Antje Heese, PhD

Associate Professor


Contact Information

Phone 573-882-3831
Phone (Lab) 573-771-9076
Address 219 Schweitzer Hall


MS Plant Physiology & Biochemistry Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany
PhD Botany & Plant Pathology Michigan State University (PRL) East Lansing, Mich.

Research Description

My lab is interested in elucidating the roles of vesicular trafficking in innate immunity, focusing on host clathrin-coated vesicle (CCV) components with novel roles in immune signaling and responses to Pseudomonas syringae bacteria. This research interest has been ignited by my cross-diciplinary postdoctoral training in sterol requirement in yeast endocytosis (Prof. Howard Riezman, Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland) and syntaxin phosphorylation in fungal immune signaling (Cf-9/Avr9) (Prof. Jonathan Jones, Sainsbury Laboratory, England).

The plasma membrane (PM) provides a critical interface between eukaryotic cells and their environment to control cellular responses. In the model plant Arabidopsis, the cellular mechanisms and molecular machineries regulating the PM proteome remain largely elusive. One strategy that cells use to control the protein composition of the PM is protein cargo trafficking to and from the PM by vesicular trafficking. Vesicular trafficking is the movement of cargo proteins from one organelle to another in form of small, membrane bound vesicles.

We utilize the plant immune receptor FLAGELLIN SENSING 2 (FLS2) that detects bacterial flagellin or its active peptide-derivative flg22. FLS2 needs to reside at the PM to perceive flg22 for effective immune responses. A multifaceted vesicle trafficking network is essential for ensuring that FLS2 localizes correctly to its site of function (the PM) and in the correct abundance. However, considering the complexity of the vesicular trafficking network, relatively little is known about the identity and role(s) of vesicle components that function in flg22-signaling and/or trafficking of FLS2.

My lab focusses on identifying vesicle components of the clathrin-coated vesicle (CCV) network with novel roles in immune signaling and/or trafficking of FLS2 and other proteins with immune functions to and from the cell surface. Our efforts center on CCV components that function in endocytosis and secretion at the PM and the trans-Golgi network, respectively.

To address these questions, we use a combination of interdisciplinary techniques including biochemical, cell biological, proteomic, metabolomics, genetic, molecular biological and live-cell imaging approaches. Recently, we have started to expand our work from roles of CCV components in innate immunity to nutrient acquisition in Arabidopsis and the crop maize.

Notable Honors and Service

  • Ann K. Covington Award for Outstanding Mentoring, Univ. of Missouri (April 2018)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, Univ. of Missouri (April 2018)
  • Mentor for two “American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB)- Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF)” students (Summer 2014, Summer 2016)
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Mentor Award – Biochemistry, Univ. of Missouri (April 2015)
  • EMBO Long Term Fellowship, Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, England (Feb. 2001- Jan. 2003)
  • Human Frontier Science Program Fellowship, Biozentrum, Univ. of Basel, Basel, Switzerland (Oct. 1998 – Sep. 2000)
  • EMBO Short Term Fellowship, Technical Univ. of Graz, Graz, Austria (March 1999)
  • Fulbright Scholarship, Michigan State University, DOE-PRL, East Lansing, USA (Sep. 1989 – Aug. 1990)

Selected Publications

Ma X, Claus LAN, Leslie ME, Tao K, Wu Z, Liu J, Yu X, Li B, Zhou J, Savatin DV, Peng J, Tyler BM, Heese A, Russinova E, He P, Shan L. (2020). Ligand-induced monoubiquitination of BIK1 regulates plant immunity. Nature. 2020 May;581(7807):199-203. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-2210-3. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32404997 [PubMed]

Collins CA, LaMontagne ED, Anderson JC, Ekanayake G, Clarke AS, Bond LN, Salamango DJ, Cornish PV, Peck SC, Heese A. (2020). EPSIN1 Modulates the Plasma Membrane Abundance of FLAGELLIN SENSING2 for Effective Immune Responses. Plant Physiol. 2020 Apr;182(4):1762-1775. doi: 10.1104/pp.19.01172. Epub 2020 Feb 24. PMID: 32094305 [PubMed]

Mason KN, Ekanayake G, Heese A. (2020). Staining and automated image quantification of callose in Arabidopsis cotyledons and leaves. Methods Cell Biol. 2020;160:181-199. doi: 10.1016/bs.mcb.2020.05.005. Epub 2020 Jun 16.PMID: 32896315 [PubMed]

