    Cao, F.Y., Khan, M., Taniguchi, M., Mirmiran, A., Moeder, W., Lumba, S., Yoshioka, K., and Desveaux, D. (2019). A host–pathogen interactome uncovers phytopathogenic strategies to manipulate plant ABA responses. Plant J. 100: 187–198.

    Carianopol, C.S., Chan, A.L., Dong, S., Provart, N.J., Lumba, S., and Gazzarrini, S. (2020). An abscisic acid-responsive protein interaction network for sucrose non-fermenting related kinase1 in abiotic stress response. Commun. Biol. 3: 145.

    Cleary, A. and Farmer, A. (2017). Genome Context Viewer: visual exploration of multiple annotated genomes using microsynteny. Bioinformatics 34: 1562–1564.

    Jarzab, A. et al. (2020). Meltome atlas—thermal proteome stability across the tree of life. Nat. Methods 17: 495–503.

    Jiao, W.-B. and Schneeberger, K. (2020). Chromosome-level assemblies of multiple Arabidopsis genomes reveal hotspots of rearrangements with altered evolutionary dynamics. Nat. Commun. 11: 989.

    Laflamme, B., Dillon, M.M., Martel, A., Almeida, R.N.D., Desveaux, D., and Guttman, D.S. (2020). The pan-genome effector-triggered immunity landscape of a host-pathogen interaction. Science 367: 763.

    Lee, T.A. and Bailey-Serres, J. (2019). Integrative Analysis from the Epigenome to Translatome Uncovers Patterns of Dominant Nuclear Regulation during Transient Stress. Plant Cell 31: 2573–2595.

    McWhite, C.D. et al. (2020). A Pan-plant Protein Complex Map Reveals Deep Conservation and Novel Assemblies. Cell 181: 460-474.e14.

    Rhee, S.Y., Birnbaum, K.D., and Ehrhardt, D.W. (2019). Towards Building a Plant Cell Atlas. Trends Plant Sci. 24: 303–310.

    Ryu, K.H., Huang, L., Kang, H.M., and Schiefelbein, J. (2019). Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Resolves Molecular Relationships Among Individual Plant Cells. Plant Physiol. 179: 1444.

    Sullivan, A. et al. (2019). An ‘eFP-Seq Browser’ for visualizing and exploring RNA sequencing data. Plant J. 100: 641–654.

    Zhang, T.-Q., Xu, Z.-G., Shang, G.-D., and Wang, J.-W. (2019). A Single-Cell RNA Sequencing Profiles the Developmental Landscape of Arabidopsis Root. Mol. Plant 12: 648–660.


  • Clone-Based Functional Genomics Resources (ORFeomics) Open or Close
    By Motoaki Seki (Chair) and Joe Ecker (Co-Chair) with contributions from subcommittee members. 6th August 2020

    ORFeomics subcommittee has tracked the progress made towards the production of full-length cDNAs and open reading frame (ORF) clones for all annotated Arabidopsis protein-coding genes. Our recent search showed that now about 23,000 Arabidopsis protein-coding genes have been isolated as Full-length cDNA (ORF) clones. One of the last unexplored continents of Arabidopsis are the remaining 6,000 protein-coding genes. After that, only the non-coding genes remain to be isolated.

        With the completion of isolating all 29,000 Arabidopsis protein-coding genes, comprehensive analysis of plant gene function will become possible by various functional analyses using  transgenic and protein expression approaches.

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

        We prepared the updated list of Full-length cDNA and ORF clones that are available from Resource Centers (Please see the attachment table).

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members..

    Subcommittee goals:
        Keeping tracking progress made towards the production of full-length cDNAs and open reading frame (ORF) clones for all annotated Arabidopsis protein-coding genes.
        ORFeomics subcommittee would like to propose a new project to collect all ORF (full-length cDNA) clones from every Arabidopsis protein-coding gene so as to test protein-protein, protein-DNA and protein-RNA interactions.

        The human whole ORFeome project is already ongoing. Arabidopsis is a model plant, thus this will represent the first big plant ORFeome project. On completion it might be possible to start synthetic biology using the whole gene set of Arabidopsis to allow functional studies of corresponding proteomes

    Selected Publication

    Ali, M.R.M., Uemura, T., Ramadan, A., Adachi, K., Nemoto, K., Nozawa, A., Hoshino, R., Abe, H., Sawasaki, T. and Arimura, G.I. (2019) The Ring-Type E3 Ubiquitin Ligase JUL1 Targets the VQ-Motif Protein JAV1 to Coordinate Jasmonate Signaling. Plant Physiol. 179:1273-1284.

  • Epigenetics and Epigenomics Open or Close

    Prepared by

    Xuehua Zhong, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Robert Schmitz, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., University of Georgia

    August 6th 2020

    Arabidopsis thaliana has proven to be the workhorse for elucidating mechanistic underpinnings of numerous epigenetic phenomena. Recent emphasis by the research community has been on studying the interaction between parental epigenomes throughout sexual reproduction and epigenetic regulation of environmental adaptation.

        These studies are revealing the importance of small RNAs, histone modifications, and DNA methylation in epigenome reinforcement, in detection of self from non-self, and in responding to versatile environmental challenges. While genetic and genomic studies continue to provide important insights, recent biochemical efforts have reconstructed the core and regulatory components of key epigenetic complexes and has linked them to various signaling pathways. Several epigenome editing approaches have also been developed to target specific DNA methylation pathways to selected regions of the genome to initiate silencing.

        While the field continues to work on the basic epigenetic mechanisms in genome function and development, a new focus on linking signaling pathways to chromatin dynamics has emerged.  Another major focus of the field is exploring how epigenetic mechanisms are conserved and/or vary in plant species, particularly crop plants. Even though many chromatin/DNA methylation pathways are conserved, there is a surprising amount of variation in certain enzymatic components and how they are utilized by host genomes for gene regulation, transposon silencing, and genome stability.

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

        Developed a website for a collection of ~20,000 Arabidopsis RNA-seq datasets http://ipf.sustc.edu.cn/pub/athrna/ This is an important community resource containing ~20,000 Arabidopsis RNA-seq datasets of various genetics mutants, developmental stages, biotic and abiotic stress treatments, etc. More importantly, it contains many wild-type Col-0 samples from different labs worldwide as a further reference for any Col-0 samples from individual lab. This resource is particularly useful to search for potential new regulators (both genetic and environmental factors) of given genes and pathways.

        A similar website containing large collection of whole genome bisulfite sequencing datasets is currently under construction and will be available to the global community upon completion

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members

        The Epigenetics and Epigenomics Subcommittee members organized and participated several epigenetic sections associated with various international conferences in 2019. These were held at Plant Genomes Conference and Gordon Research Conference in USA, Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists 60th Annual Meeting, 30th ICAR and plant epigenetics symposium in China, European workshop on plant chromatin in Germany, Mini-symposium on Epigenetic stress memory in Michigan State University and Wisconsin, and Symposium on Impact of Nuclear Domains on Plant Phenotypes in Spain. The Subcommittee members have also organized laboratory workshop on cell type-specific nuclei purification by INTACT at Frontiers and Techniques in Plant Science at CSHL.

        The combined activities of Subcommittee members have enhanced the appreciation of the importance of epigenetic regulation in plant biology, boosted the interests, and strengthened international collaborations and coordination to understand the roles and regulation of plant epigenetics/epigenomics. This research topic has also attracted a large amount of interest from the media and the general public.

    Conferences and Workshops

    - Plant & Animal Genomes Conference, San Diego, CA, January 2019 (Session on Plant Epigenetics & Epigenomics)

    - Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists 60th Annual Meeting, Nagoya, Japan, March 2019 (Session on inheritance and rewriting of cellular memory in plants)

    - 30th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, Wuhan, China, June 2019 (Plenary and concurrent sessions on Epigenetics)

    - Epigenetic workshop, Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China, June 2019
    European workshop on plant chromatin, MPI Cologne, June 2019

    - CSHL Frontiers and Techniques in Plant Science, CSHL, NY, June 2019

    - SEB-INDEPTH Symposium on Impact of Nuclear Domains on Plant Phenotypes, Madrid, Spain, December 2019. https://www.brookes.ac.uk/indepth/

    - Cold Spring Harbor-Asia Conference: Integrative Epigenetics in Plants, Awaji, Japan December, 2020

    Selected Publications

    Ariel F, Lucero L, Christ A, et al. R-Loop Mediated trans Action of the APOLO Long Noncoding RNA. Mol Cell. 2020;77(5):1055‐1065.e4. doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2019.12.015

    Fang, X., Wang, L., Ishikawa, R., Li, Y., Fiedler, M., Liu, F., Calder, G., Rowan, B., Weigel, D., Li, P., & Dean, C. (2019). Arabidopsis FLL2 promotes liquid-liquid phase separation of polyadenylation complexes. Nature, 569(7755), 265–269. doi:10.1038/s41586-019-1165-8

    Gallego-Bartolomé J, Liu W, Kuo PH, et al. Co-targeting RNA Polymerases IV and V Promotes Efficient De Novo DNA Methylation in Arabidopsis. Cell. 2019;176(5):1068-1082.e19. doi:10.1016/j.cell.2019.01.029

    He S, Vickers M, Zhang J, Feng X. Natural depletion of histone H1 in sex cells causes DNA demethylation, heterochromatin decondensation and transposon activation. Elife. 2019;8:e42530. doi:10.7554/eLife.42530

    Kirkbride RC, Lu J, Zhang C, Mosher RA, Baulcombe DC, Chen ZJ. Maternal small RNAs mediate spatial-temporal regulation of gene expression, imprinting, and seed development in Arabidopsis Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(7):2761-2766. doi:10.1073/pnas.1807621116

  • Metabolomics Open or Close
    Prepared by Wolfram Weckwerth (Co-chair) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.University of Vienna and Takayuki Tohge (Co-Chair) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara, Japan
    August 6th 2020

    The Arabidopsis metabolomics platform mostly represented by the activities of the members of the Multinational Arabidopsis Steering Committee is a strong pillar for functional analysis not only in this model plant. Many tools have been developed in this model system that are trend-setting for the application in crop plant research. What is a clear future trajectory of research is the systematic metabolomic analysis of germplasm collections of Arabidopsis thaliana and the linkage to genome wide association studies and genomic prediction.

        Arabidopsis also serves as a model system for translational research for crop plants as more and more large germplasm collections with whole genome sequences are available (Weckwerth et al. 2020).

        At the moment there is no better curated database available for any plant system than the 1001 genome collection of natural Arabidopsis accessions (Alonso-Blance et al. 2016). Another research area is ecological metabolomics with natural Arabidopsis populations (Nagler et al. 2018). The combination of metabolomics and whole-genome data of large collections of accessions in their native habitats as well as in common garden experiments enables the analysis of evolutionary adaptation processes from genome to metabolic plasticity.

    Alonso-Blanco et al. (2016) 1,135 genomes reveal the global pattern of polymorphism in Arabidopsis thaliana. Cell 166: 481-491
    Nagler et al. (2018) Eco-Metabolomics and Metabolic Modeling: Making the Leap From Model Systems in the Lab to Native Populations in the Field. Front Plant Sci 9: 1556

    Weckwerth et al. (2020) PANOMICS meets Germplasm. Plant Biotechnol J. doi: 10.1111/pbi.13372.

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

    A cheminformatics approach to characterize metabolomes in stable-isotope-labeled organisms.
    Tsugawa et al (2019) Nat Methods. 16: 295-298.
    doi: 10.1038/s41592-019-0358-2

    Sample preparation for metabolomics
    Metabolomics in the Context of Plant Natural Products Research: From Sample Preparation to Metabolite Analysis.
    Salem et al (2020) Metabolites. 10: E37
    doi: 10.3390/metabo10010037

    Pathway analysis for model organisms
    PathBank: a comprehensive pathway database for model organisms.
    Wishart et al (2020) Nucleic Acids Res. 48: D470-D478 doi: 10.1093/nar/gkz861

    Method of GCMS for volatile apocarotenoid in Arabiodpsis
    Volatile apocarotenoid discovery and quantification in Arabidopsis thaliana: optimized sensitive analysis via HS-SPME-GC/MS.
    Rivers et al (2019) Metabolomics 15: 79
    doi: 10.1007/s11306-019-1529-y

    Rapid protocol for subcellular plant metabolism analysis
    Resolving subcellular plant metabolism.
    Fürtauer et al (2019) Plant J 100: 438-455
    doi: 10.1111/tpj.14472

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members.

        Since metabolomics is an important component of Arabidopsis ‘omics, a continuous goal of this subcommittee will be to promote metabolomics research of Arabidopsis leading to functional genomics and systems biology. Full integration of Arabidopsis-based metabolomics research with the activity of the Metabolomics Society (http://www.metabolomicssociety.org/) is also an important goal of this subcommittee.

        Several members of the subcommittee are involved in drawing up the plant biology specific documentation for the Metabolomics Society.

        In addition this committee will aim to establish a mechanism that allows the dissemination of metabolomics datasets to the wider Arabidopsis community and encourage and facilitate initiatives for the integration of metabolomic datasets with other omic datasets. This will involve depositing metabolomic data in a usable format for data integration. A specific webpage for these MASC metabolomics subcommittee activities will be discussed.
    Future Activities of the Subcommittee.

        The subcommittee discussion will be taken not only in the occasion of ICAR annual meeting but also in the occasions of several other metabolomics-related meetings, where the subcommittee members can join. The web interface will provide user with a user-friendly tool to search for Arabidopsis thaliana metabolomics data in available databases. In addition, the people in plant metabolomics community actively provide open tools and resources useful for Arabidopsis researchers as indicated above

    Conferences, Workshops and Training events

    2020/6/21-24 Phytochemical Society of North America, Kelowna, Canada. Now in 2021.

    2020/7/6-10 Metabolomics 2020, Shanghai, China

    Selected Publications

    Kooke R, Morgado L, Becker F, van Eekelen H, Hazarika R, Zheng Q, de Vos RCH, Johannes F and Keurentjes JJB (2019) Epigenetic mapping of the Arabidopsis metabolome reveals mediators of the epigenotype-phenotype map. Genome Res 29: 96-106

    Kozuka T, Sawada Y, Imai H, Kana, M, Hirai MY, Mano S, Uemura M, Nishimura M, Kusaba M and Nagatani A. (2020) Regulation of Sugar and Storage Oil Metabolism by Phytochrome during De-etiolation. Plant Physiol 182: 1114-1129

    Perez de Souza L, Garbowicz K, Brotman Y, Tohge T and Fernie AR. (2020) The Acetate Pathway Supports Flavonoid and Lipid Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 182: 857-869

    Mangel N, Fudge JB, Li KT, Wu TY, Tohge T, Fernie AR, Szurek B, Fitzpatrick TB, Gruissem W, Vanderschuren H (2019) Enhancement of vitamin B6 levels in rice expressing Arabidopsis vitamin B6 biosynthesis de novo genes. Plant J 99: 1047-1065

    Shimizu Y, Rai A, Okawa Y, Tomatsu H, Sato M, Kera K, Suzuki H, Saito K, Yamazaki M (2019) Metabolic diversification of nitrogen-containing metabolites by the expression of a heterologous lysine decarboxylase gene in Arabidopsis. Plant J 100: 505-521

  • Natural Variation and Comparative Genomics Open or Close
    Prepared by J. Chris Pires (chair) and Yalong Guo (Co-Chair) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    August 6th 2020
    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

    - AraPheno: AraPheno is a public database collection of Arabidopsis thaliana phenotypes. This Database allows to search and filter for public phenotypes and to obtain additional meta-information.

    - JBrowse at TAIR: The current NV/GV tracks of interest are the 1001 Genomes track.
    We have additional Phytozome13 tracks for orthologous genes in 61 other plant species that are in testing on our dev server that should go live within the next month.

