My group is conducting research in two different areas using the plant model system Arabidopsis thaliana. The first project is tackling the regulation of adventitious root initiation, which is a key limiting step during vegetative propagation of economically important tree species. Nothing is known about the molecular mechanisms involved and a better understanding will allow the optimisation of conditions for vegetative propagation.
The second project is aimed at understanding the function of genes expressed in the phloem, the vascular compartment involved in the distribution of photosynthetic products produced in the leaves. Since malfunction of the phloem has a considerable impact on crop yield, production of biomass, fruits, seeds, and on wood development, it is important to get better insights into the regulatory mechanisms involved in phloem function.

Catherine Bellini 1150
bellini_1Poplar in vitro propagation. Top left: microcutting in vitro. Bottom left: microcutting unable to develop adventitious roots and make a callus instead. Top right: the microcutting developed proper adventitious roots that will allow future transfer to soil (bottom right).

Control of
adventitious root initiation (this project is developed at the UPSC, Umeå, Sweden)

The root system of a plant is composed of the primary, lateral and adventitious roots. Lateral roots always develop from roots, whereas adventitious roots form from the stem or leaf-derived cells. Many species, including strawberries and blackberries, mainly propagate vegetatively from stolons or stems from which adventitious roots regenerate to anchor the new plants to the ground. The adventitious rooting process is also crucial for the propagation of valuable plants or plants for which final yield, whether fruit or dry matter, is influenced by the proper development of adventitious roots, such as maize, wheat or rice. Over the years, cloning has become an intrinsic step in breeding programmes for the production and propagation of elite genotypes of horticultural and woody species. It is used extensively by horticultural and forest industries, which can lose millions of dollars every year because of difficult-to-root genotypes.

In the last few years, we have identified, through the characterization of Arabidopsis mutants altered in their aptitude to produce adventitious roots, several genes that control adventitious root initiation. Some of these genes are supposed to act in the crosstalk of the phytohormone auxin and light signalling pathways. Ongoing experiments aim to better understand the respective contribution of these genes in the control of adventitious rooting. We also expect to understand how auxin and light interact in this developmental process. In addition, poplar orthologues have been identified and transgenic poplar plants altered in their expression could be produced to check their role in adventitious rooting in a tree species. In the future, we expect our results to help in the development of new methods for rooting of difficult-to-root genotypes.

Functional characterisation of phloem expressed genes (this project is developed at the IJPB, INRA, Versailles, France) 
bellini_3Transverse section of a flower stem from Arabidopsis thaliana. The specific phloem expression of a transcription factor was analysed using a promotor:GUS marker gene.The complexity of phloem functions at different structural and physiological levels has begun to be recognized. Nevertheless, despite playing key roles in plant life and adaptation, genes controlling phloem differentiation and its functions are poorly known. Recently, analysis of phloem-enriched fractions of plant tissues have enabled the establishment of libraries of genes preferentially expressed in the phloem and potentially involved in specific functions.

We address the mechanisms controlling phloem functions through a functional genomic approach. From several available transcriptome databases, we selected genes showing high expression in the phloem compartment, encoding transcription factors or membrane proteins. Through an integrative approach combining modern genetics, molecular biology and cell biology, we are now gaining further insights into their role in regulating phloem functioning.

sweden_greySvensk sammanfattning

Publication list

  1. Control of root meristem establishment in conifers
    PHYSIOLOGIA PLANTARUM 2019, 165(1):81-89
  2. Control of adventitious root formation: insights into synergistic and antagonistic hormonal interactions
    PHYSIOLOGIA PLANTARUM 2019, 165(1): 90-100
  3. Synchrotron FTIR and Raman spectroscopy provide unique spectral fingerprints for Arabidopsis floral stem vascular tissues
    J Exp Bot. 2018 Nov 8 [Epub ahead of print]
  4. Unravelling salt stress responses in two pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) genotypes
  5. Control of adventitious root formation: Insights into synergistic and antagonistic hormonal interactions
    Physiol Plant. 2018 Aug 29 [Epub ahead of print]
  6. Control of root meristem establishment in conifers
    Physiol Plant. 2018 Jun 19  [Epub ahead of print]
  7. AtbHLH68 transcription factor contributes to the regulation of ABA homeostasis and drought stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Physiol Plant. 2017, 160(3):312-327
  8. The Arabidopsis Cop9 signalosome subunit 4 (CNS4) is involved in adventitious root formation
    Sci Rep. 2017 Apr 4;7(1):628
  9. Disruption of the sugar transporters AtSWEET11 and AtSWEET12 affects vascular development and freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis
    Mol Plant. 2015, 8(11):1687-1690
  10. A Novel Viable Allele of Arabidopsis CULLIN1 Identified in a Screen for Superroot2 Suppressors by Next Generation Sequencing-Assisted Mapping
    PLoS One. 2014 Jun 23;9(6):e100846
  11. Identification of new adventitious rooting mutants amongst suppressors of the Arabidopsis thaliana superroot2 mutation
    J. Exp. Bot. (2014) 65 (6): 1605-1618.
  12. Adventitious Roots and Lateral Roots: Similarities and Differences
    Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2014; 65:639-66

