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Washington State University Molecular Plant Sciences


Regents Professor, Department of Horticulture, Ph.D.1970, Utah State University.



This laboratory has a long-standing interest in understanding the Ca2+/calmodulin-mediated signaling in plants. Calmodulin (CaM), a ubiquitous and multifunctional Ca2+-binding protein, is a primary intracellular Ca2+ receptor, which transduces the second messenger Ca2+ signal by binding to and altering the activity of the other proteins. To study the downstream elements involved in Ca2+/CaM-mediated stress signal transduction, 35S-labeled CaM was used for protein-protein interaction-based screening of several expression libraries.

By this approach, we have cloned and characterized several genes that encode for CaM-binding proteins. The primary goal of this research is to investigate the functional significance of these genes, and understand how they are involved in Ca2+/CaM-mediated signaling. Ca2+/CaM-regulated protein phosphorylation is believed to play a pivotal role in amplifying and diversifying the action of Ca2+-mediated signals. This laboratory has cloned a chimeric Ca2+/CaM-dependent protein kinase (CCaMK) gene.

CCaMK is characterized by the presence of a kinase domain, an autoinhibitory domain, a CaM-binding domain and a neural visinin-like Ca2+-binding domain in a single polypeptide. This laboratory has also cloned a Ca2+/CaM-dependent receptor-like kinase, and the role of this and other CaM-binding proteins are being investigated. Image

Selected Publications

Qiu, Y., Xi, J., Du, L. and Poovaiah, B.W. 2012.  The function of calreticulin in plant immunity:  New discoveries for an old protein.  Plant Signaling & Behavior 7:1-4.

Qiu, Y., Xi, J., Du, L., Suttle, J. and Poovaiah, B.W.  2012.  Coupling calcium/calmodulin-mediated signaling and herbivore-induced plant response through calmodulin-binding transcription factor AtSR1/CAMTA3.  Plant Mol. Biol. 79:89-99 (with journal cover page).

Xi, J., Qiu, Y., Du, L. and Poovaiah, B.W.  2012.  Plant-specific trihelix transcription factor AtGT2L interacts with calcium/calmodulin and responds to cold and salt stresses.  Plant Sci. 185-186:274-280.

Qiu, Y., Xi, J., Du, L., Roje, S. and Poovaiah, B.W.  2012.   A dual regulatory role of Arabidopsis calreticulin 2 in plant innate immunity.  Plant J. 69(3):489–500.

Yang, T., Ali, G.S., Yang, L, Du, L., Reddy, A.S.N., Poovaiah, B.W.  2010.    Calcium/calmodulin-regulated Receptor-like Kinase CRLK1 interacts with MEKK1 in Plants.  Plant Signaling and Behavior 5:991-994.

Yang, T, Chaudhuri, S, Yang, L, Du, L, Poovaiah, B.W.  2010.  A calcium/calmodulin-regulated member of the receptor-like kinase family confers cold tolerance in plants. J. Biol. Chem. 285:7119-7126.

Du, L., Ali, G. S., Simons, K. A., Hou J., Yang, T., Reddy, A.S.N. and Poovaiah, B. W.  2009.  Ca2+/calmodulin regulates salicylic-acid-mediated plant immunity.  Nature 457:1154-1158.

Yang, T., Du, L. and Poovaiah, B.W. 2007.  Concept of redesigning proteins by manipulating calcium/calmodulin-binding domains to engineer plants with altered traits.  Functional Plant Biology 34:343-352.

Gleason, C., Chaudhuri, S., Yang, T., Munoz-Gutierrez, A., Poovaiah, B.W. and Oldroyd, G.E.D.  2006.  Nodulation independent of rhizobia induced by a calcium-activated kinase lacking autoinhibition.  Nature.  441:1149-1152.

Du, L. and Poovaiah, B. W. 2005. Calcium/calmodulin is critical for brassinosteroid biosynthesis and plant growth.  Nature.  437:741-745.
U.S. patents: No. 5, 498, 533 (1996); No. 6, 077, 991 (2000); No. 6, 362, 395 (2002) and No. 6, 403, 352 (2002).