    - Thalemine/Araport now includes several complete A. thaliana genomes now from the Schneeberger lab and the 1001 Genomes Project (Zmienko et al, 2020)

    - Andrew Farmer’s Genome Context Viewer (GCV) loaded 14 Arabidopsis thaliana assembled genomes. This links to new Araport: GCV, TAIR’s resuscitation of the Araport JBrowse tracks, and the Provart lab’s reinstatiating of Thalemine at the BAR. An instance of this viewer has been set up and is now running from NCGR (https://gcv-arabidopsis.ncgr.org) as the third component of the “second generation” Araport. The viewer provides convenient links to related resources for genes and genomic regions, thereby facilitating traversal into the other components of the reconfigured Araport project as well as other relevant tools. The gene family classifications utilized by the current instance are based on PANTHER 14.1 (Mi et al., 2013, doi: 10.1093/nar/gks1118) and links are provided to the trees developed for these families by the PhyloGenes project (phylogenes.org).

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members.

        This is an exciting time for the Comparative Genomics community as there is movement to establish the plant order Brassicales as a model clade and a large proposal is being assembled for that research. This is enhanced by the discovery of a new family of Brassicales that will feed into this new classification (Swanepoel et al, 2020).

    Selected Publications

    de Jong M, Tavares H, Pasam RK, Butler R, Ward S, George G, Melnyk C, challis R, Kover PX, Leyser O (2019) Natural variation in Arabidopsis shoot branching plasticity in response to nitrate supply affects fitness. PLOS Genetics 15(9): e1008366. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1008366

    Niu XM, Xu YC, Li ZW, Bian YT, Hou XH, Chen JF, Zou YP, Jiang J, Wu Q, Ge S, Balasubramanian S, Guo YL (2019) Transposable elements drive rapid phenotypic variation in Capsella rubella. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116: 6908-6913.

    Seung D, Echevarría-Poza A, Steuernagel B, Smith AM. (2020) Natural Polymorphisms in  Arabidopsis Result in Wide Variation or Loss of the Amylose Component of Starch.  Plant Physiol. 182: 870-881. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.01062

    Swanepoel W, Chase MW, Christenhusz MJM, Maurin O, Forest F, van Wyk AE. (2020). From the frying pan: an unusual dwarf shrub from Namibia turns out to be a new brassicalean family. Phytotaxa. 439 (3): 171–185. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.439.3.1

    Togninalli M, Seren Ü, Freudenthal J, Monroe JG, Meng D, Nordborg M, Weigel D, Borgwardt K, Korte A, Grimm DG (2020) AraPheno and the AraGWAS Catalog 2020: a major database update including RNA-Seq and knockout mutation data for Arabidopsis thaliana. Nucleic Acids Research 48 Issue D1, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz925

    Zmienko A, Marszalek-Zenczak M, Wojciechowski P, Samelak-Czajka A, Luczak M, Kozlowski P, Karlowski WM, Figlerowicz M (2020) AthCNV: A map of DNA copy number variations in the Arabidopsis thaliana genome. The Plant Cell Apr 2020, tpc.00640.2019; DOI: 10.1105/tpc.19.00640

  • Phenomics Open or Close
    By Fabio Fiorani (co-chair) and Robert Furbank (former co-chair) with contribution from subcommittee members and the wider Arabidopsis community. The subcommittee members list can be found here.

    Progress Towards Road Map Goals

    • In 2015 there has been a continued development of automated platforms and methods including new software for non-invasive phenotyping of Arabidopsis and crop phenotyping, increasing the capacity and the number of research centers that are engaged in large-scale phenomics research.
    • There were significant examples of comprehensive pipeline approaches to link genome to phenome and enable multi-trait analysis towards this goal.
    • Comprehensive efforts continued in 2015 within The International Plant Phenotyping Network, the European Plant Phenotyping Network (providing access to external users), the EU COST Action Phenotyping, and the implementation of national phenotyping networks in Germany (DPPN), France (Phenome), UK (UKPPN), and Australia (APPF), in particular.
    • There were multiple training activities in phenotyping organized in Europe.

    Future Goals

    • Promote best practices in phenotyping experimentation. This includes consideration to best practices for validating the identity of genetic stocks and the effects of genetic variants as recently suggested in a letter to Plant Cell (http://www.plantcell.org/content/early/2016/03/08/tpc.15.00502.full.pdf+html?utm_content=buffer67a68&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer).
    • Coordinated efforts will be required across phenotyping centers regarding germplasm used for sequencing (e.g.1001 genome project) and mutant collections would be desirable. Notable examples include to phenotype all re-sequenced Arabidopsis accessions under a series of defined challenging environments and phenotype the “no phenotype” T-DNA knock-out mutants by subjecting the collection of homozygous T-DNA k.o. mutants, or double mutants hitherto without a discernable mutant phenotype to deep phenotyping under a series of well-defined challenging environments.
    • Continue the development of methods for phenotyping across well-defined environmental conditions.

    Tools and Resources - Development of novel phenotyping infrastructure and phenotyping pipelines

    Updates by Stijn Dhondt, Dirk Inzé (VIB, Gent, Belgium), Minami Matsui, David Gifford (RIKEN, Japan), Lukás Spíchal (Olomouc, Czech Republic), Christine Granier (INRA Montpellier), Astrid Junker and Thomas Altmann (IPK Gatersleben)

    RIKEN and University of Tokyo

    • RIPPS (RIKEN Plant Phenotyping System) (K. Shinozaki, Miki Fujita, Kaoru Urano, Takanari Tanabata) is an automated system for evaluating plant growth under environmental stress conditions developed by the Gene Discovery Research Group of CSRS. RIPPS provides high-throughput and accurate measurements of plant traits, facilitating understanding of gene function in a wide range of environmental conditions (http://bit.ly/24U4Ujx). Recent research results from RIPPS include studies of Arabidopsis transgenics that perform well under drought conditions without growth reduction. Recent research includes results from the RIPPS which helped by its ability to focus on water use efficiency, not just growth or leaf shape (Kuromori et al., 2016).
    • A phenotype analysis program was developed at the University of Tokyo to characterize the pattern of epidermal cells and guard cells of Arabidopsis leaves and seedlings. Research is funded by JST Project (http://bit.ly/22oyHC6) for evaluation of morphological measurement. CARTA (clustering-aided rapid training agent) software was developed for auto learning system (Dr. Kutsuna, N. and Hasezawa, S., University of Tokyo; Higachi et al., 2015).
    • RIKEN Arabidopsis Genome Encyclopedia II (RARGE II) is an integrated phenotype database of Arabidopsis mutant traits using controlled vocabulary, with both RIKEN RAPID and CSHL Trapper DB for Ac/Ds transposon tagged lines in Arabidopsis. (Akiyama et al., 2014; Takashi Kuromori, Tetsuya Sakurai, Kazuo Shinozaki)(http://rarge-v2.psc.riken.jp/).
    • The Chloroplast Function Database II is a comprehensive database analyzed by combining genotypic and phenotypic multiparametic analysis of Arabidopsis tagged-lines for nuclear-encoded chloroplast proteins. The phenotype and segregation data of Arabidopsis Ds/Spm and T-DNA- tagged mutants of nuclear genes encoding chloroplast proteins includes more than 300 morphological mutants and 48 transmission electron microscopic images of mutant plastid (Fumiyoshi Myouga and Kazuo Shinozaki) (http://rarge-v2.psc.riken.jp/chloroplast/).
    • PosMed Positional Medline (Y. Makita, et al. RIKEN Synthetic Genome Research Group) Semantic web association study (SWAS) search engine ranks resources including Arabidopsis genes and metabolites, using associations between user-specified phenotypic keywords and resources connected directly or inferentially via a semantic web of biological databases such as MEDLINE, OMIM, pathways, co-expressions, molecular interactions and ontology terms (http://omicspace.riken.jp/).
    • For Genome to Phenome, location information of T-DNA in the genome is available for RIKEN Arabidopsis Activation Tagging lines (Minami Matsui collaboration with NEC Soft co ltd.) (http://metadb.riken.jp/metadb/db/SciNetS_ria37i) and around 10,000 Full-length cDNA information integrated in Arabidopsis FOX (Full-length cDNA Over-eXpressing) lines is available (http://ricefox.psc.riken.jp/).
    • The RIKEN MetaDatabase portal site is used to provide information on RIKEN’s various life science databases. In this database phenotype information of Activation tagging lines, Ac/ Ds transposon lines and FOX lines are available (http://metadb.riken.jp/).
    • Phenome Analysis of Ds transposon-tagging line in Arabidopsis (RAPID) selected about 4,000 transposon insertion lines which have the Ds transposon in gene coding region, and observed visible phenotypes systematically depending on growth stage. Phenotypic descriptions were classified into eight primary and fifty secondary categories, then all recorded images can be searched by the line number or the phenotype categories (http://rarge-v2.psc.riken.jp/phenome/).