  13. Auxin is a central player in the hormone cross-talks that control adventitious rooting
    Physiol Plant. 2014, 151(1):83-96
  14. Gibberellins inhibit adventitious rooting in hybrid aspen and Arabidopsis by affecting auxin transport
    Plant J. 2014, 78(3):372-384
  15. ABCG9, ABCG11 and ABCG14 ABC transporters are required for vascular development in Arabidopsis
    The Plant Journal, 2013; 76(5):811-824
  16. Overexpression of the vacuolar sugar carrier AtSWEET16 modifies germination, growth and stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana
    Plant Physiol. 2013; 163(3):1338-52

  17. The plant-specific Dof transcription factors family: new players involved in vascular system development and functioning in Arabidopsis
    Front. Plant Sci., 29 May 2013
  18. Leaf Fructose Content Is Controlled by the Vacuolar Transporter SWEET17 in Arabidopsis
    Curr Biol. 2013 ;23 (8):697-702
  19. Rigal A, Yordanov YS, Perrone I, Karlberg A, Tisserant E, Bellini C, Busov VB, Martin F, Kohler A, Bhalerao R, Legué V
    The AINTEGUMENTA LIKE1 Homeotic Transcription Factor PtAIL1 Controls the Formation of Adventitious Root Primordia in Poplar
    Plant Physiol. 2012;160(4):1996-2006
  20. Gutierrez L, Mongelard G, Flokovác K, Păcurard DI, Nováka O, Staswick P, Kowalczyk M, Păcurar M, Demailly H, Geiss G, Bellini C
    Auxin Controls Arabidopsis Adventitious Root Initiation by Regulating Jasmonic Acid Homeostasis
    The Plant Cell June 2012 24(6): 2515-2527
  21. Castelain M, Le Hir R, Bellini C
    The non-DNA binding bHLH transcription factor PRE3/bHLH135/ATBS1/TMO7 is involved in the regulation of light signaling pathway in Arabidopsis
    Physiol Plant. 2012 Jul;145(3):450-60
  22. Pacurar DI, Pacurar ML, Street N, Bussell JD, Pop TI, Gutierrez L, Bellini C.
    A collection of INDEL markers for map-based cloning in seven Arabidopsis accessions
    J Exp Bot. 2012;63(7):2491-501
  23. Păcurar DI, Thordal-Christensen H, Păcurar ML, Pamfil D, Botez C, Bellini C
    Agrobacterium tumefaciens - From crown gall tumors to genetic transformation
    Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology. 76 (2): 76-81.
  24. Pop TI, Pamfil D, Bellini C
    Auxin control in the formation of adventitious roots
    Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici Cluj-Napoca: 2011 39:307-316
  25. Keech O, Pesquet E, Gutierrez L, Ahad A, Bellini C, Smith SM, Gardeström P
    Leaf senescence Is accompanied by an early disruption of the microtubule network in Arabidopsis
    Plant Physiology: 2010 154:1710-1720
  26. Contesto C, Milesi S, Mantelin S, Zancarini A, Desbrosses G, Varoquaux F, Bellini C, Kowalczyk M, Touraine B
    The auxin-signaling pathway is required for the lateral root response of Arabidopsis to the rhizobacterium Phyllobacterium brassicacearum
    Planta: 2010 232:1455-1470
  27. Gutierrez L, Bussell JD, Pacurar DI, Schwambach J, Pacurar M, Bellini C
    Phenotypic plasticity of adventitious rooting in Arabidopsis is controlled by complex regulation of AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR transcripts and microRNA abundance
    The Plant Cell: 2009 21:3119-3132
  28. Guénin S, Mauriat M, Pelloux J, Van Wuytswinkel O, Bellini C, Gutierrez L
    Normalization of qRT-PCR data: the necessity of adopting a systematic, experimental conditions-specific, validation of references
    Journal of Experimental Botany: 2009 60:487-493
  29. Gutierrez L, Mauriat M, Pelloux J, Bellini C, Van Wuytswinkel O
    Towards a systematic validation of references in Real-Time RT-PCR
    The Plant Cell: 2008, online early
  30. Le Hir R, Beneteau J, Bellini C, Vilaine F, Dinant S
    Gene expression profiling: keys for investigating phloem functions
    Trends in Plant Science: 2008 13:273-280
  31. Gutierrez L, Mauriat M, Guénin S, Pelloux J, Lefebvre JF, Louvet R, Rusterucci C, Moritz T, Guerineau F, Bellini C, Van Wuytswinkel O
