Dr Kanae Nishii
Dr Kanae Nishii, Post-Doctoral Researcher, Research Associate
KN's main interest lies in unravelling the evolutionary history of plants. More specifically, KN focuses on plant development and morphology and their underlying physiological and genetic mechanisms in a phylogenetic setting, using the family Gesneriaceae as study material.
Systematic research in Gesneriaceae
My current project involves generating a genus-wide phylogeny for the genus Cyrtandra with Hannah Atkins and Michael Möller to investigate the molecular systematics of the genus (see also Hannah Atkins’ biography). The genus has a wide distribution in SE Asia and the Pacific Islands.
I have also been involved in phylogenetic research on the African genus Streptocarpus with Michael Möller, Mark Hughes, Elspeth Haston and Dirk U. Bellstedt (Stellenbosch, SA). We have proposed a subgeneric and section classification for the African and Madagascan species. There are still unplaced species remaining and resolving their taxonomic position in Streptocarpus is an ongoing project at RBGE (see also Michael Möller’s biography).
Evolutionary development (Evo-Devo) in Gesneriaceae
My main interest is studying meristem behaviour and physiological elements affecting plant growth, and the evolution and diversification of meristems in plants.
Plants in the family Gesneriaceae show a wide range of vegetative meristem behaviours that are reflected in different shoot and leaf/cotyledon morphologies. For example, the development of unequal cotyledons by means of an asymmetric activity of the cotyledonary basal meristem, is only observed for members of subfamily Didymocarpoideae (the so-called Old World Gesneriaceae). Another feature is the loss of an ordinary shoots (acaulescence) which can be observed in several unrelated lineages of Gesneriaceae; in the extreme case plants only retain the macrocotyledon as the sole vegetative organ, creating so-called one-leaf plants.
Morphological diversity observed in the genus Streptocarpus.
We use the genus Streptocarpus as our main Evo-Devo research material. RBGE holds the world`s largest living collection of the genus. Streptocarpus show great variations in shoot morphologies, which covers all fundamental alterations of shoot apical meristem behaviour observed in the family. Former RBGE researchers Brian L. ('Bill') Burtt, Olive M. Hilliard and Kwiton Jong initiated research work in the genus and described in detail the transition of forms in the genus as well as in the family Gesneriaceae. It is my great honour to follow in their steps and conduct Streptocarpus Evo-Devo research at RBGE. I am collaborating mainly with Michael Möller, Catherine Kidner, and Yun-Yu Chen at RBGE in attempts to deepen our insights into the development of Streptocarpus in the light of modern molecular and physiological approaches (see also Michael Möller’s biography). In this respect members of the RBGE horticulture division, in particular Sadie Barber, Andy Ensoll, and Nathan Kelso, are essential in the progress of the work by collecting and growing important study material.
We have recently generated the first genetic map for Streptocarpus using NGS techniques. This resource is essential for the discovery of the molecular mechanisms underlying the unique morphologies and isolating the causative genetic factors.
The physiological factors affecting the meristems in the unique morphological forms of Streptocarpus are also of interest. I have studied the effects of exogenously applied hormones and environmental factors on the meristem behaviour in Streptocarpus in collaboration with researchers from within and outside RBGE.
GGRC (under construction)
Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists
The Botanical Society of Japan
Chen YY, Nishii K, Barber S, Hackett C, Kidner CA, Gharbi K, Nagano AJ, Iwamoto A, Möller M (2018) A first genetic map in the genus Streptocarpus generated with RAD sequencing based SNP markers. South African Journal of Botany 117: 158-168. doi: org/10.1016/j.sajb.2018.05.009
Chen YY, Nishii K, Spada A, Wang CN, Sakakibara H, Kojima M, Wright F, MacKenzie K, Möller M (2017) Cytokinin biosynthesis ISOPENTENYLTRANSFERASE genes are differentially expressed during phyllomorph development in the acaulescent Streptocarpus rexii (Gesneriaceae). South African Journal of Botany 109: 96-111. doi: org/10.1016/j.sajb.2016.12.010
Nishii K, Huang BH, Wang CN, Möller M (2017) From shoot to leaf: step-wise shifts in meristem and KNOX1 activity correlate with the evolution of a unifoliate body plan in Gesneriaceae. Development, Genes and Evolution 227: 41-60. doi: 10.1007/s00427-016-0568-x
Nishii K, Hughes M, Briggs M, Haston E, Christie F, DeVilliers MJ, Hanekom T, Roos WG, Bellstedt DU, Möller M (2015) Streptocarpus redefined to include all Afro-Malagasy Gesneriaceae: Molecular phylogenies prove congruent with geography and cytology and uncovers remarkable morphological homoplasies. Taxon 64: 1243-1274. doi: org/10.12705/646.8
Nishii K, Ho M-J, Chou Y-W, Gabotti D, Wang C-N, Spada A, Möller M (2014) GA2 and GA20-oxidase expressions are associated with the meristem position in Streptocarpus rexii (Gesneriaceae). Plant Growth Regulation 72: 123-140. doi: 10.1007/s10725-013-9844-1
Nishii K, Möller M, Kidner CA, Spada A, Mantegazza R, Wang C-N, Nagata T (2010) A complex case of simple leaves: indeterminate leaves co-express ARP and KNOX1 genes. Development, Genes and Evolution 220: 25-40. doi: 10.1007/s00427-010-0326-4.
To see full publication list, please check ‘Kanae Nishii’ in Research Gate (https://www.researchgate.net/home).
Department of Biological Production, Faculty of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Japan (1997-2001)
Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Japan (2001-2003)
Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Japan (2003-2007)
- Dr Mark Newman
- Hannah Atkins
- Lucia Campos
- Yun-Yu Chen
- Dr Zoe Goodwin
- Dr Mark Hughes
- Dr Catherine Kidner
- Thibauld Michel
- Dr Michael Möller
- Dr Peter Moonlight
- Sanna Olander
- Surabhi Ranavat
- Dr James Richardson
- Jess Rickenback
- Dr Louis Ronse De Craene
- Dr Tiina Sarkinen
- Madhavi Sreenath
- Pakkapol Thaowetsuwan
- Dr Peter Wilkie
- Hannah Wilson
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