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Gary Stacey

Gary Stacey

Curators Professor Division of Plant Sciences

Plant Sciences,


B.S., Biology, Bowling Green State University
Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Texas, Austin

Research Description
Host-microbe interactions
The Soybean-Bradyrhizorium japonicum symbiosis: A major focus of research in the Stacey lab is the symbiosis between the bacterium B.japonicum and its host plant, soybean. The result of this interaction is the establishment of a novel organ, nodule, on the root of the host. Inside this organ, B. japonicum fixes atmospheric nitrogen, which the plant can use. Plant perception of lipo-chitin nodulation signals, produced by the bacterium, is essential for induction of de novo organogenesis, leading to nodule formation. The lab’s research is focused on plant recognition of this molecule and the signal transduction pathways leading to nodule development. The lab developed the soybean root hair system as a single cell model for systems biology and have published extensively on the use of this model to examine the functional genomic response to rhizobial infection.

Plant chitin recognition and fungal-plant interactions: The lab’s interest in legume-lipo-chitin recognition has led to a general interest in chitin recognition in plants. For example, chitin, released from the cell wall of pathogenic fungi, is a known elicitor of defense responses in plants. The lab cloned the plasma membrane receptor for chitin and work is continuing to study this receptor, its interacting proteins and general role of chitin signaling in plant innate immunity.

ATP as an extracellular signal in plants.
ATP is the energy currency of the cell but can also be released outside the cell where it plays an important signaling role. This function is well documented in animal systems but less so in plants. However, several published studies, including those from our lab, have implicated extracellular ATP as an important signal in plant growth and development, as well as the plant response to various stresses. A major recent achievement of the lab was the identification and cloning of the first plant receptor for extracellular ATP. Work is ongoing to characterize this receptor and fully explore the role of extracellular ATP in plants.

Soybean genomics and biotechnology
As part of the growing family of researchers at MU who are interested in soybean biology, the Stacey laboratory is contributing to the development of soybean genomic research. The goal of this research is to identify genes and traits that can benefit soybean agriculture. For example, at MU, the lab is developing, in collaboration with other laboratories, first-rate facilities for high-throughput molecular breeding of soybean and transformation capabilities for creating transgenic soybean with improved agronomic and/or nutritional traits.

Selected publications

Tanaka K, Nguyen THN, and Stacey G. Enzymatic role for soybean ecto-apyrase in nodulation. Plant Signaling and Behavior 2011;6(7):116-118.

Wang C, Fritschi FB, Stacey G, and Yang Z. Phenology-based assessment of perennial energy crops in North American tallgrass prairie. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 2011;101(4):742-751.

Bolon YT, Haun WJ, Xu WW, Grant D, Stacey MG, Nelson RT, Gerhardt DJ, Jeddeloh JA, Muehlbauer GJ, Orf JH, Naeve SL, Stupar RM, and Vance CP. Phenotypic and genomic analyses of a fast neutron mutant population resource in soybean. Plant Physiology 2011;156(1):240-253.

Tanaka K, Nguyen CT, Libault M, Cheng J, Stacey G. Enzymatic activity of the soybean ecto-apyrase GS52 is essential for stimulation of nodulation. Plant Physiology 2011;155 (4):1988-1998.

Wang Z, Zhang XC, Le MH, Xu D, Stacey G, and Cheng J. A protein domain Co-occurrence network approach for predicting protein function and inferring species phylogeny. PLoS ONE 2011;6 (3), art. no. e17906.

Joshi T, Yao Q, Franklin LD, Brechenmacher L, Valliyodan B, Stacey G, Nguyen H, and Xu D. SoyMetDB: The Soybean Metabolome Database. Proceedings – 2010 IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Biomedicine, BIBM 2010, art. no. 5706563:203-208.

Libault M, Brechenmacher L, Cheng J, Xu D, Stacey G. Root hair systems biology. Trends in Plant Science 2010;15(11):641-650.

Wang Z, Libault M, Joshi T, Valliyodan B, Nguyen H, Xu D, Stacey G and Cheng J. SoyDB: A knowledge database of soybean transcription factors. BMC Plant Biology 2010;14.

Tanaka K, Swanson SJ, Gilroy S and Stacey G. Extracellular nucleotides elicit cytosolic free calcium oscillations in arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 2010;154(2):705-719.

Tanaka K, Gilroy S, Jones AM and Stacey G. Extracellular ATP signaling in plants. Trends in Cell Biology 2010;20(10):601-608.

Schmutz J, Cannon SB, Schlueter J, Ma J, Mitros T, Nelson W, Hyten DL, Song Q, Thelen JJ, Cheng J, Xu D, Hellsten U, May GD, Yu Y, Sakurai T, Umezawa T, Bhattacharyya MK, Sandhu D, Valliyodan B, Lindquist E, Peto M, Grant D, Shu S, Goodstein D, Barry K, Futrell-Griggs M, Abernathy B, Du J, Tian Z, Zhu L, Gill N, Joshi T, Libault M, Sethuraman A, Zhang XC, Shinozaki K, Nguyen HT, Wing RA, Cregan P, Specht J, Grimwood J, Rokhsar D, Stacey G, Shoemaker RC and Jackson SA. Genome sequence of the palaeopolyploid soybean. Nature 2010;463(7278):178-183.

Libault M, Zhang XC, Govindarajulu M, Qiu J, Ong YT, Brechenmacher L, Berg RH, Hurley-Sommer A, Taylor CG and Stacey G. A member of the highly conserved FWL (tomato FW2.2-like) gene family is essential for soybean nodule organogenesis. Plant Journal 2010;62(5):852-864.

Libault M and Stacey G. Evolution of FW2.2-like (FWL) and PLAC8 genes in eukaryotes. Plant Signaling and Behavior 2010;5(10):1226-1228.

Libault M, Farmer A, Joshi T, Takahashi K, Langley RJ, Franklin LD, He J, Xu D, May G and Stacey G. An integrated transcriptome atlas of the crop model Glycine max, and its use in comparative analyses in plants. Plant Journal 2010;63(1):86-99.

Libault M, Farmer A, Brechenmacher L, May GD and Stacey G. Soybean root hairs: A valuable system to investigate plant biology at the cellular level. Plant Signaling and Behavior 2010;5(4):419-421.

Libault M, Farmer A, Brechenmacher L, Drnevich J, Langley RJ, Bilgin DD, Radwan O, Neece DJ, Clough SJ, May GD and Stacey G. Complete transcriptome of the soybean root hair cell, a single-cell model, and its alteration in response to Bradyrhizobium japonicum infection. Plant Physiology 2010;152(2):541-552.

Libault M, Brechenmacher L, Cheng J, Xu D and Stacey G. Root hair systems biology. Trends in Plant Science 2010;15(11):641-650.

Joshi T, Yan Z, Libault M, Jeong DH, Park S, Green PJ, Sherrier DJ, Farmer A, May G, Meyers BC, Xu D and Stacey G. Prediction of novel miRNAs and associated target genes in Glycine max. BMC Bioinformatics 2010;11(SUPPLL.1): art. no. S14.

Findley SD, Cannon S, Varala K, Du J, Ma J, Hudson ME, Birchler JA and Stacey G. A fluorescence in situ hybridization system for karyotyping soybean. Genetics 2010;185(3):727-744