The permanent nuclear envelope, and the availability of genome cycle synchronization, facilitated contamination-free (positive-negative regulation from different parts of the cells and cell cycle) preparations for the analysis of molecular cell biology. This is especially important for biopolymers with synthesis-degradation akin to nuclear-cytoplasmic transport. This is not trivial which is commonly assigned with “biological variability”, imagine you have synthesis and degradation in the same lysates, especially for highly sensitive molecules like cAMP, cADPR and cyclins!! The integrity of the dinoflagellate system will contribute to multiple biomedical-significant fields, as well as in facing our challenges in global sustainability.
Alexandrium catenella. Blue – cell wall, green – nuclei, red – chloroplasts.
(Brooker: Biology 3e, Fig. 28.16b)
Being a key phytoplankton group, the major harmful algal bloom agents, and the zooxanthellae that deceased in coral bleaching, the dinoflagellates have made their footprints on Earth. Coral reef ecosystems, including those of the disappearing Great Barrier Reef, depend on symbiotic dinoflagellates for their primary productivity. The group have some of the largest repertoires of bioactive compounds, corresponded with modular polyketide synthase units, and have well established industrial scale fermentation technology for omega-3 DHA production. My research interests focused on four interrelated areas of dinoflagellate biology that will make a difference to the basic biology, as well as strategically poised in our exploitation of this ecologically profound group. We are entering an exciting era, with sequenced genomes and transgenic technology unleashing the molecular-biochemical secrets of dinoflagellates, which will posit the group in the forefronts of biotechnology and synthetic biology.
Potential students or researchers (molecular biologists or physical chemists) are encouraged to apply directly to Prof. Joseph Wong Biosketch; and through the university system specifying your interests. HKUST interns (with relevant interests) are welcome.
I am also involved in the communications between sciences and arts, focusing on the molecular processes and environmental impacts in ArtScience Commune exhibitions (to be announced). with some of artworks I accumulated during the COVId-19 shutdown.
Kwok, A.C.M., Chan, W.S. and Wong, J.T.Y. (2023) Dinoflagellate Amphiesma: Cellular Growth and Ecdysial dynamics. Marine Drugs 21(2), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/md21020070
Kwok A.C. M., LI. C., Lam, W.T. and Wong J.T.Y. (2022) Responses of Dinoflagellate Cells to Ultraviolet-C Irradiation. Environmental Microbiology.
Kwok, A.C.M., Zhang, F., Ma, Z., Chan, W.S., Yu, V.C., Tsang, J.S.H. and Wong, J.T.Y. (2020) Functional responses between PMP3 small membrane proteins and membrane potential. Environmental Microbiology
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 Microbiology 1010.3389/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
Chan, Y.H. and Wong, JTY (2007) Concentration-dependent organization of DNA by the dinoflagellate histone-like protein HCc3. Nucleic Acids Research 35:2573-2583.