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Heisler GroupPublications

Accounting for technical noise in single-cell RNA-seq experiments.
Brennecke, P., Anders, S., Kim, J.K., Kolodziejczyk, A.A., Zhang, X., Proserpio, V., Baying, B., Benes, V., Teichmann, S.A., Marioni, J.C. & Heisler, M.G.
Nat Methods. 2013 Nov;10(11):1093-5. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2645. Epub 2013 Sep 22.
Single-cell RNA-seq can yield valuable insights about the variability within a population of seemingly homogeneous cells. We developed a quantitative statistical method to distinguish true biological variability from the high levels of technical noise in single-cell experiments. Our approach quantifies the statistical significance of observed cell-to-cell variability in expression strength on a gene-by-gene basis. We validate our approach using two independent data sets from Arabidopsis thaliana and Mus musculus.
Europe PMC

Alignment between PIN1 polarity and microtubule orientation in the shoot apical meristem reveals a tight coupling between morphogenesis and auxin transport.
Heisler, M.G.*, Hamant, O.*, Krupinski, P.*, Uyttewaal, M., Ohno, C., Jonsson, H., Traas, J. & Meyerowitz, E.M.
PLoS Biol. 2010 Oct 19;8(10):e1000516.
*equal contribution
Morphogenesis during multicellular development is regulated by intercellular signaling molecules as well as by the mechanical properties of individual cells. In particular, normal patterns of organogenesis in plants require coordination between growth direction and growth magnitude. How this is achieved remains unclear. Here we show that in Arabidopsis thaliana, auxin patterning and cellular growth are linked through a correlated pattern of auxin efflux carrier localization and cortical microtubule orientation. Our experiments reveal that both PIN1 localization and microtubule array orientation are likely to respond to a shared upstream regulator that appears to be biomechanical in nature. Lastly, through mathematical modeling we show that such a biophysical coupling could mediate the feedback loop between auxin and its transport that underlies plant phyllotaxis.
Europe PMC

Developmental patterning by mechanical signals in Arabidopsis.
Hamant*, O., Heisler*, M.G., Jonsson*, H., Krupinski, P., Uyttewaal, M., Bokov, P., Corson, F., Sahlin, P., Boudaoud, A., Meyerowitz, E.M., Couder, Y. & Traas, J.
Science. 2008 Dec 12;322(5908):1650-5.
*equal contribution
A central question in developmental biology is whether and how mechanical forces serve as cues for cellular behavior and thereby regulate morphogenesis. We found that morphogenesis at the Arabidopsis shoot apex depends on the microtubule cytoskeleton, which in turn is regulated by mechanical stress. A combination of experiments and modeling shows that a feedback loop encompassing tissue morphology, stress patterns, and microtubule-mediated cellular properties is sufficient to account for the coordinated patterns of microtubule arrays observed in epidermal cells, as well as for patterns of apical morphogenesis.
Europe PMC

An auxin-driven polarized transport model for phyllotaxis.
Jonsson*, H., Heisler*, M.G., Shapiro, B.E., Meyerowitz, E.M. & Mjolsness, E.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jan 31;103(5):1633-8. Epub 2006 Jan 13.
Recent studies show that plant organ positioning may be mediated by localized concentrations of the plant hormone auxin. Auxin patterning in the shoot apical meristem is in turn brought about by the subcellular polar distribution of the putative auxin efflux mediator, PIN1. However, the question of what signals determine PIN1 polarization and how this gives rise to regular patterns of auxin concentration remains unknown. Here we address these questions by using mathematical modeling combined with confocal imaging. We propose a model that is based on the assumption that auxin influences the polarization of its own efflux within the meristem epidermis. We show that such a model is sufficient to create regular spatial patterns of auxin concentration on systems with static and dynamic cellular connectivities, the latter governed by a mechanical model. We also optimize parameter values for the PIN1 dynamics by using a detailed auxin transport model, for which parameter values are taken from experimental estimates, together with a template consisting of cell and wall compartments as well as PIN1 concentrations quantitatively extracted from confocal data. The model shows how polarized transport can drive the formation of regular patterns.
Europe PMC