|Research Assistant Professor|
Ph.D. (University of Vienna)
|CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS
Alternative splicing of pre-mRNA is a regulated process of gene expression which results in a single gene coding for multiple proteins. Therefore, alternative splicing may have a diversity of physiological roles to plant growth, development and plant adaptation to environmental Stresses. Using a lsm5/sad1 weak allele, we have found that mis-alternative splicing will severely affect plant growth, development and adaptation to salt stress (Cui, Zhang, et al. 2014). We will further use the weak allele to investigate alternative splicing roles of pre-mRNAs in plant adaptation to other stresses and related mechanism. Recent CO-IP experiments with LSM5-3flag, we found that ABA treatment may greatly promote some stress-related proteins interacted with the component of spliceosome. So, we will focus on ABA mediated alternative splicing, and these transcript isoforms functions in drought stresses.
2. Mobile macromolecules and their physiological functions under stress environments
Long-/short-macromolecular movement via plasmodesmata and phloem sieve elements greatly contribute to plant growth, development, and adaptation to stress environments. Current sequencing technics greatly advance our knowledge about mobile macromolecular abundance. To better serve the plant biologist committee, we first build up a mobile molecular database (Guan, et al, 2017, NAR in revision). Based on our previous studies on mobile macromolecules (Winter, et al. 2007) and systemic small RNAs (Zhang, et al. 2009), we further study mobile macromolecular physiological roles in plant adaptation to environmental stresses.
3. Environmental epigenetics
DNA methylation/demethylation, histone modification and histone variants depositions cause chromatin relaxation/condensation, and thus affect transcriptional factors binding to right places to initiate transcription (gene expression). Environmental effects on the supplies of methyl group, acetyl-coA, etc. or the abundance of histone variants may finally determine chromatin status, and thus regulate related gene expression. We ever cloned two allele of histone deacetylase 6 (HDA6), they have obvious epigenetic modification patterns (even opposite patterns) on transgenic promoters and some endogenous loci (Zhang, et al. 2015). Recently we found that HDA6 may affect H2A.Z deposition, and connect temperature stresses and epigenetic modification well. We will further investigate HDA6 functions on H2A.Z recruitment and deposition, especially different allele adaptation to temperature fluctuations.