Research Concentration - Plant Biology; Biology of Cellular Stress
College of Arts and Sciences
|Office:||PSC, Room 717|
Fu Lab Website
Plants provide us with food and essential nutrients. However, many plant pathogens including fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, viruses and nematode cause severe diseases that produce adverse effects on human life. The molecular interactions between pathogens and plants, shaped by millions of years of battle and co-evolution, are a fascinating area of study.
My lab focuses on the plant hormone salicylic acid signaling in plant pathogen interactions. Plant hormone salicylic acid is both required and sufficient for plant defense against biotrophic pathogens. A deeper and more comprehensive understanding of this topic will help us innovate strategies to control plant disease and improve our life quality.
One of the goals in our lab is to increase our understanding of salicylic acid signaling during plant defense against pathogen infection. Specifically, in one of our projects we are investigating how a nuclear kinase contributes to the NPR1 monomer formation and plant defense. NPR1 was identified as a master regulator of plant defense through genetic screens. Before pathogen infections, NPR1 protein mainly exists as oligomers in a resting stage. After pathogen infection, NPR1 oligomers are reduced into monomer and enter nucleus to activate plant defense.
In compatible interactions, virulent plant pathogens win and cause diseases. It would really make sense that plant pathogens would target salicylic acid signaling to disable plant defense. In another project, we are studying how plant bacterial pathogens using type III effectors to modify salicylic acid-mediated plant defense in order to cause diseases.