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Torii, Keiko

Keiko Torii

Molecular Biosciences, College of Natural Sciences

Johnson & Johnson Centennial Chair in Plant Cell Biology

Shaping Patterns in Plant Development


Office Location
NMS 5.104A

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712



We study how positional cues govern tissue patterning and organ shape, and how lineage-specific stem cells are initiated, maintained or terminally differentiate during plant development. To address such fundamental questions in developmental biology, we use patterning and differentiation of stomata as a model. Stomata are small valves serving as an interface between plants and atmosphere, and their presence is essential for plant survival and our global environment. We revealed that intricate cell-cell communications mediated by small chemical signals influence the pattern of stem cell divisions and fate specification. We aim to elucidate how functional tissue patterns are generated using cross-disciplinary approaches. Torii lab will be relocating from the University of Washington, Seattle, in Autumn 2019.

(Selected recent publications)

Zuch, D.T., Doyle, S.M., Majda, M., Smith, R.S., *Robert, S., *Torii, K.U. (2021) Cell biology of the leaf epidermis: Fate specification, morphogenesis and coordination. Plant Cell, koab250

Zeng, S.M., Lo, E.K.W., Hazelton, B.J., Morales, M.F., and *Torii, K.U. (2020) Effective range of non-cell autonomous activator and inhibitor peptides specifying plant stomatal patterning. Development 147: dev192237

*Nishimura, K., Yamada, R., Hagihara, S., Iwasaki, R., Uchida, N., Kamura, T., Takahashi, K., Torii, K.U., *Fukagawa, T. (2020) A super sensitive auxin-inducible degron system with an engineered auxin-TIR1 pair. Nuc Acid Res 48: e108

Qi, X., Yoshinari, A., Bai, P., Maes, M., Zheng, S., *Torii, K.U. (2020) The manifold actions of signaling peptides on subcellular receptor dynamics specify stomatal cell fate. eLife 9: e58097

Kawamoto, N., Del Carpio, D.P., Hofmann, A., Mizuta, Y., Kurihara, D., Higashiyama, T., Uchida, N., Torii, K.U., Colombo, L., Groth, G., and *Simon, R. (2020) A peptide pair coordinates regular ovule initiation patterns with seed number and fruit size. Current Biology 30: 4352-4361

Putarjunan, A., Ruble, J., Srivastava, A., Zhao, C., Rychel, A.L., Hofstetter, A.K., Tang, X., Zhu, J.K., Tama, F., *Zheng, N., and *Torii, K.U. (2019) Bipartite anchoring of SCREAM enforces stomatal initiation by coupling MAP Kinases to SPEECHLESS. Nature Plants 5: 742-754

Perraki, A., DeFalco, T., Derbyshire, P., Avila, J., Sere, D., Sklenar, J., Qi, X., Stransfeld, L, Schwessigner, B., Kadota, Y., Macho, A.P., Jiang, S., Coudo, D., Torii, K.U., Menke, F.L.H., and *Zipfel, C. (2018) Phosphocode-dependent functional dichotomy of a receptor in plant signaling. Nature 561: 248-252

Fendrych, M., Akhmanova, M., Merrin, J., Glanc, M., Hagihara, S., Takahashi, K., Uchida, N., Torii, K.U., and *Friml. J. (2018) Rapid root growth brake by TIR1 auxin signaling. Nature Plants 4:453-459

Han, S.K., Qi, X., K. Sugihara, Endo, T.A., Dang, J.H., Miura, T., Miller, K.A., Kim, E., and *Torii, K.U. (2018) Direct orchestration of cell-state switch and the single symmetric division to create stomata. Developmental Cell 45: 303-315

Uchida, N., Takahashi, K., Iwasaki, R., Zhang, H., Endo, T.A., Kimura, S., Yamada, R., Yoshimura, M., Tada, Y., Kinoshita, T., Itami, K., *Hagihara, S., and *Torii, K.U. (2018) Chemical hijacking of auxin signaling with an engineered auxin-TIR1 pair. Nature Chemical Biology 14: 299-305

Qi, X., Han, S.K., Dang, J.H., Garrick, J.T., Ito, M., Hofstetter, A.K., and *Torii, K.U. (2017) Autocrine regulation of stomatal differentiation potential by EPF1 and ERECTA-LIKE1 ligand-receptor signaling. eLife 6: e24102

Ziadi, A, Uchida, N., Kato, H., Hisamatsu, R., Sato, Y., Hagihara, S., *Itami, K., and *Torii, K.U. (2017) Synthetic small molecules that enhance the number of stomata: C-H Functionalization chemistry for plant biology. Chem Commun 53: 9632-9635

Hirakawa, Y., Shinohara, H., Matsubayashi, Y., *Torii, K.U., *Uchida, N. (2017) Cryptic bioactivity capacitated by synthetic hybrid peptide. Nature Commun 8: 14318

Tameshige, T., Okamoto, S., Lee, J.S., Aida, M., Tasaka, M., *Torii, K.U.  and *Uchida, N. (2016) A Secreted Peptide and its Receptors Specifying the Auxin Response Pattern during Leaf Margin Morphogenesis. Current Biology 26: 2478-2485

Lee, J.S., Hnilova, M., Maes, M., Lin, Y.C.L., Putarjunan, A., Han, S.K., Avila, J., and *Torii, K.U. (2015) Competitive binding of antagonistic peptides fine-tunes stomatal patterning Nature 522:439-443


2015 Saruhashi Prize

2015 Elected Fellow, American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB)

2014 Inoue Prize of Science

2012 Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS)

2012 Elected Member, Washington State Academy of Sciences (WSAS)

2010 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, University of Washington

2008 JSPS Prize, Japanese Society for Promotion of Sciences