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Sainsbury Laboratory


Henrik Jönsson

Director of SLCU

Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge
University of Cambridge
Bateman Street

Cambridge CB2 1LR

Office Phone: 01223 761128


Research Interests

The focus of our research is to develop Computational Morphodynamics models at the cellular level describing multicellular tissues such as the shoot apical meristem. The models are developed in close collaboration with experimental groups and describe the dynamics of gene regulatory networks, hormone transport and signalling, cell growth and division, and mechanical properties. Integral for the research is the iterative evaluation of the models and their parameters to new experimental data, mainly in the form of live microscopy data.

One focus is on the understanding of the development of new primordia at the periphery of the shoot apex, where the phytohormone auxin is focused to the sites where new organs form, and this is accomplished via an intricate feedback to its own transport. At the same time physical stresses can provide the required intercellular connection for the regulated transport. We also suggest that stresses are sensed when creating new fibers, such that primordia growth becomes regulated and correlated with the positioning. The models we develop hence require a mechanistic description of molecular reactions transport and signalling, physical stresses and growth, and the possibility of interactions in between.
Another problem we are studying is the regulation and plasticity of the cells in the shoot apical meristem, which keeps its general cell differentiation pattern throughout the life of a plant, even if the cells are replaced during the symplastic growth where cells are moving out of the meristem tissue. We have focused on developing models for gene regulation and intercellular signalling, where the experimentally known CLAVATA-WUSCHEL negative feedback provides the core of the network. We develop models and optimise and evaluate model parameters towards large sets of perturbation experiments, where our approach focus on regions of parameters to describe the model network behavior. Also of interest is the receptor cross-talk that is part of this regulatory system.

Key Publications

Recent Publications:

HM Meyer*, J Teles*, P Formosa-Jordan*, Y Refahi, R San-Bento, G Ingram, H Jönsson^, JCW Locke^, AHK Roeder^ (2017) Fluctuations of the transcription factor ATML1 generate the pattern of giant cells in the Arabidopsis sepal, eLife e19131. *joint first authors ^joint corresponding authors

Cell size and growth regulation in the Arabidopsis thaliana apical stem cell niche L Willis*, Y Refahi*, R Wightman, B Landrein, J Teles, KC Huang, EM Meyerowitz, H Jönsson (2016) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113 (51), E8238-E8246. *joint first authors

N Bhatia, B Bozorg, A Larsson, C Ohno, H Jönsson, MG Heisler (2016), Auxin acts through MONOPTEROS to regulate plant cell polarity and pattern phyllotaxis, Current Biology 26 (23), 3202-3208.

B Bozorg, P Krupinski, H Jönsson (2016) A continuous growth model for plant tissue, Physical Biology 13 (6), 065002.

BI Je, J Gruel, YK Lee, P Bommert, ED Arevalo, AL Eveland, Q Wu, A Goldshmidt, R Meeley, M Bartlett, M Komatsu, H Sakai, H Jönsson, D Jackson (2016), Signaling from maize organ primordia via FASCIATED EAR3 regulates stem cell proliferation and yield traits, Nature genetics 48 (7), 785-791.

J Gruel, B Landrein, P Tarr, C Schuster, Y Refahi, A Sampathkumar, O Hamant, EM Meyerowitz, H Jönsson (2016) An epidermis-driven mechanism positions and scales stem cell niches in plants, Science Advances 2, e1500989.


Shifting foundations: the mechanical cell wall and development S Braybrook, H Jönsson (2016) Current Opinion in Plant Biology 29, 115-120