Associate Professor Matthew Tucker
Dr Tucker is a developmental geneticist with research expertise in plant reproduction, seed development and cell wall biosynthesis. He received his PhD from the University of Adelaide and CSIRO Plant Industry in 2003, undertook postdoctoral research as an EMBO fellow at the University of Freiburg in Germany and in 2011 joined the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls as a Senior Research Fellow. In 2015 he was awarded an ARC Future Fellowship and in 2017 was promoted to Associate Professor.
Research in his laboratory investigates communication between different cells in the ovule, seed and root, with the aim of understanding how these signals can be engineered for superior plant products and reproductive strategies. His work has been published in journals including Developmental Cell, PloS Genetics, Plant Cell and Development.
Plant reproduction delivers many fruits, grains, beverages and industrial products that are a fundamental requirement of human society. Understanding how plants produce their gametes is therefore a key area of interest to ensure stable and improved yields in the future. We have been studying ovule development in Arabidopsis, barley and Hieracium to establish how female reproductive cells are specified. Communication between different ovule cells based on their position has long been hypothesised as a mechanism controlling reproductive cell identity, but is challenging to address due to the technical difficulties in accessing them in the ovule. With partners at CSIRO Agriculture (Dr Anna Koltunow), we have developed and utilised a method for Laser Assisted Microdissection (LAM) to capture these cells and characterise genes involved in ovule development. In parallel, large scale genetic screens have led to the identification of novel markers of reproductive cell development and the delineation of molecular pathways influencing reproductive cell fate. Work in this area is supported by the ARC (http://www.arc.gov.au/), as well as international partnerships with the SEXSEED consortium (http://www.fc.up.pt/sexseed/), North Carolina State University (http://www4.ncsu.edu/~rgfranks/) and the University of Freiburg (http://www.biologie.uni-freiburg.de/LauxLab/default%20tafang.htm)
Lora J, Herrero M, Tucker MR, Hormaza JI (2016) The transition from somatic to germline identity shows conserved and specialised features during angiosperm evolution. New Phytologist, DOI: 10.1111/nph.14330. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/nph.14330/abstract
Okada T, Hu Y, Tucker MR, Taylor JM, Johnson SD, Spriggs A, Tsuchiya T, Oelkers K, Rodrigues JCM, Koltunow AMG (2013) Enlarging cells initiating apomixis in Hieracium praealtum transition to an embryo sac program prior to entering mitosis. Plant Physiology, 163(1):216-31. http://dx.doi.org/10.1104/pp.113.219485
Tucker MR, Okada T, Hu Y, Scholefield A, Taylor JM, Koltunow AM (2012) Somatic small RNA pathways promote the mitotic events of megagametogenesis during female reproductive development in Arabidopsis. Development, 139(8):1399-404. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22399683
Cereal grains are an important dietary component that contribute benefits for human health and nutrition, and can also be utilised for industrial processes in the brewing, fibre and food industries. Within the cereal grain, different tissues such as the outer aleurone layer and inner starchy endosperm accumulate varying amounts of starch, dietary fibre and antioxidants. Genes controlling the balance between outer and inner identity might therefore be used to tailor the composition of cereal grains for specific end uses. We have been studying endosperm development in cereal species to understand the genetic basis for endosperm cell identity, with a specific focus on mechanisms that allow different cell types to communicate. This work is supported by the ARC and GRDC (https://grdc.com.au/) and involves international partners including the James Hutton Institute (http://www.hutton.ac.uk/staff/robbie-waugh). We also enjoy share a strong partnership with the State Breeding Institute at the University of Hohenheim (https://www.uni-hohenheim.de/institution/landessaatzuchtanstalt-2) relating to genetic analysis of complex traits in cereals.
