The most abundant, and crystalline
Project Description

Cellulose, the major cell wall polysaccharide, is the most abundant biopolymer on Earth. Eukaryotic cellulose synthesis (CS) is carried out by cellulose synthase (CesA) complexes (CSCs), which are organized on the membrane (terminal complexes) as a rosette form in higher plants and green algae. Relatively little studies are conducted for the non-rosette format, commonly referred to as linear-forms found in all other cellulosic lifeforms, which differs from single-row periplasmic bacterial CS complexes.
These cell wall-based CS is different from the commonly extracellular prokaryotic C. Biofilm is of pivotal importance in bacterial ecology, including determinants of virulence, transmissivity and resistance( . Cellulose is important in plant morphology, but are important whole system biology, including biomass, disease resistance and mechanical support. Remodeling of cellulosic cell wall is required for dinoflagellate life cycles and cell-cycle transitions.
Dinoflagellate membranous cell wall complexes (termed amphiesma), internal to the outer plasma membrane, are composed of cortical alveolar vesicles (or alveolar sacs, AVs) that contain cellulosic thecal plates (CTPs) in thecate species (please visit my laboratory website). The present aim to explore the structure-function relationships of this superfamily of the most abundant enzyme on earth, their natural enzymatic complexes of which surprisingly were not isolated.
The project will have a bioinformatic component, and if progressing well, continue to an experimental section, involving modulation of dinoflagellate cellulose synthesis

Supervisor
WONG Joseph Tin Yum
Quota
2
Course type
UROP1000
UROP1100
Applicant's Roles

To conduct in silico analysis of CesA superfamily, focusing on non-bacterial linear type homolgoues. For successful progress to the second part, including mutagenetic analysis

Applicant's Learning Objectives

The rationale behind biopolymer synthesis, how crystalline cellulose are formed from glucose monomer, which is not fully understood
mutagenetic studies, protein expression in heterologous system

Complexity of the project
Challenging