Molecular & physiology rules of ABC transporters in plants

Molecular Plant Physiology

The ABC protein family encompasses one of the largest protein families and is found in all phyla. The majority of ABC proteins are integral membrane proteins and act as ATP-driven transporters for a very wide range of substrates including lipids, drugs, heavy metals, ions and hormones.

In the plant model-system Arabidopsis 129 genes code for ABC proteins. However so far the substrates have been identified only for about 10 ABC transporters. For about other 20 genes the function has been proposed, but the substrates have not been unequivocally identified and no transport data has been presented.

My research aims at better understanding plant ABC transporters, and especially at identifying their substrates and revealing the detailed transport mechanism of ABC protein which will allow to place them in a physiological context. To do this, we will establish the Lactococcus lactis system for plant ABC transporters expression and substrate screening.


  • Abscisic acid is a substrate of the ABC transporter encoded by the durable wheat disease resistance gene Lr34
    Krattinger, SG; Kang, J; Braunlich, S; Boni, R; Chauhan, H; Selter, LL; Robinson, MD; Schmid, MW; Wiederhold, E; Hensel, G; Kumlehn, J; Sucher, J; Martinoia, E; Keller, B
    NEW PHYTOLOGIST, 223 (2):853-866; 10.1111/nph.15815 JUL 2019
  • Filling the Gap: Functional Clustering of ABC Proteins for the Investigation of Hormonal Transport in planta
    Borghi, Lorenzo; Kang, Joohyun; Francisco, Rita de Brito
    FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE   Volume: 10     Article Number: 422  10.3389/fpls.2019.00422  APR 17 2019
  • Arabidopsis thaliana Raf22 protein kinase maintains growth capacity during postgerminative growth arrest under stress
    Hwang, JU; Yim, S; Do THT; Kang J; Lee Y.
    PLANT CELL AND ENVIRONMENT   Volume: 41   Issue: 7   Pages: 1565-1578   10.1111/pce.13199  JUL 2018
  • Parameterized Slot Scheduling for Adaptive and Autonomous TSCH Networks
    Jung, J; Kim, D; Hong, J; Kang, J; Yi, Y
    Book Series: IEEE Conference on Computer Communications Workshops, Pages: 76-81   (2018)
  • Arabidopsis thaliana Raf22 protein kinase maintains growth capacity during postgerminative growth arrest under stress
    Hwang, Jae-Ung; Yim, Sojeong; Thanh Ha Thi Do; et al.
    PLANT CELL AND ENVIRONMENT   Volume: 41   Issue: 7   Pages: 1565-1578  10.1111/pce.13199 JUL 2018
  • Cytokinin Transporters: GO and STOP in Signaling
    Kang, Joohyun; Lee, Youngsook; Sakakibara, Hitoshi; et al.
    TRENDS IN PLANT SCIENCE   Volume: 22   Issue: 6   Pages: 455-461   10.1016/j.tplants.2017.03.003 JUN 2017
  • A quantitative study of cotyledon positioning in conifer development
    Holloway, David M.; Brook, Byron; Kang, JooHyun; et al.
    BOTANY   Volume: 94   Issue: 11   Pages: 1063-1074   10.1139/cjb-2015-0242 NOV 2016
  • Postmeiotic development of pollen surface layers requires two Arabidopsis ABCG-type transporters
    Yim, Sojeong; Khare, Deepa; Kang, Joohyun; et al.
    PLANT CELL REPORTS   Volume: 35   Issue: 9   Pages: 1863-1873   10.1007/s00299-016-2001-3 SEP 2016
  • The role of ABCG-type ABC transporters in phytohormone transport
    Borghi, Lorenzo; Kang, Joohyun; Ko, Donghwi; ; Lee, Youngsook; Martinoia, Enrico
    BIOCHEMICAL SOCIETY TRANSACTIONS   Volume: 43   Pages: 924-930   Part: 5   10.1042/BST20150106 OCT 2015
  • Abscisic acid transporters cooperate to control seed germination
    Kang, Joohyun; Yim, Sojeong; Choi, Hyunju; Kim, Areum; Lee, Keun Pyo; Lopez-Molina, Luis; Martinoia, Enrico; Lee, Youngsook
    NATURE COMMUNICATIONS   Volume: 6     Article Number: 8113   10.1038/ncomms9113 SEP 2015
Joohyun Kang UZH

Dr. Joohyun Kang
University of Zurich
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology
8008 Zurich

Tel: +41 (0)44 63 448288

Research topics

  • Physiology of ABC transporters
  • Strucuture of ABC transporters
  • Pathogen invasion
  • Phyto-hormonal transport (translocation, distribution)


  • Structural biology of membrane protein
  • Recombinant protein production in Lactococcus
  • Plant - microbe interaction (Pathogen invasion)
  • Arabidopsis functional genomics
  • Chemical signaling in Arabidopsis (e.g. Ca2+)
  • InsPx monitoring (analysis, measurement) in plants