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Jones Group

Alexander Jones

Research Group Leader

Sainsbury Laboratory
University of Cambridge
Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR




The Jones group studies patterns and dynamics of plant hormones at high spatial and temporal resolution using recently engineered fluorescent biosensors expressed in living tissues. Because each plant hormone is a potent regulator of a variety of developmental and physiological programs, their accumulations and depletions are tightly regulated in space and time. We are interested in how and why various signals integrate to modulate hormone biosynthesis, catabolism, modification and transport in order to achieve the hormone patterns and dynamics we observe with fluorescent biosensors. The building of a systems level understanding of the where, when and how much of hormone levels and the discovery of novel regulators of hormone metabolism will augment crop improvement strategies targeted at traits that are regulated by hormones such as growth rates and stress tolerance.


Imaging phytohormone patterns and dyamics:

How much hormone is present in a given cell compared to its neighbors? How about over developmental time? After a stress? These are the questions the Jones group would like to answer using FRET biosensors. Early results using ABACUS revealed accumulation rates and elimination rates of ABA in growing root tips. Now we are interested in gaining a deeper understanding how ABA (and GA) accumulations or depletions vary across tissues during development and stress responses.

(ABACUS root graphic and legend)


Key Publications

Rizza A, Walia A, Lanquar V, Frommer WB, Jones AM. In vivo gibberellin gradients visualized in rapidly elongating tissues. Nature Plants 2017. 

Jones AM. A new look at stress: abscisic acid patterns and dynamics at high-resolution. New Phytologist 2015. PMID: 26201893

Jones AM, Xuan Y, Xu M, Wang RS et al. Border control – a membrane-linked interactome of Arabidopsis. Science 2014. PMID: 24833385

Jones AM, Danielson JA, ManojKumar S, Lanquar V, Grossman G, Frommer WB. Abscisic acid dynamics in roots detected with genetically encoded FRET biosensors. eLife 2014. PMID: 24737862

            Highlighted in eLife Insight article: Choi W-G, Gilroy S. eLife. 2014; 3: e02763.

            Highlighted in TheScientist Modus Operandi article: Williams R. Stressing and FRETing. August 1st 2014.

Jones AM*, Grossman G*, Frommer WB. In vivo biochemistry: Applications for small molecule biosensors in plant biology. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 2013. PMID: 23587939 *equal contribution

Okumoto S*, Jones A*, Frommer WB. Quantitative imaging with fluorescent biosensors. Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012.  PMID: 22404462 *equal contribution

Jones AM, Wildermuth MC. The phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000 has three high-affinity iron-scavenging systems functional under iron limitation conditions but dispensable for pathogenesis. J Bacteriol. 2011.  PMID: 21441525

Jones AM, Lindow SE, Wildermuth MC. Salicylic acid, yersiniabactin, and pyoverdin production by the model phytopathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv tomato DC3000: synthesis, regulation, and impact on tomato and Arabidopsis host plants. J Bacteriol. 2007.  PMID: 17660289

Group Members

 Abacus 1

ABA responses of ABACUS1 in Arabidopsis roots.

ABA responses of ABACUS1 in Arabidopsis roots. Images show fluorescence ratio (DxAm/DxDm) images showing pattern of ABACUS1-2µ in response to six pulses of increasing concentration of (±)-ABA. Right: look up table used for false coloring of ratio images. DOI:


Analysis of a gibberellin biosensor expressed in nuclei of an etiolated Arabidopsis seedling.


Research supported by:

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