Jianping Hu

Jianping Hu

Plant Research Laboratory
Department of Plant Biology

  Office: (517) 432-4620
     Lab: (517) 432-4622


   MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory
     Michigan State University
     Plant Biology Laboratories
     612 Wilson Road, Room 306
     East Lansing, MI 48824


Postdoctoral Researcher, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 
Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA
B.S., Peking University, Beijing, China


PubMed Search

Research: Molecular Mechanisms of Energy Organelle Dynamics and Interorganellar Interaction and Communication

In eukaryotic cells, biochemical reactions are compartmentalized in specific subcellular organelles. Plant mitochondria, peroxisomes, and chloroplasts are essential organelles in development and coordinate in a number of metabolic pathways required for energy capture, conversion, and metabolism. The Hu laboratory is interested in understanding molecular mechanisms underlying the dynamic behavior of peroxisomes and mitochondria and how peroxisome metabolism influences photosynthesis in the chloroplast at the mechanistic level.

For adaptation, subcellular organelles can alter their abundance, morphology, and protein composition depending on the developmental and environmental conditions. One research goal of the Hu lab is to elucidate molecular mechanisms by which peroxisomes and mitochondrial proliferate to ultimately understand how organelle dynamics contribute to changes in plant physiology and development. To this end, we have identified and characterized components of the machineries that govern the biogenesis, division and proliferation of peroxisomes and mitochondria (Fig. 1) and revealed transcriptional and post-translational regulatory mechanisms of these processes. Recent effort is on understanding the regulatory role of proteases and ubiquitin-proteasome mediated proteolysis in peroxisome and mitochondrial biogenesis and division and in plant stress response.


Fig. 1. Peroxisome and Mitochondrial Division 1 (PMD1) is a component of the peroxisome and mitochondrial division/proliferation machinery. Confocal images were taken from leaf epidermal cells of PMD1 loss-of-function mutant and overexpressor, showing abnormal morphologies of peroxisomes and mitochondria that are fluorescently labeled by organelle marker proteins CFP-PTS1 and COX4-YFP, respectively. Scale bar = 10 m.


The Hu lab also collaborates with other labs in the PRL and on campus to study the impact of peroxisomal metabolism on photosynthesis, a fundamental process that occurs in chloroplasts and is subject to regulation by cellular and external environmental cues. Peroxisomes are often found to be physically associated, and act collaboratively, with chloroplasts. Using the Dynamic Environment Phenotype Imager (DEPI), we have screened our collection of Arabidopsis peroxisome mutants and identified those mutants showing photosynthetic deficiencies under light conditions that are more relevant to the natural environment. Currently we focus on understanding the regulatory links between photorespiration and photosynthesis under dynamic environmental conditions (Fig. 2).


Fig. 2. Photosynthetic phenotypes were revealed in peroxisomal mutants under dynamic light conditions. Shown are heatmaps of four photosynthetic parameters, Φ2, NPQ, qE and qI, in mutant relative to the WT. In each heatmap, x axis is time points, y axis is the ~150 peroxisomal mutants subjected to the screen, and the five columns represent five days of dynamic light treatment. The subgroup of mutants with lower Φ2 is indicated by the black box, and mutants in this subgroup are linked to each other between the heatmaps by curved lines. Color code is under each heatmap to indicate the level of changes.


Our research has agricultural and economical relevance, as knowledge gained may provide molecular bases for developing strategies for rational engineering of crop plants to improve metabolism, bioenergy production, and defense against environmental stresses. Our research may also provide useful information to biomedical studies in curing human peroxisomal and mitochondrial diseases.

