Research Support

Establishment of the international research base to understand the principle behind plant development using “Zenigoke”, the Kyoto University-born model plant

Project Gist

Deciphering the principles of plant development using the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha (zenigoke), the Kyoto University-born model plant


Marchantia polymorpha, Plant development, Evolution, Auxin, International collaborations

Background and Purpose

The aim of this project is to decipher the principles of plant development, particularly in pattern formation and stem-cell regulation, by using a basal land plant, the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, which was recently established as a model organism in Kyoto University. The collaboration team consists of a U.K. researcher with deep expertise in clonal analysis (a powerful method for developmental research), a Dutch researcher who is a leader in the signaling research of the important phytohormone auxin, and a Japanese plant histologist, and sets out to serve as a foundation of an international core for Marchantia development researches.

Project Achievements

Data acquisition and frequent and deep discussion allowed a substantial advance in the understandings of cell division patterns, cell lineages of stem cells, and roles of auxin in their establishment during development of Marchantia. We organized an international symposium in the second year, which assisted formation of new networks with foreign researchers. In addition, a long-term stay of a Ph.D. student in a U.K. laboratory promoted his exponential growth as a researcher, which was of great significance.

Future Prospects

The research network established in this project will be expanded further to conduct multidimensional, interdisciplinary researches. By incorporating mathematical modeling approaches, we are aiming to reveal higher-order mechanisms of plant development and growth and seek for a fund to support it.


Speakers of the international symposium in September 2018
A K.U. Ph.D. student starting experiments in University of Bristol (July 2017)
Discussion for manuscript submission at University of Bristol (February 2019)
NIBB Conference Poster
JPR International Symposium Program

Joint Research/Academic Institutions Abroad

Principal Investigator


・Graduate School of Biostudies
・NISHIHAMA Ryuichi received a Ph.D. degree from Nagoya University. After postdoctoral researches in Stanford University School of Medicine, etc., he is now an Associate Professor in Graduate School of Biostudies at Kyoto University. Since fascinated by the fine mechanisms of cell division in his Ph.D. study, his research interest is to elucidate the survival strategies of plants from a perspective of cell division regulation.