Zhang R, Tucker MR, Burton RA, Shirley NJ, Little A, Morris J, Milne L, Houston K, Hedley PE, Waugh R, Fincher GB (2016) The dynamics of transcript abundance during cellularisation of developing barley endosperm. Plant Physiol. doi:10.1104/pp.15.01690. http://bit.ly/1n75yZ2
Trafford K, Haleux P, Henderson M, Parker M, Shirley NJ, Tucker MR, Fincher GB, Burton RA (2013) Grain development in Brachypodium and other grasses: Interactions between cell expansion, starch deposition and cell wall synthesis. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64(16):5033-47. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24052531
Plant Cell Walls
Plant cells are surrounded by a complex wall consisting of polysaccharides, proteins, phenolic acids and water. The cell wall fulfils a crucial role in supporting plant growth and development and defending against pathogen invasion. In collaboration with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Cell Walls (http://www.plantcellwalls.org.au/) we have been studying how different components of the wall are synthesised, how they influence reproductive development and how they interact with barley parasites such as the cereal cyst nematode, Heterodera avenae.
Tucker MR, Ma C, Phan J, Neumann K, Shirley NJ, Hahn MG, Cozzolino D, Burton RA (2017) Dissecting the genetic basis for seed coat mucilage heteroxylan biosynthesis in Plantago ovata using gamma irradiation and infrared spectroscopy. Front. Plant Sci. (in press)
Phan JL, Tucker MR, Khor S-F, Shirley N, Lahnstein J, Beahan C, Bacic T, Burton RA (2016) Differences in the glycosyltransferase family 61 accompany interspecific variation in seed coat mucilage composition and heteroxylan structure in Plantago spp. Journal of Experimental Botany, 22: 6481-6495
Houston K, Tucker MR, Chowdhury J, Shirley N, Little A (2016) The plant cell wall: a complex and dynamic structure as revealed by the responses of genes under stress conditions. Front. Plant Sci., doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00984. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpls.2016.00984/abstract
Aditya J, Lewis J, Shirley NJ, Tan H, Henderson M, Fincher GB, Burton RA, Mather DE, Tucker MR (2015) The dynamics of cereal cyst nematode infection differ between susceptible and resistant barley cultivars and lead to changes in (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan levels and HvCslF gene transcript abundance. New Phytologist, 207(1), 135-147. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25737227
Shoot Meristem Development
ARGONAUTE proteins bind small RNA molecules to silence the transcription and translation of homologous target sequences. In Arabidopsis, several AGOs contribute to development of the embryonic shoot meristem. Using a combination of genetic screens and natural mutants, we are studying the broader network of AGO-dependent genes controlling embryonic meristem development to determine how these might be tailored to improve plant growth under adverse conditions.
Tucker MR, Roodbarkelari F, Truernit E, Adamski NM, Hinze A, Lohmueller B, Würschum T, Laux T (2013) Accession-specific modifiers act with ZWILLE/ARGONAUTE10 to maintain shoot meristem stem cells during embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. BMC Genomics, 14:809. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/14/809/abstract
Knauer S, Holt AL, Rubio-Somoza I, Tucker EJ, Hinze A, Pisch M, Javelle M, Timmermans MC, Tucker MR, Laux T (2013). A protodermal miR394 signal defines a region of stem cell competence in the Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Developmental Cell, 24(2), 125-132. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23333352
|2015||ARC Future Fellow||University of Adelaide|
|German||Can read and understand spoken|
|2003||University of Adelaide||Australia||PhD|
|1998||Flinders University||Australia||Bachelor of Biotechnology (Honours)|
|2017||Wilkinson, L. & Tucker, M. (2017). An optimised clearing protocol for the quantitative assessment of sub-epidermal ovule tissues within whole cereal pistils. Plant Methods, 13, 1, -.
|2017||Xing, X., Hsieh, Y., Yap, K., Ang, M., Lahnstein, J., Tucker, M. ... Bulone, V. (2017). Isolation and structural elucidation by 2D NMR of planteose, a major oligosaccharide in the mucilage of chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds. Carbohydrate Polymers, 175, 231-240.
|2017||Tucker, M., Ma, C., Phan, J., Neumann, K., Shirley, N., Hahn, M. ... Burton, R. (2017). Dissecting the genetic basis for seed coat mucilage heteroxylan biosynthesis in plantago ovata using gamma irradiation and infrared spectroscopy. Frontiers in Plant Science, 8, 326-1-326-14.
|2017||Taochy, C., Gursanscky, N., Cao, J., Fletcher, S., Dressel, U., Mitter, N. ... Carroll, B. (2017). A genetic screen for impaired systemic RNAi highlights the crucial role of Dicer-like 2. Plant physiology, 175, 3, 1424-1437.
