Tom Beeckman

Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie, Gand, Flanders, Belgium

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Publications (128)1048.42 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Variations in size and shape of multicellular organs depend on spatio-temporal regulation of cell division and expansion. Here, cell division and expansion rates were quantified relative to the three spatial axes in the first leaf pair of Arabidopsis thaliana. The results show striking differences in expansion rates: the expansion rate in the petiole is higher than in the leaf blade; expansion rates in the lateral direction are higher than longitudinal rates between 5 and 10 days after stratification, but become equal at later stages of leaf blade development; and anticlinal expansion co-occurs with, but is an order of magnitude slower than periclinal expansion. Anticlinal expansion rates also differed greatly between tissues: the highest rates occurred in the spongy mesophyll and the lowest in the epidermis. Cell division rates were higher and continued for longer in the epidermis compared with the palisade mesophyll, causing a larger increase of palisade than epidermal cell area over the course of leaf development. The cellular dynamics underlying the effect of shading on petiole length and leaf thickness were then investigated. Low light reduced leaf expansion rates, which was partly compensated by increased duration of the growth phase. Inversely, shading enhanced expansion rates in the petiole, so that the blade to petiole ratio was reduced by 50%. Low light reduced leaf thickness by inhibiting anticlinal cell expansion rates. This effect on cell expansion was preceded by an effect on cell division, leading to one less layer of palisade cells. The two effects could be uncoupled by shifting plants to contrasting light conditions immediately after germination. This extended kinematic analysis maps the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of cell division and expansion, providing a framework for further research to understand the molecular regulatory mechanisms involved.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 09/2014; · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Coordination of cell division and pattern formation is central to tissue and organ development, particularly in plants where walls prevent cell migration. Auxin and cytokinin are both critical for division and patterning, but it is unknown how these hormones converge upon tissue development.We identify a genetic network that reinforces an early embryonic bias in auxin distribution to create a local, nonresponding cytokinin source within the root vascular tissue. Experimental and theoretical evidence shows that these cells act as a tissue organizer by positioning the domain of oriented cell divisions.We further demonstrate that the auxin-cytokinin interaction acts as a spatial incoherent feed-forward loop, which is essential to generate distinct hormonal response zones, thus establishing a stable pattern within a growing vascular tissue.
    Science 08/2014; 342(6197):UNSP 1255215. · 31.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Overall root architecture is the combined result of primary and lateral root growth and is influenced by both intrinsic genetic programs and external signals. One of the main questions for root biologists is how plants control the number of lateral root primordia and their emergence through the main root. We recently identified SKP2B as a new early marker for lateral root development. Here, we took advantage of its specific expression pattern in a cell sorting and transcriptomic approach to generate a lateral root specific cs-SKP2B dataset that represents the endogenous genetic developmental program. We first validated this dataset by showing that many of the identified genes have a function during root growth or lateral root development. Importantly, genes encoding PEROXIDASES were highly represented in our dataset. We thus next focused on this class of enzymes and showed, using genetic and chemical inhibitor studies, that peroxidase activity and ROS signalling is specifically required during lateral root emergence, but intriguingly not for primordium specification itself.
    Plant physiology. 05/2014;
  • Article: Pericycle.
    Tom Beeckman, Ive De Smet
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    ABSTRACT: Cells in the pericycle play an important role in plant development and physiology.
    Current biology : CB. 05/2014; 24(10):R378-9.