Ekanayake G, LaMontagne ED, Heese A. (2019). Never Walk Alone: Clathrin-Coated Vesicle (CCV) Components in Plant Immunity. Annu Rev Phytopathol. 57:387-409. doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080417-045841. [PubMed]

LaMontagne ED, Heese A. (2017). Trans-Golgi network/early endosome: a central sorting station for cargo proteins in plant immunity. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 40:114-121. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.08.012. Review. [PubMed]

Leslie ME, Heese A. (2017). Quantitative Analysis of Ligand-Induced Endocytosis of FLAGELLIN-SENSING 2 Using Automated Image Segmentation. Methods Mol Biol. 1578:39-54. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6859-6_4. [PubMed]

Collins CA, Leslie ME, Peck SC, Heese A. (2017). Simplified Enrichment of Plasma Membrane Proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana Seedlings Using Differential Centrifugation and Brij-58 Treatment. Methods Mol Biol. 1564:155-168. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-6813-8_13. [PubMed]

Leslie ME, Rogers SW, Heese A. (2016). Increased callose deposition in plants lacking DYNAMIN-RELATED PROTEIN 2B is dependent upon POWDERY MILDEW RESISTANT 4. Plant Signal Behav. 11(11):e1244594. [PubMed]

Smith JM, Leslie ME, Robinson SJ, Korasick DA, Zhang T, Backues SK, Cornish PV, Koo AJ, Bednarek SY, Heese A. (2014). Loss of Arabidopsis thaliana Dynamin-Related Protein 2B reveals separation of innate immune signaling pathways. PLoS Pathog. 10(12):e1004578. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004578. eCollection 2014 Dec. [PubMed]

Leslie ME, Heese A. (2014). A re-elicitation assay to correlate flg22-signaling competency with ligand-induced endocytic degradation of the FLS2 receptor. Methods Mol Biol. 1209:149-62. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-1420-3_12. [PubMed]

Smith JM, Heese A. (2014). Rapid bioassay to measure early reactive oxygen species production in Arabidopsis leave tissue in response to living Pseudomonas syringae. Plant Methods. 10(1):6. doi: 10.1186/1746-4811-10-6. [PubMed]

Smith JM, Salamango DJ, Leslie ME, Collins CA, Heese A. (2014). Sensitivity to Flg22 is modulated by ligand-induced degradation and de novo synthesis of the endogenous flagellin-receptor FLAGELLIN-SENSING2. Plant Physiol. 164(1):440-54. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.229179. Erratum in: Plant Physiol. 2017 Aug;174(4):2549. [PubMed]

Lu D, Lin W, Gao X, Wu S, Cheng C, Avila J, Heese A, Devarenne TP, He P, Shan L. (2011). Direct ubiquitination of pattern recognition receptor FLS2 attenuates plant innate immunity. Science. 332(6036):1439-42. doi: 10.1126/science.1204903. [PubMed]

Backues SK, Korasick DA, Heese A, Bednarek SY. (2010). The Arabidopsis dynamin-related protein2 family is essential for gametophyte development. Plant Cell. 22(10):3218-31. doi: 10.1105/tpc.110.077727. [PubMed]

Korasick DA, McMichael C, Walker KA, Anderson JC, Bednarek SY, Heese A. (2010). Novel functions of Stomatal Cytokinesis-Defective 1 (SCD1) in innate immune responses against bacteria. J Biol Chem. 285(30):23342-50. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.090787. [PubMed]

Shan L, He P, Li J, Heese A, Peck SC, Nürnberger T, Martin GB, Sheen J. (2008). Bacterial effectors target the common signaling partner BAK1 to disrupt multiple MAMP receptor-signaling complexes and impede plant immunity. Cell Host Microbe. 4(1):17-27. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2008.05.017. [PubMed]

Heese A, Hann DR, Gimenez-Ibanez S, Jones AM, He K, Li J, Schroeder JI, Peck SC, Rathjen JP. (2007). The receptor-like kinase SERK3/BAK1 is a central regulator of innate immunity in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 104(29):12217-22. [PubMed] This paper was highlighted in Science STKE (Jul 2007; tw269).

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