Carotenoids are precursors of many bioactive signals in plant, as well as other organisms. Carotenoid-derived plant hormones, strigolactones (SLs) and abscisic acid, are important signal molecules in regulating plant growth and development. Recently, our group identified zaxinone as a novel carotenoid derived bioactive metabolite that is required for normal rice development and which acts by negatively regulating SL biosynthesis. Rice Zaxinone Synthase (ZAS), a member of an overlooked plant Carotenoid Cleavage Dioxygenase (CCD) subfamily, is required for zaxinone production both in vitro and in planta. The rice genome encodes three ZAS homologs, ZAS2, ZAS3 and ZAS4, whose biological and enzymatic functions are unknown. My main focus on the characterization of rice Zaxinone Synthase homologues and their contribution to zaxinone metabolism. In addition, I have working on investigating the biological function of zaxinone in rice and Arabidopsis that does not contain a ZAS ortholog, but produces this apocarotenoid by yet unknown mechanism.
Research Interests Keywords
Plant Molecular Biology