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    ABSTRACT: In plants, roots are essential for water and nutrient acquisition. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate their target mRNAs by transcript cleavage and/or inhibition of protein translation and are known as major post-transcriptional regulators of various developmental pathways and stress responses. In Arabidopsis thaliana, four isoforms of miR169 are encoded by 14 different genes and target diverse mRNAs, encoding subunits A of the NF-Y transcription factor complex. These miRNA isoforms and their targets have previously been linked to nutrient signalling in plants. By using mimicry constructs against different isoforms of miR169 and miR-resistant versions of NF-YA genes we analysed the role of specific miR169 isoforms in root growth and branching. We identified a regulatory node involving the particular miR169defg isoform and NF-YA2 and NF-YA10 genes that acts in the control of primary root growth. The specific expression of MIM169defg constructs altered specific cell type numbers and dimensions in the root meristem. Preventing miR169defg-regulation of NF-YA2 indirectly affected laterial root initiation. We also showed that the miR169defg isoform affects NF-YA2 transcripts both at mRNA stability and translation levels. We propose that a specific miR169 isoform and the NF-YA2 target control root architecture in Arabidopsis.
    New Phytologist 02/2014; · 6.74 Impact Factor
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    Kun Yue, Tom Beeckman
    Molecular Plant 02/2014; · 6.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Stomata are two-celled valves that control epidermal pores whose spacing optimizes shoot-atmosphere gas exchange. They develop from protodermal cells after unequal divisions followed by an equal division and differentiation. The concentration of the hormone auxin, a master plant developmental regulator, is tightly controlled in time and space, but its role, if any, in stomatal formation is obscure. Here dynamic changes of auxin activity during stomatal development are monitored using auxin input (DII-VENUS) and output (DR5:VENUS) markers by time-lapse imaging. A decrease in auxin levels in the smaller daughter cell after unequal division presages the acquisition of a guard mother cell fate whose equal division produces the two guard cells. Thus, stomatal patterning requires auxin pathway control of stem cell compartment size, as well as auxin depletion that triggers a developmental switch from unequal to equal division.
    Nature Communications 01/2014; 5:3090. · 10.74 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: High-throughput small molecule screenings in model plants are of great value to identify compounds that interfere with plant developmental processes. In academic research, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana is the most commonly used model organism for this purpose. However, compared to plant cellular systems, A. thaliana plants are less amenable to develop high-throughput screening assays. In this chapter, we describe a screening procedure that is compatible with liquid handling systems and increases the throughput of compound screenings in A. thaliana seedlings.
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2014; 1056:3-9. · 1.29 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phytohormone auxin is a key developmental signal in plants. To date, only auxin perception has been described to trigger the release of transcription factors termed AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORs (ARFs) from their AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (AUX/IAA) repressor proteins. Here, we show that phosphorylation of ARF7 and ARF19 via BRASSINOSTEROID-INSENSITIVE2 (BIN2) can also potentiates auxin signalling output during lateral root organogenesis. BIN2-mediated phosphorylation of ARF7 and ARF19 suppresses their interaction with AUX/IAAs, and subsequently enhances the transcriptional activity to their target genes LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES-DOMAIN16 (LBD16) and LBD29. In this context, BIN2 is under the control of the TRACHEARY ELEMENT DIFFERENTIATION INHIBITORY FACTOR (TDIF) - TDIF RECEPTOR (TDR) module. TDIF-initiated TDR signalling directly acts on BIN2-mediated ARF phosphorylation, leading to the regulation of auxin signalling during lateral root development. In summary, this study delineates a TDIF-TDR-BIN2 signalling cascade controlling auxin perception-independent regulation of ARF and AUX/IAA interaction during lateral root development.
    Nature Cell Biology 01/2014; 16(1):66–76. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of a multicellular embryo from a single zygote is a complex and highly organized process that is far from understood. In higher plants, apical–basal patterning mechanisms are crucial to correctly specify root and shoot stem cell niches that will sustain and drive post-embryonic plant growth and development. The auxin-responsive AtWRKY23 transcription factor is expressed from early embryogenesis onwards and the timing and localization of its expression overlaps with the root stem cell niche. Knocking down WRKY23 transcript levels or expression of a dominant-negative WRKY23 version via a translational fusion with the SRDX repressor domain affected both apical–basal axis formation as well as installation of the root stem cell niche. WRKY23 expression is affected by two well-known root stem cell specification mechanisms, that is, SHORTROOT and MONOPTEROS–BODENLOS signalling and can partially rescue the root-forming inability of mp embryos. On the basis of these results, we postulate that a tightly controlled WRKY23 expression is involved in the regulation of both auxin-dependent and auxin-independent signalling pathways towards stem cell specification.
