Welcome to the Golz Group
We are based in the School of BioSciences at The University of Melbourne. Our main focus is to understand how complex patterns of gene expression are generated and maintained during cell-type specification and differentiation in multicellular organisms. This problem is being addressed in the model plant Arabidopsis through the analysis of transcriptional regulators that control cell differentiation in embryos, leaves and the outer layer of the seed coat. We are also interested in understanding how these regulators elicit developmental responses in response to environmental stimuli, such as heat and salt stress.
More recently the group has begun to consider how knowledge of developmental regulation in Arabidopsis can be applied to reducing the time and cost associated with generating transgenic crop plants. The aim here is to help the agricultural industry more quickly assess gene function by circumventing the bottleneck associated with the use of tissue culture for plant transformation.
The group uses a range of platforms and techniques in their research; including RNA-seq, molecular analyses, and microscopy to address their questions.
Gene Regulation during seed development
We have shown that the Gro/TUP1-like co-repressors LEUNIG (LUG) and LEUNIG_HOMOLOG (LUH) control diverse processes in the plant including apical-basal and auxin patterning during early embryogenesis, cell fate acquisition in developing leaves, and pectin modification in the developing seed coat (Stahle et al., 2009; Walker et al., 2011; Lee et al., 2014). As LUG/LUH lack a DNA-binding domain, they must interact with DNA binding co-factors if they are to be recruited to the regulatory sequences of target genes. This may occur through direct interactions with transcription factors or indirectly via the adaptor proteins SEUSS (SEU) or SEU-LIKE proteins (SLKs). As a result of these interactions, LUG/LUH are part of a large regulatory complex.
Current research projects
- Using RNA-seq and chromatin immunoprecipitation to identify the network of genes controlled by the LUG/LUH regulatory complex during embryonic and post-embryonic development
- Using protein interaction assays to define the interactome of LUG/LUH and associated co-regulators SEU/SLKs
Biotechnology – Seed size control
Seed size is a critical trait that affects the long-term survival of plants in the wild and yield potential of our most important crops. Seeds are a unique combination of maternal tissues (the seed coat) with filial tissues derived from double fertilization of the ovules by pollen (the diploid embryo and triploid endosperm). Thus, seed development is a fascinating and complex process that requires coordination between tissues of different origin and ploidy.
Recent studies have shown that the seed coat plays an important role in regulating seed size with various models being proposed to explain how this is achieved. Our studies of gene regulation in the developing Arabidopsis seed coat have uncovered a new regulatory pathway involved in the control of seed size. We are now developing the tools that will allow us to explore this phenotype in greater detail.
Current research projects
- Developing molecular tools to alter gene activity in specific layers of the seed coat so that relative contribution of each seed coat layer to the regulation of seed size can be assessed.
- Using knowledge of seed size regulation in Arabidopsis to alter seed size and yield in crop plants such as Brassica napus (canola).
Biotechnology – Transformation technology
Although crop improvements have traditionally been achieved through selective breeding, the advent of gene-editing technologies means it is now possible to generate genetic variation in a much more targeted manner, in the germplasm of choice and in a shorter timeframe. Unfortunately this approach is not possible for plant species where genetic transformation approaches are either not possible (such as the superfood chia) or where they rely on passage through tissue culture which is both time consuming, expensive and prone to generate undesirable genetic variation.
Current research projects
- Developing transformation protocols for recalcitrant species such as Chia so that gene-editing technology can be deployed in this species (a collaborative effort with the Roessner and Ebert groups within the School of BioSciences)
- Developing a faster and lest costly genetic transformation approach for Canola, which will resolve bottleneck issues associated with gene-editing in this crop species.
PhD opportunities in the Golz lab
The group is offering a PhD project through the Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Program – you can see the full listing of projects here. The program, which is a joint initiative between the University of Melbourne (UoM) – Australia, the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP) and the University of Potsdam (UP) – Germany, creates an international research training opportunity for PhD students. Time is spent in labs in both Australia and Germany, and on completion of the program result in a joint PhD from the University of Melbourne and the University of Potsdam.
