PerspectiveCell Biology

A Cellular Roadmap for the Plant Kingdom

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Science  29 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6042, pp. 532-533
DOI: 10.1126/science.1209753

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One can learn a lot from an urban subway network just by looking at its map. It illustrates crossroads that must be under high surveillance, for example, because a disruption at these central stations can affect the entire system. The map also reflects the city's history, with old lines running through the urban center and recent ones along the periphery. In recent years, researchers have worked to draw analogous maps for cellular networks. These maps link proteins that physically interact and reflect how cells organize biochemical and biophysical processes and convey molecular signals. Attempts to develop entire protein interaction maps (interactomes), however, have been limited to bacteria, unicellular fungi, and a few animals. Now, two studies in this issue, by the Arabidopsis Interactome Mapping Consortium (1) on page 601 and Mukhtar et al. (2) on page 596, add a flowering plant to the list. They report on the interactome of Arabidopsis thaliana and show how pathogens may exploit protein interactions to manipulate a plant's cellular machinery.