Additional Publications:

  1. Xu D, Shi J, Rautengarten C, Yang L, Qian X, Uzair M, Zhu L, Luo Q, An G, Waßmanne F, Schreiber L, Heazlewood J, Vibe Scheller H, Hu J, Zhang D, Liang W. (2017) Defective Pollen Wall 2 (DPW2) encodes an acyl transferase required for rice pollen development. Plant Physiol. 173: 240-255.
  2. Pan R, Satkovich J, Hu J (2016). E3 ubiquitin ligase SP1 regulates peroxisome biogenesis in Arabidopsis. Proc Nat Acad Sci 113: E7307-E7316.
  3. Peng, J, Wang T, Hu J, Wang YD, and Chen J (2016) Constructing networks of organelle functional modules in Arabidopsis. Current Genomics 17(5):427-38. (Selected as “Editor’s Choice”).
  4. Rodriguez-Serrano M, Romero-Puertas MC, Sanz-Fernandez M, Hu J, Sandalio LM (2016). Peroxisomes extend peroxules in a fast response to stress via a reactive oxygen species-mediated induction of peroxin PEX11a. Plant Physiol doi:10.1104/pp.16.00648.
  5. Xu D, Shi J, Rautengarten C, Yang L, Qian X, Uzair M, Zhu L, Luo Q, An G, Waßmanne F, Schreiber L, Heazlewood J, Vibe Scheller H, Hu J, Zhang D, Liang W. (2016) Defective Pollen Wall 2 (DPW2) encodes an acyl transferase required for rice pollen development. Plant Physiol. doi:10.1104/pp.16.00095.
  6. Li J and Hu J. (2015) Using co-expression analysis and stress-based screens to uncover Arabidopsis peroxisomal proteins involved in drought response. PLOS ONE 10:e0137762; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137762.
  7. Kaur N, Cross L, Theodoulou F, Baker A, and Hu J (2015) Plant peroxisomes: protein import, dynamics, and metabolite transport, in The Plant Sciences Vol. Cell Biology, Springer.
  8. Pan R and Hu J (2015). Plant mitochondrial dynamics and the role of membrane lipids. Plant Signal Behav. doi:10.1080/15592324.2015.1050573.
  9. Aung K, Kaur N, and Hu J (2014) Dynamin-related proteins in peroxisome division. In Molecular machines involved in peroxisome biogenesis and maintenance, eds Cecile Brocard and Andreas Hartig, Springer-Verlag Wien. pp439-460 (doi 10.1007/978-3-7091-1788-0_20).
  10. Pan R, Jones AG, Hu J (2014) Cardiolipin-mediated mitochondrial dynamics and stress response in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 26: 391-409.
  11. Cai Q, Yuan Z, Chen M, Yin C, Luo Z, Zhao X, Liang W, Hu J, Zhang D (2014) Jasmonic acid regulates spikelet development in rice. Nat Commun 19: 3476. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4476.
  12. Pan R, Kaur N, and Hu J (2014) The Arabidopsis mitochondrial membrane-bound deubiquitinase UBP27 contributes to mitochondrial morphogenesis. Plant J. 78: 1047-1059.
  13. Li G, Liang W, Hu J, Bennet M, Zhang D (2014) The rice actin-binding protein RMD is a key link in the auxin-actin regulatory loop that controls cell growth. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci USA 111:10377-10382. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1401680111.
  14. Cassin-Ross G, and Hu J (2014) A simple assay to identify peroxisomal proteins involved in 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid metabolism. Plant Signal & Behav. 9:e29464; PMID: 24905580; http://dx.doi.org/10.4161/psb.29464.
  15. Desai M, Kaur N, and Hu J (2014) Ectopic expression of the RING domain of the Arabidopsis PEROXIN2 protein partially suppresses the phenotype of the photomorphogenic mutant de-etiolated1. PLOS ONE 9:e108473; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0108473. 
