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The Cheng BioLab


We study light-stress signaling crosstalk in plants

In our lab, our main goal is trying to understand the mechanism of how plants cope with stresses and manage to find the balance of growth and defense. Light is not only essential for photosynthetic energy production, but also functions as one of the most important environmental factors affecting plant growth and development. We want to know whether light signaling affect plant stress response. Translation is in the center of cellular responses to different stress signals; however, there is a fundamental gap in our understanding of the regulation of translation in plants. We use numerous genomics and proteomic approaches to study photobiology and stress biology in plants. 


How is translation regulated upon light exposure?

Light treatment greatly enhances global translation in seedling developmental stages. We want to understand the molecular mechanism regulating this phenomenon. Using various mutants that show constitutive photomorphogenic phenotypes in the dark, we study their protein interaction and post-translational modification to elucidte the translational regulatory network that happens during dark-to-light transition.



The phosphorylation of C-terminal eIF2α by SPA kinases contributes to enhanced translation efficiency during photomorphogenesis (Nature Comm, illustrated by Ying Wang Studio) (NTU e-Newsletter)

How plants integrate light signals into stress response?

ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR 1 (ERF1) plays an important role in integrating hormone crosstalk and stress responses. Our studies have shown that ERF1 is unstable in the dark and its degradation is mediated by UBIQUITIN-CONJUGATING ENZYME 18. We are trying to find out more ERF1-interacting proteins and understand their functions in stress response.




Illustrated by Ying Wang Studio

Finding key stress regulators using translatome analyses

Using translatome analyses we can identify the selective protein synthesis under light-stress crosstalk by performing polysomal profiling and ribo-seq in cop mutants, and thus to construct the hierarchical translational regulatory network to serve as a model for future genetic engineering. We have successfully identified several stress-related genes. By isolating the mutant lines and generating their overexpression lines, we discovered their cooperative roles in stress signaling.


我們針對突變體進行轉譯體與轉錄體的分析,了解在轉譯層次中被選擇性合成的蛋白。首先我們利用核醣體圖譜的方式分離出跟ribosome associate再一起的RNA並進行轉譯體分析。接著我們從逆境相關的基因調出了三個較有潛力的基因並做突變株的篩選,結果發現這三個基因的突變株皆對鹽逆境有較低的耐受性。

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