College of Biological Sciences



DAVIS, CA 95616

Telephone: (530) 754-8139

FAX: (530) 752-5410


Our laboratory is located in room 2203 of the Life Sciences building. Our team works on how plant and fungal cells organize their cytoplasmic contents. We use microscopic and imaging tools to watch how cells divide and enlarge themselves. People in the laboratory also routinely carry out experiments of protein biochemistry, molecular biology, as well as classical and molecular genetics. We have open positions for graduate students and undergraduate students. If you are interested in traveling into plant and fungal cells, please contact Dr. Bo Liu, the principal investigator, at You are invited to visit the laboratory or talk to Dr. Liu at (530) 754-8138. Recent results are summarized in the posters presented outside the laboratory.

People in the Laboratory:

Determined postgraduate scientists:

Dr. Yuh-Ru Julie Lee (Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA)

Dr. Huiying Miao (Ph.D., Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China)

Ms. Xueer (Cher) Jiang

Ms. Felicia Peng

Dedicated Graduate students:

Mr. Zhongxu Chen (Sichuan Agricultural University, Wejiang, China)

Mr. Xingguang Deng (Sichuan University, Chengdu, China)

Dependable undergraduate students:

Mr. Calvin Huang



Celebrating Graduation (Junlin, Cher and Felicia)



A Picture from Our Experiments:

This is an Arabidopsis cell undergoing cell division. Segregated sister chromatids are labeled in blue, microtubules in red, and the microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 in green. Dr. C.-M. Kimmy Ho devoted much of her dissertation to understanding the function of MAP65-3 in cytokinesis. The human counterpart of MAP65-3 is called PRC1 which also is required for cell division. Dr. Ho has been offered assistant professor positions and will soon establish her own research group.

An Example of the Organisms We Are Working On:

These are images of colonies of the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. This fungus is one of the model organisms used for classical genetic studies of fundamental biological processes like the cell cycle. The yellow color was given by the asexual conidial spores produced on the surface of the colonies. The images were taken from identical plates incubated at different temperatures indicated on the left. The strain to the left was a control one which demonstrated a typical growth phenomenon. The middle and right ones were mutants which had problems in nuclear migration. It has been demonstrated by many scientists that the mechanism for nuclear migration in this fungus is very similar to that regulating nuclear migration during fertilization and in brain development in mammals.

Recent Publications:

Lee, Y.-R.J., Y. Li, and B. Liu. 2007. Two homologous phragmoplast-associated kinesins play a critical role in cytokinesis during male gametogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 19:2595-2605.

Bisgrove S.R., Y.-R. J. Lee, B. Liu, N. Peters, and D.L. Kropf. 2008. The microtubule plus-end binding protein EB1 functions in root responses to touch and gravity signals in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 20:396410.

Guo*, L., C.-M. Ho*, Z. Kong*, Y.-R.J. Lee*, Q. Qian, and B. Liu. 2009. Evaluating the microtubule cytoskeleton and its interacting proteins in monocots by mining the rice genome. Annals Bot. 103: 387402. (* equal contributions)

Kim, J.-M., C.T. Zeng, T. Nayak, R. Shao, A. Huang, B.R. Oakley, and B. Liu. 2009. Timely septation requires SNAD-dependent spindle pole body localization of the septation initiation network components in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Mol. Biol. Cell. 20:28742884.

Zeng, C.T., Y.-R.J. Lee, and Liu, B. 2009. The WD-40 repeat protein NEDD1 functions in microtubule organization during cell division in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell. 21:11291140.

Kong, Z., T. Hotta, Y.-R.J. Lee, T. Horio, and B. Liu. 2010. The g-tubulin complex protein GCP4 is required for organizing functional microtubule arrays in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell. 22:191204.

Liu, B., T. Hotta, C.-M.K. Ho, and Y.-R.J. Lee. 2011. Microtubule organization in the phragmoplast. In The Plant Cytoskeleton, Advances in Plant Biology 2, B. Liu (ed.). Springer, New York. Pp 207-225.

