Prof. Miltos Tsiantis D. Phil
Professor of Plant Developmental Genetics
Prof. MS Tsiantis
Comparative analysis of leaf development programmes
We are interested in understanding the basis for the generation of different organismal
forms. Angiosperm leaves offer an attractive opportunity to study morphological
evolution as they demonstrate an enormous degree of phenotypic diversity. To study
this problem we employ molecular genetic and comparative development approaches
in plants with divergent leaf forms. Our aim is twofold, first to build a concrete
picture of the genetic networks operating to sculpt angiosperm shoot form and second
to understand how these networks are modified through evolution to result in the
multitude of distinct leaf forms apparent in nature.
Systems of choice and approaches
To facilitate an in-depth and unbiased understanding of how the balance of conservation
versus divergence of shoot development programmes results in morphological diversity
of leaves, we developed the Arabidopsis thaliana relative Cardamine hirsuta
into a model system for comparative development. Because C. hirsutais amenable
to both forward and reverse genetics approaches, comparative studies between these
two species greatly enrich our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms driving evolution
of development. We hope that this approach, combined with phylogenetically informed
studies across seed plants, will help understand what specific changes in gene regulatory
networks underlie the evolution of plant form.
In order to enrich these comparative development projects, we are also interested
in understanding the fundamental genetic pathways that control cell fate acquisition
in plants. To this end, we have studied the delimitation of meristem and lateral
organ domains at key stages of the plant life cycle. This work involves investigating
the regulation and function of homedomain proteins of the HD-ZIP III and KNOTTED1-like
There are three interrelated areas of research in the lab:
- Development and genetics of leaf development in C. hirsuta
- Comparative analysis of seed plant leaves.
- Characterization of the developmental pathways defined by KNOTTED1-like and PHABULOSA
homedomain proteins in A. thaliana
The lab participates in an interdisciplinary BBSRC funded D. Phil. programme in
Genomes, Development and Evolution, run jointly by the Department of Zoology, Department
of Plant Sciences and the Dunn School of Pathology. For more details see: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~zool0456/positions.htm
In spring 2010 the lab was awarded a prestigious HFSP programme grant to study evolution
and diversity of leaf shape in an interdisciplinary project combining developmental
genetics and computational modeling in collaboration with the lab of Prof. Premyslaw
Prusinkiewitz at Calgary.
Tsiantis Group Members
Publications (while at this department)
2011) Model for the regulation of Arabidopsis thaliana leaf margin development PNAS. 108 (8): pp 3424-3429.
2010) KNOX genes: Versatile regulators of plant development and diversity Development. 137 (19): pp 3153-3165.
2010) Arabidopsis thaliana leaf form evolved via loss of KNOX expression in leaves in association with a selective sweep Current Biology. 20 (24): pp 2223-2228.
2009) Weeds of change: Cardamine hirsuta as a new model system for studying dissected leaf development Journal of Plant Research. 123 (1): pp 25-33.
2009) Hormonal input in plant meristems: A balancing act Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. 20 (9): pp 1149-1156.
2009) Repression of Apical Homeobox Genes Is Required for Embryonic Root Development in Arabidopsis Current Biology. 19 (17): pp 1485-1490.
2008) A developmental framework for dissected leaf formation in the Arabidopsis relative Cardamine hirsuta Nature Genetics..
2008) A conserved molecular framework for compound leaf development Science. 322 (5909): pp 1835-1839.
2007) From genes to shape: regulatory interactions in leaf development Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 10 (6): pp 660-666.
2006) The genetic basis for differences in leaf form between Arabidopsis thaliana and its wild relative Cardamine hirsuta Nature Genetics. 38 (8): pp 942-947.
2006) ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 and auxin activities converge to repress BREVIPEDICELLUS expression and promote leaf development in Arabidopsis Development. 133 (20): pp 3955-3961.
2005) SERRATE coordinates shoot meristem function and leaf axial patterning in Arabidopsis Nature. 437 (7061): pp 1022-1026.
2005) KNOX action in Arabidopsis is mediated by coordinate regulation of cytokinin and gibberellin activities Current Biology. 15 (17): pp 1560-1565.
2004) PINning down the connections: Transcription factors and hormones in leaf morphogenesis Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 7 (5): pp 575-581.
2004) Plant hormones and homeoboxes: Bridging the gap? BioEssays. 26 (4): pp 395-404
2003) Comparative plant development: The time of the leaf? Nature Reviews Genetics. 4 (3): pp 169-180.
2002) The gibberellin pathway mediates KNOTTED1-type homeobox function in plants with different body plans Current Biology. 12 (18): pp 1557-1565.
1999) The maize rough sheath2 gene and leaf development programs in monocot and dicot plants Science. 284 (5411): pp 154-156.
1999) Disruption of auxin transport is associated with aberrant leaf development in maize Plant Physiology. 121 (4): pp 1163-1168
1998) The rough sheath2 gene negatively regulates homeobox gene expression during maize leaf development Development. 125 (15): pp 2857-2865
1998) The formation of leaves Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 1 (1): pp 43-48
1996) Salt regulation of transcript levels for the c subunit of a leaf vacuolar H+-ATPase in the halophyte Mesembryanthemum crystallinum Plant Journal. 9 (5): pp 729-736
We receive funding from the BBSRC, Royal Society, The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and the EU
Donovan Bailey, University of New Mexico
Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz, University of Calgary