    The lack of a systematic validation of reference genes: a serious pitfall undervalued in reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis in plants.
    Plant Biotechnology Journal: 2008 6:609-618
  32. Gutierrez L, Van Wuytswinkel O, Castelain M, Bellini C
    Combined networks regulating seed maturation
    Trends in Plant Science: 2007 12(7):294-300
  33. Svennerstam H, Ganeteg U, Bellini C, Näsholm T
    Comprehensive screening of Arabidopsis mutants suggests the lysine histidine transporter 1 to be involved in plant uptake of amino acids
    Plant Physiology: 2007 145:1853-1860
  34. Sorin C, Negroni L, Balliau T, Corti H, Jacquemot MP, Davanture M, Sandberg G, Zivy M, Bellini C
    Proteomic analysis of different mutant genotypes of Arabidopsis led to the identification of 11 proteins correlating with adventitious root development
    Plant Physiology: 2006 140:349-364
  35. Sorin C, Bussell JD, Camus I, Ljung K, Kowalczyk M, Geiss G, McKhann H, Garcion C, Vaucheret H, Sandberg G, Bellini C
    Auxin and light control of adventitious rooting in Arabidopsis require ARGONAUTE1
    Plant Cell: 2005 17:1343-1359
  36. Bennett M, Bellini C, Van Der Straeten D
    Integrative biology: dissecting cross-talk between plant signalling pathways
    Physiologia Plantarum: 2005 123:109-109
  37. Baud S, Bellec Y, Miquel M, Bellini C, Caboche M, Lepiniec LØ, Faure J-D, Rochat C
    gurke and pasticcino3 mutants affected in embryo development are impaired in acetyl-CoA carboxylase
    EMBO Rep: 2004 5:515-520
  38. Harrar Y, Bellec Y, Bellini C, Faure JD
    Hormonal control of cell proliferation requires PASTICCINO genes
    Plant Physiology: 2003 132:1217-1227
  39. Schrick K, Mayer U, Martin G, Bellini C, Kuhnt C, Schmidt J, Jurgens G
    Interactions between sterol biosynthesis genes in embryonic development of Arabidopsis
    Plant Journal: 2002 31:61-73
  40. Bellec Y, Harrar Y, Butaeye C, Darnet S, Bellini C, Faure JD
    Pasticcino2 is a protein tyrosine phosphatase-like involved in cell proliferation and differentiation in Arabidopsis
    Plant Journal: 2002 32:713-722
  41. Camilleri C, Azimzadeh J, Pastuglia M, Bellini C, Grandjean O, Bouchez D
    The Arabidopsis TONNEAU2 gene encodes a putative novel protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit essential for the control of the cortical cytoskeleton
    Plant Cell: 2002 14:833-845
  42. Harrar Y, Bellini C, Faure JD
    FKBPs: at the crossroads of folding and transduction
    Trends Plant Sci: 2001 6:426-431
  43. Carol RJ, Breiman A, Erel N, Vittorioso P, Bellini C
    PASTICCINO1 (AtFKBP70) is a nuclear-localised immunophilin required during Arabidopsis thaliana embryogenesis
    Plant Science: 2001 161:527-535
  44. Fagard M, Boutet S, Morel JB, Bellini C, Vaucheret H
    AGO1, QDE-2, and RDE-1 are related proteins required for post-transcriptional gene silencing in plants, quelling in fungi, and RNA interference in animals
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A: 2000 97:11650-11654
  45. Schrick K, Mayer U, Horrichs A, Kuhnt C, Bellini C, Dangl J, Schmidt J, Jurgens G
    FACKEL is a sterol C-14 reductase required for organized cell division and expansion in Arabidopsis embryogenesis
    Genes & Development: 2000 14:1471-1484
  46. Barlier I, Kowalczyk M, Marchant A, Ljung K, Bhalerao R, Bennett M, Sandberg G, Bellini C
    The SUR2 gene of Arabidopsis thaliana encodes the cytochrome P450 CYP83B1, a modulator of auxin homeostasis
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A: 2000 97:14819-14824
  47. Delarue M, Muller P, Bellini C, Delbarre A
    Increased auxin efflux in the IAA-overproducing sur1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana: A mechanism of reducing auxin levels?
    Physiologia Plantarum: 1999 107:120-127
  48. Bohmert K, Camus I, Bellini C, Bouchez D, Caboche M, Benning C
    AGO1 defines a novel locus of Arabidopsis controlling leaf development
