Prof. Dr. Klaus Theres

Research focus

Aerial plant architecture is largely determined by the number and activity of axillary meristems (AMs). AMs develop from pools of cells in leaf axils, which are specified by the expression of a set of transcriptional regulators, including LATERAL SUPPRESSOR (LAS). We are characterising the transcriptomes of AM founder cells at different stages of development in annual and perennial plants, to identify genes required for AM formation and use them to modulate shoot architecture in crop plants.

The ten most important publications

  1. Rossmann, S., Kohlen, W., Hasson, A., Theres, K. (2015) Lateral suppressor and Goblet act in hierarchical order to regulate ectopic meristem formation at the base of tomato leaflets. Plant J. 81: 837–848.
  2. Wang, Q., Kohlen, W., Rossmann, S., Vernoux, T., Theres, K. (2014) Auxin depletion from the leaf axil conditions competence for axillary meristem formation in Arabidopsis and tomato. Plant Cell 26:2068-2079.
  3. Naz, A.A., Raman, S., Martinez, C.C., Sinha, N.R., Schmitz, G., Theres, K. (2013) Trifoliate encodes an MYB transcription factor that modulates leaf and shoot architecture in tomato. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 110:2401-2406.
  4. Busch, B.L. *, Schmitz, G. *, Rossmann, S., Piron, F., Ding, J., Bendahmane, A., Theres, K. (2011) Shoot branching and leaf dissection in tomato are regulated by homologous gene modules. Plant Cell 23:3595-3609. *Equal contribution authorship
  5. Raatz, B., Eicker, A., Schmitz, G., Fuss, E., Müller, D., Rossmann, S., Theres, K. (2011) Specific expression of LATERAL SUPPRESSOR is controlled by an evolutionary conserved 3´enhancer. Plant J. 68:400-412.
  6. Schulze, S., Schäfer, B.N., Parizotto, E.A., Voinnet, O., Theres, K. (2010) LOST MERISTEMS genes regulate cell differentiation of central zone descendants in Arabidopsis shoot meristems. Plant J. 64:681-691.
  7. Müller, D., Schmitz, G., Theres, K. (2006) Blind homologous R2R3 Myb genes control the pattern of lateral meristem initiation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 18:586-597.
  8. Greb, T., Clarenz, O., Schäfer, E., Müller, D., Herrero, R., Schmitz, G., Theres, K. (2003) Molecular analysis of the LATERAL SUPPRESSOR gene in Arabidopsis reveals a conserved control mechanism for axillary meristem formation. Genes & Development 17:1175-1187.
  9. Schmitz, G., Tillmann, E., Carriero, F., Fiore, C., Cellini, F., Theres, K. (2002) The tomato Blind gene encodes a MYB transcription factor that controls the formation of lateral meristems. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99:1064-1069.
  10. Schumacher, K. *, Schmitt, T. *, Rossberg, M. *, Schmitz, G., Theres, K. (1999) The Lateral suppressor gene of tomato encodes a new member of the VHIID protein family. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 96:290-295. *Equal contribution authorship
Prof. Dr. Klaus Theres
CEPLAS Klaus Theres


 +49-221 5062-477

Genetic and molecular analysis of shoot branching in higher plants
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research

Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10

50829 Cologne

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich