Dazhong (Dave) Zhao
Dazhong (Dave) Zhao
Associate Professor
Plant Molecular Genetics
Signal Transduction

B.S. Huazhong Agricultural University, China
Ph.D. Institute of Botany,
The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Postdoctoral Fellow
Peking University, China
The Pennsylvania State University, University Park

Office: Lapham 462
Phone: 414-229-4316
FAX: 414-229-3926
Email: dzhao@uwm.edu

Research Interests

Molecular Genetics and Signal transduction Signal transduction is a critical mechanism for cells to communicate with each other and for all living organisms to survive, grow, and reproduce. My laboratory is interested in elucidating signal transduction pathways that are required for plant growth and development by employing a combination of molecular genetic, cell biological, genomic, and proteomic techniques.

One of our research emphases is the analysis of a receptor kinase linked signal transduction pathway that controls cell fate determination in Arabidopsis anther. A fundamental feature of reproduction in both plants and animals is the specification of distinct types of cells that give rise to eggs and sperm. Plant reproduction entails complex developmental processes and provides many opportunities to investigate both fundamental and plant-specific principles, particularly signal transduction mechanisms underlying cell fate determination. In flowering plants, the anther is the male part of a flower which contains highly specialized somatic and reproductive cells. Recently, the anther has emerged as a prime model system for the study of cell fate determination and receptor-linked signaling, in addition to its central importance to plant breeding, reproduction, and evolution. Our material is Arabidopsis, which is a plant model organism for studies in classical and molecular genetics, developmental biology, cell biology, physiology, biochemistry, and functional genomics. Our previous research demonstrated that signal transduction mediated by the EMS1 leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase (LRR-RLK) plays a key role in regulating anther cell differentiation. Currently, my laboratory is focusing on identifying major signaling molecules in the EMS1 signal transduction pathway. This research will shed light on the molecular mechanisms of cell specification during sexual reproduction in plants and other organisms.

My laboratory also has broad interests in addressing molecular mechanisms of plant development that are regulated by selective protein degradation, microRNAs, and hormone signaling. I would like to provide various research opportunities for K-12 students, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral scientists, as well as other visiting scholars. Inquiries about positions at different levels will be welcomed.

Selected Publications

Ni, W., Xie, D., Hobbie, L., Feng, B., Zhao, D., Akkara, J. and Ma, H. 2004. Regulation of flower development in Arabidopsis by SCF complex. Plant Physiology 134:1574-1585.

Zhao, D., Han, T., Risseeuw, E., Crosby, W.L. and Ma, H. 2003. Conservation and divergence of ASK1 and ASK2 gene functions during male meiosis in Arabidopis. Plant Molecular Biology 53: 163-173.

Zhao, D.,* Ni, W.,* Feng, B., Han, T., Petrasek, M. and Ma, H. 2003. Members of the Arabidopsis-SKP1-like gene family exhibit a variety of expression patterns and may play diverse roles in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 133: 203-217. (*equal contribution)

Zhao, D., Wang, G., Speal, B. and Ma, H. 2002. The EXCESS MICROSPOROCYTES1 gene encodes a putative leucine-rich repeat receptor protein kinase that controls somatic and reproductive cell fates in the Arabidopsis anther. Genes & Development 16: 2021-2031.

Azumi, Y., Liu, D., Zhao, D., Li, W., Wang, G., Hu, Y. and Ma, H. 2002. Homologue interaction during meiotic prophase I in Arabidopsis requires the SOLO DANCERS encoding a novel cyclin-like protein. EMBO J. 21: 3081-3095.

Zhao, D., Yu, Q., Chen, M. and Ma, H. 2001. The ASK1 gene regulates B function gene expression in co-operation with UFO and LEAFY in Arabidopsis. Development 128: 2735-2746.

Zhao, D., Yu, Q., Chen, C. and Ma, H. 2001. Genetic control of reproductive meristems. In: Meristematic Tissues in Plant Growth and Development. (Eds. McManus, M. T. and Veit, B.) Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield, England. (Invited chapter), pp. 89-142.

Zhao, D. and Ma, H. 2000. Male fertility: a case of enzyme identity. Current Biology 10: R904-907.

Zhao, D., Yang, M., Solava, J. and Ma, H. 1999. The ASK1 gene regulates development and interacts with the UFO gene to control floral organ identity in Arabidopsis. Developmental Genetics 25: 209-223.