The primary focus of my laboratory is to study complex regulation of actin filament assembly during signal transduction in eukaryotic cells, under physiological or pathological states. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms by which the cellular scaffolding/skeleton systems, including the actin cytoskeleton, plasma membrane, and extracellular polysaccharides, regulate actin assembly during fungal growth and plant immunity. We have two main projects relevant to our central questions.
- In the much crowd intracellular environment, ABPs precisely regulate the dynamics assembly and re-organization of actin networks, in cooperative and competitive manners. We study how the intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) within actin-binding proteins (ABPs) perceive the signals to trigger re-organization of actin assembly, by regulating the protein dynamics, protein conformational change, multivalent protein interactions, and macromolecular condensation of the ABPs, and thereby their biochemical activities.
- The tensegrity network around the cell surface controls the dynamic molecular behaviors and biochemical activities of cell surface signaling molecules. Our current efforts are trying to understand how cellular tensegrity component regulates actin remodeling, and how actin network feedback modulate host immune responses during host-pathogen interactions.
Actin cytoskeleton in budding yeast and Arabidopsis (3D structured illumination microscopy)