Liu, B., C.-M. K. Ho, and Y.-R.J. Lee. 2011. Microtubule reorganization during mitosis and cytokinesis: lessons learned from developing microgametophytes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Front. Plant Sci. 2:27. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00027

Ho*, C.-M.K., T. Hotta*, Z. Kong*, C.T. Zeng*, J. Sun, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2011. Augmin plays a critical role in organizing the spindle and phragmoplast microtubule arrays in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23:26062618. (* equal contributions)

Ho, C.-M.K., T. Hotta, F. Guo, R. Roberson, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2011. Interaction of anti-parallel microtubules in the phragmoplast is mediated by the microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23:29092923.

Hotta, T., Z. Kong, C.M.K. Ho, C.J.T. Zeng, T. Horio, S. Fong, T. Vuong, Y.R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2012. Characterization of the Arabidopsis augmin complex uncovers its critical function in the assembly of the acentrosomal spindle and phragmoplast microtubule arrays. Plant Cell. 24:1494-1509.

Ho, C.-M.K., Y.R.J. Lee, L.D. Kiyama, S.P. Dinesh-Kumar, and B. Liu. 2012. Arabidopsis microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 cross-links anti-parallel microtubules toward their plus ends in the phragmoplast via its distinct C-terminal microtubule-binding domain. Plant Cell. 24:2071-2085.

Liu, B. 2013. Microtubule disassembly: when a sleeper is activated. Current Biology, 23: R932-933.

Lee, Y.-R.J. and B. Liu. 2013. The rise and fall of the phragmoplast microtubule array. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 16:757763.

Zeng, C.T., H.R. Kim, I. Vargus Arispuro, J.-M. Kim, A.-C. Huang, and B. Liu. 2014. Microtubule plus end-tracking proteins play critical roles in directional growth of hyphae by regulating the dynamics of cytoplasmic microtubules in Aspergillus nidulans. Mol Microbiol. 94 (3):506-521.

Liu, T., J. Tian, G. Wang, Y. Yu, C. Wang, Y. Ma, X. Zhang, G. Xia, B. Liu, Z. Kong. 2014. Augmin triggers microtubule-dependent microtubule nucleation in interphase plant cells. Current Biology. 24:2708-2713.

Kong, Z., M. Ioki, S. Braybrook, S. Li, R. Zhong, Z. Ye, Y.-R.J. Lee, T. Hotta, A. Chang, J. Tian, G. Wang, and B. Liu. 2015. Kinesin-4 functions in vesicular transport on cortical microtubules and regulates cell wall mechanics during cell elongation in plants. Molecular Plant. 8(7):1011-1023.

Wang, B., K. Li , M. Jin, R. Qiu, B. Liu, B.R. Oakley, and X. Xiang. 2015. The Aspergillus nidulans bimC4 mutation provides an excellent tool for identification of kinesin-14 inhibitors. Fungal Genet. Biol. 82:51-55.

Lee, Y.-R.J., W. Qiu, and B. Liu. 2015. Kinesin motors in plants: from subcellular dynamics to motility regulation. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 28:120-126.

Lee, Y.-R. J., and B. Liu. Cytokinesis. 2016. In Plant Cell Biology, S. Assmann, B. Liu (eds.). Springer, New York. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-7881-2_9-1

Citovsky, V., and B. Liu. 2017. Myosin-driven transport network in plants is functionally robust and distinctive. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114 (8):17561758. pii: 201700184. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1700184114. PMID: 28179563

Li*, H., B. Sun*, M. Sasabe, X. Deng, Y. Machida, H. Lin, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2017. Arabidopsis MAP65-4 plays a role in phragmoplast microtubule organization and marks the cortical cell division site. New Phytologist, 215(1):187-201.



Links To Journals in the BO LIBRARY