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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Molecular and Cellular Biology

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Alice Y. Cheung

Second Advisor

Hen-Ming Wu

Subject Categories

Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Molecular Biology


The precise mechanisms plants use to perceive and respond to changes in the integrity of their cell wall have proven to be an elusive target for annotation. Cell wall integrity encompasses all facets of plant life from growth to reproduction, to responses to biotic and abiotic stress, providing much need to explore and understand how plants perceive the integrity of their cell wall. To interrogate these mechanisms, my work investigated the signal transduction interface between the cell wall and the cell membrane and how this interface perceives the integrity of the cell wall influencing a wide breadth of downstream signaling. Centered on the FERONIA family of MALECTIN-like receptor kinases, my early work contributed to the identification this family as capable of interacting with pectin, a major component of the cell wall. My work contributed to our understanding that FERONIA is able to perceive pectin and that this ability plays a pivotal role in reproductive selection. In pursuit of understanding this perception, I contributed to the discovery of the role for FERONIA as a global regulator of extracellular signaling. Feronia achieves this function through its modulation of receptor clustering on the cellular surface via a novel phase separation mechanism required for proper function of these receptors. Through the detailed characterization of this mechanism, I expanded the repertoire of known signal transduction mechanisms while demonstrating how FERONIA preforms its global regulatory role through its perception of cell wall integrity.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Monday, May 26, 2025