  16. Cassin-Ross G, and Hu J (2014) Systematic phenotypic screen of Arabidopsis peroxisomal mutants identifies proteins involved in β-oxidation. Plant Physiol 166:1546-1559. DOI:10.1104/pp.114.250183.
  17. Kaur N, Zhao Q, Xie Q and Hu J (2013). Arabidopsis RING peroxins are E3 ubiquitin ligases that interact with two homologous ubiquitin receptor proteins. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 55: 108-120. (most highly cited research paper in 2013 for JIPB; selected as the best paper in 2013 by JIPB).
  18. Zhang H, Xu C, He Y, Zong, J, Yang, X, Si, H, Sun, Z, Hu J, Liang W and Zhang D (2013). Mutation in CSA creates a new photoperiod-sensitive genic male sterile line applicable for hybrid rice seed production. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110: 76-81.
  19. Niu N, Liang W, Yang, X, Jin W, Wilson ZA, Hu J and Zhang D (2013). EAT1 promotes tapetal cell death by regulating aspartic proteases during male reproductive development in rice. Nat Commun 4:1445. doi:10.1038/ncomms2396.
  20. Quan S, Yang P, Cassin-Ross G, Kaur N, Switzenberg R, Aung K, Li, J., Hu J (2013) Proteome analysis of peroxisomes from etiolated Arabidopsis seedlings identifies a peroxisomal protease involved in β-oxidation and development. Plant Physiol 163: 1518-1538.
  21. Kaur N, Li J, Hu J (2013). Peroxisomes and photomorphogenesis. Subcell Biochem 69: 195-211. 
  22. Zhang D, Yuan Z, An G, Dreni L, Hu J, Kater MM (2013) Panicle development. Genetics and Genomics of Rice. In Plant Genetics and Genomics: Crops and Models 5. Springer Science + Business Media, New York. pp279-295. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-7903-1-19.
  23. Hu J, Baker A, Bartel B, Linka N, Mullen R, Reumann S, and Zolman B (2012). Plant peroxisomes: biogenesis and function. Plant Cell 24: 2279-2303.
  24. Hu J and Hawes C (2012). Recent advances in plant organelle dynamics. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 54 (11): 838-839.
  25. Tan X, Liang W, Hu J, and Zhang D (2012). MTR1 encodes a secretory fasciclin glycoprotein required for male reproductive development in rice. Developmental Cell 22: 1127-1137.
  26. Aung K and Hu J (2012). Differential roles of Arabidopsis dynamin-related proteins DRP3A, DRP3B, and DRP5B in organelle division. J. Integr. Plant Biol. 54 (11): 921-931.
  27. Hu L, Liang W, Yin C, Cui X, Zong J, Wang X, Hu J, and Zhang D (2011). Rice MADS3 regulates ROS homeostasis during late anther development. Plant Cell 23: 515-533.
  28. Zhang Z, Zhang Y, Tan H, Wang Y, Li G, Liang W, Yuan Z, Hu J, Ren H, and Zhang D (2011). RICE MORPHOLOGY DETERMINANT encodes the type II formin FH5 and regulates rice morphogenesis. Plant Cell 23: 681-700. 
  29. OXISOMAL AND MITOCHONDRIAL DIVISION FACTOR1 is involved in the morphogenesis and proliferation of peroxisomes and mitochondria. Plant Cell 23: 4446-4461.
  30. Pan R, Hu J (2011). The conserved fission complex on peroxisomes and mitochondria. Plant Signal & Behav  6 (6): 870-872.
  31. Hu J (2011). Plant cell and signaling biology blooms in the Wuyi mountain. Mol Plant 4: 557-561.
  32. Kaur N and Hu J (2011). Defining the plant peroxisomal proteome: from Arabidopsis to rice. Front. Plant Sci. 2:103. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00103.
  33. Zhang X and Hu J (2010). The Arabidopsis chloroplast division protein DYNAMIN-RELATED PROTEIN5B also mediates peroxisome division. Plant Cell 22: 431-442.
  34. Quan S, Switzenberg R, Reumann S, and Hu J (2010). In vivo subcellular targeting analysis validates a novel peroxisome targeting signal type 2 and the peroxisomal localization of two proteins with putative functions in defense in Arabidopsis. Plant Signal & Behav 5 (2): 151-153.
