10% Biology, 90% Botany and Plant Pathology
Biology Distinguished Professor and Botany and Plant Pathology Department Head
HANS 335
Phone: 765-496-1769

Personal Site: Link

The ultimate goal of our research is to understand how a network of filamentous structures, the cytoskeleton, functions during plant growth and response to biotic and abiotic stimuli.Cytoskeletal polymers called actin filaments power diverse cellular motility events.Although plant cells are not motile, actin filaments contribute to the dynamic intracellular movement of organelles and vesicles, coordinate endo- and exocytosis, and organize the cellular architecture. In addition to mechanochemical enzymes or motor proteins, including the myosins that hydrolyze ATP to run along cytoskeletal tracks, the energy of actin polymerization itself can be harnessed to perform work. Actin dynamics, or the rapid turnover of actin filaments, play a central role in these cellular processes.A large and diverse cast of characters, accessory proteins known as actin-binding proteins, modulate actin dynamics through binding to the monomer pool, interacting with the side and ends of filaments, creating breaks along a filament, and generating new filaments de novo.We use a combination of biochemistry, cell biology and advanced imaging technologies, as well as reverse-genetics to understand the properties and function of plant actin-binding proteins. Recent biochemical and single filament imaging analyses of several conserved classes of plant actin-binding proteins reveal unusual and unexpected properties.Notable examples include: an abundant monomer-binding protein (CAP) that catalyzes nucleotide exchange; a barbed-end capping protein (CP) that is dissociated from filament ends by the signaling lipid, phosphatidic acid; a villin-like bundling protein (VLN1) that lacks all Ca2+-regulated activities; and a formin family member (AFH1) that is non-processive and is sufficient to generate actin filament bundles.These and other recent discoveries motivate a careful description of the properties of plant proteins in vitro as a prelude to greater insight about the molecular mechanism(s) underlying the regulation of actin dynamics in vivo.


Ph.D., California, Berkeley, 1990

Professional Faculty Research

(Plant cell/developmental biology) Cytoskeletal function during plant development and cellular morphogenesis; cytoskeletal response to environmental signals and host-cell response to microbes.


  • University Faculty Scholar, Purdue University (2000-2005)
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, Bonn, Germany (2001)
  • Seeds For Success, Purdue University (2006; 2010; 2011)
  • TEAM Award, Purdue College of Agriculture (2014)
  • Purdue College of Science Research Award (2015)
  • Fellow, American Society of Plant Biologists (2014)


  • DOE-Basic Energy Sciences: Regulation of actin stochastic dynamics: Actin and myosin involvement in delivery of materials to the cell wall.
  • NSF-Arabidopsis 2010:Dissecting cortical actin function during Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas interactions. 

Other Activities

Editorial Boards

  • The Plant Cell, co-editor (2005–2015)
  • Plant and Cell Physiology, editorial board member (2007–2010)
  • Cytoskeleton, editorial board member (2010-present)
  • Frontiers in Plant Science, associate editor (2013-present)
  • Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, co-editor (2015-present)
  • Molecular Plant, associate editor (2015-present)

Grant Review/Study Section

  • NSF
  • DOE
  • CRP-Santé, Luxembourg

Faculty Presentations

  • Dept. of Botany, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan, October 6th, 2014. Actin dynamics is a central target for innnate immune signaling in plant cells.
  • Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST), Nara, Japan, October 14th, 2014. Actin dynamics is a central target for innnate immune signaling in plant cells.
  • Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China, June 23, 2015. Regulation of actin dynamics during the plant innate immune response.
  • Dept. of Plant Sciences, China Agriculture University, Beijing, China, June 23, 2015. Plant profilin: Still tickling the nose after 25 years.
  • School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, June 24, 2015. Plant profilin: Still tickling the nose after 25 years.
  • Dept. of Biology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China, June 25, 2015. Plant profilin: Still tickling the nose after 25 years.
  • Purdue University, July 30, 2015. Pillars of Excellence proposal, Institute of Cell Biology.
  • Dept. of Plant Biology, University of California, Davis, March 11, 2016. Cytoskeletal remodeling during the innate immune response of Arabidopsis.


