Michelle Facette

photo of Michelle Facette

Assistant Professor, Biology

2008 Stanford University, Stanford, USA
Ph.D. Department of Biological Sciences

1998 Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
Honours Bachelor’s of Science, Department of Biology

Research Interests

The Facette lab studies the cellular mechanisms of asymmetric cell division in plant cells. We investigate molecules that promote the initial polarization of cells, molecules required to maintain polarity in the cell, and molecules required to correctly execute the division. This process is orchestrated by a number of processes including cell communication, cell signaling, organelle movements, and the cytoskeleton. We investigate these processes using microscopy (immunofluorescence and live cell imaging), protein biochemistry (functional binding assays, mass spectrometry) and both forward and reverse genetics. We perform these studies in plants, primarily using maize as a model system. Using this complex multicellular organism, we study the developmental relevance of asymmetric division. We are especially interested in the asymmetric divisions that form stomata (small pores in the leaf that facilitate plant “breathing”). Recently, we have started using comparative genomic approaches to investigate the cellular function of the specialized cells that form the stomata after division has completed.

The Facette lab will also use a variety of core facilities including the light microscopy core, mass spectrometry core, and genomics core.


Facette, MR*†, Park Y*, Sutimantanapi D, Luo A, Cartwright, H, Yang, B Bennett EJ, Sylvester AW, and Smith LG†. (2015) The SCAR/WAVE complex polarizes PAN receptors and promotes division asymmetry in maize. Nature Plants 1: 14024.
*equal contributions †co-corresponding author
➢ Featured in “News and Views”: L. Serna. Development: Early events in asymmetric division. Nature Plants 1: 15008

Facette MR†, Shen Z, Briggs SP and Smith LG. (2013) Parallel proteomic and phosphoproteomic analyses of successive stages of maize leaf development. Plant Cell 25:2798-2812.
†corresponding author
➢ Featured in “In Brief”: J. Lockhart. From Tip to Base: Parallel Proteomic and Phosphoproteomic Analyses of Successive Stages of Maize Leaf Development. Plant Cell 25: 2767

McAllister CH, Facette M, Holt A and Good AG. (2013) Analysis of the enzymatic properties of a broad family of alanine aminotransferases. PLoS One 8:e55032.

Facette MR and Smith LG. (2012) Division polarity in developing stomata. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 15:585-592.

Zhang X, Facette, M, Humphries JA, Shen Z, Park Y, Sutimantanapi D, Sylvester AW, Briggs SP and Smith LG. (2012) Identification of PAN2 by quantitative proteomics as a leucine-rich repeat-receptor- like kinase acting upstream of PAN1 to polarize cell division in maize. Plant Cell 24: 4577–4589.
➢ Featured in “In Brief”: K. Farquharson. Polarization of Subsidiary Cell Division in Maize Stomatal Complexes. Plant Cell. 24: 4313.

Dyachok, J, Shao M, Vaughn K, Bowling A, Facette M, Djakovic S, Clark L, and Smith L. (2008) Plasma membrane-associated SCAR complex subunits promote cortical F-actin accumulation and normal growth characteristics in Arabidopsis roots. Molecular Plant 1:990-1006.

Somerville C, Bauer S, Brininstool G, Facette M, Hamann T, Milne J, Osborne E, Paredez A, Persson S, Raab T, Vorwerk S and Youngs H (2004) Toward a systems approach to understanding plant-cell walls. Science 306: 2206-2211.

Bonetta DT, Facette M, Raab TK, Somerville CR. (2002) Genetic dissection of plant cell-wall biosynthesis. Biochemical Society Transactions 30: 298-301.

Facette MR, McCully ME, Shane MW, Canny MJ. (2001) Measurements of the time to refill embolized vessels. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 39:59-66.

Facette MR, McCully ME, Canny MJ (1999) Responses of maize roots to drying - limits of viability. Plant Cell and Environment 22:1559-1568.