Join us on Wednesday, Oct 19th, for the next seminar in our IAREC Seminar Series. Dr. Prashant Swamy will be presenting a seminar titled, “Chasing Tubulins and their Post-translational Modifications in Poplar

Dr. Swamy is a Postdoc at WSU Prosser IAREC. He graduated from The University of Georgia in 2013 from Tsai lab at Warnell School of Forestry. He worked on understanding cytoskeletal tubulins and their post-translational modifications in Populus and discovered that tubulins play important role in plant growth and development. Before coming to US, he worked on rice molecular breeding towards achieving bacterial disease resistance through gene stacking and identifying disease resistance genes. His master’s project involved identifying degree of gene flow in rice. Currently, he is working with Dr. Rayapati to investigate host-virus interactions in wine grapes.


Alpha- and beta-tubulins, building blocks of microtubules (MTs) are more commonly depicted as cellular tracks guiding intracellular traffic. These dynamic structures serve essential functions during plants’ growth and development. Cortical MTs presumably maneuver cell wall deposition but the disruption in such interaction through genetic manipulation or mutation leads to developmental defects. To understand the process of cell wall deposition in trees, genetic manipulation of xylem- (or wood) abundant alpha and beta tubulins along with their post-translational mimics were attempted in Populus. Transgenic Populus expressing ectopic genes were recovered but these trees exhibited unexpected cell wall modifications and novel stomatal behavior. We also discovered that unlike tubulins from animals and lower eukaryotes, their plant counterparts are mostly regulated at transcriptional level. Our study provided new insights into how these cytoskeletal proteins influence tissue-specific functions in addition to their precise regulation in plants.

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