    VIB, Plant Systems Biology, Gent, Belgium

    • An integrated network of Arabidopsis growth regulators was built. Next, this network was used for gene prioritization (Sabaghian et al., 2015). Several review papers were published looking into plant growth via gene regulatory networks and how phenotypic measurements and tools can support this integrative analysis (Vanhaeren et al, 2016; Vanhaeren et al, 2015; Wuyts et al, 2015; González et al, 2015).
    • Clauw et al. (2015) analyzed leaf and rosette growth response of six Arabidopsis thaliana accessions to mild drought stress. They employed the automated phenotyping platform WIWAM, which strictly controls the applied watering regime via allowing an automated weighing, watering and imaging of the plants. Analysis of growth related phenotypes and results from genome-wide transcriptome analysis (using RNA sequencing) indicate the existence of a robust response over different genetic backgrounds to mild drought stress in developing leaves. The analysis of a larger set of natural accessions is currently ongoing.
    • Van Landeghem et al. (2016) presents a generic, ontology-driven framework to infer, visualise and analyse an arbitrary set of condition-specific responses against one reference network. To this end, they have implemented novel ontology-based algorithms that can process highly heterogeneous networks, accounting for both physical interactions and regulatory associations, symmetric and directed edges, edge weights and negation. As an illustrative application, they demonstrate its usefulness on a plant abiotic stress study and experimentally confirmed a predicted regulator.
    • Stützel et al. (2016) propose the establishment of a European Consortium for Open Field Experimentation (ECOFE) that will allow easy access of European plant and soil scientists to experimental field stations that cover all major climatological regions. Coordination and quality control of data extraction and management systems will greatly impact on our ability to cope with grand challenges such as climate change and food security.

    The Centre of the Region Haná for Biotechnological and Agricultural Research, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic

    • Our department is equipped with two phenotyping systems PlantScreenTM (PSI, Brno, Czech Republic) dedicated to integrative phenotyping of shoots of various plant species (Humplík et al. 2015a). Phenotyping platform allows measurement of plant growth, chlorophyll fluorescence, leaf temperature and leaf reflectance in fully controlled environment. Experiments performed in the systems are mainly focused on the evaluation of effectivity of synthetic growth regulators or potential bio-stimulants (Bahaji et al. 2015), but the selection of mutants or cultivars can be also provided upon request. As a response on global demand we are developing protocols for assessing impact of various abiotic stresses in different plant developmental stages. One of our aims is selection of cold-tolerant cultivars of field pea (Pisum sativum L.), for which the optimized measuring protocol was developed (Humplík et al. 2015b). Another applied analysis deals with the problem of salinity in the early development of crop species. Recently, we have developed crop seedling emergence software that reveals ability of seeds to germinate and of the seedlings to reach the light before the reserves are exhausted. This high-throughput bioassay (60 variants, 6600 seeds; in one run) automatically provides information about emergence rate as well as the total number of emerged seedlings. Further standardized protocols include in vitro screening of Arabidopsis growth by RGB camera in 24-well or 6-well plates (up to 11 000 seedlings) or complex phenotyping of Micro-Tom tomatoes and baby-lettuce grown in pots.

    INRA LEPSE Montpellier, France

    • Over the past 10 years, the Phenopsis platform has proven its efficiency to disentangle the integrated phenotype of Arabidopsis thaliana under controlled environmental conditions. Phenopsis is part of the Montpellier Plant Phenotyping Platforms (M3P), including three installations PhenoArch, Phenodyn and Phenopsis, hosted and developed by the same research group, INRA-LEPSE (https://www6.montpellier.inra.fr/m3p/). The huge genetic diversity of A. thaliana already investigated in Phenopsis has still been increased with genetically modified lines (Massonnet et al., 2015), collection of accessions (Bac-Molenaar et al., 2015, 2016), populations of recombinant inbred lines (Vasseur et al., 2014) and epigenetic hybrids (Dapp et al., 2015). High-throughput phenotyping effort was combined with genetic analyses (Bac-Molenaar et al., 2015, 2016), statistical modelling (Lièvre et al., 2016) or molecular profiling know-hows (Baerenfaller et al., 2015), giving insights into the regulation of phenotypic changes under various environmental conditions. In the last years, there has been considerable effort in extending the limits for precision phenotyping and exploring the capacities for developing efficient translational biology from models to cultivated species. Beyond the consequence of a significant decrease in research funding dedicated to model species at the benefit of applied research programs it appears important to develop comparative approaches (Blonder et al. 2015). To meet this challenge, recent developments of the Phenopsis platform include the possibility to grow plants in greater soil volume without impairing automated watering and image acquisition that take into account aerial architecture. Greater effort is also put into the exploration of more diverse climatic scenarios including continuous vs. intermittent moderate and severe water deficit combined with other abiotic and biotic factors (Bresson et al. 2015). Promising results have been obtained on the plasticity of plant development in response to drought stress in canola, tomato and Brachypodium distachion.

    IPK Gaterlseben, Germany

    • The whole plant phenotyping infrastructure at the Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK Gatersleben, Germany) comprises three conveyor belt-based, automated, high throughput plant-to-sensor phenotyping facilities (Junker et al. 2015). The system for small plants such as Arabidopsis is situated inside a phyto-chamber and allows for growth and automated imaging as well as weighing/watering of up to 4608 plants in parallel under fully controlled environmental conditions. Imaging in the RGB and near-infrared wavelength ranges, imaging of static and functional fluorescence in combination with 3D surface scanning enables the quantification of a hundreds of plant features ranging from plant architectural traits (plant height and width, projected leaf area (top, side view), estimated volume, Klukas et al. 2014), through physiological traits (color-related traits, Klukas et al. 2014, CHL fluorescence-related such as Fv/Fm, Fv’/Fm’, PhiPSII, relations to moisture content by NIR), to 3D related traits (leaf angles, 3D corrected projected areas).
    • Experience cumulated since 2011 was used to establish appropriate experimental procedures and designs that support the detection of genotypic and environmental effects on plant growth, development, and performance (Junker et al. 2015). This includes procedures for estimation of variance components and appropriate correction of potential inhomogeneities of conditions in the plant growth area. To enable the logging of the environmental regime the plants are exposed to during the course of experiments, a wireless sensor network has been installed for the continuous monitoring of light intensity (PAR), air temperature, rel. air humidity, light spectrum, radiation balance, and CO2 concentration at any place inside the growth chamber. Further upgrades are intended in order to enable simultaneous root and shoot phenotyping.
    • Standard experimental procedures are implemented that enable phenotypic analyses of plants under various treatments such as drought and salt stress (Muscolo et al. 2015, Harshavardhan et al. 2014) and the assessment of specific plant traits such as flowering timepoint, water use efficiency and plant organ movements. Recent and future activities involve the phenotypic characterization of an Arabidopsis accession panel under controlled environmental variation as well as hybrids and segregating populations with respect to the detailed analysis of the genetic basis of growth and metabolism control and heterosis.
    • The existing image analysis platform (IAP, Klukas et al. 2014) is currently being extended for the integrated/combinatorial analysis of the data (projected 2D images, 3D point clouds) derived from the various camera and scanning installations of the multi-sensor setup in order to retrieve novel information and to increase the precision (spatial resolution) of phenotypic trait extraction and data interpretation.
    • Resources: IAP - Integrated Analysis Platform (http://iapg2p.sourceforge.net/), has been designed and developed to support the analysis of large-scale image data sets of different camera systems. It aims at bridging various -omics domains and offers integrated approaches for image analysis up to data post-processing. (Klukas et al. 2014); PGP - Plant Genomics and Phenomics Research Data Repository (http://edal.ipk-gatersleben.de/repos/pgp/) provides infrastructure to publish plant research data, in particular cross-domain datasets and phenomics datasets and respective metadata information, which are assigned with citable DOIs for access and reuse by the scientific community (Arend et al. 2016).

