Section The long-term goal of this project is to understand the molecular networks through which hormones, environmental factors, and nutrients together control plant growth and development. Plants have evolved robust cellular signaling systems to regulate growth and metabolism according to internal status and environmental conditions. Dissecting these plant regulatory systems is important not only for food security and environmental sustainability, but also for understanding cellular regulation in general, as many mechanisms are highly conserved in animals and plants. This research program focuses on the cellular signaling and regulatory network impinged upon by the steroid hormone brassinosteroid (BR), a major growth-promoting hormone that impact a wide range of developmental and physiological processes. Using a combination of genetic, genomic, biochemical, and proteomic approaches in the Arabidopsis model system, we have elucidated molecular mechanisms by which BR binding to receptor kinase BRI1 leads to activation of transcription factor BZR1 through the evolutionarily conserved BSU1 family of phosphatases and GSK3-like kinases. Furthermore, we have revealed at molecular level how the BR signaling pathway is integrated with many other signaling pathways into regulatory networks that control gene transcription program driving cell elongation and various specific developmental programs. Our ongoing research has uncovered many posttranslational mechanisms by which BR signaling directly modulates cellular reorganization and metabolic programs through direct protein-protein interactions and posttranslational modifications. We proposed to focus on these mechanisms that link signaling pathways with major cellular activities such as membrane trafficking, cell division, and carbon metabolism. In addition, we will investigate how BR signaling cross talks with other signaling pathways to balance metabolism with growth demand and to program cellular differentiation in plant development. The research outlined in this proposal will continue to use combinations of genetic and proteomic approaches and will significantly advance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cellular signal integration and information processing.

Public Health Relevance

Section Plant growth is controlled by endogenous and environmental signals, which are perceived and processed at the cellular level through highly sophisticated signaling mechanisms. Investigation of these signaling mechanisms is not only important for food security and environmental sustainability, which are entail for human health and wellbeing, but can also improve our understanding of cellular signaling and regulatory mechanisms that are directly relevant to human health because many of the components and mechanisms, such as GSK3 signaling in regulation of metabolism and growth, are highly conserved in plants and humans.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Research Project (R01)
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Cellular Signaling and Regulatory Systems Study Section (CSRS)
Program Officer
Xu, Jianhua
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Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C.
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Zhu, Jia-Ying; Li, Yuyao; Cao, Dong-Mei et al. (2017) The F-box Protein KIB1 Mediates Brassinosteroid-Induced Inactivation and Degradation of GSK3-like Kinases in Arabidopsis. Mol Cell 66:648-657.e4
Deng, Zhiping; Wang, Zhi-Yong; Kutschera, Ulrich (2017) Seedling development in maize cv. B73 and blue light-mediated proteomic changes in the tip vs. stem of the coleoptile. Protoplasma 254:1317-1322
Bu, Shuo-Lei; Liu, Chao; Liu, Ning et al. (2017) Immunopurification and Mass Spectrometry Identifies Protein Phosphatase 2A (PP2A) and BIN2/GSK3 as Regulators of AKS Transcription Factors in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant 10:345-348
Ni, Weimin; Xu, Shou-Ling; González-Grandío, Eduardo et al. (2017) PPKs mediate direct signal transfer from phytochrome photoreceptors to transcription factor PIF3. Nat Commun 8:15236
Xu, Shou-Ling; Chalkley, Robert J; Maynard, Jason C et al. (2017) Proteomic analysis reveals O-GlcNAc modification on proteins with key regulatory functions in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:E1536-E1543
Chaiwanon, Juthamas; Garcia, Veder J; Cartwright, Heather et al. (2016) Immunophilin-like FKBP42/TWISTED DWARF1 Interacts with the Receptor Kinase BRI1 to Regulate Brassinosteroid Signaling in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant 9:593-600
Kutschera, Ulrich; Wang, Zhi-Yong (2016) Growth-limiting proteins in maize coleoptiles and the auxin-brassinosteroid hypothesis of mesocotyl elongation. Protoplasma 253:3-14
Zhang, Zhenzhen; Zhu, Jia-Ying; Roh, Jeehee et al. (2016) TOR Signaling Promotes Accumulation of BZR1 to Balance Growth with Carbon Availability in Arabidopsis. Curr Biol 26:1854-60
Chaiwanon, Juthamas; Wang, Wenfei; Zhu, Jia-Ying et al. (2016) Information Integration and Communication in Plant Growth Regulation. Cell 164:1257-1268
Wei, Chuang-Qi; Chien, Chih-Wei; Ai, Lian-Feng et al. (2016) The Arabidopsis B-box protein BZS1/BBX20 interacts with HY5 and mediates strigolactone regulation of photomorphogenesis. J Genet Genomics 43:555-563

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