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
28th June 2022 – PhD student Nicole Thomson wins the Faculty of Science Genetics Research Award which is awarded on academic and research potential. Well done Nicole.
7th June 2022 – joint CNRS-UoM PhD student Amelie Bauer arrives from France to begin her 1-year sojourn in our group. Welcome Amelie.
26th April 2022 – PhD student Nicole Thomson is awarded a John S Turner Postgraduate Scholarship. Well done, Nicole.
28th Feb 2022 – Three new students start in the group: PhD student Nicole Thomson, MSc student Bec Carra and MCAg-SC student Kelly Rodgers co-supervised with Mohammad Pourkheirandish in FVAS.
4th Jan 2022 – New PhD student Runjue Yao joins the group as part of the inaugural CNRS-UoM PhD program.
29th Oct 2021 – Joanna Kaptur successfully defends her PhD at Potsdam University – congratulations Joanna, awesome effort.
22nd Oct 2021 – Juntan Zhang submits his MSc thesis – well done Juntan, it has been a long hard road to completion with all the Covid-related disruptions.
13th Oct 2021 – Amelie Bauer who is a joint PhD student between our group and Prof Gwyneth Ingram’s group (CNRS – ENS Lyon) passed her PhD confirmation – well done Amelie.
13th Aug 2021 – John and colleagues in BioSciences secure an E=MC2 funding to develop plant transformation in chia.
28th July 2021 – Dr Patrick Allen joins the group to work on the mucilage project, specifically developing chromatin immunoprecipitation to study LUH function – Welcome Patrick.
20th June 2021 – Kim Heeley completes her Hons year in the lab and returns to Singapore to start a new chapter in her life.
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.
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.
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 the regulatory pathways controlling seed mucilage production in the model plant Arabidopsis.
Amelie Bauer, PhD candidate (Melbourne-CNRS Network Joint PhD program) – joined the CNRS partner lab in 2020.
Details to follow
Runjue Yao, PhD candidate (Melbourne-CNRS Network Joint PhD program) – joined the lab in 2021.
I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Bioscience and a Master’s degree in Botany from Lanzhou University (China).
During my undergraduate and postgraduate studies I have investigated the relationship between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and plants, as well as studying a group of receptors-like cytoplasmic kinase involved in seed coat development. These projects exposed me to the world of cell signal transduction something that I am keen to study further. My current PhD project involves looking at the molecular pathways involved in seed size control.
Nicole Thomson, PhD candidate – joined the lab in 2022.
Nicole completed her Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Genetics at the University of Otago, NewZealand. Her research project investigated the regulatory differences of key vernalisation gene variants in perennial ryegrass. She is interested in understanding the regulation of key genes involved in several important plant phenotypes that contribute to plant nutrition, yield, or tolerance to stress.
Her PhD project aims to investigate the interactions of the LEUNIG/LEUNIG_HOMOLOG regulatory complex in early embryogenesis in the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana.
Rebecca Carra, MSc candidate – joined the lab in 2022.
Rebecca completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne in 2020 with a major in Plant Sciences. She is currently completing her Masters of Biosciences with the Golz lab. Her project aims to investigate the regulatory pathways controlling seed mucilage production in Arabidopsis.
Kelly Rodgers, Masters of Agric. Sci. candidate – joined the lab in 2022.
Details to follow
Former Lab members:
8 PhD students (2009-2022)
5 MSc students (2009-2022)
5 Honours students (2007-2022)
3 SCIE30001 undergraduate students (2019-2022)
- Hassan, M., Yuan, G., Liu, Y., Alam, M., Eckert, C. Tuskan, G.A., Golz, J.F., Yang, X. (2022) Precision genome editing in plants using gene targeting and prime editing: exisiting and emerging strategies (Accepted – Biotechnology Journal)
- Alahakoon, A.Y. Tongson, E., Meng, W., Ye, Z-W., Russell, D.A.,Chye, M.L., Golz, J.F. and Taylor, P.W.J. (2022) Overexpressing Arabidopsis thaliana ACBP6 in transgenic rapid-cycling Brassica napus confers cold tolerance. Plant Methods 18, 62
- Román, Á., Golz, J., Webb, A., Graham, I., and Haydon, M. (2020) Combining GAL4 GFP enhancer trap with split luciferase to measure spatiotemporal promoter activity in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 102, 187-198
- 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