Maria Harrison

William H. Crocker Professor
Maria Harrison
mjh78@cornell.edu
Office/Lab: 405/406
Phone: 607-254-6472
Office/Lab: 405/ 402, 404, 406, 410
Email: mjh78@cornell.edu
Office Phone: 607-254-6472
Lab Phone: 607-254-6424
Affiliations: Adjunct Professor / Section of Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology / School of Integrative Plant Science / Cornell University
Graduate Fields: Plant Pathology & Plant-Microbe Biology; Plant Biology
Research Areas:    Biotic Interactions / Stress Responses
Research Overview

Most vascular flowering plants are able to form symbiotic associations with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. These associations, named ‘arbuscular mycorrhizas’, develop in the roots, where the fungus colonizes the cortex to access carbon supplied by the plant. The fungal contribution to the symbiosis includes the transfer of mineral nutrients, particularly phosphorus, from the soil to the plant. In many soils, phosphate exists at levels that are limiting for plant growth. Consequently, additional phosphate supplied via AM fungi can have a significant impact on plant development, and this symbiosis influences the structure of plant communities in ecosystems worldwide.

The long-term goals of our research are to understand the mechanisms underlying development of the AM symbiosis and phosphate transfer between the symbionts. A model legume, Medicago truncatula, and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Glomus versiforme, Glomus intraradices and Gigaspora gigantea are used for these analyses. Currently, a combination of molecular, cell biology, genetic and genomics approaches are being used to obtain insights into development of the symbiosis, communication between the plant and fungal symbionts, and symbiotic phosphate transport.

  • Plant Gene Discovery Could Help Reduce Fertilizer Pollution in Waterways

    Over-fertilization of agricultural fields is a huge environmental problem. Excess phosphorus from fertilized cropland frequently finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes. A resulting boom of aquatic plant growth can cause oxygen levels in the water to plunge, leading to fish die-offs and other harmful effects. Researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute have uncovered the […] Read more »
  • BTI Welcomes Summer Student Interns

  • Congratulations to BTI’s PhD Graduates!

    We are pleased to announce that seven Boyce Thompson Institute researchers received their PhD degrees during the Cornell University commencement ceremony on May 26. Congratulations to our newest alumni: Mariko Alexander, Heck lab, “Searching for the missing links: Connecting polerovirus structural biology to function” Junsik Choi, Richards lab, “Arabidopsis nuclear lamin protein CRWNs and their […] Read more »
  • BTI’s Maria Harrison Elected to National Academy of Sciences

    Maria Harrison, William H. Crocker Professor at Boyce Thompson Institute and Adjunct Professor in the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS) at Cornell University, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Harrison is one of 100 new members announced on April 30. The organization recognizes her distinguished and continuing achievements in original research […] Read more »
  • Plant–Fungal Interface Gets Tubular

    For hundreds of millions of years, plants and fungi have formed symbiotic relationships to trade crucial nutrients, such as phosphate and fatty acids. This relationship is extremely important to the growth and survival of both organisms, and solving the mystery of how they transfer molecules to each other could eventually help reduce the use of […] Read more »

Intern Projects

Molecular analyses of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis

Phosphorus is a critical macronutrient for proper plant growth. While phosphorus deficiencies can be improved by the application of phosphate fertilizers, it is costly, both to the farmer and to the environment. Furthermore, the crops only take up a small percentage of the applied fertilizer; the remainder is either immobilized in the soil, or carried into ground water and rivers, often resulting in pollution.

Interns in the  Harrison lab investigate two aspects of plant phosphorus nutrition. The first aspect seeks to understand the basis for the symbiotic relationships between vascular flowering plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. The fungi colonize root cells, gaining access to carbon supplied by the plant, while at the same time mobilizing mineral nutrients from the soil, including phosphorus, to be used by the plant. For this work, the lab uses the model legume, Medicago truncatula and the fungus Glomus versiforme. The Harrison lab also studies how plants find and take up phosphorus from the soil when they do not have these symbiotic relationships with fungi. This work toward understanding the mechanisms of perception and acquisition of phosphorus by plants may eventually lead to a more effective usage of fertilizers.

