Staff Members with ACPFG

Plett, Darren
PositionSenior Research Associate
Phone+61 8 8313 1499
Research Interests

Nitrogen use efficiency, salinity tolerance, systems biology.


Darren obtained his BSc and MSc degrees at the University of Manitoba, Canada. In his MSc thesis he investigated the potential effects of climate change on leaf lipid and seed oil quality in canola. He then moved to Australia and completed a PhD project with the goal of improving salinity tolerance in rice through cell type-specific expression of genes encoding sodium transporters. Since 2008 he has been employed by ACPFG to improve abiotic stress tolerance in cereal crops. Currently, he is leading a group investigating the system regulating nitrogen uptake in cereal crops with the goal of altering the system to improve nitrogen uptake efficiency.


Garnett T, Plett D, Heuer S, Okamoto M. 2015. Genetic approaches to enhancing nitrogen-use efficiency (NUE) in cereals: challenges and future directions. Functional Plant Biology (accepted).

Plett D, Baumann U, Schreiber AW, Holtham L, Kalashyan E, Toubia J, Nau J, Beatty M, Rafalski A, Dhugga KS, Tester M, Garnett T, Kaiser BN. 2015. Maize maintains growth in response to decreased nitrate supply through a highly dynamic and developmental stage-specific transcriptional response. Plant Biotechnology Journal (accepted).

Adem G, Roy S, Plett D, Zhou M, Bowman J, Shabala S. 2015. Expressing AtNHX1 in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) does not improve plant performance under saline conditions. Plant Growth Regulation (accepted).

Byrt CS, Xu B, Krishnan M, Lightfoot DJ, Athman A, Jacobs AK, Watson-Haigh N, Plett D, Munns R, Tester M, Gilliham, M. 2014. The Na+ transporter, TaHKT1;5-D, limits shoot Na+ accumulation in bread wheat. The Plant Journal 80(3): 516-526.

Schilling RK, Marschner P, Shavrukov Y, Berger B, Tester M, Roy SJ, Plett DC. 2014. Expression of the Arabidopsis vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase gene (AVP1) improves the shoot biomass of transgenic barley and increases grain yield in a saline field. Plant Biotechnology Journal 12(3): 378-386.

Garnett T, Conn V, Plett D, Conn S, Zanghellini J, Mackenzie N, Enju A, Francis K, Holtham L, Roessner U, Boughton B, Shirley N, Rafalski A, Dhugga K, Tester M, Kaiser BN.  2013. The response of the maize nitrate transport system to nitrogen demand and supply across the lifecycle.  New Phytologist 198(1): 82-94. 

Plett D, Garnett T, Conn V, Conn S, Roessner U, Boughton B, Rafalski A, Dhugga K, Tester M, Kaiser BN. 2013. Amino acid profiles of maize in response to nitrogen demand and supply across the lifecycle. In: The Proceedings of the XVII International Plant Nutrition Colloquium, Istanbul, Turkey, 19 – 22 August 2013.

Cotsaftis O, Plett D, Shirley N, Tester M, Hrmova M.  2012.  A two-staged model of Na+ exclusion in rice explained by 3D modelling of HKT transporters and alternative splicing.  PLoS ONE 7(7): e39865.

Munns R, James RA, Xu B, Athman A, Conn SJ, Jordans C, Byrt CS, Hare RA, Tyerman SD, Tester M, Plett D, Gilliham M. 2012. Wheat grain yield on saline soils is improved by an ancestral Na+ transporter gene. Nature Biotechnology 30(4): 360-364.   

Cotsaftis O, Plett D, Johnson AAT, Walia H, Wilson C, Ismail AM, Close TJ, Tester M, Baumann U.  2011.  Root-specific transcript profiling of contrasting rice genotypes in response to salinity stress.  Molecular Plant 4(1): 25-41. 

Plett D, Johnson A, Jacobs A, Tester M. 2010. Cell type-specific expression of sodium transporters improves salinity tolerance of rice.  GM Crops 1(5): 273-275.

Plett D, Toubia J, Garnett T, Tester M, Kaiser BN, Baumann U.  2010. Dichotomy in the NRT families of dicots and grass species.  PLoS ONE 5(12): e15289. 

Plett D, Safwat G, Gilliham M, Skrumsager Møller I, Roy S, Shirley N, Jacobs A, Johnson A, Tester M.  2010.  Improved salinity tolerance of rice through cell type-specific expression of AtHKT1;1 PLoS ONE  5(9): e12571. 

Plett DC, Skrumsager Møller I.  2010.  Na+ transport in glycophytic plants: what we know and would like to know.  Plant, Cell & Environment 33(4): 612-626.

Plett D, Berger B, Tester M.  2010. Genetic determinants of salinity stress in crop plants.  In: Jenks MA, Wood AJ, ed.  Genes for plant abiotic stress.  Ames, IA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp 83-111.

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