Recognizing The Plant Cell first authors: Jianyu Zhao

Jianyu Zhao, co-first author of A functional allele of CsFUL1 regulates fruit length through inhibiting CsSUP and auxin transport in cucumber

Current Position: Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Prof. Weng’s Lab, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI

Education: PhD in Vegetable Sciences (2012-2017), College of Horticulture, China Agricultural University, China

Non-scientific Interests: Music, traveling, and badminton

Brief bio: I have been working on the molecular mechanisms of fruit development in cucumber. In 2012, I joined the Xiaolan Zhang’s lab in China Agricultural University, my PhD’s research was focused on molecular mechanism of CsFUL1 regulating fruit elongation in cucumber. We found two allelic variants of the FRUITFULL-like MADS-box gene CsFUL1, with the CsFUL1A allele specifically present in the long-fruited East Asian cucumbers. CsFUL1A allele is shown to be a gain-of-function allele that acts as a transcriptional repressor via down-scaling CsSUP-mediated cell division and expansion, as well as by down-tuning CsPIN1/7-mediated auxin transport during cucumber elongation. Thus, our work provides an agriculturally important allele with practical application for manipulation of fruit length via modulating CsFUL1A expression levels in cucumber breeding. After graduation, I am working in Weng’s lab in UW-Madison as a postdoc, my research work continue to dissect the gene regulatory network of fruit length variation in cucumber, by genetic and QTL mapping methods. Our goal is to provide the theoretical basis and gene resources for molecular breeding for cucumber cultivars with superior fruit shape.