Joined the Department in 2003
- B.S., 1987, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Food Science and Technology.
- M.S., 1990, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Biochemistry.
- Ph.D. 1995, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Biomolecular Chemistry.
- Postdoctoral research: Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.
Faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences
Program for the Biology of Filamentous Fungi.
Transport and Cellular Compartmentalization
Compartmentalization of metabolic pathways and other cellular functions is a hallmark of eukaryotic cells. This feature is extreme in plants due to the presence of organelles not found in most other eukaryotes – plastids. Plastids are a diverse group of interrelated organelles that perform a wide range of metabolic functions including photosynthesis, nitrogen and sulfur assimilation and the synthesis of amino acids, starch and fatty acids. These functions are coordinated with metabolic processes in the cytosol through dynamic exchange of metabolites and ions across the plastid inner envelope membrane.
My lab is studying phosphate (Pi) transport processes that link the metabolic pathways in the plastid and cytosol. The concentrations of Pi in the cytosol and plastid stroma influence photosynthesis and the partitioning and storage of fixed carbon. Transporters involved in the movement of Pi across the plastid inner membrane include members of the pPT, PHT2 and PHT4 families. We are using genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and molecular physiology to investigate the function and physiological roles of these transporters. Recent findings suggest that some members of the PHT4 family are targeted to chloroplasts, whereas others function in heterotrophic plastids and one resides in the Golgi apparatus.
Other projects in the lab include the genetic and biochemical characterization of Pi transport processes in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. Mutants with altered phosphate uptake properties have been isolated, and these have led to the identification of Pi transporter genes, as well as genes with putative regulatory functions.
- Versaw, WK, Garcia, LR. Intracellular transport and compartmentation of phosphate in plants. Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 2017;39 :25-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2017.04.015. PubMed PMID:28570954 .
- Banerjee, S, Garcia, LR, Versaw, WK. Quantitative Imaging of FRET-Based Biosensors for Cell- and Organelle-Specific Analyses in Plants. Microsc. Microanal. 2016;22 (2):300-10. doi: 10.1017/S143192761600012X. PubMed PMID:26879593 .
- Banerjee, S, Versaw, WK, Garcia, LR. Imaging Cellular Inorganic Phosphate in Caenorhabditis elegans Using a Genetically Encoded FRET-Based Biosensor. PLoS ONE. 2015;10 (10):e0141128. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141128. PubMed PMID:26484766 PubMed Central PMC4615621.
- Karlsson, PM, Herdean, A, Adolfsson, L, Beebo, A, Nziengui, H, Irigoyen, S et al.. The Arabidopsis thylakoid transporter PHT4;1 influences phosphate availability for ATP synthesis and plant growth. Plant J. 2015;84 (1):99-110. doi: 10.1111/tpj.12962. PubMed PMID:26255788 .
- Mukherjee, P, Banerjee, S, Wheeler, A, Ratliff, LA, Irigoyen, S, Garcia, LR et al.. Live imaging of inorganic phosphate in plants with cellular and subcellular resolution. Plant Physiol. 2015;167 (3):628-38. doi: 10.1104/pp.114.254003. PubMed PMID:25624397 PubMed Central PMC4348774.
- Irigoyen, S, Karlsson, PM, Kuruvilla, J, Spetea, C, Versaw, WK. The sink-specific plastidic phosphate transporter PHT4;2 influences starch accumulation and leaf size in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 2011;157 (4):1765-77. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.181925. PubMed PMID:21960139 PubMed Central PMC3327177.
- Guo, B, Irigoyen, S, Fowler, TB, Versaw, WK. Differential expression and phylogenetic analysis suggest specialization of plastid-localized members of the PHT4 phosphate transporter family for photosynthetic and heterotrophic tissues. Plant Signal Behav. 2008;3 (10):784-90. . PubMed PMID:19513231 PubMed Central PMC2634373.
- Liu, J, Versaw, WK, Pumplin, N, Gomez, SK, Blaylock, LA, Harrison, MJ et al.. Closely related members of the Medicago truncatula PHT1 phosphate transporter gene family encode phosphate transporters with distinct biochemical activities. J. Biol. Chem. 2008;283 (36):24673-81. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M802695200. PubMed PMID:18596039 PubMed Central PMC3259825.
- Guo, B, Jin, Y, Wussler, C, Blancaflor, EB, Motes, CM, Versaw, WK et al.. Functional analysis of the Arabidopsis PHT4 family of intracellular phosphate transporters. New Phytol. 2008;177 (4):889-98. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2007.02331.x. PubMed PMID:18086223 .
- Jin, Y, Allan, S, Baber, L, Bhattarai, EK, Lamb, TM, Versaw, WK et al.. Rapid genetic mapping in Neurospora crassa. Fungal Genet. Biol. 2007;44 (6):455-65. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2006.09.002. PubMed PMID:17056287 PubMed Central PMC1951786.