Earth Day 2017 was a historic day, as thousands of people gathered in cities worldwide to make a statement: Science is important. Marches and rallies took place in over 600 cities worldwide, including our nation's capital. Check out international coverage from Science Magazine here. To celebrate the end of term, we planned a lab day trip to Ottawa to stand up for science outside Parliament Hill. We took advantage of our time in Ottawa and visited the National Gallery of Canada in the afternoon after lunch. It was great to spend the day together outside the lab, discussing important issues facing this and future generations.
My first Honours thesis students, Sydney, Kristen, and Alysha - the self-proclaimed 'OG Squad' - presented their work at the Queen's Undergraduate Poster Day last week. Sydney worked on a genetics project to isolate double mutants to study an immune signalling pathway. Kristen worked on the CPK28 interactome, tirelessly cloning split-luciferase constructs and performing coIPs. Alysha generated over 25 point mutations in CPK28 phosphosites (in both bacterial AND plant expression vectors!) and established a functional screen in N. benthamiana to test regulatory roles of these sites. I couldn't be more impressed by the excellent work they've done these past months. Special shout-out to Kristen, who equally impressed several faculty in our Department and walked away with a Best Poster prize - congratulations!!
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.