    IBG2, Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany

    • Bühler et al. (2015) developed a new software for leaf vein segmentation and analysis named phenoVein. This is a user-friendly tool designed for automated, fast and accurate leaf vein traits including model-based vein width determination. Validation included the quantitative measurement of vein length, width and density in Arabidopsis thaliana using a set of previously described vein structure mutants (hve-2, ond3, as2-101) compared to the wild type accessions Col-0 and Ler-0. phenoVein is freely available as open source software (http://www.fz-juelich.de/ibg/ibg-2/EN/methods/phenovein/phenovein_node.html).
    • Minervini et al. (2015) presented a collection benchmark datasets for the development and evaluation of computer vision and machine learning algorithms in the context of plant phenotyping. In this paper they provide annotated imaging data and suggest suitable evaluation criteria for leaf segmentation procedures. Data sets are publicly available at http://www.plant-phenotyping.org/datasets. This effort is designed to trigger additional efforts by the general computer vision community to experiment upon.
    • Barboza-Barquero et al. (2015) investigated whether semi-dwarfism has a pleiotropic effect at the level of the root system and also whether semi-dwarfs might be more tolerant of water-limiting conditions. The root systems of different Arabidopsis semi-dwarfs and GA biosynthesis mutants were phenotyped in vitro using the GROWSCREEN-ROOT image-based software. In addition, root phenotypes were investigated in soil-filled rhizotrons. Rosette growth trajectories were analysed with the GROWSCREEN-FLUORO setup based on non-invasive imaging.
    • High throughput phenotyping experiments were also performed using RGB and fluorescence camera systems in automated climate chambers, using 80 Arabidopsis ecotypes from the 1001 genome project investigating heat stress conditions (Körber et al, unpublished).

    Conferences and Workshops


    • EPPN Plant Phenotyping Symposium: Next generation plant phenotyping for trait discovery, breeding, and beyond: transnational access to European platforms, 11-12 November 2015, Barcelona, Spain
    • The European Plant Phenotyping Network organized a Spring School on Plant Phenotyping, Aberystwyth, 9 -13 March, 2015
    • VIB – Ghent University organized an EMBO practical course entitled “Insights into plant biological processes through phenotyping” together with University of Louvain and University of Liège from 13-19 September 2015
    • The German Plant Phenotyping Network (DPPN) and the EURoot project co-organized a Winter School in Root Phenotyping at Forschungszentrum Jülich, IBG2 Plant Sciences, 2-6 November, 2015
    • 1st General Meeting of the COST action FA1306 “The quest for tolerant varieties - Phenotyping at plant and cellular level”, 22-24 June 2015, IPK Gatersleben, Germany
    • Recent progress in drought tolerance: from genetics to modelling, 8-9 June, 2015, Le Corum – Montpellier, France, organized by DROPS and EUCARPIA.
    • Measuring the Photosynthetic Phenome, 7-9 July, Wageningen, the Netherlands
    • International Plant and Algal Phenomics Meeting (IPAP), 27-30 June 2015, Prague, Czech Republic


    Selected Publications

    • JJB (2016) Genome wide association mapping of time-dependent growth responses to moderate drought stress in Arabidopsis. Plant, Cell & Environment. 39: 88-102
    • Baerenfaller K, Massonnet C, Hennig L, Russenberger D, Sulpice R, Walsh S, Stitt M, Granier C, Gruissem W (2015) A long photoperiod relaxes energy management in Arabidopsis leaf six. Current Plant Biology. 2: 34-45
    • Bühler J, Rishmawi L, Pflugfelder D, Huber G, Scharr H, Hülskamp M, Koornneef M, Schurr U, Jahnke S (2015) phenoVein - A tool for leaf vein segmentation and analysis. Plant Physiology. 169: 2359-2370
    • Clauw P, Coppens F, De Beuf K, Dhondt S, Van Daele T, Maleux K, Storme V, Clement L, Gonzalez N, Inzé D (2015) Leaf responses to mild drought stress in natural variants of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology. 167(3):800-16
    • Higaki T, Kutsuna N, Akita K, Sato M, Sawaki F, Kobayashi M, Nagata N, Toyooka K, Hasezawa S (2015) Semi-automatic organelle detection on transmission electron microscopic images. Scientific Reports. 5:7794


