Sharon Kessler

Sharon Kessler Profile Picture

Associate Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology
University of California-Davis

Contact Info: 
WSLR 124 

Training Group(s):
Plant Biology

Active Mentor - currently hosting PULSe students for laboratory rotations and recruiting PULSe students into the laboratory; serves on preliminary exam committees

Current Research Interests:

The Kessler Lab studies the molecular mechanisms that control pollination. Our main focus is cell-cell communication between the male and female tissues, specifically how do the female cells known as the synergids “talk” to the pollen and tell it to burst and release the sperm cells so that double fertilization can occur to produce viable seeds. This signaling pathway shares interesting parallels with plant-pathogen interactions indicating common mechanisms for perceiving both beneficial and harmful invaders. Our lab focuses on a plant-specific family of 7 transmembrane proteins called MLOs which play a role in various signaling processes ranging from pollen tube reception to pathogen infection. Our goal is to understand how receptor-kinase triggered changes in cell polarity and MLO protein accumulation patterns lead to successful reproduction and development. We use genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, and live imaging in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to study these important signaling molecules.

Selected Publications:

Ju, Y., Yuan, J., Jones, D.S., Zhang, W., Staiger, C.J., and Kessler, S.A. Polarized NORTIA accumulation at the filiform apparatus promotes fertilization. (2021). Developmental Cell, 56:2938-2951.

Sankaranarayanan, S., Ju, Y., and Kessler, S.A. (2020). Reactive oxygen species as mediators of double fertilization in flowering plants. Frontiers in Plant Biology special issue on Plant Reproduction.

Ju, Y., and Kessler, S.A. (2020). Keeping pollen tubes on track. Nature Plants, 6:51-52.

Sankaranarayanan, S. and Kessler, S.A. (2020). Pollen tube guidance: Growing straight through walls. eLife, 9:e61647 doi: 10.7554/eLife.61647

Yuan, J. and Kessler, S.A. (2019). A genome-wide association study reveals a novel regulator of ovule number and fertility in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLOS Genetics,

Jones, D.S., Liu, X., Willoughby, A.C., Smith, B.E., Palanivelu, R. and Kessler, S.A. (2018). Cellular distribution of secretory pathway markers in the haploid synergid cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 94:192-202.

Davis, T.C., Jones, D.S., Dino, A.J., Cejda, N.I., Yuan, J., Willoughby, A.C., and Kessler, S.A. (2017). Arabidopsis thaliana MLO Genes Are Expressed in Discrete Domains During Reproductive Development. Plant Reproduction, 30:185-195.

Jones, D.S., Yuan, J., Smith, B., Willoughby, A., Kumimoto, E.L., Kessler, S.A. (2017). Mildew Resistance Locus o function in pollen tube reception is linked to its oligomerization and subcellular distribution. Plant Physiology, 175:172-185 doi:10.1104/pp.17.00523.

Jones, D.S.G and Kessler, S.A. Cell type-dependent localization of MLO proteins. (2017). Plant Signaling & Behavior, 12:11, e1393135, DOI:10.1080/15592324.2017.1393135.

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