Associate Professor Marcus Heisler

F07 - Carslaw Building
The University of Sydney

Biographical details

I am a developmental biologist interested in pattern formation in plants. After completing my undergraduate degree with honors at the University of Melbourne I studied flower development for my PhD in the laboratory of Professor David Smyth at Monash. I then moved to California to start a postdoc at the California Insitute of Technology (Caltech) in Elliot Meyerowitz's lab where I studied how plant organs are positioned (phyllotaxis). At Caltech I initiated research on the plant hormone auxin and cell polarity and developed novel techniques to enable the imaging of live plant shoot apices. After an appointment as Senior Researach Associate at Caltech I joined the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg Germany as their first Australian group leader and first group leader to soley focus on plants. During this time I was awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) starting grant worth 1.5M Euros over five years. Finally in 2017 I moved back to Australia to take up an Associate Professor position in SOLES, Sydney.

Research interests

Our research interest is in developmental patterning, i.e. the ability of individual cells to coordinate to create tissues and organs of different shapes and structures. Plants, with their complex symmetrical arrangemnts of leaves and floral organs and amazing variety of leaf shapes are a rich source of patterning puzzles. Plants also evolved multicellularity independently of animals enabling us to compare and contrast the stategies that have evolved to solve a common problem.

Specifically, my lab works on how leaves are positioned and how they are shaped. Both these processes involve the coordination of cell polarity and gene expression and understanding how this occurs is our main interest. Although we utilize a variety of molecular biology methods we emphasize high resolution imaging to gain a detailed, dynamic view of cellular and tissue level processes. We then combine this approach with fine-scale perturbation techniques that allow us to disrupt gene activity with single cell speceficity.

For more details see our web page at www.heisler.com or follow us on Twitter @heisler_lab

Current projects

1. Understanding cell-cell signaling in cell polarity.

Plant cell communicate with one another to coordinate the orientation of their cytoskeleton and direction of transport of the hormone auxin. This coordination underlies the periodic positioning of leaves and the coordinated growth patterns of the cells that together form each leaf.
This project aims to better understand the signals that coordinate cell polarity by identifying genes downstream of auxin that are involved in intercellular polarity signaling

Plant cells communicate with one another to coordinate the orientation of their cytoskeleton and direction of transport of the hormone auxin. This coordinateion underlies the periodic positioning of leaves and coordinated growth patterns of the cells that together form each leaf.

This project aims to better understand the signals that coordinate cell polarity by identifying genes downstream of auxin that are involved in intercellular polarity signaling.

2. Understanding how dorsoventral boundaries control plant morphogenesis

In plants, placing one tissue next to another is sufficient to provoke the formation of a leaf along the boundary between them. How does this work?

This project aims to better understand what happens when cell types are juxtaposed and how this leads to leaf formation. How do the two differnt types of cells talk to each other? What actually happens at the boundary?

For more details see www.heislerlab.com

Plant cell communicate with one another to coordinate the orientation of their cytoskeletand direction of transport of the hormone auxin. This coordination underlies the periodic positioning of leaves and the coordinated growth patterns of the cells that together form each leaf.
This project aims to better understand the signals that coordinate cell polarity by identifying genes downstream of auxin that are involved in intercellular polarity signaling
Plant cell communicate with one another to coordinate the orientation of their cytoskeleton and direction of transport of the hormone auxin. This coordination underlies the periodic positioning of leaves and the coordinated growth patterns of the cells that together form each leaf.
This project aims to better understand the signals that coordinate cell polarity by identifying genes downstream of auxin that are involved in intercellular polarity signaling

Themes

Plant biology and production; Molecular biology and biotechnology; Genetics and genomics

Selected publications

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Book Chapters

  • Heisler, M., Ohno, C. (2014). Live-Imaging of the Arabidopsis Inflorescence Meristem. In Jose Luis Riechmann, Frank Wellmer (Eds.), Flower Development: Methods and Protocols, (pp. 431-440). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. [More Information]
  • Gor, V., Shapiro, B., Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Meyerowitz, E., Mjolsness, E. (2006). Software Architecture for Developmental Modeling in Plants: The Computable Plant Project. In Kolchanov, N., Hofestaedt, R. & Milanesi, L. (Eds.), Bioinformatics of Genome Regulation and Structure II, (pp. 345-354). New York: Springer.