    T (2014) RARGE II: An Integrated Phenotype Database of Arabidopsis Mutant Traits Using a Controlled Vocabulary. Plant Cell Physiology, 55(1): e4 doi:10.1093/pcp/pct165P.
    Arend D, Junker A, Scholz U, Schüler D, Wylie J, Lange M (2016) PGP repository: A plant phenomics and genomics data publication infrastructure. Database (Accepted)
    Bac-Molenaar JA, Granier C, Vreugdenhil D, Keurentjes JJB (2016) Genome wide association mapping of time-dependent growth responses to moderate drought stress in Arabidopsis. Plant, Cell & Environment. 39: 88-102.
    Bac-Molenaar JA, Vreugdenhil D, Granier C, Keurentjes JJB (2015) Genome wide association mapping of growth dynamics detects time-specific and general QTLs. Journal of Experimental Botany. 66: (18) 5567-5580.
    Baerenfaller K, Massonnet C, Hennig L, Russenberger D, Sulpice R, Walsh S, Stitt M, Granier C, Gruissem W (2015) A long photoperiod relaxes energy management in Arabidopsis leaf six. Current Plant Biology. 2: 34-45.
    Bahaji A, Sánchez-López ÁM, De Diego N, Muñoz FJ, Baroja-Fernández E, et al. (2015) Plastidic phosphoglucose isomerase is an important determinant of starch accumulation in mesophyll cells, growth, photosynthetic capacity, and biosynthesis of plastidic cytokinins in Arabidopsis. PLoS One 10: e0119641.
    Barboza-Barquero L, Nagel KA, Jansen M, Klasen JR, Kastenholz B, Braun S, Bleise B, Brehm T, Koornneef M, Fiorani F (2015). Phenotype of Arabidopsis thaliana semi-dwarfs with deep roots and high growth rates under water-limiting conditions is independent of the GA5 loss-of-function alleles. Annals of Botany. 116: 321-331.
    Blonder B, Vasseur F, Violle C, Shipley B, Enquist B, Vile D (2015) Testing models for the origin of the leaf economics spectrum with leaf and whole-plant traits in Arabidopsis thaliana. AoB Plants. 7: DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plv049.
    Bresson J, Vasseur F, Dauzat M, Koch G, Granier C, Vile D (2015) Quantifying spatial heterogeneity of chlorophyll fluorescence during plant growth and in response to water stress. Plant Methods. 11: 23.
    Bühler J, Rishmawi L, Pflugfelder D, Huber G, Scharr H, Hülskamp M, Koornneef M, Schurr U, Jahnke S (2015) phenoVein - A tool for leaf vein segmentation and analysis. Plant Physiology. 169: 2359-2370.
    Clauw P, Coppens F, De Beuf K, Dhondt S, Van Daele T, Maleux K, Storme V, Clement L, Gonzalez N, Inzé D (2015) Leaf responses to mild drought stress in natural variants of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology. 167(3):800-16.
    Dapp M, Reinders J, Bédiée A, Balsera C, Bucher E, Theiler G, Granier G, Paszkowski J (2015) Heterosis and inbreeding depression of epigenetic Arabidopsis hybrids. Nature Plants. 1: 15092.
    González N, Inzé D (2015) Molecular systems governing leaf growth: from genes to networks. Journal of Experimental Botany. 66(4):1045-54.
    Harshavardhan VT, Van Son L, Seiler C, Junker A, Weigelt-Fischer K, Klukas C, Altmann T, Sreenivasulu N, Bäumlein H, Kuhlmann M (2014) AtRD22 and AtUSPL1, members of the plant-specific BURP domain family involved in Arabidopsis thaliana drought tolerance. PLoS One 9 (2014) e110065. dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0110065
    Higaki T, Kutsuna N, Akita K, Sato M, Sawaki F, Kobayashi M, Nagata N, Toyooka K, Hasezawa S (2015) Semi-automatic organelle detection on transmission electron microscopic images. Scientific Reports. 5:7794.
    Humplík JF, Lazár D, Husičková A, Spíchal L (2015a) Automated phenotyping of plant shoots using imaging methods for analysis of plant stress responses – a review. Plant Methods 11: 29.
    Humplík JF, Lazár D, Fürst T, Husičková A, Hýbl M, Spíchal L (2015b) Automated integrative high-throughput phenotyping of plant shoots: a case study of the cold-tolerance of pea (Pisum sativum L.). Plant Methods 11: 1–11.
    Junker A, Muraya M M, Weigelt-Fischer K, Arana-Ceballos F, Klukas C, Melchinger A E, Meyer R C, Riewe D, Altmann T (2015) Optimizing experimental procedures for quantitative evaluation of crop plant performance in high throughput phenotyping systems. Frontiers Plant Science. 5: 770. dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2014.00770
    Klukas C, Chen D, Pape JM (2014): Integrated Analysis Platform: An open-source information system for high-throughput plant phenotyping. Plant Physiology. 165: 506-518.
    Kuromori T, Fujita M, Urano K, Tanabata T, Sugimoto E, Shinozaki K (2016). Overexpression of AtABCG25 enhances the abscisic acid signal in guard cells and improves plant water use efficiency, Plant Science. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.plantsci.2016.02.019.
    Lièvre M., Granier C., Guédon Y. (2016) Identifying developmental phases in Arabidopsis thaliana rosette using integrative segmentation models. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.13861.
    Massonnet C, Dauzat M, Bédiée A, Vile D, Granier C (2015) Individual leaf area of early flowering arabidopsis genotypes is more affected by drought than late flowering ones: a multi-scale analysis in 35 genetically modified lines. American Journal of Plant Sciences. 6: 955-971.
    Minervini M, Fischbach A, Scharr H, Tsaftaris SA (2015). Finely-grained annotated datasets for image-based plant phenotyping, Pattern Recognition Letters, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.patrec.2015.10.013.
    Muscolo A, Junker A, Klukas C, Weigelt-Fischer K, Riewe D, Altmann T (2015): Phenotypic and metabolic responses to drought and salinity of four contrasting lentil accessions. Journal of Experimental Botany. 66: 5467-5480.
    Onogi A, Watanabe M, Mochizuki T, Hayashi T, Nakagawa H, Hasegawa T, Iwata H (2016) Toward integration of genomic selection with crop modelling: the development of an integrated approach to predicting rice heading dates. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 129(4):805-817.
    Sabaghian E, Drebert Z, Inzé D, Saeys Y (2015) An integrated network of Arabidopsis growth regulators and its use for gene prioritization. Scientific Reports. 5:17617
    Stützel H, Brüggemann N, Inzé D (2016) The Future of Field Trials in Europe: Establishing a Network Beyond Boundaries. Trends Plant Science. 21(2):92-5.
    Sugiura R, Itoh A, Nishiwaki K, Murakami N, Shibuya Y, Hirafuji M, Nuske S (2015) Development of High-Throughput Field Phenotyping System Using Imagery from Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. ASABE Annual International Meeting 152152494.
    Vanhaeren H, Inzé D, Gonzalez N. (2016) Plant growth beyond limits. Trends Plant Science. 21(2):102-9.
    Van Landeghem S, Van Parys T, Dubois M, Inzé D, Van de Peer Y. (2016) Diffany: an ontology-driven framework to infer, visualise and analyse differential molecular networks. BMC Bioinformatics. 17(1):18.
    Vanhaeren H, Gonzalez N, Inzé D. (2015) A journey through a leaf: phenomics analysis of leaf growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. Arabidopsis Book. 13:e0181.
    Vasseur F, Bontpart T, Dauzat M, Granier C, Vile D (2014) Multivariate genetic analysis of plant responses to water deficit and high temperature revealed contrasted adaptive strategies. Journal of Experimental Botany. 65: (22) 6457-6469.
    Wuyts N, Dhondt S, Inzé D (2015) Measurement of plant growth in view of an integrative analysis of regulatory networks. Curr Opin Plant Biology. 25:90-7.

  • Plant Immunity Open or Close

    Shahid Mukhtar, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA

        The concept of growth to defense tradeoffs in plants has been known for over three decades (Coley et al., 1985). Upon activation of antimicrobial or anti-herbivore defenses, plants redirect their limited resources to invest in the immune response at the cost of growth, development, reproduction, and overall yield. However, the molecular mechanisms governing this balancing act have only recently begun to be elucidated.

        Upon infection with the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae, a massive reprogramming of transcriptional and translational activities occurs to boost the immune response while hampering growth and development. It is now well established that a small subset of mRNAs that possess upstream Open Reading Frames (uORFs) in their 5’ UTRs are selectively translated in response to immune stimulation, while general translational activities are attenuated. This process is dependent on a phosphorylation of eukaryotic Initiation Factor 2B (eIF2B) by GCN2 (General Control Nonderepressible 2), a sensor kinase conserved in all eukaryotes. While the molecular mechanisms underlying growth to defense tradeoffs are complex and multifaceted, hormone crosstalk has emerged as a major player in regulating tradeoffs needed to achieve a balance.

        Recently, it was shown that Arabidopsis GCN2 differentially contributes to pre- and post-invasive immunity against P. syringae through abscisic acid biosynthesis and signaling (Liu et al., 2019, doi:10.1038/s42003-019-0544-x). Moreover, the construction of large scale protein-protein interaction networks not only illuminated the first layer of plant immunity but also highlighted the molecular circuitry of how plant extracellular receptors perceive growth signals vs. immune signals. These interaction patterns help to mechanically understand how an immune signal in PTI (Pattern-Triggered Immunity) can override basic developmental and growth programs, and relay downstream messages to promote defense responses (Ahmed et al., 2018, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-04632-8 ; Smakowska-Luzan et al., 2018, doi:10.1038/nature25184).

        Another topic that is currently gaining a lot of momentum is how the plant hosts differentiate friends from foes – specifically, how the roots and leaves discriminate between signals of beneficial vs. pathogenic microbes. This process is in a large part accomplished by the identification of receptors for microbe/pathogens-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs/MAMPs) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) (Zhou et al., 2020, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2020.01.013).

        The recent advances in sequencing technology allow us to gain deeper insights into the community of leaf and root microbiota and their influence on plant growth. In parallel, Arabidopsis genetics provides means to identify the important components for the host interaction with beneficial/commensal microbes (Teixeira et al., 2019, doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2019.08.003). The ultimate goal of this research is to apply the resulting knowledge for agriculture to contribute food security worldwide.

        In the second layer of defense, pathogen molecules or effectors are recognized by R (resistance) proteins, where NLRs (NOD-like receptors) play prominent roles. NLR biology is another fast growing field of molecular plant-microbe interactions. Both plant as well as animal NLR research was substantially boosted within the past year, and major steps were taken that will enable the community to discover new mechanisms, develop new cutting-edge technologies and to dive deeper into the fascinating world of plant immunity and plant-microbe interactions.

        The solving of the first plant NLR full length protein structure by cryo-electron microscopy and the discovery of an enzymatic (NADase) activity of plant-, animal- and bacterial TIR domains are only two major discoveries of the recent year (Burdett et al., 2019, doi:10.1016/j.chom.2019.07.020; Wan et al., 2019, doi:: 10.1126/science.aax1771; Wang et al., 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aav5870; Wang et al., 2019, doi: 10.1126/science.aav5868) . The primary goal of a virulent pathogen is not to interfere or suppress immune response, but to acquire nutrients, which will allow its survival, growth and multiplication, and in the long term – its evolutionary success. During effector-triggered susceptibility (ETS), pathogens utilize a suite of effectors to evade receptor-mediated recognition, suppress immune responses and acquire nutrients.

