Our primary focus is to study complex regulation of actin assembly during signal transduction in eukaryotic cells, under the physiological and pathological conditions. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms by which the Actin Cytoskeleton-Plasma Membrane-Cell Wall (AC-PM-CW) Continuum regulates plant immune-signaling and polarized fungal growth. We have two main projects relevant to our central questions.
- The actin cytoskeleton is remodeled rapidly during signal transduction to coordinate complicated cellular processes. Actin-binding-proteins (ABPs) precisely regulate such dynamics re-organization of actin networks in a highly tunable manner. We study how the intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs) of ABPs perceive the signals to finetune the protein interactions, conformation, and biochemical activities. We are particularly interested in how the protein liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) machinery drives the macromolecular condensation of the ABPs and thereby their biochemical activities in actin assembly.
- The tensegrity network around the cell surface controls the molecular behaviors and activities of the signaling molecules on the plasma membrane. Our studies try to understand how the plant tensegrity structure, the AC-PM-CW continuum, regulates ABP activities in actin remodeling, and how the formation of actin array modulates plant innate immunity, in a feedback manner, during host-pathogen interactions.
Actin cytoskeleton in budding yeast and Arabidopsis (3D structured illumination microscopy)