|2017||Würschum, T., Langer, S. M., Longin, C. F. H., Tucker, M. R. & Leiser, W. L. (2017). A modern Green Revolution gene for reduced height in wheat.. The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology, -.
|2017||Liu, W., Maurer, H., Leiser, W., Tucker, M., Weissmann, S., Hahn, V. & Würschum, T. (2017). Potential for Marker-Assisted Simultaneous Improvement of Grain and Biomass Yield in Triticale. Bioenergy Research, 10, 2, 449-455.
|2016||Lora, J., Herrero, M., Tucker, M. & Hormaza, J. (2016). The transition from somatic to germline identity shows conserved and specialized features during angiosperm evolution. New Phytologist, Online, 2, 1-15.
|2016||Liu, W., Leiser, W., Reif, J., Tucker, M., Losert, D., Weissmann, S. ... Würschum, T. (2016). Multiple-line cross QTL mapping for grain yield and thousand kernel weight in triticale. K. Pillen (Ed.). Plant Breeding, 135, 5, 567-573.
|2016||Zhang, R., Tucker, M., Burton, R., Shirley, N., Little, A., Morris, J. ... Fincher, G. (2016). The dynamics of transcript abundance during cellularization of developing barley endosperm. Plant Physiology, 170, 3, 1549-1565.
|2016||Houston, K., Tucker, M., Chowdhury, J., Shirley, N. & Little, A. (2016). The plant cell wall: a complex and dynamic structure as revealed by the responses of genes under stress conditions. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7, AUG2016, 1-18.
|2016||Yu, J., Meng, Z., Liang, W., Behera, S., Kudla, J., Tucker, M. ... Zhang, D. (2016). A rice Ca2+binding protein is required for tapetum function and pollen formation. Plant Physiology, 172, 3, 1772-1786.
|2016||Phan, J., Tucker, M., Khor, S., Shirley, N., Lahnstein, J., Beahan, C. ... Burton, R. (2016). Differences in glycosyltransferase family 61 accompany variation in seed coat mucilage composition in Plantago spp.. Journal of Experimental Botany, 67, 22, 6481-6495.
|2016||Würschum, T., Longin, C., Hahn, V., Tucker, M. & Leiser, W. (2016). Copy number variations of CBF genes at the Fr-A2 locus are essential components of winter hardiness in wheat.. Plant J, 89, 4, -.
|2015||Würschum, T., Tucker, M., Maurer, H. & Leiser, W. (2015). Ethylene inhibitors improve efficiency of microspore embryogenesis in hexaploid triticale. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 122, 3, 751-757.
|2015||Aditya, J., Lewis, J., Shirley, N., Tan, H., Henderson, M., Fincher, G. ... Tucker, M. (2015). The dynamics of cereal cyst nematode infection differ between susceptible and resistant barley cultivars and lead to changes in (1,3;1,4)-β-glucan levels and HvCslF gene transcript abundance. New Phytologist, 207, 1, 135-147.
|2014||Wurschum, T., Tucker, M. & Maurer, H. (2014). Stress treatments influence efficiency of microspore embryogenesis and green plant regeneration in hexaploid triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack L.). In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-plant, 50, 1, 143-148.
|2014||Liu, W., Maurer, H., Li, G., Tucker, M., Gowda, M., Weissmann, E. ... Würschum, T. (2014). Genetic architecture of winter hardiness and frost tolerance in triticale. P. Hernandez (Ed.). PLoS One, 9, 6, e99848-1-e99848-7.
|2014||Tucker, M. & Koltunow, A. (2014). Traffic monitors at the cell periphery: the role of cell walls during early female reproductive cell differentiation in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 17, 1, 137-145.
|2014||Würschum, T., Liu, W., Busemeyer, L., Tucker, M., Reif, J., Weissmann, E. ... Maurer, H. (2014). Mapping dynamic QTL for plant height in triticale. BMC Genetics, 15, 1, 59-1-59-8.
|2014||Würschum, T., Liu, W., Alheit, K., Tucker, M., Gowda, M., Weissmann, E. ... Maurer, H. (2014). Adult plant development in triticale (× triticosecale wittmack) is controlled by dynamic genetic patterns of regulation. G3, 4, 9, 1585-1591.
