skip to content

Sainsbury Laboratory


Research Interests

Development of multicellular organisms depends on a tight spatial and temporal control of locally operating genetic programs. Given genes become activated or repressed only in given cells leading to development of sophisticated tissue patterns. Control of mitotic activity and direction of cell division plane leads to directional growth and development of plethora of plant organ shapes. These mechanisms underlying plant morphogenesis remain main interest of my research.

During my PhD in Prof Claudia Kohler lab I was investigating how fertilisation products, embryo and endosperm, influence development of the seed coat from the maternal tissue that would otherwise quickly degenerate. We found that endosperm derived signals are sufficient to induce development of the seed coat. Later this signal was identified to be an auxin.

As a postdoc in Prof Yka Helariuta’s group I’m studying mechanisms controlling growth and patterning of the root vascular tissue. We have recently identified a small family of mobile transcription factors (PEARs) expressed specifically in the immature phloem within the root meristem. Although expressed in a single cell file, PEAR proteins move out to the neighbouring cells where they induce periclinal cell divisions. Dividing cells develop into procambium that is later in development transformed into cambium, a lateral meristem responsible for the secondary growth in plants. We found that PEARs are part of the broader network of mobile signals directing vascular tissue development and including mobile factors like cytokinin, SHR and miRNA165/6 as well as non-mobile transcription factors HD-ZIPs class III.

Key Publications

Miyashima S*, Roszak P*, Sevilem I*, Toyokura K, Blob B, Heo JO, Mellor N, Help-Rinta-Rahko H, Otero S, Smet W, Boekschoten M, Hooiveld G, Hashimoto K, Smetana O, Siligato R, Wallner ES, Mähönen AP, Kondo Y, Melnyk CW, Greb T, Nakajima K, Sozzani R, Bishopp A, De Rybel B, Helariutta Y. Mobile PEAR transcription factors integrate positional cues to prime cambial growth. Nature 2019  *equal contribution

Smetana O, Mäkilä R, Lyu M, Amiryousefi A, Sánchez Rodríguez F, Wu MF, Solé Gil A, Leal Gavarrón M,  Siligato R, Miyashima S, Roszak P, Blomster T, Reed JW, Broholm S & Mähönen AP. High levels of auxin signalling define the stem-cell organizer of the vascular cambium. Nature 2019

Smet W*,  Sevilem I*, Angels de  Luis  Balaguer M, Wybouw B, Mor E, Miyashima S, Blob B, Roszak P, Jacobs TB, Boekschoten M, Hooiveld G, Sozzani R, Helariutta Y and De Rybel B. DOF2.1 controls cytokinin-dependent vascular cell proliferation downstream of TMO5/LHW. Current Biology accepted

Heo JO*, Roszak P*, Furuta KM, Helariutta Y.  Phloem development: current knowledge and future perspectives. Am J Bot. Centennial Review 2014 Sep;101(9):1393-402. *Both authors contributed equally

Figueiredo D, Batista R, Roszak P, Hennig L, Köhler C. Auxin production in the endosperm drives seed coat development in Arabidopsis. Elife 2016 Nov 16;5. pii: e20542.

Figueiredo D, Batista R, Roszak P, Köhler C.  Auxin production couples endosperm development to fertilization. Nature Plants 2015 1, Article number: 15184

Roszak P, Köhler C.  Polycomb group proteins are required to couple seed coat initiation to fertilization. PNAS 2011 Dec 20;108(51):20826-31.

Research Associate
Dr Pawel   Roszak

Contact Details

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
47 Bateman Street