Journals

  • Merelo, P., Paredes, E., Heisler, M., Wenkel, S. (2017). The shady side of leaf development: the role of the REVOLUTA/KANADI1 module in leaf patterning and auxin-mediated growth promotion. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 35, 111-116. [More Information]
  • Bhatia, N., Bozorg, B., Larsson, A., Ohno, C., Jonsson, H., Heisler, M. (2016). Auxin Acts through MONOPTEROS to Regulate Plant Cell Polarity and Pattern Phyllotaxis. Current Biology, 26(23), 3202-3208. [More Information]
  • Merelo, P., Ram, H., Caggiano, M., Ohno, C., Ott, F., Straub, D., Graeff, M., Cho, S., Yang, S., Wenkel, S., Heisler, M. (2016). Regulation of MIR165/166 by class II and class III homeodomain leucine zipper proteins establishes leaf polarity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 113(42), 11973-11978. [More Information]
  • Shi, B., Zhang, C., Tian, C., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Xu, T., Xu, Y., Ohno, C., Sablowski, R., Heisler, M., et al (2016). Two-Step Regulation of a Meristematic Cell Population Acting in Shoot Branching in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genetics, 12(7), 1-20. [More Information]
  • Rast-Somssich, M., Broholm, S., Jenkins, H., Canales, C., Vlad, D., Kwantes, M., Bilsborough, G., Ioio, R., Ewing, R., Laufs, P., et al (2015). Alternate wiring of a KNOXI genetic network underlies differences in leaf development of A. thaliana and C. hirsuta. Genes and Development, 29(22), 2391-2404. [More Information]
  • Brennecke, P., Anders, S., Kim, J., Kolodziejczyk, A., Zhang, X., Proserpio, V., Baying, B., Benes, V., Teichmann, S., Marioni, J., Heisler, M. (2013). Accounting for technical noise in single-cell RNA-seq experiments. Nature Methods, 10(11), 1093-1095. [More Information]
  • Merelo, P., Xie, Y., Brand, L., Ott, F., Weigel, D., Bowman, J., Heisler, M., Wenkel, S. (2013). Genome-Wide Identification of KANADI1 Target Genes. PloS One, 8(10), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Sappl, P., Heisler, M. (2013). Live-imaging of plant development: latest approaches. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 16(1), 33-40. [More Information]
  • Yadav, R., Perales, M., Gruel, J., Ohno, C., Heisler, M., Girke, T., Jönsson, H., Reddy, G. (2013). Plant stem cell maintenance involves direct transcriptional repression of differentiation program. Molecular Systems Biology, 9, 1-13. [More Information]
  • Chickarmane, V., Gordon, S., Tarr, P., Heisler, M., Meyerowitz, E. (2012). Cytokinin signaling as a positional cue for patterning the apical-basal axis of the growing Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 109(10), 4002-4007. [More Information]
  • Federici, F., Dupuy, L., Laplaze, L., Heisler, M., Haseloff, J. (2012). Integrated genetic and computation methods for in planta cytometry. Nature Methods, 9(5), 483-485. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Hamant, O., Krupinksi, P., Uyttewaal, M., Ohno, C., Jonsson, H., Traas, J., Meyerowitz, E. (2010). Alignment between PIN1 Polarity and Microtubule Orientation in the Shoot Apical Meristem Reveals a Tight Coupling between Morphogenesis and Auxin Transport. PLoS Biology, 8(10), e1000516.
  • Hamant, O., Heisler, M., Jonsson, H., Krupinski, P., Uyttewaal, M., Bokov, P., Corson, F., Sahlin, P., Boudaoud, A., Meyerowitz, E., et al (2008). Developmental Patterning by Mechanical Signals in Arabidopsis. Science, 322(5908), 1650-1655.
  • Michniewicz, M., Zago, M., Abas, L., Weijers, D., Schweighofer, A., Meskiene, I., Heisler, M., Ohno, C., Zhang, J., Huang, F., et al (2007). Antagonistic Regulation of PIN Phosphorylation by PP2A and PINOID Directs Auxin Flux. Cell, 130, 1044-1056. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Jonsson, H. (2007). Modelling meristem development in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 10, 92-97. [More Information]
  • Gordon, S., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Ohno, C., Das, P., Meyerowitz, E. (2007). Pattern formation during de novo assembly of the Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Development, 134, 3539-3548. [More Information]
  • Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Shapiro, B., Meyerowitz, E., Mjolsness, E. (2006). An auxin-driven polarized transport model for phyllotaxis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 103(5), 1633-1638. [More Information]
  • Friml, J., Benfey, P., Benkova, E., Bennett, M., Berleth, T., Geldner, N., Grebe, M., Heisler, M., Hejatko, J., Jurgens, G., et al (2006). Apical�basal polarity: why plant cells don�t stand on their heads. Trends in Plant Science, 11(1), 12-14. [More Information]
  • Brewer, P., Heisler, M., Hejkato, J., Friml, J., Benkova, E. (2006). In situ hybridization for mRNA detection in Arabidopsis tissue sections. Nature Protocols, 1(3), 1462-1467. [More Information]
  • Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Agrawal, V., Gor, V., Shapiro, B., Mjolsness, E., Meyerowitz, E. (2005). Modeling the organization of the WUSCHEL expression domain in the shoot apical meristem. Bioinformatics, 21(1), i232-i240. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Ohno, C., Das, P., Seiber, P., Reddy, G., Long, J., Meyerowitz, E. (2005). Patterns of Auxin Transport and Gene Expression during Primordium Development Revealed by Live Imaging of the Arabidopsis Inflorescence Meristem. Current Biology, 15, 1800-1911. [More Information]
  • Reddy, G., Heisler, M., Ehrhardt, D., Meyerowitz, E. (2004). Real-time lineage analysis reveals oriented cell divisions associated with morphogenesis at the shoot apex of Arabidopsis thaliana. Development, 131(17), 4225-4237. [More Information]
  • Ohno, C., Reddy, G., Heisler, M., Meyerowitz, E. (2004). The Arabidopsis JAGGED gene encodes a zinc finger protein that promotes leaf tissue development. Development, 131, 1111-1122. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Atkinson, A., Bylstra, Y., Walsh, Y., Smyth, D. (2001). SPATULA, a gene that controls development of carpel margin tissues in Arabidopsis, encodes a bHLH protein. Development, 128, 1089-1098.

