Faculty and Research
Heitman Lab Members
Soo Chan Lee, PhD
320 CARL Building
Box 3546 DUMC
Durham, N.C. 27710
I trained with Dr. Brian Shaw at Texas A&M University as a PhD student. I was primarily interested in how Aspergillus nidulans, a filamentous fungus, establishes and maintains hyphal polarity. In this study, I investigated the role of protein lipidation, especially N-myristoylation, in the polarized growth of the fungus. After receiving my PhD in December 2007 from Texas A&M University, I relocated to Durham, NC, to join the Heitman laboratory as a post-doctoral fellow. Currently, my research is focused on understanding the sexual development of three different groups of human pathogenic of fungi: Cryptococcus neoformans, a basidiomycete, Mucor circinelloides, a zygomycete, and Encephalitozoon cuniculi, a microsporidian.
In the study of C. neoformans, I am interested in nuclear dynamics during mating and monokaryotic fruiting. The main question is how and when transitions in ploidy occur. In addition, the role of the diploid state, especially with alphaAAalpha isolates, is also of primary interest.
Second, I am studying the sex locus of the zygomycetes, a basal fungal lineage. Following the identification of the sex locus in Phycomyces blakesleeanus, a zygomycete (Idnurm et al. 2008. Nature), I found that the sex locus is conserved in other zygomycete species. The sex locus forms a syntenic gene cluster encoding with a triose phosphate transferase, HMG domain protein, and RNA helicase genes. The HMG domain proteins (SexP and SexM in plus and minus strain, respectively) are a key transcription factor defining sexual identity in zygomycetes (as in humans), and I am investigating the role of this protein during zygomycete mating.
Recently, I discovered that microsporidia share a syntenic sex locus with zygomycetes. To test the hypothesis that microsporidia may have an extant sexual cycle, I am working with several E. cuniculi isolates cultured in RK13 (rabbit kidney) cell lines to test whether I can observe a bona fide sexual cycle.
I served as a TA in the Molecular Mycology Course (2009) at the Marine Biology Lab, Woods Hole, MA. and am currently supported by the Molecular Mycology and Pathogenesis Training Program (T32-AI52080) from the NIH.
Li, C. H., Cervantes, M., Springer, D. J., Ruiz-Vazquez, R. M., Torres-Martinez, S. R., Heitman, J.*, and Lee*, Soo Chan. 2011. Analysis of the mating type locus and spore size dimorphism linked to virulence in the pathogenic zygomycete, Mucor circinelloides species subcomplex. PLoS Pathogens. In press.
Gryganskyi, A. P., Lee, Soo Chan, Litvintseva, A. P., Smith, M. E., Bonito, G., Porter, G. M., Anishchenko, I. M., Heitman, J., Vilgalys, R. 2010. Structure, function, and phylogeny of the mating locus in the Rhizopus oryzae complex. PLoS One. 5(12):e15273.
Lee, Soo Chan, Corradi, N., Doan, S., Dietrich, S. F., Keeling, P. J., and Heitman, J. 2010. Evolution of the sex-related locus and genomic features shared in microsporidia and fungi. PLoS One. 5(5):e10539.
Lee, Soo Chan, Ni, M., Li, W., Shertz, C., and Heitman, J. 2010. The evolution of sex: a prospective from the fungal kingdom. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Review. 74:298-340.
Lee, Soo Chan, Weiss, L. M., and Heitman, J. 2009. Generation of genetic diversity in microsporidia via sexual reproduction and horizontal gene transfer. Communicative and Integrative Biology. 2:414-417.
Kozubowski, L.*, Lee, Soo Chan*, and Heitman, J. 2009. Signaling pathways in the pathogenesis of Cryptococcus. Cellular Microbiology. 11:370-380.
Lee, Soo Chan, Corradi, N., Byrnes, E. J., Torres-Martinez, S., Dietrich, F.S., Keeling, P.J., and Heitman, J. 2008. Microsporidia evolved from ancestral sexual fungi. Current Biology. 18:1675-1679.
Lee, Soo Chan and Shaw, B.D. 2008. ArfB links protein lipidation and endocytosis to polarized growth of Aspergillus nidulans. Communicative and Integrative Biology. 1:51-52.
Lee, Soo Chan, Schmidtke, S.N., Dangott, L. J., and Shaw, B.D. 2008. Aspergillus nidulans ArfB plays a role in endocytosis and polarized growth. Eukaryotic Cell. 7:1278-1288.
Lee, Soo Chan and Shaw, B.D. 2008. Localization and function of ADP ribosylation factor A in Aspergillus nidulans. FEMS Microbiology Letters. 283:216-222.
Lee, Soo Chan and Shaw, B.D. 2007. A novel interaction between N-myristoylation and the 26S proteasome during cell morphogenesis. Molecular Microbiology. 63:1054-1068.
Lee, S. J., Lee, Soo Chan, Choi, S. H., Chung, M. K, Rhie, H. G., and Lee, Ho Sa. 2001. Effect of ArsA, arsenite-specific ATPase, on inhibition on cell division in Escherichia coli. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 11:825-830.
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