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Kenan Distinguished Professor, Biology Professor, Pharmacology

Research Interests

  • Signal Perception and the Regulation of Growth and Development

Research Synopsis

The Jones lab is interested in heterotrimeric G protein-coupled signaling and uses genetic model systems to dissect signaling networks. The G-protein complex serves as the nexus between cell surface receptors and various downstream enzymes that ultimately alter cell behavior. Metazoans have a hopelessly complex repertoire of G-protein complexes and cell surface receptors so we turned to the reference plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and the yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as our models because these two organisms have only two potential G protein complexes and few cell surface receptors. Their simplicity and the ability to genetically “knock out” or “knock up” the expression of genes in these organisms make them powerful tools. At present, we are most interested in novel signaling networks that are used for sensing sugars and other networks used to sense extracellular nucleotides. Our work shows the great plasticity of the activation mechanism in eukaryotic cells.  We work closely with several other labs in the Dept. of Pharmacology and use a variety of cell biology approaches, including sophisticated imaging techniques, 3-D protein structure analyses, forward and reverse genetic approaches, biochemistries, and mathematical modeling.


View complete list of publications in Pubmed

Fig. 1 – Arabidopsis Thaliana, Fig. 2 – THF1 Plastid Localization r, Fig. 3  – Collage of localization and recycling

A top view of an Arabidopsis Thailiana plant with green leaves in a container.
Fig. 1: Arabidopsis Thaliana
A slide of a narrow finger-shaped cell with green spots along the interior of the cell membrane
Fig. 2: Thf1 plastid localization r
Red protein blobs in a green circle surround a yellow and blue nucleus with an overlay of 3 pink recycling arrows in a circle.
Fig. 3: Collage of localization and recycling

About Fig. 3: G protein-coupled signaling at the membrane is received by proteins located at many locations in the cell, including the nucleus. Cells regulate these connections by protein trafficking.


Alan Jones, PhD