  • 38th Naito Conference, "Molecular-based Biological Systems"  Sapporo, Japan, Oct. 7-10, 2014. Invited talk: "Turning over tracks: Actin stochastic dynamics in the cortical array of living plant cells"
  • International Symposium of Chinese Society for Cell Biology (CSCB) and Botanical Society of China (BSC): "From Ecosystems to Modern Agriculture". Lanzhou University, China, June 25-27, 2015. Chair Session and Invited talk: "Actin stochastic dynamics: How plants cope with insults."
  • Plant Biology 2015, ASPB Meeting, Minneapolis, MN July 25-30. 2015.  Invited talk: “Actin remodeling during the innate immune response requires both capping protein and phosphatidic acid.”
  • IPMB2015, 11th Congress of the International Plant Molecular Biology Society, Foz do Iguaça, Argentina-Brazil, October 25-30th, 2015.  Co-organize minisymposium on Plant Cytoskeleton w/ Drs. Ikuko Hara-Nishimura (Kyoto) and Ying Fu (CAU, Beijing).  Invited talk: "Actin stochastic dynamics change during the innate immune response of Arabidopsis."
  • XIV Cell Wall Meeting, Chania, Crete, June 12-17, 2016.  Invited talk: "Actin and myosins XI are involved in trafficking of cellulose synthase complexes in Arabidopsis."
  • XVII International Congress on Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (XVII IS-MPMI 2016), Portland, OR, July 17-21st, 2016. Co-chair session on "Cell Biology of Interactions" and give invited talk: "Cytoskeletal dynamics during the innate immune response of Arabidopsis."
  • 5th Pan-American Congress on Plants and BioEnergy, Santa Fe, NM, August 4-7th, 2016. Invited talk: "Myosins XI are involved in trafficking of cellulose synthase complexes in Arabidopsis."
  • Gordon Research Conference, Plant and Microbial Cytoskeleton, Proctor Academy, Andover, NH, August 14-19, 2016. Keynote speaker: “Live-cell imaging reveals mechanisms of single actin filament turnover in plants".