2017

  • Merelo, P., Paredes, E., Heisler, M., Wenkel, S. (2017). The shady side of leaf development: the role of the REVOLUTA/KANADI1 module in leaf patterning and auxin-mediated growth promotion. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 35, 111-116. [More Information]

2016

  • Bhatia, N., Bozorg, B., Larsson, A., Ohno, C., Jonsson, H., Heisler, M. (2016). Auxin Acts through MONOPTEROS to Regulate Plant Cell Polarity and Pattern Phyllotaxis. Current Biology, 26(23), 3202-3208. [More Information]
  • Merelo, P., Ram, H., Caggiano, M., Ohno, C., Ott, F., Straub, D., Graeff, M., Cho, S., Yang, S., Wenkel, S., Heisler, M. (2016). Regulation of MIR165/166 by class II and class III homeodomain leucine zipper proteins establishes leaf polarity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 113(42), 11973-11978. [More Information]
  • Shi, B., Zhang, C., Tian, C., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Xu, T., Xu, Y., Ohno, C., Sablowski, R., Heisler, M., et al (2016). Two-Step Regulation of a Meristematic Cell Population Acting in Shoot Branching in Arabidopsis. PLoS Genetics, 12(7), 1-20. [More Information]

2015

  • Rast-Somssich, M., Broholm, S., Jenkins, H., Canales, C., Vlad, D., Kwantes, M., Bilsborough, G., Ioio, R., Ewing, R., Laufs, P., et al (2015). Alternate wiring of a KNOXI genetic network underlies differences in leaf development of A. thaliana and C. hirsuta. Genes and Development, 29(22), 2391-2404. [More Information]

2014

  • Heisler, M., Ohno, C. (2014). Live-Imaging of the Arabidopsis Inflorescence Meristem. In Jose Luis Riechmann, Frank Wellmer (Eds.), Flower Development: Methods and Protocols, (pp. 431-440). New York: Springer Science+Business Media. [More Information]

2013

  • Brennecke, P., Anders, S., Kim, J., Kolodziejczyk, A., Zhang, X., Proserpio, V., Baying, B., Benes, V., Teichmann, S., Marioni, J., Heisler, M. (2013). Accounting for technical noise in single-cell RNA-seq experiments. Nature Methods, 10(11), 1093-1095. [More Information]
  • Merelo, P., Xie, Y., Brand, L., Ott, F., Weigel, D., Bowman, J., Heisler, M., Wenkel, S. (2013). Genome-Wide Identification of KANADI1 Target Genes. PloS One, 8(10), 1-14. [More Information]
  • Sappl, P., Heisler, M. (2013). Live-imaging of plant development: latest approaches. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 16(1), 33-40. [More Information]
  • Yadav, R., Perales, M., Gruel, J., Ohno, C., Heisler, M., Girke, T., Jönsson, H., Reddy, G. (2013). Plant stem cell maintenance involves direct transcriptional repression of differentiation program. Molecular Systems Biology, 9, 1-13. [More Information]

