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SPPS Newsletter September 2013
Index of Issue III 2013
- Report from the 25th SPPS Congress
- Four scientists honored with SPPS Awards
- News about next year’s SPPS PhD Conference
- Minutes from the SPPS General Assembly
- Small changes to the SPPS Council
- See you at the next SPPS Congress in Stockholm 2015
- Look out for this exclusive offer from Wiley
- Green roofs root in major cities
- Scandinavian research institute: Umeå Plant Science Centre, Sweden
- DNA methylation indicates transcriptional activity
The 25th Congress of the Scandinavian Plant Physiology Society was held in August 2013 in Helsingør, Denmark. The meeting took place at LO-Skolen, which is a top quality conference center, situated just north of Helsingør.
The congress counted participants form more than 20 different counties from Europe, Americas, Asia and Africa, with the largest number of participants coming from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. This underlines the international aspect of the society and the broad appeal and relevance of the meeting. In total 140 participants gathered to meet with friends and colleagues and to make new friends, discuss plant biology and exchange scientific ideas throughout a most inspiring conference.
Three new SPPS Awards were given out for the first time during the XXV SPPS Congress in Helsinore. They supplement the SPPS Popularisation Prize, which is a monetary award of honor to encourage plant biologists to bring research results to the public. The three new awards were established at the SPPS General Assembly in 2011 in order to recognise the work and achievements done in advancement of plant physiology and plant science in general.
The SPPS Council decided to give the SPPS 2013 Awards to the following merited scientists
- SPPS Popularization Prize
Teemu H. Teeri, University of Helsinki
- SPPS Early Career Award
Peter Brodersen, University of Copenhagen
- SPPS Award
Eva-Mari Aro, University of Turku
- Physiologia Plantarum Award
Charles L. Guy, University of Florida
Read on below to learn more about the award and the winners.
The organization of next year’s SPPS PhD student conference is well under way and we are excited to give you some news about our progress. The conference, entitled The Molecular Life of Plants: from Theory to Application, will be held from 16 June to 19 June 2014 in Uppsala. The date was chosen so that participants can enjoy the nice Swedish summer weather and we are also organizing a traditional Swedish Midsummer celebration. So, for those of you who, besides the science, are also interested in finding out a bit more about Sweden and its traditions, this opportunity is for you. Moreover, we are happy to announce that the conference will be held at the First Hotel Linné, which is surrounded by the house and garden of the 18th century botanist Carl von Linné.
The SPPS General Assembly was held in LO-Skolen in Elsinore during the XXV SPPS Congress. Thirty seven members attended the meeting. The agenda consisted mostly of regular items. Council President Jaakko Kangasjärvi presented the SPPS Activity report for the period 2011-2013 and Journal responsible member Lisbeth Jonsson gave a report about Physiologia Plantarum. After some questions these were accepted.
Two small changes to the SPPS laws were agreed on after a short discussion. The laws will be announced at the members-only pages as soon as we will get them running. A new Council and other officers were elected like proposed by the Election committee. Read the presentation of the Council members in another article in this issue of SPPS Newsletter.
A new SPPS Council was elected during the Society’s general assembly at the SPPS Congress in August. Most of the officers were re-elected with only one change, namely Cornelia Spetea Wiklund from University of Gothenburg, who got the position as deputy member instead of Mats Ellerström from the same university. Cornelia Spetea Wiklund is professor at Department of Biological and Environmental Science and studies regulation of photosynthesis in plants with focus on biogenesis and dynamics of photosystem II complex.
After this years’ successful congress in Helsinore, Denmark we are pleased to announce that the next SPPS Congress will take place in Stockholm, Sweden sometime in August 2015. The organising committee will be chaired by Lisbeth Jonsson from Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences at Stockholm University.
We will post more information about the event in upcoming issues of SPPS Newsletter, so please stay tuned.
Exclusive for SPPS members, Wiley now offers 35% off on virtually all books in its huge collection. In addition to its large number of scientific journals – including our own Physiologia Plantarum – Wiley has more than 300 books in its catalogue within the topic of plant biology. These include the popular textbook The Molecular Life of Plants with 768 richly illustrated pages that you can now have for only €35.
More than half of the entire human population reside in cities and this figure is expected to rise to 70% in 2030. The growth of urban areas detrimentally invades natural landscapes and have huge negative impact om global climate, as buildings account for 33% of global greenhouse gas emission and around 40% of total primary energy requirement in many industrialized countries. But a solution to many of the comprehensive environmental problems in modern cities is about to come from above. Green roofs – roofs covered with a substrate in which vegetation grows – is now widely considered as an effective strategy to solve these problems.
Eventhough Umeå Plant Science Centre (UPSC) is situated 800 km south from the very top of Sweden, it is still the country’s most northerly located plant research facility. It is headed by Director Ove Nilsson and is a collaboration between the Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University and the Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU). Located at the Umeå campus in a building shared between the university and SLU, UPSC was founded in 1999 with a board and a steering committee. The approximately 160 scientists within UPSC receive financial support from many different sources and are either main applicants or co-applicants on many different large grants. The UPSC board coordinates the activities funded from these different grants.
Methylation of the DNA base cytosine to 5-methyl-deoxy-cytosine (5mdC) is a major contributor to epigenetic regulation of gene expression by altering the conformation of chromatin fibers so genes become accessible or not to the transcriptional complex. Generally, a low level of global genomic DNA methylation is associated with less condensed chromosomes that, theoretically, are more transcriptionally active. Pilar Testillano and her colleagues from Biological Research Centre in Madrid, Spain have now confirmed this relationship in tobacco using two different approaches. When DNA methylation was measured using immunofluorescence in intact tissues, quiescent root meristem was 62% more methylated than the same tissue during active proliferation, whereas high performance capillary electrophoresis (HPCE) of hydrolyzed DNA from the same tissues revealed a difference of 32%. In the anther, the relatively quiscent cells of the tapetum had a 2- to 3-fold higher global methylation level than the differentiating vacuolated microspores when measured using the two methods, respectively. These results confirm that transcriptionally active cells – proliferating or differentiating – are generally less methylated than more quiscent cells.
Read full article here: Testillano et al (September 2013) Physiologia Plantarum 149: 104