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The Kropf Lab

The Kropf Lab resides in the Biology Department at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our research has been focused on cell polarity and asymmetric division in zygotes of the brown alga, Silvetia compressa (formerly Pelvetia compressa), which is shown on the right. We are currently investigating 1- interactions between cytoskeleton and endomembrane trafficking in polarity establishment and 2- regulation of cytoskeletal arrays by signaling through membrane phospholipids, specifically phosphatidic acid.

Genomic approaches are just beginning in the brown algae and the first genome to be sequencedwas that of Ectocarpus siliculosus . Ectocarpus is being developed as a brown algal model organism because it can be cultured in the lab, has a short life cycle and small genome, and mutants can be easily isolated. We are therefore expanding our studies of developmental polarity to Ectocarpus to take advantage of molecular, genetic and genomic tools as they become available. We anticipate that these tools will also greatly aid our investigations of S. compressa zygotes.

Several years ago we initiated a project to study the mechanisms that regulate microtubule organization, dynamics and function in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.This work is focused on the EB1 family of plus-end-tracking proteins. Dr Sherryl Bisgrove has taken this project to her tenure-track position at Simon Fraser University.