Research:

The overall goal of my research is to understand how plant intracellular membrane trafficking is regulated as cell morphology changes during plant development and in response to environmental stresses. Membrane trafficking links the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (polygonal network in left images), Golgi (red punctates in left images), PVC/endosomes (bright small green dots in the second image) and plasma membranes/cell walls (bright green strip in the second image). In this dynamic endomembrane system, proteins, lipids and polysaccharides synthesized in the ER and Golgi are mobilized and delivered to right compartments at right time in order to meet different developmental and physiological requirements of particular cells/tissues during plant growth.

Under this research theme,we are investigating genes/proteins involved in membrane trafficking pathways important for the cell wall metabolism. Our approach is to use reverse genetics, combined with in vivo imaging, microscopy, and biochemistry to exploit the role of RHD3, Rab-A (Rab11) GTPases and their associated proteins in secretion, cell wall dynamics and plant cell development. We are also using a secrotory GFP based forward genetics to identify novel genes that are involved in plant-specific membrane trafficking to cell walls.

Another research we are interested is to study the molecular regulation of very-long-chain fatty acid (VLCFA) biosynthesis and channeling in the production of waxes, seed oils, and sphingolipids. Arabidopsis CER10 was isolated as the last enoyl CoA redutase in a fatty acid elongation cycle the ER in epidermis for wax esters, in seeds for triacylglycerls, we are intersted in isolating additional factors physically or gentically work together with CER10 in both wax ester and triacylglycerols pathways.