A characteristic of plant life is the ability to rapidly acclimate tissue function and to change body plans in response to changing conditions. Their responsiveness is underpinned by sophisticated signaling and metabolic networks. These networks are generally dynamic and flexible, requiring nondestructive methods for their analysis in the living plant. Over the last decade, substantial progress has been made toward their understanding through in vivo fluorescent protein-based biosensing of plant signaling, physiology, and metabolism. Recent developments have extended these strategies to rewiring of network components using the light-mediated switches of optogenetics (i.e. light-activated genes, proteins, and channels), providing novel options to actively control plant cell and tissue functions. Ironically, the optogenetic tools that have revolutionized bacterial, yeast, and animal research rely largely on light switches that are derived originally from plant photoreceptors. Both biosensors and optogenetic controllers rely on light and synthetic molecular switches for minimal invasive and specific monitoring or control of biological processes in vivo.
Join us for a special webinar to celebrate the Plant Physiology Focus Issue on Sensors and Controllers, hosted by Markus Schwarzländer and Matias Zurbriggen, and featuring three of the authors whose work is included in the Focus Issue.