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Ottoline Leyser's Group

Ottoline Leyser

Director of SLCU

Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR

Office Phone: 01223 761103

Research Interests

The Leyser Group's research is aimed at understanding the role of plant hormones in plant developmental plasticity, using the regulation of shoot branching as a model. Axillary meristems, which are established in each leaf axil formed from the primary shoot apical meristem, can remain dormant or activate to produce a branch. The decision to activate or not involves integration of diverse environmental, physiological and developmental inputs, and is mediated by a network of interacting hormonal signals that generate a rich source of systemically transmitted information, which is locally interpreted to regulate branching. At its hub is the polar auxin transport system, which extends throughout the plant, transporting auxin basipetally from shoot apices to the roots. The system is dynamically modeled and remodeled by auxin itself. Our current data suggest that shoot apical meristems compete for common auxin transport paths to the root. High auxin in the main stem, exported from already active meristems, prevents the activation of further meristems by reducing the sink strength of the mains stem for auxin. Other hormonal signals can influence branching by modulating the auxin transport network and/or the ability of buds to compete for access to it. For example, strigolactones can reduce the accumulation of auxin transporters at the plasma membrane making it more difficult for buds to activate.

Key Publications

Shinohara N, Taylor C, Leyser O (2013) Strigolactone can promote or inhibit shoot branching by triggering rapid depletion of the auxin efflux protein, PIN1, from the plasma membrane. PLoS Biology 11(1): e1001474

Prusinkiewicz P, Crawford C, Smith R, Ljung K, Bennett T, Ongaro V, Leyser O (2009) Control of bud activation by an auxin transport switch. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA 106:17431-17436

Crawford S, Shinohara N, Sieberer T, Williamson L, George G, Hepworth J, Müller D, Domagalska MA, Leyser O (2010) Strigolactones enhance competition between shoot branches by dampening auxin transport. Development 137:2905-2913

Reviews

Leyser O (2011) Auxin, self-organisation, and the colonial nature of plants. Current Biology 21: R331-337

Domagalska DA, Leyser (2011) Signal integration in the control of plant development. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 12:211-221

 

Research supported by grants from: