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Plant Signal ​​Transduction and Lipid Metabolism Laboratory


  • Plants accumulate oil in the form of triacylglycerol in their seeds as a main resource of carbon and energy for seedling development. Plant oils are essential for the human diet and renewable industrial feedstock. The Ma lab focuses on how the transmission of exterior signals into plant cells, and the subsequent cellular responsive cascades, affect plant oil biosynthesis.
  • We use multiple approaches to elucidate the regulatory mechanisms of transcription factors that regulates oil biosynthesis. We investigate post-translational modifications, interacting partners, and regulatory domains/motifs of a key oil biosynthetic regulator, called WRINKED1 (WRI1). We establish the interactome of WRI1 and use the information to guide our efforts in understanding the regulatory mechanism of WRI1. We also study the relationship between key fatty acid biosynthetic regulators and plant developmental process. Our goals include identification of novel regulators that can be used to improve oil crops.

Ma Wei
Assistant Professor

Phone:(65) 6904 7230
Office: SBS-02S-88E
Kong Que
Research Fellow

Noor Aqilah Binte Noor Azlan
PhD Student

Yang Yuzhou
PhD Student


  • Elucidation of the molecular mechanism of a regulator of plant oil biosynthesis in mediating plant hormone homeostasis and cell proliferation

  • Functional characterization of WRINKLED1 (WRI1) in seed oil biosynthesis & development and Development of high oil crops

  • Molecular basis of genetic colonizal Agrobacteria exiting the infectious mode by release of defense signal salicylic acid

Full list of publications can be found here
  • Kong, Q., Yang, Y., Low, P.M., Guo, L., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2020) The function of the WRI1-TCP4 regulatory module in lipid biosynthesis. Plant Signal. Behav. (In press) DOI: 10.1080/15592324.2020.1812878.

  • Kong, Q., Singh, S.K., Mantyla, J.J., Pattanaik, S., Guo, L., Yuan, L., Benning, C., and Ma, W.* (2020) TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PROLIFERATING CELL FACTOR 4 interacts with WRINKLED1 to mediate seed oil biosynthesis. Plant Physiol. (In press) DOI: 10.1104/pp.20.00547.

  • Kong, Q., Yang, Y., Guo, L., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2020) Molecular basis of plant oil biosynthesis: insights gained from studying the WRINKLED1 transcription factor. Front. Plant Sci. 11: 24.

  • Kong, Q., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2019) WRINKLED1, a "Master Regulator" in Transcriptional Control of Plant Oil Biosynthesis. Plants 8: 238.

  • Kong, Q., and Ma, W.* (2018) WRINKLED1 as a novel 14-3-3 client: Function of 14-3-3 proteins in plant lipid metabolism. Plant Signal. Behav. 13: e1482176.

  • Kong, Q., and Ma, W.* (2018) WRINKLED1 transcription factor: how much do we know about its regulatory mechanism? Plant Sci. 272: 153-156.

  • Kong, Q, Ma, W, Yang, H., Ma, G., Mantyla, J.J., and Benning, C. (2017) The Arabidopsis WRINKLED1 transcription factor affects auxin homeostasis in roots. J. Exp. Bot. 68:4627-4634.

  • Ma, W.*, Kong, Q., Mantyla, J.J., Yang, Y., Ohlrogge, J.B., and Benning, C. (2016) 14-3-3 protein mediates plant seed oil biosynthesis through interaction with AtWRI1. Plant J. 88: 228-235.

  • Ma, W.*, Kong, Q., Grix, M., Mantyla, J.J., Yang, Y., Benning, C., and Ohlrogge, J.B. (2015) Deletion of a C-terminal intrinsically disordered region of WRINKLED1 affects its stability and enhances oil accumulation in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 83: 864-874.

  • Ma, W.*, Kong, Q., Arondel, V., Kilaru, A., Bates, P.D., Thrower, N.A., Benning, C., and Ohlrogge, J.B. (2013) WRINKLED1, A Ubiquitous Regulator In Oil Accumulating Tissues From Arabidopsis Embryos To Oil Palm Mesocarp. PLoS ONE 8: e68887.
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