Office: SCIE 4470
Lab: SCIE 4409-10
B.Sc. University of Alberta
Ph.D. University of Alberta
Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Arizona State University
My research focuses on various aspects of plant cell biology including:
- Identification and characterization of a unique class of integral membrane proteins known as "Tail-Anchored" (TA) proteins. Our research is currently aimed at identifying TA proteins using bioinformatic approaches and characterizing these proteins in terms of their localization, targeting signals, and the protein machinery (e.g., receptors) that mediate their membrane insertion and assembly.
- Understanding various aspects of the biogenesis of peroxisomes, including how membrane proteins are targeted to this organelle, and what role the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) serves in the formation of peroxisomes. We are also especially interested in understanding how certain viruses "hijack" peroxisomes for their replication in infected plant cells.
- Characterization of enzymes involved in seed oil biosynthesis. This research is aimed at understanding various aspects of the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in producing seed oils and their proper packaging into oil bodies. One of our current goals is to engineer neutral lipid accumulation in vegetative tissues of plants.
My research takes advantage of a wide range of cellular and molecular technologies, as well as biochemical and microscopic approaches. We also routinely carry out heterologous expression of plant genes in yeast and mammalian cells as a means to provide insights to different aspects of the processes being examined. One of the long-term goals of this research is to provide the fundamental knowledge about plants needed to apply genetic manipulation/biotechnology successfully.
Hu J, Baker A, Bartel B, Linka N, Mullen RT, Reumann S, Zolman BK. 2012. Plant peroxisomes: biogenesis and function. Plant Cell 24: 2279-2303.
Chapman KD, Dyer JM, Mullen RT. 2012. Biogenesis and functions of lipid droplets. Journal of Lipid Research 53: 215-226.
Ching SL, Gidda SK, Rochon A, van Cauwenberghe OR, Shelp BJ, Mullen RT. Glyoxylate reductase isoform 1 is localized in the cytosol and not peroxisomes in plant cells. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology 54:152-168.
Richardson LGL, Howard ASM, Khuu N, Gidda SK, McCartney A, Morphy BJ, Mullen RT. 2011. Protein-protein interaction network and subcellular localization of the Arabidopsis thaliana ESCRT machinery. Frontiers in Plant Science 2:1-18.
Gidda, S.K, J.M. Shockey, M. Falcone, P.K. Kim, S.J. Rothstein, D.W. Andrews, J.M Dyer and R.T. Mullen. 2011. Hydrophobic-domain-dependent protein-protein interactions mediate the localization of GPAT enzymes to ER subdomains. Traffic. 12:452-472
James, C.N., P.J. Horn, C.C. Richardson, S.K. Gidda, D. Zhang, R.T. Mullen, J.M. Dyer, R.G.W. Anderson and K.D. Chapman. 2010. Disruption of the Arabidopsis CGI-58 homologue produces Chanarin–Dorfman-like lipodystrophy in plants. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 107: 17833-17838.
Dhanoa, P.K., L.G. Richardson, M.D. Smith, S.K. Gidda, M.P. Henderson, D.W. Andrews and R.T. Mullen. 2010. Distinct pathways mediate the sorting of tail-anchored proteins to the plastid outer envelope. PLoS ONE 5: 1-18.
At the undergraduate level, I am involved in co-teaching Molecular Biology of the Cell MCB*2050. I also participate in various courses (MCB*4500 and MCB*4510) that provide research opportunities for senior undergraduates to join my lab, work in close collaboration with graduate students and/or post-doctoral associates, and undertake a research project on a topic related to plant cell and molecular biology. For more information on these types of research opportunities, please contact me directly.
At the graduate level, I co-teach Structure and Function of Biological Membranes (MCB*6210), a course focusing on biochemical, cellular and molecular aspects of biological membranes.
A PhD graduate student position is available immediately in my laboratory in the area of plant cell biology. NSERC and/or DOE-funded project areas include: 1) the biogenesis (targeting and membrane association / integration) of tail-anchored proteins; 2) modifications to organelle membranes in virus-infected plant cells; and 3) oil body formation and the engineering of neutral lipid accumulation in vegetative tissues of plants.
Applicants should be independent and self-motivated. Experience with any aspect of cell biology is an asset. This offer is available to Canadian citizens or landed immigrants, but other strong candidates are welcome to apply.
For more information about research projects and application requirements please contact Dr. Mullen directly.