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Enamul Huq

Molecular Biosciences

Light signal transduction in plants witha a focus on mechanisms of light-regulated protein degradation and pre-mRNA splicing in Arabidopsis


Phone: 512-471-9848

Office Location
NMS 5.122

Postal Address
AUSTIN, TX 78712

Dr. Enamul Huq received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh in 1987 and 1988, respectively. He received his Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Purdue University in 1997. As a graduate student in Dr. Thomas K. Hodges lab, he worked on characterizing hypoxia inducible gene expression in rice. He did his post-doctoral research with Dr. Peter Quail at UC Berkeley, where he isolated and characterized phytochrome interacting factors (PIFs) in Arabidopsis.

Dr. Huq began his academic career as an Assistant Professor of Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology (MCDB) at The University of Texas at Austin in 2003 and is now a Professor of Molecular Biosciences. Research in the Huq lab is focused on understanding how plants sense, interpret and respond to environmental light conditions that regulate almost every aspect of the plant life cycle from seed germination to flowering time. Specifically, the Huq lab focuses on the red/far-red light photoreceptors (phytochromes) and their interacting factors (Phytochrome Interacting Factors, PIFs) to understand early signaling events that regulate a large number of gene expression and ultimately leads to photomorphogenesis.

Research Summary:

Our research is aimed at understanding light signal transduction, specifically those pathways mediated by the phytochrome (phy) family of sensory photoreceptors that absorb light in the red and far-red region of the spectrum. The phy system, consisting of five members in Arabidopsis (phyA-phyE), controls almost every aspect of the plant life cycle including seed germination, de-etiolation and flowering time. To understand early phy signaling events, phy interacting factors, such as PIF1, have been isolated and characterized. PIF1 is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor that interacts strongly with the biologically active form of phyA and phyB. PIF1 overexpression and pif1 mutants showed defective seedling de-etiolation including, aberrant hypocotyl elongation and developmentally regulated loss of greening, suggesting that PIF1 is a key regulator of the phy-mediated control of seedling de-etiolation process. Future projects include investigating the molecular function of PIF1, identifying and functionally characterizing PIF1 interacting proteins and PIF1 target genes using biochemical, genetic and functional genomic approaches.


2021 Lee, S., Wang, W. and Huq, E. Spatial regulation of thermomorphogenesis by HY5 and PIF4 in Arabidopsis. Nature Communications 12 :3656.

2021 Lee, S., Zhu, L. and Huq, E. An autoregulatory negative feedback loop controls thermomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. PLOS Genetics 17(6). e1009595. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1009595.

2021 Cheng, M-C., Paik, I., Kathare, P.K.  and Huq, E. Phytochrome signaling networks. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 72: 217-244.

2021 Wang, W., Paik, I., Kim, J., Hou, X., Sung, S. and Huq, E. Direct phosphorylation of HY5 by SPA kinases to regulate photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist 230:2311-2326.

2021 Kathare, P.K. and Huq, E. Light-regulated pre-mRNA splicing in plant. Curr. Opinion Plant Biol. 63: 102037.

2020 Lee, S., Paik, I. and Huq, E. SPAs promote thermomorphogenesis via regulating the phyB-PIF4 module in Arabidopsis. Development 147 (19): dev.189233. doi: 10.1242/dev.189233.
2020 Cheng, M-C., Enderle, B., Kathare, P.K., Islam, R., Hiltbrunner, A. and Huq, E. PCH1 and PCHL directly interact with PIF1, promote its degradation and inhibit its transcriptional function during photomorphogenesis. Molecular Plant (DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molp.2020.02.003).
2019 Paik, I., Chen, F., Pham, V.N., Zhu, L., Kim, J-I. and Huq, E. A phyB-PIF1-SPA1 kinase regulatory complex promotes photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Nature Comm. 10: 4216.
2019 Xin, R., Kathare, P.K., and Huq, E. Coordinated regulation of pre-mRNA splicing by the SFPS-RRC1 complex to promote photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 31: 2052-2069.
2018 Pham, V.N., Xu, X., and Huq, E. Molecular bases for the constitutive photomorphogenic phenotypes in Arabidopsis. Development 145 (23): dev169870.
2018 Pham, V.N., Kathare, P.K. and Huq, E. Phytochromes and Phytochrome Interacting Factors. Plant Physiol. 176: 1025-1038. DOI:10.1104/pp.17.01384.
2017 Enderle, B., Sheerin, D.J., Paik, I., Kathare, P.K., Schwenk, P., Klose, C., Ulbrich, M., Huq, E. and Hiltbrunner, A. PCH1 and PCHL promote photomorphogenesis in plants by controlling phytochrome B dark reversion. Nature Communications. 8: 2221. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-02311-8.
2017 Xin R, Zhu L, Salomé PA, Mancini E, Marshall C, Harmon FG, Yanovsky MJ, Weigel D, Huq E. SPF45-related SPLICING FACTOR FOR PHYTOCHROME SIGNALING promotes photomorphogenesis by regulating pre-mRNA splicing in Arabidopsis. PNAS 114 (33) :E7018-E7027.
2017 Xu X, Kathare PK, Pham VN, Nguyen A, Bu Q, Huq E. Reciprocal proteasome-mediated degradation of PIFs and HFR1 underlies photomorphogenic development in Arabidopsis. Development 144 (10) :1831-1840
2017 Possart, A., Xu, T., Paik, I., Hanke, S., Keim, S., Hermann, H-M., Wolf, L., Hiss, M., Becker, C., Huq, E., Rensing, S.A. and Hiltbrunner, A. Characterization of Phytochrome Interacting Factors from the moss Physcomitrella patens illustrates conservation of phytochrome signaling modules in land plants. Plant Cell 29: 310-330.

2016 Zhu, L., Xin, R., Bu, Q., Shen, H., Dang, J. and Huq, E. A negative feedback loop between PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTORs and HECATEs fine tunes photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 28(4):855-874.

2015 Zhu L, Bu Q, Xu X, Paik I, Hunag X, Hoecker U, Deng XW, Huq E. CUL4 forms an E3 ligase with COP1 and SPA to promote light-induced degradation of PIF1. Nature Communications. 6:7245

2014 Xu, X., Paik, I., Zhu, L., Bu, Q., Huang, X., Deng, X.W. and Huq, E., PHYTOCHROME INTERACTING FACTOR1 enhances the E3 ligase activity of CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENIC1 to synergistically repress photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 26(5):1992-2006.

2004 Huq, E., Al-Sady, B., Hudson, M.E., Kim, C., Apel, K. and Quail, P.H. , PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 1 is a critical bHLH regulator of chlorophyll biosynthesis. , Science 305: 1937-1941.