The University of Western Australia

UWA Staff Profile

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Thomas Martin

Dr Thomas Martin

Senior Lecturer
Molecular Sciences, School of

Contact details
School of Molecular Sciences
The University of Western Australia (M310)
35 Stirling Highway
+61 8 6488 3331
+61 8 6488 1148
Room 347, Bayliss Building, Perth campus
MSc PhD Free Univ. (Berlin)
Key research
- Sugar and nitrogen sensing and signalling mechanisms
- Protein Interaction
- Bimolecular Fluorescence Analysis (BiFC)
- Regulation of plant carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
- Co-ordination of C/N metabolism
- 14-3-3 proteins
- Stem cells and epithelial cells from breast milk
Martin T and Czank C (2007) Molecular aspects of mammary gland development, In: Textbook of Human Lactation. Pp 113-140. ed. Hartmann P.E. and Hale T.W.. Hale Publishing, Amarillo, Texas, USA.
Martin T and Ludewig F (2007) Transporters in starch synthesis. Functional Plant Biology, 34: 474-479.

Love AJ, Martin T, Graham IA and Milner JJ (2005) Carbohydrate partitioning and sugar signalling in Cauliflower mosaic virus-infected turnip and Arabidopsis. Physiological and Molecular Plant Pathology, 67: 83-91

Comparot S, Lingiah G and Martin T (2003) Function and specificity of 14-3-3 proteins in the regulation of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism. J. Exp. Bot. 54: 595-604.

Martin T, Oswald O, Graham IA (2002) Arabidopsis seedling growth, storage lipid mobilization, and photosynthetic gene expression are regulated by carbon: nitrogen availability. Plant Physiol. 128: 472-481.

Stewart A.J., Chapman W., Jenkins G.I., Graham I., Martin T. and Crozier A. (2001) The effect of nitrogen and phosphorus deficiency on flavonol accumulation in plant tissues Plant, Cell and Environment 24, 1189-1198.

Oswald O., Martin T., Dominy P.J. and Graham I.A. (2001) Plastid redox state and sugars: Interactive regulators of nuclear-encoded photosynthetic gene expression. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98, 2047-2052

Graham, I.A. and Martin T. Carbohydrate regulation of genes associated with photosynthesis, allocation and partitioning. (2000) In Photosynthesis: Physiology and Metabolism Vol.9: 233-248. Ed. Leegood, R., Sharkey T.D., von Caemmerer, S. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Martin T., Sotta B., Jullien M., Caboche M. and Faure J.D. (1997) ZEA3: A negative Modulator of Cytokinin Responses in Plant Seedlings. Plant Physiol. 114, 1177-1185.

Martin T., Hellmann H., Schmidt R., Willmitzer L. & Frommer W.B. (1997) Identification of mutants in metabolically regulated gene expression. Plant J. 11, 52-63.

Martin T., Hellmann H., Schmidt R., Willmitzer L. & Frommer W.B. (1997) Identification of mutants in metabolically regulated gene expression. Plant J. 11, 52-63.

Frommer W.B., Khn C., Hirner B., Harms K., Martin T., Riesmeier J.W. & Schulz B. (1996) Sugar transport in higher plants. In: Membranes: Specialized Functions in Plants. (Smallwood M., Knox J.P. & Bowles D.J., eds.) bIOS Sci. Publ., Oxford, pp. 319-335.

Frommer W.B., Mielchen C. & Martin T. (1994) Metabolic control of patatin promoters from potato in transgenic tobacco and tomato plants. Plant Physiol. (Life Sci. Adv.) 13, 329-334.

Altmann T., Damm B., Frommer W.B., Martin T., Morris P.C., Schweizer D., Willmitzer L. and Schmidt R. (1994) Easy determination of ploidy level in Arabidopsis thaliana plants by means of pollen size measurement. Plant Cell Rep., 13, 652-656.

Frommer W.B., Riesmeier J.W., Kwart M., Hirner B., Kuehn C., Martin T., Hummel S., Fischer W.N., Harms K., Woehner R.V., Schulz B. & Willmitzer L. (1993) The role of metabolite transporters in higher plants. IBC Satellite Meeting 'Transport and role of organic carbon/nitrogen in higher plants, Atami, Japan, pp. 1-7 , 1994.