Applications need to be submitted by Jan 31, 2021 for PhDs commencing in Nov 2022; for more information click here.
PhD projects may also be supported through scholarship awards from the University of Melbourne.
Applications for UoM scholarships can be made anytime, but you must have approval from your potential PhD supervisor; for more information click here.
MSc/Hons opportunities in the Golz lab
Potential MSc projects in the Golz lab are listed below. Each project is carefully designed so that you gain experience in microscopy, molecular techniques as well as plant genetics. You will be supervised by the lab head and work closely with PhD students in the group. If you would like more information about these projects please email John Golz. It is also a requirement for the MSc application process that you meet with project supervisors before you list their projects on the MSc application form. If you are interested in an Honours project please email John Golz as some MSc projects could also be offered through the Honours program.
For more information about the Master of Science (BioSciences) program, click here.
Project #1: Genetic approaches to understanding seed mass control
This project will:
- Use standard and scanning electron microscopy to investigate the cause of seed size increase in the transgenic line
- Look at genetic interactions between this transgenic line and a variety of genes regulating seed mass in the seed coat, endosperm or embryo
- Use molecular approaches to monitor expression of genes regulating cell proliferation and cell elongation
Project #2: Generating gene-editing tools to selectively inactivate genes in specific layers of the seed coat
Gene regulation projects:
Project #3: Using suppressor mutagenesis to investigate models of gene regulation in the seed coat of the model plant Arabidopsis
Project #4: Investigating the control of root patterning in the model plant Arabidopsis
14th May 2021 – Joanna Kaptur submits her PhD thesis – way to go Joanna!!!
22nd April 2021 – Final year PhD student Qiwei Li receives the G.A.M. Scott Research Award 2021 – well done Qiwei.
March 2021 – 3rd year Genetics student Janath Fernando joins the lab to conduct a student research project. Welcome Janath.
March 2020-March 2021 – Covid hits Australia and the lab is forced to go online.
2nd March 2020 – Kim Heeley and Juntan Zhang join the lab. Kim is an Honours student and Juntan is a MSc student – see their blurbs in the people tab. Welcome Kim and Juntan
27th Nov 2019 – Joanna advertising her poster at the Australian Society of Plant Science meeting held at La Trobe University
18th Oct 2019 – John and colleagues from the Plant Development Group – ENS, Lyon were awarded a CNRS-UMelb 2019-2020 Graduate Research Project Grant to study the role of tissue mechanics in regulating seed growth.
26th Sept 2019 – John and colleagues from the Institute of Biology, Humboldt University (Berlin) were awarded a MEL/BER Seed Funding grant to study the molecular mechanism of seed size control.
10th Sept 2019 – John and colleagues from the School of BioSciences (Prof Ute Roessner, A/Prof Alex Johnson, Dr Berit Ebert, Dr Martin O’Brien) were awarded an internal seed funding grant for the development of transformation and gene editing technology for Chia (Salvia hispanica).
12th June 2019 – Joanna Kaptur has done it again, she has been awarded a John S Turner Postgraduate scholarship. Three out of three, well done Joanna.
4th June 2019 – Maheshika Herath gave her confirmation talk today and following a meeting with her advisory committee was ‘confirmed’ as a PhD candidate. This is a major milestone in completing a PhD – congratulations Maheshika.
8th May 2019 – John awarded a UoM Learning and Teaching Initiative grant with Dr Hayley Bugeja and Prof Alex Andrianopoulos to develop teaching material that will enhance a student’s capacity for individual and group-based peer reviewing.
7th May 2019 – Manuscript entitled ‘Coordinated regulation of leaf blade outgrowth and floral organ development by LEUNIG, ANGUSTIFOLIA3 and WOX transcription regulators’ accepted by New Phytologist. Describes work arising from a collaborative project with the Tadege group (Oklahoma State University) in which the Medicago LEUNIG ortholog is shown to physically interact with WOX transcription factor STENOFOLIA and coactivator ANGUSTIFOLA3.
