Patrick Masson

Position title: Professor


Phone: 608-265-2312

Genetics of root growth behavior using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system.

3262 Genetics/Biotech
Ph.D., Faculté des Sciences Agronomiques de l'état, Gembloux, Belgium, (1986), Postdoctoral Research: Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore
Lab Website
Research Interests
Genetics of Root Growth Behavior Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a Model System.
Research Fields
Cell Biology, Development, Gene Expression, Genomics & Proteomics, Neuro & Behavioral Genetics, Plants

Research Description:
Roots’ primary functions are to take up the water and mineral ions required for plant growth and development, and to anchor the plant to its substratum. Because a plant spends its entire life cycle where it germinated, its roots have to colonize the soil in order to feed the plant without depleting its immediate environment of essential nutrients. They do so by developing specific patterns of growth which are dictated by environmental parameters. Hence, roots are capable of using the directional information provided by the gravity vector, light, touch, gradients in temperature, humidity, ions, chemicals and oxygen to guide their growth. My laboratory is using molecular genetic strategies in Arabidopsis thaliana to study the molecular mechanisms that allows roots to adopt specific growth behaviors in response to the mechanical parameters (gravity, touch) present in their environment.

When Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings grow on the surface of tilted agar-based media, their roots develop a wavy pattern of growth in response to a combination of gravity and touch stimulation. Mutations have been identified that affect the shape of these root waves, eliminate them or convert them into coils (’pig tails’). The molecular genetic and physiological analysis of these mutant lines reveals that the mutations affect genes that are important for root gravitropism (tendency to grow parallel to the gravity vector), or for the control of cellular expansion, a fundamental regulatory process in plant growth and development.

Representative Publications:
Search PubMed for more publications by Patrick Masson

Strohm AK, Baldwin KL, Masson PH. 2011. Molecular mechanisms of root gravity sensing and signal transduction. WIREs Dev Biol, 1: 276–285.

Vaughn LM, Masson PH. 2011. A QTL Study for Regions Contributing to Arabidopsis thaliana Root Skewing on Tilted Surfaces. G3, 1(2):105-15.

Stanga JP, Boonsirichai K, Sedbrook JC, Otegui MS, Masson PH. 2009. A role for the TOC complex in Arabidopsis root gravitropism. Plant Physiol. 149(4):1896-905.

Harrison BR, Masson PH. 2008. ARL2, ARG1 and PIN3 define a gravity signal transduction pathway in root statocytes. Plant J. 53(2):380-92.

Perrin RM, Wang Y, Yuen CY, Will J, Masson PH. 2007. WVD2 is a novel microtubule-associated protein in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J, 49(6):961-71.

Boonsirichai K, Sedbrook JC, Chen R, Gilroy S, Masson PH. 2003. ARG1 Is a Peripheral Membrane Protein that Modulates Gravity-Induced Cytoplasmic Alkalinization and Lateral Auxin Transport in Plant Statocytes. Plant Cell 15:2612-2665.