1. Molecular mechanism of circadian clock in fungi
Circadian clock is an important time keeping system that controls temporal expression of numerous genes regulating rhythmic cellular and physiological functions as we go through our daily routines (e.g. sleep/wake, meals, exercise). Mutations of the clock genes cause different human diseases, such as sleep disorders, depression, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. Our group studied the molecular mechanism of circadian clock using Neurospora as a model fungus and the circadian regulation of pathogenic factors in pathogenic fungi. Relevant studies not only analyze the mechanism of circadian regulation of the development and pathogenicity of fungi, but also promote understanding of the conserved mechanism of circadian clock in different species.
Our research will focus on four parts: (1) The relationships between circadian clock system and other signaling transduction systems; (2) Regulation of circadian clock gene expression by transcription factors and epigenetic regulators; (3)The molecular mechanism of circadian temperature compensation; (4) The role of circadian clock in development and pathogenicity of fungi.
2. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression in fungi
Epigenetic regulation is an important part of gene expression regulation, including DNA methylation, histone modification and chromatin remodeling. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is involved in human development, metabolism, immunity and tumor diseases. Our group took Neurospora and pathogenic fungi as model fungi to study the role of epigenetic regulatory factors, transcription factors and signaling pathways on gene expression under different environmental conditions, such as high temperature, DNA damage, nutrient starvation and drug resistance. We intend to discover specific role of epigenetic regulators in regulating fungal environmental adaptation and the conserved mechanism of epigenetic regulation in different eukaryotes.
3. Molecular interaction between fungi and mycovirus
Mycoviruses, including RNA viruses and DNA viruses, infect fungi and replicate in their bodies. Mycovirus infection affects the growth and development of fungi, such as reducing mushroom production, and weakening plant pathogenic fungal diseases. During long-term evolution, host defense systems including RNA interference systems have been formed in fungi to against mycovirus. Using Neurospora and pathogenic fungi as models, our group studied how viruses invaded pathogenic fungi and investigated the novel host defense system in fungi.