|2013||Okada, T., Hu, Y., Tucker, M., Taylor, J., Johnson, S., Spriggs, A. ... Koltunow, A. (2013). Enlarging cells initiating apomixis in Hieracium praealtum transition to an embryo sac program prior to entering mitosis. Plant Physiology, 163, 1, 216-231.
|2013||Liu, W., Maurer, H., Reif, J., Melchinger, A., Utz, H., Tucker, M. ... Wurschum, T. (2013). Optimum design of family structure and allocation of resources in association mapping with lines from multiple crosses. Heredity, 110, 1, 71-79.
|2013||Trafford, K., Haleux, P., Henderson, M., Parker, M., Shirley, N., Tucker, M. ... Burton, R. (2013). Grain development in Brachypodium and other grasses: possible interactions between cell expansion, starch deposition, and cell-wall synthesis. Journal of Experimental Botany, 64, 16, 5033-5047.
|2013||Tucker, M., Roodbarkelari, F., Truernit, E., Adamski, N., Hinze, A., Lohmuller, B. ... Laux, T. (2013). Accession-specific modifiers act with ZWILLE/ARGONAUTE10 to maintain shoot meristem stem cells during embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. BMC Genomics, 14, 1, 809-1-809-14.
|2013||Knauer, S., Holt, A., Rubio-Somoza, I., Tucker, E., Hinze, A., Pisch, M. ... Laux, T. (2013). A protodermal miR394 signal defines a region of stem cell competence in the Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Developmental Cell, 24, 2, 125-132.
|2012||Tucker, M., Okada, T., Johnson, S., Takaiwa, F. & Koltunow, A. (2012). Sporophytic ovule tissues modulate the initiation and progression of apomixis in Hieracium. Journal of Experimental Biology, 63, 8, 3229-3241.
|2012||Wurschum, T., Tucker, M., Reif, J. & Maurer, H. (2012). Improved efficiency of doubled haploid generation in hexaploid triticale by in vitro chromosome doubling. BMC Plant Biology, 12, 1, 1-6.
|2012||Alheit, K., Maurer, H., Reif, J., Tucker, M., Hahn, V., Weissmann, E. & Wurschum, T. (2012). Genome-wide evaluation of genetic diversity and linkage disequilibrium in winter and spring triticale (x Triticosecale Wittmack). BMC Genomics, 13, 1, 1-10.
|2012||Tucker, M., Okada, T., Hu, Y., Scholefield, A., Taylor, J. & Koltunow, A. (2012). Somatic small RNA pathways promote the mitotic events of megagametogenesis during female reproductive development in arabidopsis. Development, 139, 8, 1399-1404.
|2011||Wang, J., Andersson-Gunneras, S., Gaboreanu, I., Hertzberg, M., Tucker, M., Zheng, B. ... Jones, B. (2011). Reduced expression of the SHORT-ROOT gene increases the rates of growth and development in hybrid Poplar and Arabidosis. PLoS One, 6, 12, 1-9.
|2009||Mallory, A., Hinze, A., Tucker, M., Bouche, N., Gasciolli, V., Elmayan, T. ... Laux, T. (2009). Redundant and specific roles of the ARGONAUTE proteins AGO1 and ZLL in development and small RNA-directed gene silencing. PLoS Genetics, 5, 9/e1000646, 1-12.
|2009||Tucker, M. & Koltunow, A. (2009). Sexual and asexual (apomictic) seed development in flowering plants: molecular, morphological and evolutionary relationships. Functional Plant Biology, 36, 6, 490-504.
|2008||Tucker, M., Hinze, A., Tucker, E., Takada, S., Jurgens, G. & Laux, T. (2008). Vascular signalling mediated by ZWILLE potentiates WUSCHEL function during shoot meristem stem cell development in the Arabidopsis embryo. Development, 135, 17, 2839-2843.
|2008||Macedo Rodrigues, J., Tucker, M., Johnson, S., Hrmova, M. & Koltunow, A. (2008). Sexual and Apomictic Seed Formation in Hieracium Requires the Plant Polycomb-Group Gene fertilization independent endosperm. Plant Cell, 20, 9, 2372-2386.