7th May 2019 – PhD student Joanna Kaptur was awarded the Norma Schuster Scholarship (see https://scholarships.unimelb.edu.au/awards/norma-hilda-schuster-nee-swift-scholarship)
29th April 2019 – PhD student Joanna Kaptur was one of two recipients of the prestigious Dame Margaret Blackwood Soroptimist Scholarship (see https://scholarships.unimelb.edu.au/awards/dame-margaret-blackwood-soroptimist-scholarship)
7th Nov 2018 – John and colleagues from the Institute of Biology, Humboldt University (Berlin) were awarded a travel grant from the Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme (a Universities Australia-DAAD initiative) to define the targets of the LUG regulatory complex in plants.
John completed his undergraduate degree at the University of East Anglia (UK) in 1992 and his PhD at the University of Melbourne (Australia) in 1998. He then took up an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Edinburgh with Prof. Andrew Hudson. In 2003, John was awarded a ARC QEII fellowship and moved back to Australia to establish his own group at Monash University. Since 2006, he has been a group leader at the University of Melbourne, accepting a lectureship position in 2008.
Joanna Kaptur, PhD candidate (Melbourne-Potsdam PhD Program) – joined the lab in 2016.
Joanna completed her undergraduate degree in Biotechnology at the University of Wrocław, Poland. This was followed with a Master degree in Biotechnology from the same institution where she undertook a study of human metallothionein isoforms. As part of this MSc program, Joanna undertook two interneships at the MPI-Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam (Germany). Joanna joined the lab as a PhD in November 2016 and is studying the embryonic patterning pathways regulated by the LUG regulatory complex in the model plant Arabidopsis.
Qiwei Li, PhD candidate (Chinese Scholarship Council Award) – joined the lab in 2017.
Qiwei completed her undergraduate degree at Agricultural University of Hebei followed by a Master degree from the China Agricultural University, working on the function of ethylene transcription factors in iron deficiency in Malus xiaojinensis. She joined the lab as a PhD student in September 2017. Her project aims to investigate the function of SEUSS and LEUNIG regulatory complex in auxin patterning in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha.
Maheshika completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka followed by a Master degree in Biology from Texas Tech University USA, focusing on the genetic engineering of cotton for abiotic stress tolerance. She joined the lab as a PhD student in June 2018. Her research project aims to investigate of the regulatory pathways controlling seed mucilage production in the model plant Arabidopsis.
Juntan completed his undergraduate degree at Hebei Normal University, working on cellular signal transduction and function of receptor-like kinase in rice (Oryza sativa L.) . He joined the lab as a Msc student in March 2020. His project aims to improve the efficiency of genetic transformation in Chia and Brassica.
Kim completed her undergraduate degree in Science at the University of Melbourne in 2019, and is continuing a Degree with Honours. Her project involves investigating gene expression patterns in the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis.