        Another emerging frontier in plant immunity, namely the nutrient war between the host and pathogen has been in the limelight. Specifically, the research programs aiming to understand how pathogens can hijack the host transcriptional machinery by directly or indirectly altering the host signaling and/or biosynthetic pathways to siphon sugars and amino acids. Other very exciting developments were achieved in the field of small RNAs and their role in plant-microbe (pathogenic as well as symbiotic) interactions and their potential cross-kingdom trafficking via so called exosomes or exosomal membranes/vesicles (Vincent et al., 2019, doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01626).

        Finally, new biochemical (Bio-ID labelling) and genetic/genome-editing (optimized CRSIPR/CAS) tools have been developed and optimized for plant research (Khan et al., 2018, doi:10.1038/s41598-018-27500-3; Cui et al., 2019, doi:10.1186/s13007-019-0500-2; Ahmad et al., 2020, doi:10.1002/jcp.29052).

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

    • ProteomicsDB and ATHENA databases (Mass-spectrometry-based draft of the Arabidopsis proteome – Mergner et al., 2020 Nature, 579: 409-414)

    • EffectorK (www.effectork.org) – (EffectorK, a comprehensive resource to mine for pathogen effector targets in the Arabidopsis proteome – Gonzalez-Fuente et al., 2020 bioRxiv)

    • P. syringae Type III Effector Compendium (PsyTEC) – (The pan-genome effector-triggered immunity landscape of a host-pathogen interaction – Laflamme et al., 2020 Science)

    • Prime genome editing in rice and wheat – Lin et al., 2020 Nature Biotechnology

    • Super-Agrobacterium ver. 4: Improving the Transformation Frequencies and Genetic Engineering Possibilities for Crop Plants doi:10.3389/fpls.2019.01204

    • New biosensor for detection of ethylene gas in fruits and leaves doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13758-2

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members.

        The members of plant immunity subcommittee organized workshop/conference sessions, and presented talks and posters at various international conferences in 2019. These include 2019 IS-MPMI XVIII Congress, in Glasgow, Scotland, International workshop of plants and nematodes interaction” at the RIKEN Yokohama, Japan institute, Systems Biology and machine learning workshop at PAG, San Diego, “Plant Signaling in Abiotic and Biotic Stress”, Columbia, MO (May 2019), Southern Section of American Society of Plant Biologists (SS-ASPB) in March 2019 (Clemson University, SC, USA), and NSF-sponsored workshop “Reintegrating Biology Jumpstart” (Atlanta, December 2019).

        A subcommittee member in collaboration with other scientists from the community developed valuable tools.  This includes (1) a new biosensor for ethylene gas and successfully detected ethylene production in fruits and also in Arabidopsis leaves during PAMP-triggered immunity and effector-triggered immunity (Nat Commun. doi: 10:5746, 2019); and (2) Super-Agrobacterium that gives higher transformation efficiency in plants by introducing both the ACC deaminase (acdS) and GABA transaminase (gabT) genes, whose resultant enzymes degrade ACC, the ethylene precursor, and GABA, respectively (Front Plant Sci. doi: 10:1204, 2019). The subcommittee members have also organized laboratory workshops on training of high school teachers in plant biology and plant blindness as well as hands on training to minority students in plant pathology.

        In summary, the combined efforts of subcommittee members have contributed tremendously in the field of plant immunity, enhanced national and international collaborations, contributed in the development of novel and innovative tools, and participated in outreach activities.

    Conferences, Workshops and Training events

    • 4th International Conference “Plant Biotic Stresses & Resistance Mechanisms IV” at the Technische Universität of Vienna (19-20 February 2020)

    • International Congress of Nematology (ICN) in 2020

    • International workshop of the interaction of Arabidopsis and root-knot nematodes at RIKEN (2020)

    • PCBI - Plant Cell Biology International Meeting, June 1 - 5, 2020, at OAC, Chania, Crete, Greece (postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic)

    • PAG 2021, organize systems biology and machine learning workshop.

    Selected Publications

    Laflamme, B., Dillon, M.M., Martel, A., Almeida, R.N.D., Desveaux, D. and Guttman, D.S. (2020) The pan-genome effector-triggered immunity landscape of a host-pathogen interaction. Science, 367, 763-768

    Vong, K., Eda, S., Kadota, Y., Nasibullin, I., Wakatake, T., Yokoshima, S., Shirasu, K. and Tanaka, K. (2019) An artificial metalloenzyme biosensor can detect ethylene gas in fruits and Arabidopsis leaves. Nat Commun, 10, 5746.

    Wan, L., Essuman, K., Anderson, R.G., Sasaki, Y., Monteiro, F., Chung, E.H., Osborne Nishimura, E., DiAntonio, A., Milbrandt, J., Dangl, J.L. and Nishimura, M.T. (2019) TIR domains of plant immune receptors are NAD(+)-cleaving enzymes that promote cell death. Science, 365, 799-803.

    Wang, J., Wang, J., Hu, M., Wu, S., Qi, J., Wang, G., Han, Z., Qi, Y., Gao, N., Wang, H.W., Zhou, J.M. and Chai, J. (2019) Ligand-triggered allosteric ADP release primes a plant NLR complex. Science, 364.

    Zhou, F., Emonet, A., Denervaud Tendon, V., Marhavy, P., Wu, D., Lahaye, T. and Geldner, N. (2020) Co-incidence of Damage and Microbial Patterns Controls Localized Immune Responses in Roots. Cell, 180, 440-453 e418

  • Proteomics Open or Close
    By Joshua Heazlewood (chair), University of Melbourne

    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    August 6th 2020

    The proteomics subcommittee of MASC has tasked itself with the dissemination and visualization of protein-associated data from studies that have employed Arabidopsis. These started with data generated by proteomic surveys, but has extended to protein-protein interactions, subcellular localizations and post-translational modifications The initial development of Arabidopsis community portals mostly focused on genomics, genetics and genes. This was not surprising given the community efforts to sequence the genome and develop molecular genetic resources. A very similar process occurred in other reference organisms such as yeast and Drosophila.

        With the development of mass spectrometry at the start of the 21st century and the availability of high-quality genome sequence data, a great deal of information about Arabidopsis proteins was being generated. As indicated, the Arabidopsis community portals (The Arabidopsis Information Resource and Munich Information Center for Protein Sequences) were mainly compiling gene-centric information. As a result, a number of groups working in the area of proteomics started to create data repositories that sought to capture protein-based information generated in-house and also data generated by colleagues. Much of these initial large-scale proteomic datasets resided in supplemental material that was impenetrable to the community. Thus the rise of proteomic-based portals started to occur by the mid 2000s. The researchers developing these databases became the nucleus of the proteomics subcommittee of MASC.

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

        The subcommittee has been committed to the task of proteomics data centralization and visualization. Over the past year, updates have been made to various proteomic data repositories, see list at http://www.masc-proteomics.org/. Subcommittee member Klaas Van Wijk was successful in obtaining an NSF-funded Plant Peptide Atlas project that will see plant proteomic data made available through the Institute for Systems Biology, Peptide Atlas portal (http://www.peptideatlas.org/). The objective of the Peptide Atlas is to enable the annotation of eukaryotic genomes through a thorough validation of expressed proteins.

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members

        The members of the proteomics subcommittee (MASCP) maintain a range of online resources with a focus on collating data associated with Arabidopsis proteins. Many of these resources house extensive proteomic data from experiments conducted on Arabidopsis and other species. As the volume of data increases, some discussions about the value of these repositories has occurred. The subcommittee is examining how best to port proteomic data into ePlant e.g. abundance, protein evidence and post-translational modifications. A number of significant updates and surveys of the Arabidopsis proteome has occurred in 2019 / 2020 (see selected publications). The subcommittee intends to look at how these data can be incorporated into current community portals.

