Recognizing Plant Cell first authors: Zhanhong Ren

Zhanhong Ren, co-first author of Cryo-EM structure of the plant actin filaments from Zea mays pollen

Current Position: Ph.D. Candidate, Center for Biological Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Cell Proliferation and Regulation Biology of Ministry of Education, College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, China

Education: Ph.D. Candidate in Cell Biology, Beijing Normal University, China; M.Sc. in Bioengineering, Wuhan University, China; B.Sc. in Biotechnology, Yangtze University, China

Non-scientific Interests: Playing the erhu, playing basketball, swimming, hiking, and reading

Brief bio:
Cryo-Electron Microscopy (Cryo-EM) is not a popular method for structural biologists until 2014. At that time, I started my Ph.D. study in the lab of Prof. Haiyun Ren, where I mainly focused on the structural determination of plant actin filaments. As a fact, there were not any related experimental devices and research experiences of Cryo-EM in the lab. At the beginning, I ran into difficulties. After a long time of learning and experience accumulation about the new method, I have overcome them and can operate the Cryo-EM equipment by myself. I collected a high-quality cryo-EM dataset of plant actin filaments in 2017. Finally, the first structure of plant actin filaments is revealed and its resolution (3.9 angstrom) is close to those in the other reported eukaryote and prokaryote filamentous structures. Besides, I learn and master other research techniques independently (e.g., total internal reflection fluorescent microscopy and single-molecular magnetic tweezers). I measured the rupture force of a single actin filament firstly by using the single-molecular magnetic tweezers. Our structural and biochemical data suggest that Zea mays pollen actin filament is more stable than rabbit skeleton muscle actin filament, which provides a possible explanation for their functional differences in cells. I have always been fascinated by the structural and single molecular research. After completing my Ph.D. study, I will continue to focus on the Cryo-EM and single molecular research.

论文:Cryo-EM structure of the plant actin filaments from Zea mays pollen