Martin T., Frommer W.B., Salanoubat, M. & Willmitzer L. (1993) Expression of an Arabidopsis sucrose synthase gene indicates a role in metabolization of sucrose both during phloem loading and in sink organs. Plant J. 4, 367-377.

Martin T., Schmidt R., Altmann T. & Frommer W.B. (1992) Non-destructive assay systems for detection of b-glucuronidase activity in higher plants. Plant Mol. Biol. Rep. 10, 37-46.

Willmitzer L., Basner A., Borgmann K., Frommer W.B., Hesse H., Hummel S., Kossmann J., Martin T., Mueller B. and Rocha-Sosa M. (1991) Molecular approaches to understand sink-source relations in higher plants. In: NATO ASI Ser Ser Life Sci., New York, NY, Plenum Press, 212, 461-469.

Frommer W., Borgmann K., Hesse H., Hildmann T., Hoefgen R., Hummel S., Koester-Toepfer M., Liu X., Martin T., Pena-Cortes H., Prat S., Rocha-Sosa M., Sanchez-Serrano J.J., Schmidt R., Sonnewald U., Stratmann M. and Willmitzer L. (1991) Patatin, a bifunctional protein involved in pathogen defense and nitrogen storage? In: Commission of the European Community, Biological Sciences (Leonard A. & Durieux L. eds.) pp. 49-56

Schulz B., Banuett F., Dahl M., Schlesinger R., Schaefer W., Martin T., Hershkowitz I. And Kahmann R. (1990) The b alleles of U.maydis, whose combinations program pathogenic development, code for polypeptides containing a homeodomain-related motif. Cell 60, 295-306.

Walleczek J., Martin T., Redl B., Stoeffler-Meilicke M. and Stoeffler G. (1989) Comparative cross-linking study on the 50S ribosomal subunit from Escherichia coli. Biochemistry 28, 4099-4105.
Roles, responsibilities and expertise
Carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
Metabolic sensing and signalling
Molecular genetics
14-3-3 Proteins

Technical skills:
Molecular biology, reversed genetics and Arabidopsis mutant analysis
Biochemistry of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
Small and large scale gene expression analysis
Protein Interaction
Biomolecular Fluorescence Complementation
Breast milk Stem Cells

Roles and Responsibilities:
1) Faculty of Life and Physical Sciences Offshore Programs Director
2) Member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee
3) Lecturing in a number of undergraduate courses in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics (details see below)
4) Honours supervision
5) PhD supervision
6) Research (see below)
7) Course co-ordinator SCIE3325
8) Course co-ordinator SCIE3326 and SCIE3327 (offshore)
9) Deputy course co-ordinator BIOC2201 and 2202
Funding received
ARC Linkage Project LP 0883902: Wheat Biomarkers – The effect of nitrogen withdrawal on the proteome and peptidome (2008)

Women & Infants Research Foundation: Isolation and propagation of mammary epithelial stem cells from human breast milk (2008)

UWA Research Grant: Identification of Arabidopsis kinases interacting with and potentially regulating nitrate reductase: an in planta approach (2008)

UWA Research Grant: Expression profiling of 14-3-3 signalling genes in Arabidopsis and of genes affected by 14-3-3 loss of function mutations (2005)

BBSRC Research Grant P15126 "Characterisation of T-DNA tagged 14-3-3 Arabidopsis mutants, (2001), £174,492

