Phloem development and function

Plant Development

The plant phloem is part of the vascular tissue and consists of several highly specialized cell types. Within phloem cells, carbohydrates are being transported from sites of photosynthesis (mainly leaves) to tissues that are dependent on carbohydrate import (roots, seeds, developing organs). In every newly forming organ new phloem cells have to develop and to be connected to the already existing phloem network within a plant.

In spite of its important function in carbohydrate allocation, relatively little is known about the factors that control phloem development. We will contribute to a better understanding of phloem development and function using two complementary approaches: First, we are developing and using state of the art microscopic techniques to obtain a better characterization of phloem cell development. Second, we are currently studying the regulation and function of some genetic factors that are essential for proper phloem development.


Recent Publications

  • A Reservoir of Pluripotent Phloem Cells Safeguards the Linear Developmental Trajectory of Protophloem Sieve Elements
    Gujas, Bojan; Kastanaki, Elizabeth; Sturchler, Alessandra; Cruz, Tiago M. D.; Ruiz-Sola, M. Aguila; Dreos, Rene; Eike, Simona; Truernit, Elisabeth; Rodriguez-Villalon, Antia
    Current Biology 30 (5): 755-+ DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.12.043 MAR 9 2020
  • Accelerated ex situ breeding of GBSS- and PTST1-edited cassava for modified starch
    Simon E. Bull, David Seung, Christelle Chanez, Devang Mehta, Joel‑Elias Kuon, Elisabeth Truernit, Anton Hochmuth, Irene Zurkirchen, Samuel C. Zeeman, Wilhelm Gruissem and Hervé Vanderschuren
    Science Advances, 4 (9): 10.1126/sciadv.aat6086, Washington, DC: AAAS, SEP 2018.  
  • OCTOPUS-LIKE 2, a novel player in Arabidopsis root and vascular development, reveals a key role for OCTOPUS family genes in root metaphloem sieve tube differentiation 
    Sola, M. Aguila Ruiz; Coiro, Mario; Crivelli, Simona; et al. 
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 216 (4): 1191-1204,  10.1111/nph.14751  DEC 2017
  • Amino Acid Export in Developing Arabidopsis Seeds Depends on UmamiT Facilitators
    Mueller, Benedikt; Fastner, Astrid; Karmann, Julia; et al.
    CURRENT BIOLOGY 25(23): 3126-3131 10.1016/j.cub.2015.10.038 DEC 7 2015
  • Epidermal micromorphology in Dioon: did volcanism constrain Dioon evolution?
    Lumaga, Maria Rosaria Barone; Coiro, Mario; Truernit, Elisabeth; et al.
    BOTANICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY 179(2): 236-254  10.1111/boj.12326 OCT 2015
  • Phloem imaging
    Truernit, Elisabeth 
    JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, 65 (7) SI: 1681-1688, 10.1093/jxb/ert445  APR 2014
  • Plastidial NAD-Dependent Malate Dehydrogenase Is Critical for Embryo Development and Heterotrophic Metabolism in Arabidopsis 
    Beeler, Seraina; Liu, Hung-Chi; Stadler, Martha; et al. 
    PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 164 (3): 1175-1190 MAR 2014
  • OCTOPUS, a polarly localised membrane-associated protein, regulates phloem differentiation entry in Arabidopsis thaliana 
    Truernit, E; Baub, H; Belcram, K; et al. 
    DEVELOPMENT, 139 (7): 1306-1315 APR 2012
Elisabeth Truernit ETH Zurich

Dr. Elisabeth Truernit
ETH Zurich
Institute of Molecular Plant Biology
8092 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 632 96 85

Research topics

  • Phloem development
  • Plant anatomy
  • Plant growth
  • Solute allocation



  • Microscopy
  • Cell biology