|2008||Koltunow, A. & Tucker, M. (2008). Functional embryo sac formation in Arabidopsis without meiosis - one step towards asexual seed formation (apomixis) in crops?. Journal of Biosciences, 33, 3, 309-311.
|2007||Tucker, M. & Laux, T. (2007). Connecting the paths in plant stem cell regulation. Trends in Cell Biology, 17, 8, 403-410.
|2003||Tucker, M., Araujo, A., Paech, N., Hecht, V., Schmidt, E., Rossell, J. ... Koltunow, A. (2003). Sexual and apomictic reproduction in Hieracium subgenus Pilosella are closely interrelated developmental pathways. Plant Cell, 15, 7, 1524-1537.
|2001||Chaudhury, A., Koltunow, A., Payne, T., Luo, M., Tucker, M., Dennis, E. & Peacock, W. (2001). Control of early seed development. Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology, 17, 1, 677-699.
|2001||Tucker, M., Paech, N., Willemse, M. & Koltunow, A. (2001). Dynamics of callose deposition and b-1,3-glucanase expression during reproductive events in sexual and apomictic Hieracium. Planta, 212, 4, 487-498.
|2002||Tucker, M. R., Koltunow, A. M. G., Paech, N. & Vivian-Smith, A. (2002). The central role of the ovule in apomixis and parthenocarpy. In S. D. O'Neill & J. A. Roberts (Eds.), Plant Reproduction Taylor & Francis.|
|2011||Tucker, M. & Koltunow, A. (2011). Advances in apomixis research: can we fix heterosis?. I. K. Vasil (Ed.)|
M.R. Tucker, Defining pathways that establish and maintain reproductive cell identity in plant ovules and seeds, 2014-2018, ARC Future Fellowship
D.E. Mather, J.F. Thompson, K.J. Chalmers, T.J. Sutton, M.R. Tucker, J.D. Taylor, K.H.P. Khoo, Protecting Your Crop: Development of tools to accelerate Nematode resistance gene deployment, GRDC, 2015-2020
S. Coimbra, L. Colombo, C. Spillane, E. Albertini, M. Tucker, B. Franks, B. Jones, R. Palanivelu, “SEXSEED” - Sexual Plant Reproduction – Seed formation, EU H2020-MSCARISE-2015-2018
M. Tucker, T. Laux, Y. Xu, J.G. Schwerdt, Genetic control of germline initiation in flowering plants, Universities Australia - DAAD - Australia Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme. 2016-2017
M. Tucker, J. Alonso, The hormonal control of female reproduction in flowering plants, University of Adelaide / North Carolina State University funding. 2015-2016
PLANT DEVELOPMENTAL GENETICS: 103561, GENE EXPRESSION AND HUMAN & DEVELOPMENTAL GENETICS, (GENETICS 3211)
Current PhD Students
Sarah Moss (CSIRO/UA)
Jana Phan (UA)
Guillermo Garcia (JHI/PCW)
Matthew Aubert (UA)
Laura Wilkinson (UA)
Haoyu (Mia) Lou (UA/UoN)
Cindy Callens (UoN/UA)
Kum (Maple) Ang (UA)
Caterina Selva (UA)
Rosanna Petrella (Uni Milan)
Current Honours/Masters Students
Sara Pinto (Uni Porto)
Dayton Bird (UA)
Daniel Mckay (UA)
Completed PhD Students
Sonia Bosca (Uni Freiburg)
Annika Hinze (Uni Freiburg)
Completed Honours/Diplom/Masters Students
Weng Herng Leong (UA)
Sandy (Shi) Khor (UA)
Matthew Aubert (UA)
Grance Ang (UA)
Chao Ma (UA)
George Mondoh (UA)
Basheer Jasim (UA)
Jessika Pan (UA)
Anna Holt (Uni Freiburg)
|2012 - ongoing||Member||International Association for Sexual Plant Reproduction Research|
|2012 - ongoing||Member||Australian Society of Plant Scientists||Australia|
|2015 - ongoing||Representative||Australian Society of Plant Scientists||Australian Society of Plant Scientists||Australia|
|2015 - ongoing||Representative||Institutional Biosafety Commitee||University of Adelaide||Australia|