BBSRC Studentship Grant 01/A1/P/07100 "Characterisation of 14-3-3 Arabidopsis mutants, (2001)
Industrial relevance
- Proteomics and peptidomics investigations of wheat in rsponse to nitrogen withdrawal
- Stem cells in human breast milk
basic French
Previous positions
Lecturer in Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, UK
Research Fellow, University of Glasgow, UK
Research Fellow, INRA Versailles, France
Research Fellow, IGF Berlin, Germany
First Year:
-Molecules, Genes and Cells (IMED1114) (IDNT1132)
oTranscriptional control - transcription factors
oTranscriptional control - epigenetics
Second Year:
-Regulation of Cell Function (BIOC2202)
oPost-translational protein targeting –Nucleus and Peroxisomes
oPost translational protein targeting – Mitochondria and Chloroplasts
oProtein Secretory Pathways - Focus on the ER
oProtein Secretory Pathways - Focus on the Golgi
Third Year:
-Cellular and Metabolic Biochemistry (BIOC3352)
oMitochondria and oxidative stress
oMitochondrial disease, cell death and aging
oMetabolomics I – Techniques and Objectives
oMetabolomics II – Comparing different Metabolomic techniques
oMetabolomics III – Applying metabolomic techniques
oMetabolic Signalling I
oMetabolic Signalling II
oResearch Focus - 14-3-3 proteins and their role in signaling
-Molecular Genetics & Genomics (GENE3330)
oMolecular genetics of floral transition
oABC model of flower development
oAdvanced flower development
-Molecular Biology (SCIE3325)
oIntroduction to Molecular Biology
oThe evolution of multigene families
oDissecting the functions of individual gene family members
oMolecular Biology of Mitochondria
oMitochondrial gene expression
oEvolution of mitochondria and of mitochondrial genes
oRetrograde response
-Molecular Biology (SCIE3326 and SCIE 3327, offshore teaching in Singapore)
oThe evolution of multigene families
oDissecting the functions of individual gene family members
oMolecular Biology of Mitochondria
oMitochondrial gene expression
oEvolution of mitochondria and of mitochondrial genes
oRetrograde response
oSugar signalling via the yeast hexokinase/SNF 1 pathway
oThe SNF1 signalling pathway and alternative sugar sensors in yeast
oSugar sensing in plants - Are there similarities to yeast?
oLab based third year projects (various)
-Molecular Biology (SCIE3325)
oSite Directed Mutagenesis
oAnalysis of Gene Expression using qPCR
-Molecular Biology (SCIE3326 and SCIE 3327, offshore teaching in Singapore)
oAnalysis of Gene Expression using qPCR
-Core Concepts in Biology (BIOL1130) (first year laboratory, ca 350 students)
-Science & its Communication (tutorials and workshops)
-Gene 2240
Current projects
Plants face many environmental challenges such as nutrient availability, light conditions, abiotic and biotic stresses. These factors greatly influence resource allocation and thus plant productivity. Plants use manifold sensing, signalling and response mechanisms to achieve a fine balancing act in the face of these challenges. The regulatory mechanisms involved have to be co-ordinated with developmental programmes as well as cell and tissue specific requirements. Cross-talk of signalling mechanisms and sharing of signalling components suggests the general principle that signalling pathways operate as complex networks rather than isolated, independent cascades We are trying to identify and to understand these mechanisms in the quest to improve crop productivity in a sustainable fashion.

A class of plant proteins encoded by the so-called '14-3-3' gene family are considered key players in bringing various sensing, signalling and response pathways together. 14-3-3 proteins interact with and regulate the activity of key enzymes in plant nitrogen and carbohydrate metabolism. These interactions influence enzyme activity at critical steps in primary metabolism and thus alter plant resource allocation on a global scale.
We have isolated a collection of T-DNA knock-out lines with single mutations in a number of 14-3-3 genes. Initially, we are studying the regulation of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism and the allocation of resources in these mutants under consideration of metabolic and developmental aspects. To achieve this, we are employing classical molecular, genetic and biochemical techniques in combination with metabolomics and functional genomics technologies. We are identifying specific 14-3-3 isoforms involved in defined regulatory processes such as for example the regulation of nitrate reductase.

Our aims are to:
- Identify specific 14-3-3 isoforms involved in the regulation of enzymes of carbohydrate and nitrogen metabolism
- Study the impact of 14-3-3 mutations on these metabolic pathways and the subsequent distribution and allocation of resources and storage compounds.
- Investigate the signalling mechanisms leading to 14-3-3 regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism
Research profile
Research profile and publications

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Last updated:
Tuesday, 3 November, 2015 2:39 PM