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Projects

  • In collaboration with Dr. Justin Walley (PLPM), we have recently characterized a large-scale catalog of ubiquitinated proteins from Arabidopsis roots using diGly affinity purification followed by mass spectrometry. 

  • Auxin regulated gene expression has been extensively studied and is known to involve active transcriptional regulation as well as protein degradation. One outstanding question in the field is how these gene expression changes are captured at the level of protein abundance. In order to address this knowledge gap, we have utilized global proteomics profiling approaches across tissues and time in Arabidopsis following auxin treatments. Using young 5 day-old seedlings we treated intact plants with a naturally occurring auxin, indole-3-acetic acid, for 30 min - 3 hours and then harvested tissue for profiling such that we were able to capture changes in protein abundance in seedlings, roots and hypocotyls.

  • Across the tree of life sugars are central energy signaling molecules. The post-embryonic developmental plasticity of plants relies on the ability of stem cell populations (termed meristems) to integrate environmental cues, such as carbon availability with hormone signaling for coordinated growth and developmental transitions. Auxin is one of the classical plant hormones in plant development and it is well appreciated that auxin influences many aspects of plant growth; how diverse growth responses are driven by one simple molecule is still an outstanding question in the field. Our long-term goal is to understand cellular states associated with auxin signaling that mediate plant growth, with a particular emphasis on the interplay between auxin and sucrose signaling.

  • Auxin signaling is a key regulator of root morphogenesis in angiosperms, yet this pathway is understudied in maize and little is known regarding genetic factors that determine maize root architecture. Recent reports have demonstrated that root architecture can directly impact yield and drought resistance in maize. The overall objective of this project is to understand the key regulatory events governing auxin-mediated root development in maize using an integrated molecular genomics-to-phenotype approach. Specifically, we will (1) define roles for ZmARF27 in early root development (2) uncover functions of ZmPILS2 and ZmPILS6 (also called ZmPINY and ZmPIN14) in promoting maize root morphogenesis and (3) determine predictive multi-scale auxin responsive regulatory networks that underpin maize root architecture.