2012

  • Chickarmane, V., Gordon, S., Tarr, P., Heisler, M., Meyerowitz, E. (2012). Cytokinin signaling as a positional cue for patterning the apical-basal axis of the growing Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 109(10), 4002-4007. [More Information]
  • Federici, F., Dupuy, L., Laplaze, L., Heisler, M., Haseloff, J. (2012). Integrated genetic and computation methods for in planta cytometry. Nature Methods, 9(5), 483-485. [More Information]

2010

  • Heisler, M., Hamant, O., Krupinksi, P., Uyttewaal, M., Ohno, C., Jonsson, H., Traas, J., Meyerowitz, E. (2010). Alignment between PIN1 Polarity and Microtubule Orientation in the Shoot Apical Meristem Reveals a Tight Coupling between Morphogenesis and Auxin Transport. PLoS Biology, 8(10), e1000516.

2008

  • Hamant, O., Heisler, M., Jonsson, H., Krupinski, P., Uyttewaal, M., Bokov, P., Corson, F., Sahlin, P., Boudaoud, A., Meyerowitz, E., et al (2008). Developmental Patterning by Mechanical Signals in Arabidopsis. Science, 322(5908), 1650-1655.

2007

  • Michniewicz, M., Zago, M., Abas, L., Weijers, D., Schweighofer, A., Meskiene, I., Heisler, M., Ohno, C., Zhang, J., Huang, F., et al (2007). Antagonistic Regulation of PIN Phosphorylation by PP2A and PINOID Directs Auxin Flux. Cell, 130, 1044-1056. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Jonsson, H. (2007). Modelling meristem development in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 10, 92-97. [More Information]
  • Gordon, S., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Ohno, C., Das, P., Meyerowitz, E. (2007). Pattern formation during de novo assembly of the Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Development, 134, 3539-3548. [More Information]

2006

  • Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Shapiro, B., Meyerowitz, E., Mjolsness, E. (2006). An auxin-driven polarized transport model for phyllotaxis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 103(5), 1633-1638. [More Information]
  • Friml, J., Benfey, P., Benkova, E., Bennett, M., Berleth, T., Geldner, N., Grebe, M., Heisler, M., Hejatko, J., Jurgens, G., et al (2006). Apical�basal polarity: why plant cells don�t stand on their heads. Trends in Plant Science, 11(1), 12-14. [More Information]
  • Brewer, P., Heisler, M., Hejkato, J., Friml, J., Benkova, E. (2006). In situ hybridization for mRNA detection in Arabidopsis tissue sections. Nature Protocols, 1(3), 1462-1467. [More Information]
  • Gor, V., Shapiro, B., Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Meyerowitz, E., Mjolsness, E. (2006). Software Architecture for Developmental Modeling in Plants: The Computable Plant Project. In Kolchanov, N., Hofestaedt, R. & Milanesi, L. (Eds.), Bioinformatics of Genome Regulation and Structure II, (pp. 345-354). New York: Springer.

2005

  • Jonsson, H., Heisler, M., Reddy, G., Agrawal, V., Gor, V., Shapiro, B., Mjolsness, E., Meyerowitz, E. (2005). Modeling the organization of the WUSCHEL expression domain in the shoot apical meristem. Bioinformatics, 21(1), i232-i240. [More Information]
  • Heisler, M., Ohno, C., Das, P., Seiber, P., Reddy, G., Long, J., Meyerowitz, E. (2005). Patterns of Auxin Transport and Gene Expression during Primordium Development Revealed by Live Imaging of the Arabidopsis Inflorescence Meristem. Current Biology, 15, 1800-1911. [More Information]

2004

  • Reddy, G., Heisler, M., Ehrhardt, D., Meyerowitz, E. (2004). Real-time lineage analysis reveals oriented cell divisions associated with morphogenesis at the shoot apex of Arabidopsis thaliana. Development, 131(17), 4225-4237. [More Information]
  • Ohno, C., Reddy, G., Heisler, M., Meyerowitz, E. (2004). The Arabidopsis JAGGED gene encodes a zinc finger protein that promotes leaf tissue development. Development, 131, 1111-1122. [More Information]

2001

  • Heisler, M., Atkinson, A., Bylstra, Y., Walsh, Y., Smyth, D. (2001). SPATULA, a gene that controls development of carpel margin tissues in Arabidopsis, encodes a bHLH protein. Development, 128, 1089-1098.

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