    Selected Publications

    McWhite CD, Papoulas O, Drew K, Cox RM, June V, Dong OX, Kwon T, Wan C, Salmi ML, Roux SJ, Browning KS, Chen ZJ, Ronald PC, Marcotte EM (2020) A Pan-plant Protein Complex Map Reveals Deep Conservation and Novel Assemblies. Cell. 16;181(2):460-474

    Mergner J, Frejno M, List M, Papacek M, Chen X, Chaudhary A, Samaras P et al (2020) Mass-spectrometry-based draft of the Arabidopsis proteome. Nature 579: 409-414

    Millar AH, Heazlewood JL, Giglione C, Holdsworth MJ, Bachmair A, Schulze WX (2019) The Scope, Functions, and Dynamics of Posttranslational Protein Modifications. Annual Review of Plant Biology 70: 119-151

    Niehaus M, Straube H, Kunzler P, Rugen N, Hegermann J, Giavalisco P, Eubel H, Witte CP, Herde M (2020) Rapid Affinity Purification of Tagged Plant Mitochondria (Mito-AP) for Metabolome and Proteome Analyses. Plant Physiol 182: 1194-1210

    Romero-Barrios N, Monachello D, Dolde U, Wong A, San Clemente H, Cayrel A, Johnson A, Lurin C, Vert G (2020) Advanced Cataloging of Lysine-63 Polyubiquitin Networks by Genomic, Interactome, and Sensor-Based Proteomic Analyses. Plant Cell 32: 123-138

    Zhang H, Liu P, Guo T, Zhao H, Bensaddek D, Aebersold R, Xiong L (2019) Arabidopsis proteome and the mass spectral assay library. Sci Data 6: 278

  • Systems and Synthetic Biology Open or Close

    By Siobhan Brady (chair) with contributions from subcommittee members Gloria Coruzzi, Gabriel Krouk

    Prepared by
    Siobhan Brady, UC Davis
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    August 6th 2020

    Research related to our subcommittee has been highly active over the last year, with many more exciting findings on the way.  Proteome, protein-protein and molecular interactions are now easily identifiable and searchable through the Arabidopsis Interactions Viewer; http://bar.utoronto.ca/interactions2/ (Dong et al., 2020); the Loop system of plasmids are open-source and scalable and will enable rapid, modular and multiplexed vector construction for synthetic biology (Pollak et al., 2019), and the TuxNet tool enables the general Arabidopsis community to process RNAseq data and infer gene regulatory interactions and networks (Spurney et al., 2020).

        Our sub-committee hosted our first spectacular conference (iPSB) in Roscoff, France in 2018, and culminated in a special issue of Molecular Plant (volume 12, issue 6). The 2nd edition of this conference will be held in 2021 in Venice, Italy, and the CSHL Network Biology conference will be held in 2021.  Several workshops in this subject area were convened in the past year and have resulted in two perspective papers concerning systems and synthetic biology and its future (Argueso et al., 2019; Wurtzel et al., 2019).  Finally, Arabidopsis research concerning systems and synthetic biology include the first systematic detection of chromatin-based regulatory elements in plants (Lu et al., 2019), mapping temporal regulatory interactions in the early N response (Brooks et al., 2019), stem-cell specific gene networks (Clark et al., 2019), the use of single cell sequencing, gene networks and mathematical modeling to elucidate a switch in xylem cell differentiation (Turco et al., 2019) and an overview of how to use quantitative systems biology approaches to unravel the complex network of genetic, microbial and metabolic interactions occurring during microbe-host (plant) interactions.

    Recently developed Open Tools and Resources for Arabidopsis Researchers

    Dong S, Lau V, Song R, Ierullo M, Esteban E, Wu Y, Sivieng T, Nahal H, Gaudinier A, Pasha A, Oughtred R, Dolinski K, Tyers M, Brady SM, Grene R, Usadel B, Provart NJ. (2019) Proteome-wide, Structure-Based Prediction of Protein-Protein Interactions/New Molecular Interactions Viewer. Plant Physiology. 179(4): 1893-1907.

    Pollak B, Cerda A, Delmans M, Álamos S, Moyano T, West A, Gutiérrez RA, Patron NJ, Federici F, Haseloff J. (2019) Loop assembly: a simple and open system for recursive fabrication of DNA circuits. New Phytologist. 222(1):628-640.

    Spurney RJ, Van den Broeck L, Clark NM, Fisher AP, de Luis Balaguer MA, Sozzani R. (2020). Tuxnet: a simple interface to process RNA sequencing data and infer gene regulatory networks. Plant Journal. 101(3):716-730.

    Recent or Future activities of Subcommittee members.

    A special Issue of Molecular Plant – “Plant Systems Biology” Volume 12, Issue 6, p727-892; with editorial contribution from Pascal Falter-Braun, Siobhan Brady, Rodrigo A. Gutierrez, Gloria M. Coruzzi, Gabriel Krouk

    * Falter-Braun P, Brady S, Gutiérrez RA, Coruzzi GM, Krouk G. (2019). iPlant Systems Biology (iPSB): An International Network Hub in the Plant Community. Molecular Plant 12(6): 727-730

    *The 2nd International Conference on Plant Systems Biology; September 21-25 2020 – due to COVID-19 concerns, please refer to the website for up-to-date information: https://meetings.embo.org/event/20-plant-systems

    Conferences, Workshops and Training events

    • OpenPlant Forum 2019 – Cambridge, UK https://www.openplant.org/forum

    • 3rd International Conference on Plant Synthetic Biology, Bioengineering and Biotechnology, October 2019, Cambridge, UK https://www.aiche.org/sbe/conferences/international-conference-on-plant-synthetic-biology-and-bioengineering/2019
    • Plant Synthetic Biology August, 2019, San Jose, USA https://plantsyntheticbiology.org

    • NSR ERC Planning Workshop (2019); as a result of RiseEnAg: an Engineering Research Center for Rapid Innovations in SystEms Engineering and Agricultural Sustainability (NSF EEC #1840440)

    Planned for Coming Years:

    • CSHL Systems Biology: Networks (2021).
    EMBO Conf. European Network Biology Conference, From Networks to Modelling: Hinxton, UK April 21-23 (2020). https://www.ebi.ac.uk/training/events/2020/2nd-european-network-biology-conference-networks-modelling

    • 2nd International Plant Systems Biology Conference, Venice, September 21-25 (2020) https://meetings.embo.org/event/20-plant-systems

    Products from Past Workshops:

    Argueso CT, Assmann SM, Birnbaum KD, Chen S, Dinneny JR, Doherty CJ, Eveland AL, Friesner J, Greenlee VR, Law JA, Marshall-Colón A, Mason GA, O’Lexy R, Peck SC, Schmitz RJ, Song L, Stern D, Varagona MJ, Walley JW, Williams CM. (2019) Directions for research and training in plant omics. Plant Direct. 3(4), e00133.

    Wurtzel ET, Vickers CE, Hansn AD, Millar AH, Cooper M, Voss-Fels KP, Nikel PI, Erb TJ. (2019) Revolutionizing agriculture with synthetic biology. Nature Plants. 5(12):1207-1210

    Selected Publications

    Brooks MD, Cirrone J, Pasquino AV, Swift J, Alvarez JM, Mittal S, Juang C-L, Varala K, Gutiérrez RA, Krouk G, Shasha D, Coruzzi GM. (2019) Network Walking charts transcriptional dynamics of nitrogen signaling by integrating validated and predicted genome-wide interactions. Nature Communications. 10(1):1569.

    Clark NM, Buckner E, Fisher AP, Nelson EC, Nguyen TT, Simmons AR, de Luis Balaguer MA, Butler-Smith T, Sheldon PJ, Bergmann DC, Williams CM, Sozzani R. (2019) Stem-cell-ubiquitous genes spatiotemporally coordinate division through regulation of stem-cell-specific gene networks. Nature Communications. 10:5574.

    Lu Z, Marand AP, Ricci WA, Ethridge CL, Zhang X, Schmitz RJ.  (2019) The prevalence, evolution and chromatin signatures of plant regulatory elements. Nature Plants. 5:1250-1259.

    Rodriguez PA, Rothballer M, Chowdhury SP, Nussbaumer T, Gutjahr C, Falter-Braun P. (2019). Systems Biology of Plant-Microbiome Interactions. Molecular Plant. 12(6):804-821.

    Turco GM, Rodriguez-Medina J, Siebert S, Han D, Valderamma-Gómez MÁ, Vahldick H, Shulse CN, Cole BJ, Juliano CE, Dickel DE, Savageau MA, Brady SM. (2019). Molecular Mechanisms Driving Switch Behavior in Xylem Cell Differentiation. Cell Reports. 28(2):342-351.