Dinoflagellates, a major unicellular group (>2000 species), are a significant group of plankton and the intracellular symbiotic microalgae (zooxanthellae) of corals (and many other invertebrates), as well as major causative agents of harmful algal blooms (HABs) and shellfish poisoning syndromes. Dinoflagellates are famous for producing large repertoires of bioactive compounds, including many toxins and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Recent development in genomics and transgenesis make it strategic to consider the group as a new frontier for molecular biotechnology and synthetic biology. Dinoflagellate photosynthetic pigment peridin-Chla complex is a major model for the study of photobiology, whereas their bioluminescences are seen in vast sea surface. Their chloroplast genomes are reduced to “minicircles”, small plasmid-like circular DNAs (Leung and Wong. 2007) with single gene encoding of 16-20 photosynthetic genes. Recent developments in genomics and transgenesis render the group a new strategic frontier for molecular biotechnology and synthetic biology.
Research in my lab focuses on three inter-related aspects of molecular dinoflagellate cell biology, the architectural organization of liquid crystalline chromosomes, the biogenesis of their cellulosic membranous cell coverings, and Cellular growth and genome duplication cycles (Research interests and Publications)
Potential students are encouraged to contact Prof. Wong directly
Yan, KHT, Ng,JCN, Kwok, ACM, and Wong, JTY (2020) Knockdown of dinoflagellate condensin CcSMC4 subunit led to S-phase impediment and decompaction of liquid crystalline chromosomes. Microorganism (accepted)
Chan, W.S., Kwok, A.C.M., and Wong, J.T.Y. (2019) Knockdown of dinoflagellate cellulose synthase CesA1 resulted in malformed intracellular cellulosic thecal plates and severely impeded cyst-to-swarmer transition. Frontiers in Microbiology3389/fmicb.2019.00546
Kwok A.C. M. and Wong J.T.Y. (2010) Activities of a walled-bound cellulase is coupled to and is required for cell cycle progression in a dinoflagellate. Plant Cell 22:1281-1298. http://www.plantcell.org/content/22/4/1281
Leung, S.K.and Wong, J.T.Y. (2009) The replication of plastid minicircles involves rolling circle intermediates. Nucleic Acids Research 37: 1991-2002. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkp063
Chan Y.H. and Wong J.T.Y. (2007) Concentration-dependent organization of DNA by the dinoflagellate histone-like protein HCc3. Nucleic Acids Research; 35:2573-2583. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkm165