Volume 31 Issue 6 - January 5, 2018 PDF
Most Young Scholars Grant (Columbus Program):A Systematic Investigation of the Structure, Function, and Regulation of Phytohormone ABC Transporters
Department of Biotechnology and Bioindustry Sciences, National Cheng Kung University
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Plant hormones are similar to hormones in animals. They have to be delivered to the proper tissue site through a series of sophisticated transport mechanisms after being synthesized at another tissue site. Then, these plant hormones can function as the signaling molecules to induce the proper physiological response. Therefore, there are a series of active transport proteins that can regulate the distribution of phytohormone in plants. These proteins belong to ATP-binding cassette transporter (ABC transporter) family which could hydrolyze ATP as the energy source to accelerate the translocation of substrates across cell membranes. Several ABC transporters have been found to deliver the corresponding phytohormones, including auxins, abscisic acids, cytokinins, strigolactones and jasmonic acids. However, there is still a lack of biochemical studies on these phytohormone transporters. Especially in the protein structural studies, no related structure has been published so far. Exploring the biochemical properties, the functional structure and the regulatory mechanisms of these transporters, would be very helpful to clarify their role in plant physiology, as well as to elucidate their working mechanism. Therefore, we have proposed a five-year research project to conduct a comprehensive investigation on the biochemical functions, molecular structures and regulatory mechanisms of these phytohormone transport proteins. Based on our past experience in X-ray crystallography and the expertise of our international partner, Dr. Kuang-Lei Tsai, in cryogenic electron microscopy, we will utilize multiple cutting-edge biophysical approaches to study these important topics in plant physiology.

I am very thankful to have received the MOST Grant for my research project. First of all, I would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Technology for their trust and support for young scholars as well as the hard work of all the review panel members. I’m also very grateful to have many suggestions from senior professors during writing this proposal. More importantly, I want to thank National Cheng Kung University to provide the excellent research environment and all aspects of administrative support. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity doing some challenging works for NCKU and Taiwan. However, I also feel a deep responsibility for making this project is well conducted. In the future, I will do my best to learn and work with my team for making some contribution to the scientific and technological development in Taiwan.
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