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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

Postal Address
205 W 24TH ST
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.


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. Dynamic regulation of PIF5 by COP1-SPA complex to optimize photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 96 (2): 260-273.
2018 Majee, M., Kumar, S., Kathare, P.K., Wu, S., Gingerich, D., Nayak, N.R., Salaita, L., Dinkins, R., Martin, K., Goodin, M., Dirk, L.M.A., Lloyd, T.D., Zhu, L., Chappell, J., Hunt, A.G., Vierstra, R., Huq, E. and Downie, A.B. A KELCH F-BOX Protein Positively Influences Seed Germination by Targeting PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR1. PNAS 115 (17) :E4120-4129.
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 Shor E, Paik I, Kangisser S, Green R, Huq E. Phytochrome interacting factors (PIFs) mediate metabolic regulation of the circadian system in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist. 215 (1) :217-228.
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.

2016 Sharma, N., Xin, R., Kim, D-H., Sung, S., Lange, T. and Huq, E. NO FLOWERING IN SHORT DAY (NFL) is a bHLH transcription factor that promotes flowering specifically under short-day conditions in Arabidopsis. Development 143(4): 682-690.

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.

2008 Shen, H., Ling, Z., Castillon, A., Majee, M., Downie, B. and Huq, E. , Light-induced phosphorylation and degradation of the negative regulator PIF1 depends upon its direct physical interactions with photoactivated phytochromes, Plant Cell 20: 1586-1602

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.