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    ABSTRACT: The establishment of a pre-pattern or competence to form new organs is a key feature of the postembryonic plasticity of plant development, and the elaboration of such pre-patterns leads to remarkable heterogeneity in plant form. In root systems, many of the differences in architecture can be directly attributed to the outgrowth of lateral roots. In recent years, efforts have focused on understanding how the pattern of lateral roots is established. Here, we review recent findings that point to a periodic mechanism for establishing this pattern, as well as roles for plant hormones, particularly auxin, in the earliest steps leading up to lateral root primordium development. In addition, we compare the development of lateral root primordia with in vitro plant regeneration and discuss possible common molecular mechanisms.
    Development 11/2013; 140(21):4301-4310. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In Arabidopsis, more than 1000 putative small signalling peptides have been predicted, but very few have been functionally characterized. One class of small post-translationally modified signalling peptides is the C-TERMINALLY ENCODED PEPTIDE (CEP) family, of which one member has been shown to be involved in regulating root architecture. This work applied a bioinformatics approach to identify more members of the CEP family. It identified 10 additional members and revealed that this family only emerged in flowering plants and was absent from extant members of more primitive plants. The data suggest that the CEP proteins form two subgroups according to the CEP domain. This study further provides an overview of specific CEP expression patterns that offers a comprehensive framework to study the role of the CEP signalling peptides in plant development. For example, expression patterns point to a role in aboveground tissues which was corroborated by the analysis of transgenic lines with perturbed CEP levels. These results form the basis for further exploration of the mechanisms underlying this family of peptides and suggest their putative roles in distinct developmental events of higher plants.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 10/2013; · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The development of a multicellular embryo from a single zygote is a complex and highly organized process that is far from understood. In higher plants, apical-basal patterning mechanisms are crucial to correctly specify root and shoot stem cell niches that will sustain and drive post-embryonic plant growth and development. The auxin-responsive AtWRKY23 transcription factor is expressed from early embryogenesis onwards and the timing and localization of its expression overlaps with the root stem cell niche. Knocking down WRKY23 transcript levels or expression of a dominant-negative WRKY23 version via a translational fusion with the SRDX repressor domain affected both apical-basal axis formation as well as installation of the root stem cell niche. WRKY23 expression is affected by two well-known root stem cell specification mechanisms, that is, SHORTROOT and MONOPTEROS-BODENLOS signalling and can partially rescue the root-forming inability of mp embryos. On the basis of these results, we postulate that a tightly controlled WRKY23 expression is involved in the regulation of both auxin-dependent and auxin-independent signalling pathways towards stem cell specification.
    EMBO Reports 10/2013; · 7.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical and recently found phytohormones play an important role in plant growth and development, but plants additionally control these processes through small signalling peptides. Over 1000 potential small signalling peptide sequences are present in the Arabidopsis genome. However, to date, a mere handful of small signalling peptides have been functionally characterized and few have been linked to a receptor. Here, we assess the potential small signalling peptide outputs, namely the molecular, biochemical, and morphological changes they trigger in Arabidopsis. However, we also include some notable studies in other plant species, in order to illustrate the varied effects that can be induced by small signalling peptides. In addition, we touch on some evolutionary aspects of small signalling peptides, as studying their signalling outputs in single-cell green algae and early land plants will assist in our understanding of more complex land plants. Our overview illustrates the growing interest in the small signalling peptide research area and its importance in deepening our understanding of plant growth and development.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 09/2013; · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    Ana Fernandez, Pierre Hilson, Tom Beeckman
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    ABSTRACT: The contribution of signalling peptides to plant development is increasingly evident as more new peptide families become identified. The recently discovered GLV/RGF/CLEL secreted peptide family comprises 11 members in Arabidopsis and has been shown by independent research groups to be involved in different plant developmental programmes such as root meristem maintenance, root hair development, and root and hypocotyl gravitropism. This short review summarizes our current knowledge on GLV/RGF/CLEL peptides and highlights future challenges to decipher their function.