    EMBO J: 1998 17:170-180
  49. Seo M, Akaba S, Oritani T, Delarue M, Bellini C, Caboche M, Koshiba T
    Higher activity of an aldehyde oxidase in the auxin-overproducing superroot1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana
    Plant Physiology: 1998 116:687-693
  50. Seo M, Akaba S, Oritani T, Delarue M, Bellini C, Caboche M, Koshiba T
    Higher activity of an aldehyde oxidase in the auxin-overproducing superroot1 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana. (vol 116, pg 687, 1998)
    Plant Physiology: 1998 116:1607-1607
  51. Vittorioso P, Cowling R, Faure JD, Caboche M, Bellini C
    Mutation in the Arabidopsis PASTICCINO1 gene, which encodes a new FK506-binding protein-like protein, has a dramatic effect on plant development
    Mol Cell Biol: 1998 18:3034-3043
  52. Faivre-Rampant O, Kevers C, Bellini C, Gaspar T
    Peroxidase activity, ethylene production, lignification and growth limitation in shoots of a nonrooting mutant of tobacco
    Plant Physiology and Biochemistry: 1998 36:873-877
  53. Delarue M, Prinsen E, Van Onckelen H, Caboche M, Bellini C
    Sur2 mutations of Arabidopsis thaliana define a new locus involved in the control of auxin homeostasis
    Plant Journal: 1998 14:603-611
  54. Faure JD, Vittorioso P, Santoni V, Fraisier V, Prinsen E, Barlier I, Van Onckelen H, Caboche M, Bellini C
    The PASTICCINO genes of Arabidopsis thaliana are involved in the control of cell division and differentiation
    Development: 1998 125:909-918
  55. Santoni V, Delarue M, Caboche M, Bellini C
    A comparison or two-dimensional electrophoresis data with phenotypical traits in Arabidopsis leads to the identification of a mutant (cri1) that accumulates cytokinins
    Planta: 1997 202:62-69
  56. Delarue M, Santoni V, Caboche M, Bellini C
    Cristal mutations in Arabidopsis confer a genetically heritable, recessive, hyperhydric phenotype
    Planta: 1997 202:51-61
  57. Desnos T, Orbovic V, Bellini C, Kronenberger J, Caboche M, Traas J, Hofte H
    Procuste1 mutants identify two distinct genetic pathways controlling hypocotyl cell elongation, respectively in dark and light-grown Arabidopsis seedlings
    Development: 1996 122:683-693
  58. Traas J, Bellini C, Nacry P, Kronenberger J, Bouchez D, Caboche M
    Normal Differentiation Patterns in Plants Lacking Microtubular Preprophase Bands
    Nature: 1995 375:676-677
  59. Mollier P, Montoro P, Delarue M, Bechtold N, Bellini C, Pelletier G
    Promoterless Gusa Expression in a Large Number of Arabidopsis-Thaliana Transformants Obtained by the in Planta Infiltration Method
    Comptes Rendus De L Academie Des Sciences Serie Iii-Sciences De La Vie-Life Sciences: 1995 318:465-474
  60. Boerjan W, Cervera MT, Delarue M, Beeckman T, Dewitte W, Bellini C, Caboche M, Vanonckelen H, Vanmontagu M, Inze D
    Superroot, a Recessive Mutation in Arabidopsis, Confers Auxin Overproduction
    Plant Cell: 1995 7:1405-1419
  61. Creusot F, Fouilloux E, Dron M, Lafleuriel J, Picard G, Billault A, Lepaslier D, Cohen D, Chaboute ME, Durr A, Fleck J, Gigot C, Camilleri C, Bellini C, Caboche M, Bouchez D
    The Cic Library - a Large Insert Yac Library for Genome Mapping in Arabidopsis-Thaliana
    Plant Journal: 1995 8:763-770
  62. Santoni V, Bellini C, Caboche M
    Use of 2-Dimensional Protein-Pattern Analysis for the Characterization of Arabidopsis-Thaliana Mutants
    Planta: 1994 192:557-566
  63. Bellini C, Giordani C, Lupotto E, Locatelli F, Cuzzoni E, Avogadro E, Castiglione S, Sala F
    Stability of a Foreign Gene in Transgenic Nicotiana -Tabacum -L Plants During a Cycle of Dedifferentiation Differentiation
    Plant Science: 1992 82:193-200
  64. Bellini C, Chupeau MC, Gervais M, Vastra G, Chupeau Y
    Importance of Myoinositol, Calcium, and Ammonium for the Viability and Division of Tomato (Lycopersicon-Esculentum) Protoplasts
    Plant Cell Tissue and Organ Culture: 1990 23:27-37