Call for Papers

Upcoming Plant Physiology Focus Issues

2020 Focus Issue on RNA Biology

Editors: Julia Bailey-Serres, Motoaki Seki, Jixian Zhai, and Sarah M. Assmann

Deadline for Submission: July 1, 2019
Anticipated Publication Date: January 2020

Genome-scale technologies have revealed underexplored co- and post-transcriptional processes that regulate dynamics in gene expression. Given the importance of RNA-based processes including development and stress tolerance, the elucidation of these diverse mechanisms can have impacts from food security to biotechnology. This Focus Issue will showcase Updates and Research Articles in the field of RNA biology on topics such lncRNAs, small RNAs, RNA structure and modifications (e.g., m6A, polyadenylation), upstream open reading frames, ribonucleoprotein complexes, and genome and epigenome influence on gene expression. Submissions within this theme might include studies on RNA-regulated chromatin modification and organization, transcript synthesis, modification, splicing, export, turnover, translation, sequestration, subcellular localization, and cell-to-cell movement, as well as RNA processes in plastids and mitochondria.

Authors interested in contributing should indicate this in the cover letter when submitting papers online at Please select “RNA Biology” from the Focus Issue list in the online submission system. Articles published in Plant Physiology on this topic within 2 years before and after the Focus Issue publication date will be collected in an online Focus Collection.

Please contact Julia Bailey Serres (, Motoaki Seki (, Jixian Zhai (, or Sarah M. Assmann ( for more information.

To submit an article, go to

2019 Focus Issue on Biotic Stress

Editors: Hailing Jin, Melissa Goellner Mitchum, Ralph Panstruga, and Julie Stone

Deadline for submission extended to September 1, 2018

Plants are constantly attacked by pathogens and pests, including bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, viruses, insects and nematodes. Devastating diseases caused by these pathogens to pre- and post-harvested crops threaten human health and the stability of global economies. Many diverse factors impact the evolutionary arms race that has shaped vast biological complexities dictating plant host interactions with pathogens and pests. Pathogen/pest virulence, abundance and geographic range, host plant resistance or compatibility, and environmental conditions all influence disease severity, yield and quality. Thus, research aimed at fully understanding the mechanisms by which plants either defend against, or succumb to infection/infestation is of paramount importance to facing the global challenges of feeding a burgeoning population amidst a changing climate. In this context, it is likewise essential to comprehend the molecular principles that microbial and other invaders deploy to enable colonization and exploitation of plant hosts. The ultimate application of these studies is to develop innovative and eco-friendly disease control strategies for plant protection. This Focus Issue on Biotic Stress will showcase Update reviews on recent advances in the field and primary research articles covering all research areas on plant host interactions with pathogens and pests.

2019 Focus Synthetic Biology

Editors: Andrew Hanson, Julian Hibberd, Mattheos Koffas, Joachim Kopka, and Elli Wurtzel

Deadline for submission extended to October 1, 2018

This Plant Physiology Focus Issue will showcase current applications of Synthetic biology (SynBio) approaches in plant biology and their future potential to enhance research and its translation into useful products.

SynBio exploits DNA writing, genome editing, parts standardization, computational design and other bioengineering advances. It is transforming biology from a largely descriptive discipline to a truly synthetic one with the power to radically reconfigure life and to give organisms capacities that do not exist naturally. This unprecedented power is already driving research, training, and career objectives, and will soon have major economic and societal impacts.

To create a snapshot of the emerging SynBio field, we encourage submissions on SynBio and novel supporting technologies applied to plants, photosynthetic eukaryotic or prokaryotic microorganisms, and to plant processes or phytochemical biosynthesis pathways engineered in non-photosynthetic microorganisms. We invite original innovative research on the rational engineering of plant systems at all levels, including proteins, protein complexes, sensors, metabolic and signalling pathways, microcompartments such as carboxysomes, subcellular compartments, cell types or tissues, as well as the engineering of novel plant hybrid species and the interactions of plants with viruses, bacteria, and other organisms. Given the emerging nature of SynBio, the scope of this Focus Issue is intentionally broad in regard to organisms, topics, and applications.