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Zhao Su

Zhao Su

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Assistant Research Professor

510C Mueller Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814)863-9578
Lab: Ma

Research Interests

1. Plant development in response to environmental stresses

My main area of research is focused on plant reproductive development in response to environmental stresses. To investigate the relationship between environment signals and plant development, we devised a scheme of controlled drought stress that allows the plant to survive and reproduce. Morphological analyses reveal substantial floral developmental defects in flowers including ovule abortion, flower opening failure, delayed filament elongation, abnormal anther development and etc. We are also trying to figure out the links between environmental changes and reproductive development at molecular level in the model plants Arabidopsis and rice (Oryza Sativa). Transcriptome and proteome datasets provide us many hints of key interesting regulators of this process.

2. Function of RNA secondary structure in gene regulation

Structural RNA plays an important role in gene regulation. We are interested in how the native structures of mRNAs in coding and non-coding regions may regulate transcription and translation. We are researching these topics via a combination of RNA chemistry, molecular biology and high throughput sequencing techniques. By combining with my stress studies, this part of work will help us to have a better understanding of whether plants can cope with stress by regulation of RNA structure dynamics, which may aid in developing new strategies and new stress-resistant plants to help maintaining or even increasing crop yield under unfavorable conditions.

Selected Publications

1. David C. Tack*, Zhao Su*, Yunqing Yu, Philip C. Bevilacqua, SarahM. Assmann. (2019) Tissue-specific changes in the RNA structurome mediate salinity response in Arabidopsis. BioRxiv. doi:

2. Noor Liyana Sukiran, Julia C. Ma, Hong Ma# and Zhao Su#. (2019) Arabidopsis ANAC019 regulates transcriptomic reprogramming for recovery of reproductive development under drought stress. Plant Molecular Biology. doi: 10.1007/s11103-018-0810-1. #Co-corresponding author

3. Laura E. Ritchey, Zhao Su, Sarah M. Assmann, Philip C. Bevilacqua. (2019) In vivo genome-wide RNA structure probing with Structure-seq2. Methods in Molecular Biology.1933:305-341. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-9045-0_20

4. Zhao Su*, Yin Tang*, Laura E. Ritchey, David C. Tack, Mengmeng Zhu, Philip C. Bevilacqua, Sarah M. Assmann. (2018) Genome-wide RNA structurome reprogramming by acute heat shock globally regulates mRNA abundance. PNAS. 115(48):12170-12175. *Co-first author. (Recommended in F1000Prime)

5. Ángel Ferrero-Serrano, Zhao Su, Sarah M. Assmann. (2018) Illuminating the role of the Gα heterotrimeric G protein subunit, RGA1, in regulating photoprotection and photovoidance in rice. Plant, Cell & Environment. 41(2):451-468.

6. Laura E Ritchey*, Zhao Su*, Yin Tang, David C Tack, Sarah M Assmann, Philip C Bevilacqua. (2017) Structure-seq2: sensitive and accurate genome-wide profiling of RNA structure in vivo. Nucleic Acids Research. 45(14):e135. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkx533. *Co-first author.

7. Philip C Bevilacqua, Laura E Ritchey, Zhao Su, Sarah M Assmann. (2016) Genome-wide analysis of RNA secondary structure. Annual Review of Genetics. 50, 235-266.

8. Xuan Ma, Noor Liyana Sukiran, Hong Ma#, Zhao Su#. (2014) Moderate drought causes dramatic floral transcriptomic reprogramming to ensure successful reproductive development in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biology. 14, 164. #Co-corresponding author.

9. Zhao Su, Xuan Ma, Huihong Guo, Noor Liyana Sukiran, Bin Guo, Sarah M. Assmann, Hong Ma. (2013) Flower Development under Drought Stress: Morphological and Transcriptomic Analyses Reveal Acute Responses and Long-Term Acclimation in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell. 25, 3785-3807.