Research Interests: 

My research program focuses on plant cells, which unlike many other eukaryotic cells are
not motile. Key to plant development is the underlying architecture of individual cells,
which at the molecular level is controlled by proteins of the cytoskeleton. The plant
cytoskeleton consists of two filamentous networks, microtubules and actin, and their
associated proteins. The actin cytoskeleton is required for a highly polarized form of
growth in plant cells known as tip growth. The research in my lab focuses on
understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying tip growth. These mechanisms bear upon
cell development in an evolutionarily wide range of plants. My lab has pioneered the use
of an emerging model system, the moss Physcomitrella patens, to study tip growth. Our
studies in P. patens to date have uncovered key players required for proper actin
dynamics and organization. However many outstanding questions remain. Current studies in
the lab aim to address these fundamental questions. 



Myosin XI Is Essential for Tip Growth in Physcomitrella patens (with L Vidali, GM Burkart, RC Augustine, E Kerdavid, and E Tuzel), Plant Cell (2010)

Class XI myosins are plant specific and responsible for cytoplasmic streaming. Because of the large...




Lifeact-mEGFP Reveals a Dynamic Apical F-Actin Network in Tip Growing Plant Cells (with L Vidali, CM Rounds, and PK Hepler), PLoS ONE (2009)


Actin is essential for tip growth in plants. However, imaging actin in live plant...


Rapid formin-mediated actin-filament elongation is essential for polarized plant cell growth (with L Vidali, PAC van Gisbergen, C Guerin, P Franco, M Li, GM Burkart, RC Augustine, and L Blanchoin), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA (2009)

Formins are present in all eukaryotes and are essential for the creation of actin-based structures...



Rapid Screening for Temperature-Sensitive Alleles in Plants (with L Vidali, RC Augustine, SN Fay, P Franco, and KA Pattavina), Plant Physiology (2009)

We developed a simple and fast method to identify temperature-sensitive alleles of essential plant genes....


Spindle Positioning: Actin Mediates Pushing and Pulling (with M Bezanilla), Current Biology (2009)

To divide asymmetrically, the mitotic spindle is moved from the cell center to the cortex,...



Actin depolymerizing factor is essential for viability in plants, and its phosphoregulation is important for tip growth (with RC Augustine, L Vidali, and KP Kleinman), Plant Journal (2008)

Actin depolymerizing factor (ADF)/cofilin is important for regulating actin dynamics, and in plants is thought...




Profilin is essential for tip growth in the moss Physcomitrella patens (with L Vidali, RC Augustine, and KP Kleinman), Plant Cell (2007)

The actin cytoskeleton is critical for tip growth in plants. Profilin is the main monomer...



Mosses as model systems for the study of metabolism and development (with D Cove, P Harries, and R Quatrano), Annual Review of Plant Biology (2006)

Developmental responses to hormones and to environmental inputs can be studied both at the level...



The role of ARP2/3 and Scar/WAVE complexes in polar growth of the apical cell of the moss Physcomitrella (with RS Quatrano, PF Perroud, P Harries, AH Pan, P Klueh, and D Cove), Developmental Biology (2006)