Recent Publications & Reviews

  • Zhou, W., Cao, L. Jeffries, L., Zhu, X., Staiger, C. J., Deng, Q.  2018.  Neutrophil-specific knockout demonstrates a role for mitochondria in regulating neutrophil motility in zebrafish.  Dis. Model Mech. 11, pii: dmmo33027.
  • Kijima, S. T., Staiger, C. J., Katoh, K., Nagasaki, A., Ito, K., Uyeda, T. Q. P.  2018.  Arabidopsis vegetative actin isoforms, AtACT2 and AtACT7, generate distinct filament arrays in living plant cells.  Sci Rep. 8:4381.
  • Szymanski, D., Staiger, C. J.  2018.  The actin cytoskeleton: Functional arrays for cytoplasmic organization and cell shape control.  Plant Physiol.  176:106-118.
  • Li, J., Cao, L., Staiger, C. J.  2017.  Capping protein modulates actin remodeling in response to reactive oxygen species during plant innate immunity.  Plant Physiol.  173:1125-1136.
  • Liu, Y., Zhu, W., Tan, Y., Nakayasu, E. S., Staiger, C. J., Luo, Z.-Q.  2017.  A Legionella effector disrupts host cytoskeletal structure by cleaving actin.  PLoS Pathog.  13:e1006186.
  • Shimonon, M., Lu, Y.-J., Porter, K., Kvitko, B. H., Henty-Ridilla, J., Creason, A., He, S. Y., Chang, J. H., Staiger, C. J., Day, B.  2016.  The Pseudomonas syringae type III effector HopG1 induces actin remodeling to promote symptom development and susceptibility during infection.  Plant Physiol.  171:2239-2255.
  • Zhang, S., Liu, C., Wang, J., Ren, Z., Staiger, C. J., Ren, H.  2016.  A processive Arabidopsis formin modulates actin filament dynamics in association with profilin.  Mol. Plant  9:900-910.
  • Staiger, C. J.  2016.  MAPping the function of phytopathogen effectors.  Cell Host Microbe.  19:7-9.
  • Cao, L., Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Blanchoin, L., Staiger, C. J.  2016.  Profilin-dependent nucleation and assembly of actin filaments controls cell elongation in Arabidopsis.  Plant Physiol. 170:220-233.
  • Li, J., Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Staiger, B. H., Day, B., Staiger, C. J.  2015.  Capping protein integrates multiple MAMP signalling pathways to modulate actin dynamics during plant innate immunity.  Nat. Commun.  6:7206.
  • Li, J., Blanchoin, L., Staiger, C. J.  2015.  Signaling to actin stochastic dynamics.  Annu. Rev. Plant Biol.  66:415-440.
  • Li, J., Arieti, R., Staiger, C. J.  2015. Actin filament dynamics and their role in plant cell expansion.  In: Plant cell Wall Patterning and Cell Shape, H. Fukuda, ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons. pp. 127-162.
  • Cai, C., Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Szymanski, D. B., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  Arabidopsis myosin XI: a motor rules the tracks.  Plant Physiol.  166:1359-1370.
  • Jimenez-Lopez, J. C., Wang, X., Kotchoni, S. O., Huang, S., Szymanski, D. B., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  Heterodimeric capping protein from Arabidopsis is a membrane-associated, actin-binding protein.  Plant Physiol.  166:1312-1328.
  • Thomas, C., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  A dynamic interplay between membranes and the cytoskeleton critical for cell development and signaling.  Front. Plant Sci.  5:335.
  • Li, J., Staiger, B. H., Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Abu-Abied, M., Sadot, E., Blanchoin, L., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  The availability of filament ends modulates actin stochastic dynamics in live plant cells.  Mol. Biol. Cell  25:1263-1275.
  • Pleskot, R., Pejchar, P., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  When fat is not bad: the regulation of actin dynamics by phospholipid signaling molecules.  Front. Plant Sci.  5:5.
  • Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Li, J., Day, B., Staiger, C. J.  2014.  ACTIN DEPOLYMERIZING FACTOR4 regulates actin dynamics during innate immune signaling in ArabidopsisPlant Cell  26:340-352.
  • Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Li, J., Blanchoin, L., Staiger, C. J.  2013.  Actin dynamics in the cortical array of plant cells.  Curr. Opin. Plant Biol.  16:678-687.
  • Mukherjee, D., Sen, A., Boettner, D. R., Fairn, G. D., Schlam, D., Bonilla Valentin, F. J., McCaffery, J. M., Hazbun, T., Staiger, C. J., Grinstein, S., Lemmon, S. K., Aguilar, R. C.  2013.  Bem3, a Cdc42 GTPase-activating protein, traffics to an intracellular compartment and recruits the secretory Rab GTPase Sec4 to endomembranes.  J. Cell Sci.  126:4560-4571.
  • Pleskot, R., Li, J., Zárský, V., Potocký, M., Staiger, C. J.  2013.  Regulation of cytoskeletal dynamics by phospholipase D and phosphatidic acid.  Trends Plant Sci.  18:496-504.
  • Hou, X., Li, Z., Huang, W., Li, J., Staiger, C., Kuang, S., Ratliff, T., Liu, X.  2013.  Plk1-dependent microtubule dynamics promotes androgen receptor signaling in prostate cancer.  Prostate  73:1352-1363.
  • Henty-Ridilla, J. L., Shimono, M., Li, J., Chang, J. H., Day, B., Staiger, C. J.  2013.  The plant actin cytoskeleton responds to signals from microbe-associated molecular patterns.  PLoS Pathog. 9:e1003290.

Professional Faculty Research

(Plant cell/developmental biology) Cytoskeletal function during plant development and cellular morphogenesis; cytoskeletal response to environmental signals and host-cell response to microbes.

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