Former Lab members:
Debra David – completed 2019 – Now working in the School of BioSciences, UoM
Mahmud Hassan – completed 2018 – Postdoctoral position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (USA)
Oliver Bonaccorso – completed in 2018 – Now working as a sales development manager for Qiagen
Nadeeka Jayawardana – completed in 2016 – Returned to a lecturing position at the University of Peradeniya (Sri Lanka)
Joanne Lee – completed in 2014 – Postdoctoral position with Markus Schmidt, Umea University (Sweden)
Melissa Mail (nee Stahle) – completed in 2009 – Now working as a commercial development officer, University of Sydney
Arca Zaw – completed in 2017 – Currently looking for work
David Yoannidis – completed in 2015 – Now working as a medical scientist in the Peter MacCallum Pathology Department
Paul DeFazio – completed in 2013 – Now working as a medical scientist in the Monash Health Cytogenetics pathology laboratory
Murray Walker – completed in 2009 – Now working as a senior programs officer at Scienceworks, Museum Victoria
Francis Tenazas – completed in 2015 – Now working for DTS Food Laboratories as a lab analyst
Libby Puah – completed in 2010 and is now working as a lab technician in Singapore
Janine Kuehlich – completed in 2008 – Now working as a business designer for ThinkPlace
Adi Suputra – completed in 2007, returned to Indonesia
2019: Ethan Nicholas and Kim Heeley
- Román, Á., Golz, J., Webb, A., Graham, I., and Haydon, M. (2019) Combining GAL4 GFP enhancer trap with split luciferase to measure spatiotemporal promoter activity in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal (In Press)
- Ghodke, A.B., Good, R.T., Golz, J.F., Russell, D.A., Edwards, O. and Robin, C. (2019) Extracellular endonucleases in the midgut of Myzus persicaemay limit the efficacy of orally delivered RNAi. Scientific Reports 9, 1-14
- Zhang, F., Wang, H., Kalve, S., Wolabu, T, Nakashima, J., Golz, J. and Tadege, M. (2019) Control of leaf blade outgrowth and floral organ development by LEUNIG, ANGUSTIFOLIA3 and WOX transcriptional regulators. New Phytologist 223, 2024-2038
- Golz, J.F., Allen, P.J., Li, S.F. Parish, R.W., Jayawardana, N.U., Bacic, A. and Doblin, M.S. (2018) Layers of regulation – insights into the role of transcription factors controlling mucilage production in the Arabidopsis seed coat. Plant Science 272, 179-192
- Flores-Sandoval, E., Eklund, M.D., Hong, S-F., Alvarez, J., Fisher, T., Lampugnani, E., Golz, J., Vázquez-Lobo, A., Dierschke, T., Lin, S-S. and Bowman, J. (2018) Class C ARFs evolved before the origin of land plants and antagonize differentiation and developmental transitions in Marchantia polymorpha. New Phytologist 218, 1612-1630
- Amanda, D., Doblin, M.S., MacMillan, C., Galletti, R, Golz, J.F., Bacic, A, Ingram, G.C., and Johnson, K.L. (2017) Arabidopsis DEFECTIVE KERNEL1 regulates cell wall composition and axial growth in the inflorescence stem. Plant Direct 1, e00027
- Geng, X. Horst, W.J., Golz, J.F., Lee, J.E., Ding, Z., and Yang, Z-B. (2017) LEUNIG_HOMOLOG mediates aluminum sensitivity through PECTIN METHYLESTERASE46-modulated cell-wall pectin methylesterification in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 90, 491-504
- Lim, B., Smirnoff, N., Cobbett, C. S. and Golz, J.F. (2016) Ascorbate-deficient vtc2 mutants in Arabidopsis do not exhibit decreased growth. Front. Plant Sci. 7, 1025-1033
- Lampugnani, E.R, Ho, Y.Y., Moller, I.E., Koh, P-L., Golz, J.F., Bacic, A. and Newbigin, E. (2016) A glycosyl transferase from Nicotiana pollen mediates synthesis of a linear (1,5)-α-L-arabinan when expressed in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 170, 1962-1974
- Good, R.T., Varghese, T., Golz, J.F., Russell, D.A., Edwards, O. and Robin.C (2016) OffTargetFinder: a webtool for species-specific RNAi design. Bioinformatics 32, 1232-1234
