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Christopher J Staiger

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Department Head and Distinguished Professor
LILY Room 1446


The cytoskeleton of actin filaments and microtubules is a dynamic framework that powers intracellular movements, executes cell division, organizes the cytoplasm, and transmits signals from the extracellular environment. How cells build different cytoskeletal structures in the same cytoplasm and who are the key molecular players that organize the cytoskeleton remain poorly understood. Our laboratory investigates the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underpin cytoskeletal dynamics in living plant cells.  We pioneered the use of quantitative image analysis, high spatial and temporal resolution fluorescence microscopy, and reverse-genetic approaches to test a model of actin turnover. This research has uncovered an amazingly dynamic behavior of the plant actin cytoskeleton and novel activities associated with several conserved actin-binding proteins.

Plants and plant cells are unable to migrate or move to avoid attack by microbes or eukaryotic pests. We also explore how the cytoskeleton perceives and transduces signals during the plant innate immune response.  Our research leverages powerful genetic tools associated with the Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas pathosystem and combines these with advanced imaging and quantitative cell biology approaches to discover new signaling pathways associated with biotic stress. 

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BTNY 69100, 1 cr., Fall - Skills for Success in Grad School 

BTNY 59000, 1 cr., Spring - Scientific Presentations


Awards & Honors

(2017) Seeds of Success (2011, 2010, 2006). Purdue University.

(2016) Founding Member. ASPB Legacy Society.

(2015) Distinguished Professor of Biological Sciences.

(2015) Purdue College of Science Research Award. Purdue University.

(2014) Fellow. American Society of Plant Biologists.

(2014) Purdue College of Agriculture TEAM Award. Purdue University.

(2000) University Faculty Scholar. Purdue Univ..

(1998) Teaching for Tomorrow Award. Purdue University.

Selected Publications

Zhang, W., Cai, C., & Staiger, C. J. (2019). Myosins XI Are Involved in Exocytosis of Cellulose Synthase Complexes. Plant Physiology, 179, 1537-1555.

Li, J., & Staiger, C. J. (2018). Understanding cytoskeletal dynamics during the plant immune response. Annual Review Phytopathology, 56, 513-533. doi:10.1146/annurev-phyto-080516-035632

Szymanski, D., & Staiger, C. J. (2018). The actin cytoskeleton: Functional arrays for cytoplasmic organization and cell shape control. 176(1), 106-118. doi:10.1104/pp.17.01519

Li, J., Cao, L., & Staiger, C. J. (2017). Capping protein modulates actin remodeling in response to reactive Oxygen species during plant innate immunity. Plant Physiology, 173(2), 1125-1136. doi:10.1104/pp.16.00992

Shimono, M., Lu, Y. J., Porter, K., Kvitko, B. H., Henty-Ridilla, J., Creason, A., . . . Day, B. (2016). The Pseudomonas syringae type III effector HopG1 induces actin filament remodeling in Arabidopsis in association with disease symptom development. Plant Physiology, 171, 2239-2255.

Li, J., Staiger, B. H., Day, B., & Staiger, C. J. (2015). Capping protein integrates multiple MAMP signalling pathways to modulate actin dynamics during plant innate immunity. 6(7206). doi:10.1038/ncomms8206

Cai, C., Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Szymanski, D. B., & Staiger, C. J. (2014). Arabidopsis Myosin XI: A motor rules the tracks. Plant Physiology, 166, 1359-1370.

Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Li, J., Day, B., & Staiger, C. J. (2014). Actin Depolymerizing Factor4 regulates actin dynamics during innate immune signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, 26, 340-352. doi:10.1105/tpc.114.123174

Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Shimono, M., Li, J., Chang, J. H., Day, B., & Staiger, C. J. (2013). The Plant Actin Cytoskeleton Responds to Signals from Microbe-Associated Molecular Patterns. PLoS Pathogens, 9(4), e1003290.

Henty, J. L., Bledsoe, S. W., Khurana, P., Meagher, R. B., Day, B., Blanchoin, L., & Staiger, C. J. (2011). Arabidopsis Actin Depolymerizing Factor4 Modulates the StochasticDynamic Behavior of Actin Filaments in the Cortical Array of EpidermalCells. Plant Cell, 23(10), 3711-3726.

Botany and Plant Pathology, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4614

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