Membrane trafficking, organelle biogenesis, cytokinesis, polarized growth
433 Babcock Dr
Madison, WI 53706
Plant Biology; Membrane Biology & Protein Trafficking
A major focus of my research program is on two key interrelated processes that control plant morphogenesis; the construction of the plant-specific cytokinetic organelle known as the cell plate and cell expansion. Previous morphological studies have demonstrated that both of these critical processes involve the cytoskeleton and require highly polarized trafficking of protein, membrane and cell wall material to the division plane and specific plasma membrane domains, respectively. However, given their importance in plant development it is surprising how little is known about the molecular mechanisms that guide these interrelated events. Our current research objectives are to understand (1) what are the molecular cues that position the division plane and direction of expansion and (2) what are the cytosolic and membrane factors that interpret this information and subsequently carryout the processes of membrane transport and fusion required for cell plate assembly and polarized cell expansion. To address these issues we are utilizing proteomic, biochemical, genetic and live cell imaging approaches to identify and characterize proteins involved in membrane transport during cytokinesis, polarized cell growth and other cellular process. This information will in the long-term aid in efforts to improve the quality and quantity of plants for food, biofuels and other agronomically important products. In addition, as membrane trafficking is essential in plants and animals our studies will generate fundamental knowledge into the function of evolutionarily conserved membranetrafficking proteins in other eukaryotic systems.