Dr. Chuanyou Li’s group is working on the action mechanisms of jasmonate (JA), which plays vital roles in regulating plant immunity and a wide range of developmental processes. He studied systemic plant immunity to wounding and chewing insects in tomato and found that the long-distance mobile signal in regulating systemic resistance is JA, rather than the peptide signal systemin. He led more than 60 Chinese Scientists to take part in the International Tomato Genome Consortium and successfully decoded the genome of tomato, a unique model system for plant immunity and fruit biology. He connected the PLT stem cell transcription factor pathway to JA signaling and illustrated a molecular framework for JA-induced regulation of root growth through interaction with the growth hormone auxin. His lab has a long term focus on the transcriptional mechanism of MYC2, a bHLH protein similar to the mammalian oncoprotein c-MYC. He found that turnover of MYC2 stimulates its transcription activity, revealing an ‘‘activation by destruction’’ mechanism to regulate plant stress response and adaptive growth. He also linked MYC2 to the MED25 subunit of the Mediator co-activator complex in the transcription machinery. Moreover, his lab recently found that MED25 also physically brings the JA-Ile receptor COI1 and the histone acetyltransferase HAC1 to the promoters of MYC2 target genes during JA signaling. His studies revealed a fundamental mechanism by which Mediator coordinates the actions of both genetic and epigenetic regulators into a concerted transcriptional program.
He serves as editor for several international journals including Molecular Plant, Plant Molecular Biology and Annals of Botany.