School of Biosciences
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Anthony Bishopp

Royal Society University Research Fellow, Faculty of Science



Anthony's research addresses two main themes: how pattern is specified within vascular tissues and how hormonal signalling pathways integrate to regulate plant development. Current research themes include:

  • generating mathematical models of vascular patterning and auxin distribution in roots
  • understanding how vascular pattern is set de-novo in newly emerging roots
  • identifying new mechanisms through which the hormones auxin and cytokinin interact
  • understanding the mechanism that provides specificity in auxin response

Expertise Summary

developmental genetics, integrative biology, roots, vascular patterning, auxin, cytokinin

Research Summary

The xylem and phloem provide the long distance transport mechanisms for water, sugars and minerals between the root and the shoot as well as providing the plant with rigid stems and roots.… read more

Selected Publications

Current Research

The xylem and phloem provide the long distance transport mechanisms for water, sugars and minerals between the root and the shoot as well as providing the plant with rigid stems and roots. Manipulation of these tissues may offer important benefits in biofuel production, increased stem rigidity to prevent lodging in cereal crops and controlling water uptake. I am also interested in pattern formation, and the root vascular cylinder provides an excellent system for addressing how positional information is gained as bisymmetry is established from a radially symmetric pattern.

The mutually inhibitory interaction between the hormones auxin and cytokinin defines distinct domains of hormonal signalling and these specify vascular pattern. Interaction between the auxin and cytokinin signalling and transport pathways occur at several nodes. High auxin output directly promotes the expression of the cytokinin signalling inhibitor, AHP6. High cytokinin signalling regulates the expression and subcellular localization of the auxin efflux carriers PIN1, PIN3 and PIN7 by an unknown mechanism. In Arabidopsis roots this mutually inhibitory interaction generates an auxin response maxima in a central axis, in which xylem differentiates in a diarch pattern. This is flanked on both sides by two domains of high cytokinin signalling output in which procambial and phloem cells differentiate.

Whilst Arabidopsis roots have a diarch pattern vascular pattern, other eudicot species exhibit alternative patterns, with between one and eight xylem poles arranged in a circular pattern. In contrast, monocotyledon species have a greater number of vascular bundles scattered through the root. It is likely that both auxin and cytokinin regulate vascular patterning in all these species, as treatments with either cytokinin or auxin transport inhibitors lead to similar phenotypes in all plant species tested.

My research takes a systems biology approach combining experimental biology with computational modelling to uncover how the same basic components can be used to generate alternative vascular patterns. The ultimate goal is to identify differences in subtle aspects of the auxin and cytokinin signalling/transport mechanisms that can generate the variety of vascular patterns observed and will specifically focus on rice and barley. This will improve our understanding of how standard "genetic toolkits" can be applied to creating the huge diversity of patterns that we see in the natural world.

School of Biosciences

University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington Campus
Nr Loughborough
LE12 5RD, UK

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