News & Publications


CEC 2015 Meeting, Boston

The Crop Engineering Consortium is an initiative to coordinate approaches to crop engineering for the benefit of agricultural projects being run for food security and the global good in Europe, USA and Africa. The CEC was originally conceived as an alignment of strategies between three of the largest Gates Foundation-sponsored crop engineering initiatives, ENSA, C4 Rice and RIPE. The support network has since been extended to include researchers from 18 institutions with a shared interest in tackling complex engineering tasks in crops. Aligning the use of Golden Gate cloning technology between members of the CEC allowed for significant acceleration of all projects through rapid construct assembly. The CEC now provides a gateway to the surrounding technologies of gene read more…

SynBio for Pan-African Scientists

“I am going to use it again and again. The way you deliver the course is brilliant!” - Biniam Ghebreslassie, Jomo Kenyatta University The Synbio workshop is a collaboration event that was created through the ENSA’s Crop Engineering Consortium, funded by the Gates Foundation and made possible through the BecA-JIC Alliance. The 2015 training workshop was hosted at the BecA-ILRI Hub in Nairobi, Kenya. The project focuses on provides training in Golden Gate cloning; a recently developed method to assemble multiple DNA fragments simultaneously and directionally in a single tube reaction. This method has reduced months or years of work down into a matter of days and can generate multiple constructs read more…

Technical Golden Gate Training at the Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa Hub.

“I really liked how the course was set out it involved a lot of fun activities. The instructors passed the message in a clear manner. I look forward to applying the skills learned in my project.” - Eric Magembe, Senior research associate, International Potato Center (CIP) Golden Gate cloning is a method to assemble multiple DNA fragments simultaneously and directionally in a single tube reaction. The modular system of DNA assembly allows the rapid construction of gene expression cassettes from basic parts and the hierarchical assembly of these units into multi-gene constructs for plant transformation. This method can reduce months or years of work to a matter of days and read more…

Nuclear-Localised Cyclic Nucleotide Gated Channels Mediate Symbiotic Calcium Oscillations

Charpentier M, Sun J, Martins TV, Radhakrishnan GV, Findlay K, Soumpourou E, Thouin J, Véry AA, Sanders D, Morris RJ, Oldroyd GED, 27 MAY 2016, Science : 1102-1105

Nuclear-associated Ca2+ oscillations mediate plant responses to beneficial microbial partners—namely, nitrogen-fixing rhizobial bacteria that colonize roots of legumes and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi that colonize roots of the majority of plant species. A potassium-permeable channel is known to be required for symbiotic Ca2+ oscillations, but the calcium channels themselves have been unknown until now. We show that three cyclic nucleotide–gated channels in Medicago truncatula are required for nuclear Ca2+oscillations and subsequent read more…

The receptor Kinase CERK1 has Dual Functions in Symbiosis and Immunity Signalling

Zhang, X, Dong, W, Sun, J, Feng, F, Deng, Y, He, Z, Oldroyd, G and Wang, E (2015) Plant Journal 81:258-267

The establishment of symbiotic interactions between mycorrhizal fungi, rhizobial bacteria and their legume hosts involves a common symbiosis signalling pathway. This signalling pathway is activated by Nod factors produced by rhizobia and these are recognised by the Nod factor receptors NFR1/LYK3 and NFR5/NFP. Mycorrhizal fungi produce lipochitooligosaccharides (LCOs) similar to Nod factors, as well as short-chain chitin oligomers (CO4/5), implying commonalities in signalling during mycorrhizal and rhizobial associations. Here we read more…

Host-specific Nod-factors Associated with Medicago truncatula Nodule Infection Differentially Induce Calcium Influx and Calcium Spiking in Root Hairs.

Morieri, G, Martinez, E, Jarynowski, A, Driguez, H, Morris, R, Oldroyd, G and Downie, JA (2013). New Phytologist 200: 656-662

Rhizobial nodulation (Nod) factors activate both nodule morphogenesis and infection thread development during legume nodulation. Nod factors induce two different calcium responses: intra-nuclear calcium oscillations and a calcium influx at the root hair tip. Calcium oscillations activate nodule development; we wanted to test if the calcium influx is associated with infection. Sinorhizobium meliloti nodL and nodF mutations additively reduce infection of Medicago truncatula. Nod-factors made by the nodL mutant lack read more…

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