Internship Program | Projects & FacultyApply for an Internship

A CLE–SUNN module regulates strigolactone content and fungal colonization in arbuscular mycorrhiza
2019.
Müller, L.M., Flokova, K., Schnabel, E., Sun, X., Fei, Zhangjun, Frugoli, J., Bouwmeester, H.J., Ha…
Nature Plants.
:
Phytohormones, miRNAs, and peptide signals integrate plant phosphorus status with arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis
2019.
Müller, L.M., Harrison, Maria J.
Current Opinion in Plant Biology.
50
:
132–139
A phosphate-dependent requirement for the transcription factors IPD3 and IPD3L during AM symbiosis in Medicago truncatula
2019.
Lindsay, P., Williams, B., MacLean, A., Harrison, Maria J.
Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions.
32
:
1277–1290
Diverse Sorghum bicolor accessions show marked variation in growth and transcriptional responses to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
2019.
Watts‐Williams, S., Emmett, B., Levesque‐Tremblay, V., MacLean, A., Sun, X., Satterlee, J., Fei,…
Plant, Cell & Environment.
42
:
1758–1774
Accumulation of phosphoinositides in distinct regions of the periarbuscular membrane
2019.
Ivanov, S., Harrison, Maria J.
New Phytologist.
221
:
2213–2227
Extensive membrane systems at the host–arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus interface
2019.
Ivanov, S., Austin, J., Berg, R.H., Harrison, Maria J.
Nature Plants.
5
:
194–203
Genome and evolution of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Diversispora epigaea (formerly Glomus versiforme) and its bacterial endosymbionts
2019.
Sun, X., Chen, W., Ivanov, S., MacLean, A.M., Wight, H., Ramaraj, T., Mudge, J., Harrison, Maria J.,…
New Phytologist.
221
:
1556–1573
A short LysM protein with high molecular diversity from an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus, Rhizophagus irregularis
2019.
Schmitz, A.M., Pawlowska, T.E., Harrison, Maria J.
Mycoscience.
60
:
63–70
Diverse Sorghum bicolor accessions show marked variation in growth and transcriptional responses to arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
2018.
Watts‐Williams, S.J., Emmett, B.D., Levesque‐Tremblay, V., MacLean, A.M., Sun, X, Satterlee, J.W…
Plant, Cell & Environment.
:
Cross‐scale integration of mycorrhizal function
2018.
Martin, F., Harrison, Maria J., Lennon, S., Lindahl, B., Öpik, M., Polle, A., Requena, N., Selosse,…
New Phytol..
220
:
941–946
Blumenols as shoot markers of root symbiosis with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
2018.
Wang, M., Schäfer, M., Li, D., Halitschke, R., Dong, C., McGale, E., Paetz, C., Song, Y., Li, S., D…
Elife.
7
:
e37093
RiArsB and RiMT-11 : Two novel genes induced by arsenate in arbuscular mycorrhiza
2017.
Maldonado-Mendoza, I. E., Harrison, Maria J.
Fungal Biology.
122
:
121–130
A comprehensive draft genome sequence for lupin ( Lupinus angustifolius ), an emerging health food: insights into plant-microbe interactions and legume evolution
2017.
Hane, J. K., Ming, Y., Kamphuis, L. G., Nelson, M. N., Garg, G., Atkins, C. A., Bayer, P. E., Bravo,…
Plant Biotechnology Journal.
15
:
318–330
A Transcriptional Program for Arbuscule Degeneration during AM Symbiosis Is Regulated by MYB1
2017.
Floss, D. S., Gomez, S. K., Park, H. J., MacLean, A. M., Müller, L. M., Bhattarai, K. K., Lévesque…
Current Biology.
27
:
1206–1212
Exocytosis for endosymbiosis: membrane trafficking pathways for development of symbiotic membrane compartments
2017.
Harrison, Maria J., Ivanov, S.
Current Opinion in Plant Biology.
38
:
101–108
Plant Signaling and Metabolic Pathways Enabling Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Symbiosis
2017.
MacLean, A. M., Bravo, A., Harrison, Maria J.
The Plant Cell.
29
:
2319–2335
Arbuscular mycorrhiza-specific enzymes FatM and RAM2 fine-tune lipid biosynthesis to promote development of arbuscular mycorrhiza
2017.
Bravo, A., Brands, M., Wewer, V., Dörmann, P., Harrison, Maria J.
New Phytologist.
214
:
1631–1645
A CCaMK-CYCLOPS-DELLA Complex Activates Transcription of RAM1 to Regulate Arbuscule Branching
2016.
Pimprikar, P., Carbonnel, S., Paries, M., Katzer, K., Klingl, V., Bohmer, M. J., Karl, L., Floss, D.…
Current Biology.
26
:
987–998
DELLA proteins regulate expression of a subset of AM symbiosis-induced genes in Medicago truncatula
2016.
Floss, D. S., Lévesque-Tremblay, V., Park, H. J., Harrison, Maria J.
Plant Signaling and Behavior.
11
:
e1162369–e1162369
Genes conserved for arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis identified through phylogenomics
2016.
Bravo, A., York, T., Pumplin, N., Mueller, Lukas A., Harrison, Maria J.
Nature Plants.
2
:
15208–15208

Root-specific phosphate transporter promoters
Maria Harrison
Technology Area:Enabling Technology - Gene Expression
US Patent/Application(s): 12/257,276
Publication: Plant Bio 2006
MtHP promoter element
Maria Harrison
Technology Area:Enabling Technology - Gene Expression
US Patent/Application(s): 7,056,743
Publication: Mol Breed 2005
Plant phytase genes and methods of use
Maria Harrison
Technology Area:Yield Inputs
US Patent/Application(s): 7,557,265
Publication: Planta 2005
Plants with increased phosphorous uptake
Maria Harrison
Technology Area:Yield Inputs
US Patent/Application(s): 7,417,181
 

Contact:

Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853
607.254.1234
contact@btiscience.org