Djordjevic Group - Root architecture, root nodule formation, nitrogen fixation, regulatory peptides, plant development, Rhizobium

Group description

Sustainable food security is of utmost importance to the future of the planet. The root systems of plants play vital roles in the overall fitness and productivity of plants. The architecture of the root system is greatly influenced by nutrient availability and the environmental conditions they line in. Environmental conditions also influence the ability of certain plants (predominantly legumes) to engage in an agriculturally-important symbiosis with nitrogen fixing bacteria called rhizobia.  Rhizobia invade the root tissues and this results in the production of new organs, root nodules, which are capable of fixing substantial quantities of nitrogen which ultimately becomes bio-available in an ecologically-sustainable manner. Understanding the complex regulatory networks controlling root architecture and root nodule formation has the potential to address major issues threatening agricultural and ecological sustainability and human health. 

Recent work from our lab has identified new classes of secreted regulatory peptides which have hormone-like properties. The genes encoding these peptides are regulated by environmental stimuli and control important aspect of root and shoot growth and architecture as well as enhance root nodule formation in pasture legumes. Our main focus is to investigate how these peptides act in the model species Arabidopsis, Medicago and Brachypodium. We are also interested in how our work can be translated into crop species and their relatives, such as soybean, canola, rice and wheat, with a view to improving crop architecture and the ability of crops to react to stresses in more favourable ways

Group Leader

Postdoctoral Fellow

Divisional Visitor

Honours Student

PhD Student

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Selected publications

  • Delay C, Imin N, Djordjevic MA. (2013). CEP genes regulate root and shoot development in response to environmental cues and are specific to seed plants. J Experimental Botany 64: 5383-5394.
  • Imin N, Mohd-Radzman NA, Ogilvie HA, Djordjevic MA (2013). The peptide encoding gene CEP1 modulates lateral root and nodule numbers in Medicago truncatula.  J Experimental Botany 64: 5395-5409.
  • Bobay BG, diGennaro P, Scholl E, Imin N, Djordjevic MA, Bird, DM (2013) Solution NMR studies of the plant peptide hormone CEP inform function. FEBS Letters 587: 3979-3985.
  • Saur I, Oakes M, Djordjevic MA, Imin N (2011). Crosstalk between the nodulation signaling pathway and the autoregulation of nodulation in Medicago truncatula. New Phytologist. 190: 865-874.
  • James G.O., Hocart CH, Hillier W., Chen, H., Kordbacheh F., Price D and Djordjevic MA. (2010) Fatty Acid Profiling of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii under Nitrogen Deprivation. Bioresearch Biotechnology. 102: 3343-3351
  • Hueber SD, Weiller GF, Djordjevic MA, Frickey T. (2010). Improving Hox Protein Classification across the Major Model Organisms. PLOS ONE 5: e10820
  • Buer CS, Djordjevic MA. (2009) Architectural phenotypes in the transparent testa mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana. J Experimental Botany 60 : 751-763.
  • Miyahara A, Hirani TA, Oakes M Kereszt A, Kobe B, Djordjevic M A., Gresshoff PM. (2008) Soybean nodule autoregulation receptor kinase phosphorylates two kinase-associated protein phosphatases in vitro. Journal of Biological Chemistry: 283: 25381-253
  • Djordjevic M.A., Oakes M.., Hocart C., Li, D. and Gresshoff, P.M. (2007). Analysis of secreted proteins present in Glycine max xylem sap. Journal of Proteome Research. 6: 3771-3779. 
  • Buer CS, Muday GK and Djordjevic M.A. (2007). Flavonoids are differentially taken up, converted to downstream products, and transported long distances in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology. 145 : 478-490. 
  • Djordjevic M.A., Chen H-C, Natera, SHA, van Noorden G., Menzel, C, Taylor, S., Geiger O, Weiller, G. (2003). A global analysis of protein expression profiles in Sinorhizobium meliloti: Discovery of new genes for nodule occupancy and stress adaptation. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.16: 508-524. 
  • Mathesius U, Schlaman HRM, Spaink HP, Sautter C, Rolfe BG and Djordjevic MA (1998) Auxin transport inhibition precedes nodule initiation in white clover roots and is regulated by flavonoids and derivatives of chitin oligosaccharides. Plant Journal. 14: 23-34 

All publications

Scientists closer to outsmarting malaria parasites

Story | Friday 6 May 2022
Researchers have discovered why malaria parasites are vulnerable to some drug therapies but resistant to others, offering scientists another piece of the puzzle in the global fight against the disease.

Nodulation in legumes

Story | Thursday 13 April 2017
Legumes are an interesting plant to study due to their symbiotic relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria called Rhizobia, which are housed within specialised root structures called nodules. The work of ANU researchers has been very important for our understanding of symbiosis, nodule formation and nitrogen fixation.

Academic promotions: Level E Professor

Story | Monday 2 February 2015
Congratulations to the six RSB members who have been promoted to Level E Professor as of 1 January 2015.

ARC Discovery projects and DECRA fellowships

Story | Monday 17 November 2014

ARC grant success

Story | Thursday 3 November 2011

PS PhD Exit Seminar - Feeding your Guests: The role of UmamiT transporters in root nodulation

Event | Fri 31 May 2024
During root nodulation both the rhizobial symbiont and the legume host must coordinate resources to ensure proper growth and maintenance of the symbiotic relationship. To

PS Seminar Series- PhD Exit Seminar- Defining interaction partners for CEPR1, a key regulator of root growth and nutrient transport in Arabidopsis

Event | Fri 29 April 2022
The interaction of C-TERMINALLY ENCODED PEPTIDEs (CEPs) with CEP RECEPTOR1 (CEPR1) controls root growth and development, as well as nitrate uptake, but the underlying protein interactions involved are yet to be comprehensively defined.
Recorded Seminar ( Ass Prof Lee Hickey and Prof Andrew Borrell)

Joint Seminar : PS Seminar Series - Overview of ARC Discovery Project: Cereal blueprints for a water-limited world

Event | Fri 25 March 2022
Plants are sessile organisms and are therefore unable to seek out environmental conditions optimal for their growth and development.

Joint Seminar : PS Seminar Series - Integrating technologies to design future crops

Event | Fri 25 March 2022
Plant scientists are in a race against time to adapt modern crops to future environments, many of which are predicted to be hotter and drier.

PS Seminar Series - Signals and PerCEPtion: the role of C-Terminally Encoded Peptide 7 (CEP7) in symbiosis

Event | Fri 23 July 2021
The rhizobium-legume symbiosis that occurs within root nodules provides a crucial way for legumes to acquire nitrogen under nitrogen limited conditions.


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