Xiaochen Yang, a PhD student in Plant Biology in GDCB Professor Diane Bassham’s lab, is first author of a paper in the Plant Journal entitled, Activation of Autophagy by Unfolded Proteins during Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress (Yang et al).
The general conclusion of the Plant Journal paper is that accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER triggers autophagy which targets on unfolded proteins for degradation. To the right of Xiaochen in the photo above are three confocal microscopic images which are protoplasts from Arabidopsis leaves transformed with indicated fusion proteins (endoplasimic reticulum-YFP and zeolin-cerulean). The last one labeled “Merged image” is the merged picture from the previous two.
This is a collaborative project with Steve Howell’s research group, and this research article concludes that stresses that cause an accumulation of unfolded proteins in the ER trigger autophagy pathways that mediate degradation of macromolecules by the cell.