Joohyun Lee

Photograph of First Last

Research Assistant Professor

Contact Info

Phone: 413-545-3293
Office: 467 LSL


B.S., Kyunghee University, South Korea, 2000
M.S., Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH), South Korea, 2003
Ph.D., Dartmouth College, 2009


University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2009-2014

Research Interests

Epigenetic regulation of plant-environment interactions

Proper timing of the flowering transition in plants is a key developmental process necessary for adaptation to various ecological niches. Many plant species require exposure to the prolonged cold of winter to flower, a temperature-sensing process referred to as vernalization. The cold memory is maintained mitotically and thus is an epigenetic switch that promotes flowering in spring. The cold-induced epigenetic switch is an important factor that affects the yield of various agricultural crops, because certain plants cannot flower at the proper time without vernalization. In Arabidopsis thaliana, prolonged exposure to cold epigenetically represses the expression of a floral repressor, FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC). This is achieved by the increase of the evolutionary conserved Polycomb Repressive Complex2 (PRC2)-mediated epigenetic silencing mark, trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 27 (H3K27me3), at FLC. However, how plants sense the prolonged cold and measure the duration of cold exposure are not known. Therefore, my research aims to identify and characterize the network of genes controlling a cold-induced epigenetic switch in plants.

Representative Publications

Lee, J., Yun, J.Y., Zhao, W., Shen, W.H. and Amasino, R.M. A methyltransferase required for proper timing of the vernalization response in Arabidopsis. PNAS. 2015 Feb 17; 112(7):2269-74

Lee, J., Amasino, R.M. Two FLX family members are non-redundantly required to establish the vernalization requirement in Arabidopsis. Nature Communication, 2013 Jul 17;4: 2186.

Lee, S., Kim, S.A., Lee, J., Guerinot, M.L., An, G. Zinc deficiency-inducible OsZIP8 endoces a plasma membrane-localized zinc transporter in rice. Mole Cells, 2010 Jun; 29(6):551-8.

Lee, S., Jeong, H.J., Kim, S.A., Lee, J., Guerinot, M.L., An, G. OsZIP5 is a plasma membrane zinc transporter in rice. Plant Mol Biol., 2010 Jul; 73(4-5):5 07-17.

Shim, D., Hwang, J.U., Lee, J., Lee, S., Choi, Y., An, G., Martinoia, E., Lee, Y. Orthologs of the class A4 heat shock transcription factor HsfA4a confer cadmium tolerance in wheat and rice. Plant Cell, 2009 Dec; 21(12): 4031-43.

Morrissey, J.B., Baxter, I., Lee, J., Li, L., Lahner, B., Grotz, N., Kaplan, J., Salt, D.E., Guerinot, M.L. The ferroportin metal efflux proteins function in iron and cobalt homeostasis in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell, 2009 Oct; 21(10):3326-38.

Baxter, I., Muthukumar, B., Park, H.C., Buchner, P., Lahner, B., Danku, J., Zhao, K., Lee, J., Hawkesford, M.J., Guerinot, M.L., Salt, D.E. Variation in molybdenum content across broadly distributed populations of Arabidopsis thaliana is controlled by a mitochondrial molybdenum transporter (MOT1). PLoS Genetics, 2008 Feb 29; 4(2):e1000004 – This paper was selected and evaluated as “Must Read (F1000 factor:6.0)” from Faculty1000.

Kim, Y.Y., Kim, D.Y., Shim, D., Song, W.Y., Lee, J., Schroeder JI, Kim S, Moran N, Lee Y. Expression of wheat TM20 confers enhanced cadmium tolerance to baker’s yeast. J Biol Chem, 2008 Jun 6; 283(23): 15893-902.

Lee, M., Lee, K., Lee, J., Noh EW, Lee Y. AtPDR12 contributes to lead resistance in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology, 2005 Jun; 138(2): 827-36.

Lee, J., Shim, D., Song, W.Y., Hwang, I., Lee, Y. Arabidopsis metallothioneins 2a and 3 enhance resistance to cadmium when expressed in Vicia faba guard cells. Plant Mol Biol., 2004, 54(6): 805-15.

Song, W.Y., Martinoia, E., Lee, J., Kim, D., Kim, D.Y., Vogt, E., Shim, D., Choi, K.S., Hwang, I., Lee, Y. A novel family of cys-rich membrane proteins mediates cadmium resistance in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol, 2004, 135(2):1027-39.

Lee, J., Bae, H., Jeong, J., Lee, J.Y., Yang, Y.Y., Hwang, I., Martinoia, E., Lee, Y. Functional expression of a bacterial heavy metal transporter in Arabidopsis enhances resistance to and decreases uptake of heavy metals. Plant Physiol, 2003, 133(2): 589-96 – This paper was selected as “Must Read (F1000 Factor: 6.4)” from Faculty1000.