    Journal of Experimental Botany 08/2013; · 5.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The root system is fundamental for plant development, is crucial for overall plant growth and is recently being recognized as the key for future crop productivity improvement. A major determinant of root system architecture is the initiation of lateral roots. While knowledge of the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating lateral root initiation has mainly been achieved in the dicotyledonous plant Arabidopsis thaliana, only scarce data are available for major crop species, generally monocotyledonous plants. The existence of both similarities and differences at the morphological and anatomical level between plant species from both clades raises the question whether regulation of lateral root initiation may or may not be conserved through evolution. Here, we performed a targeted genome-wide transcriptome analysis during lateral root initiation both in primary and in adventitious roots of Zea mays and found evidence for the existence of common transcriptional regulation. Further, based on a comparative analysis with Arabidopsis transcriptome data, a core of genes putatively conserved across angiosperms could be identified. Therefore, it is plausible that common regulatory mechanisms for lateral root initiation are at play in maize and Arabidopsis, a finding that might encourage the extrapolation of knowledge obtained in Arabidopsis to crop species at the level of root system architecture.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal 08/2013; · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Reduced glutathione (GSH) is required for root development but its functions are not characterised. The effects of GSH depletion on root development were therefore studied in relation to auxin and strigolactone (SL) signalling using a combination of molecular genetic approaches and pharmacological techniques. Lateral root density was significantly decreased in GSH synthesis mutants (cad2-1, pad2-1, rax1-1) but not by the GSH synthesis inhibitor, buthionine sulfoximine (BSO). BSO-induced GSH depletion did therefore not influence root architecture in the same way as genetic impairment. Root glutathione contents were similar in the wild type seedlings and max3-9 and max4-1 mutants that are deficient in SL synthesis and in the SL signalling mutant, max2-1. BSO-dependent inhibition of GSH synthesis depleted the tissue GSH pool to a similar extent in the wild type and SL synthesis mutants, with no effect on LR density. The application of the SL analogue GR24 increased root glutathione in the wild type, max3-9 and max4-1 seedlings but this increase was absent from max2-1. Taken together, these data establish a link between SLs and the GSH pool that occurs in a MAX2-dependent manner.
    Plant Cell and Environment 07/2013; · 5.91 Impact Factor
  • Marleen Vanstraelen, Tom Beeckman
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    ABSTRACT: While the importance of intercellular communication in plants is well documented, the role of symplastic transport during the formation of new meristems in roots has remained unexplored. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Benitez-Alfonso et al. (2013) show that callose-dependent cell-to-cell connectivity determines root branching in Arabidopsis thaliana.
    Developmental Cell 07/2013; 26(2):113-4. · 12.86 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

7k Citations
1,048.42 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2014
    • Vlaams Instituut voor Biotechnologie
      • Department of Plant Systems Biology, UGent
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 1995–2014
    • Ghent University
      • • Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics
      • • VIB Department of Plant Systems Biology
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 2012–2013
    • Universitair Ziekenhuis Ghent
      Gand, Flanders, Belgium
  • 2008–2013
    • University of Nottingham
      • • Division of Plant and Crop Sciences
      • • School of Biosciences
      • • Centre for Plant Integrative Biology (CPIB)
      Nottingham, ENG, United Kingdom
    • Institute of Research for Development
      Marsiglia, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
  • 2010
    • Macalester College
      • Department of Biology
      Saint Paul, MN, United States
  • 2009
    • University of Tuebingen
      • Center for Plant Molecular Biology
      Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2001–2003
    • Universidad de Extremadura
      Ara Pacis Augustalis, Extremadura, Spain