- Boter, M., Golz, J.F., Giménez-Ibañez, S., Franco-Zorrilla, J.M., Díez-Díaz, M. and Solano, R. (2015) FILAMENTOUS FLOWER is a direct target of JAZ3 and modulates responses to jasmonate. Plant Cell 27, 3160-3174
- Lee, J.E., Lampugnani, E.R., Bacic, A. and Golz J.F. (2014) SEUSS and SEUSS-LIKE 2 coordinate auxin distribution and KNOXI activity during embryogenesis. Plant J. 80, 122-135
- Bonaccorso, O., Lee, J.E., Puah, L., Scutt, C.P. and Golz J.F. (2012) FILAMENTOUS FLOWER controls lateral organ development by acting as both an activator and a repressor. BMC Plant Biology 12, 176-195
- Lee, J.E. and Golz J.F. (2012). Diverse roles of Groucho/Tup1 co-repressors in plant growth and development. Plant Signaling and Behavior 7, 86-92
- Walker, M., Tehseen, M., Doblin, M.S., Pettolino, A., Wilson, S.M., Bacic, A. and Golz J.F. (2011). The transcriptional regulator LEUNIG_HOMOLOG regulates mucilage release from the Arabidopsis testa. Plant Physiol. 156, 46–60
- Stahle, M.I., Kuehlich, J., Staron, L., von Arnim, A. and Golz J.F. (2009) YABBYs and the transcriptional co-repressors LEUNIG and LEUNIG HOMOLOG maintain leaf polarity and meristem activity in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 21, 3105-3118
- Stahle, M.I., Bonaccorso, O. and Golz J.F. (2008) Signalling: The green light to leaf development. Intl J. Plant Develop. Biol. 2, 13-24
- Golz J.F. (2006) Signalling between the shoot apical meristem and developing lateral organs. Plant Mol. Biol. 60, 889-903
- Golz J.F. (2005) Lessons from the vegetative shoot apex. In Intercellular communications in plants (Ed A. Fleming), Blackwell, Oxford. pp 147-177
- Golz J.F., Roccaro, M., Kuzoff, R. and Hudson, A. (2004) GRAMINIFOLIA promotes growth and polarity of Antirrhinum. Development 131, 3661-3670
- Navarro, C., Efremova, N., Golz J.F., Rubiera, R., Kuckenburg, M., Castillo, R., Tietz, O., Saedler, H. and Schwarz-Sommer, Z. (2004) Molecular and genetic interactions between STYLOSA and GRAMINIFOLIA in the control of Antirrhinum vegetative and floral development. Development 131, 3649-3659
- Schwarz-Sommer Z., Silva E.D., Berndtgen R., Lonnig W.E., Muller A., Nindl I., Stuber K., Wunder J., Saedler H., Gubitz T., Borking A., Golz J.F., Ritter E. and Hudson A. (2003) A linkage map of an F-2 hybrid population of Antirrhinum majus and A. molle. Genetics 163, 699-710
- Golz J.F., Keck E. and Hudson A. (2002) Spontaneous mutations in knox genes give rise to a novel floral structure in Antirrhinum. Curr. Biology 12, 515-522
- Golz J.F. and Hudson A. (2002) Signalling in plant lateral organ development. Plant Cell 14, S277-S288
- Golz J.F., Young H., Su V., Kusaba M. and Newbigin E. (2001) Genetic analysis of Nicotiana pollen-part mutants is consistent with the presence of an S-ribonuclease inhibitor at the S locus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 15372-15376
- Golz J.F., Clarke A.E. and Newbigin E. (2000) Mutational approaches to the study of self incompatibility: revisiting the pollen-part mutants. Ann. Bot. 85 (Sup A), 95-103
- Tsiantis M., Schneeberger R., Golz J.F., Freeling M. and Langdale J.A. (1999) The maize rough sheath2 gene and leaf development programs in monocot and dicot plants. Science 284, 154-156
- Golz J.F., Su V., Clarke A.E. and Newbigin E. (1999) A molecular description of mutations affecting the pollen component of the Nicotiana alata S locus. Genetics 152, 1123-1135
- Golz J.F. and Hudson A. (1999) YABBYs claw to the fore. Curr. Biology 9, R861-R863
- Golz J.F., Clarke A.E., Newbigin E. and Anderson M.A. (1998) A relic S-RNase is expressed in the styles of self-compatible Nicotiana sylvestris. Plant J. 16, 591-599
- Golz J.F., Newbigin E. and Clarke A.E. (1995) Self-incompatibility in flowering plants. Curr. Opin. Genet. Develop. 5, 640-645
- Vissers A., Dodds P.N., Golz J.F. and Clarke A.E. (1995) Cloning and nucleotide sequence of the S7-RNase from Nicotiana alata Link and Otto. Plant Physiol. 108, 427-428