A fruitful collaboration with Kyle Bender and colleagues at the University of Illinois, Urbana, was published today in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This work suggests that autophosphorylation functions to prime CPK28 for Ca2+-activation and may allow CPK28 to remain active when Ca2+ levels are low and uncovers new complexities in the control of CPK28 that provide mechanistic support for Ca2+ signaling specificity through Ca2+ sensor priming.
It's hard for me to believe, but the Monaghan Lab has been open for a year now. Happy Birthday to us! Last January I was up to my ears in dusty old bottles and had calloses from scraping tape off of every nook and cranny of this place with a razor (it's really the only thing that works). I was so, so fortunate to inherit a large lab with a lot of useful equipment for molecular biology, but the place needed a deep clean. Here are some shots of the lab taken around this time last year, before my first student Pat arrived and helped Jeff and I really whip this place into shape:
After (properly) disposing of some questionable haz waste, going through 3 or 4 bottles of CLR (amazing stuff), a fresh coat of paint, new lights, floor wax, the purchase of a laminator, and some serious organization, the lab is looking pretty good:
It has been my all-time favourite project to set up this scientific playground just the way I want it and to train students eager to learn about plant immunity. The fun continues this year as I now have funding to purchase equipment to enhance our research program. I wonder what the lab will look like on our second birthday...