  35. Hu J (2010). Molecular Basis of Peroxisome Division and Proliferation in Plants. In Kwang W. Jeon, editor: International Review of Cell and Molecular Biology, Vol. 279, Burlington: Academic Press, 2010, pp. 79-99.
  36. Aung K, Zhang X, and Hu J (2010). Peroxisome division and proliferation in plants. Biochem Soc Trans 38: 817-822.
  37. Kaur N, Reumann S, and Hu J (2009). Peroxisome biogenesis and function. In The Arabidopsis Book, American Society of Plant Biologists, Rockville, MD. doi: 10.1199/tab.0123.
  38. Kaur N and Hu J (2009). Dynamics of peroxisome abundance: a tale of division and proliferation. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 12: 781-788.
  39. Zhang X and Hu J (2009). Two small protein families, DYNAMIN-RELATED PROTEIN 3 and FISSION 1, are required for peroxisome fission in Arabidopsis. Plant J 57, 146-159.
  40. Reumann S, Quan S, Aung K, Yang P, Shrestha K, Holbrook D, Linka N, Switzenberg, R, Wilkerson C, Weber AP, Olsen LJ, and Hu J (2009). In-depth proteome analysis of Arabidopsis leaf peroxisomes combined with in vivo subcellular targeting verification indicates novel metabolic and regulatory functions of peroxisomes. Plant Physiol 150, 125-143.
  41. Aung K and Hu J (2009) The Arabidopsis peroxisome division mutant pdd2 is defective in the DYNAMIN-RELATED PROTEIN3A (DRP3A) gene. Plant Signal & Behav 4 (6), 542-544.
  42. Desai M and Hu J (2008). Light induces peroxisome proliferation in Arabidopsis seedlings through the photoreceptor phytochrome A, the transcription factor HY5 HOMOLOG, and the peroxisomal protein PEROXIN11b. Plant Physiol 146, 1117-1127.
  43. Zhang X and Hu J (2008). FISSION1A and FISSION1B proteins mediate the fission of peroxisomes and mitochondria in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant 1, 1036-1047.
  44. Hu J and Desai M (2008). Light control of peroxisome proliferation during Arabidopsis photomorphogenesis. Plant Signal & Behav 3(10), 801-803.
  45. Orth T, Reumann S, Zhang X, Fan J, Wenzel D, Quan S, and Hu J (2007). The PEROXIN11 protein family controls peroxisome proliferation in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 19, 333-350.
  46. Hu J (2007). Plant peroxisome multiplication: highly regulated and still enigmatic. J. Integr Plant Biol 49 (8), 1112-1118.
  47. Hu J (2007). Toward understanding plant peroxisome proliferation. Plant Signal & Behav 2(4), 308-310.
  48. Fan J, Quan S, Orth T, Awai C, Chory J, and Hu J (2005). The Arabidopsis PEX12 gene is required for peroxisome biogenesis and is essential for development. Plant Physiol 139, 231-239.
  49. Hu J, Aguirre M, Peto C, Alonso J, Ecker J, and Chory J (2002). A role for peroxisomes in photomorphogenesis and development of Arabidopsis. Science 297, 405-409.
  50. Yin Y, Cheong H, Friedrichsen D, Zhao Y, Hu J, Mora-Garcia S, and Chory J (2002). A crucial role for the putative Arabidopsis topoisomerase VI in plant growth and development. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99, 10191-10196.
  51. Hu J, Reddy VS, and Wessler SR. (2000). The rice R gene family: two distinct subfamilies containing several miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements. Plant Mol Biol 42, 667-678.
  52. Hu J, Anderson B, and Wessler SR. (1996). Isolation and characterization of rice R genes: evidence for distinct evolutionary paths in rice and maize. Genetics 142, 1021-1031.