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Carl Khee-Yew Ng

Senior Lecturer

School Of Biology & Environment Science
Science Centre - West
Belfield
Dublin 4

Tel: +353 1 7162250
Email: carl.ng@ucd.ie

Biography

My research is focused on understanding the signalling processes underlying the responses of plants and crops to abiotic stresses, with a particular focus on the roles of abscisic acid (ABA) and sphingolipids. I, together with colleagues, was the first to show that the sphingolipid metabolite, sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) is an important calcium-mobilising second messenger active in the drought acclimation response of stomatal guard cells (Ng et al., 2001, Nature 410: 596-599). This was the first definitive confirmation that S1P is present in plants and that it is an integral component of the guard cell-drought signalling network. Additionally, I, together with colleagues, also showed that the drought hormone, ABA can induce rapid (within minutes) sub-nuclear reorganisation of a heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP)-like RNA binding protein in stomatal guard cells (Li et al., 2002, Nature 418: 793-797; Ng et al., 2004, Plant Physiology 134: 1327-1331). This was the first demonstration of ABA-induced partitioning of a hnRNP-like protein into nuclear speckles and suggests that rapid sub-nuclear re-organisation of may form an important component of plant acclimation responses ABA. Since my appointment as a College Lecturer in UCD, I have independently established a research team focused on 2 broad research themes to elucidate (1) the mechanisms of sphingolipid-based signalling systems in plants, and (2) molecular mechanisms of abiotic stress responses.

 

Sphingolipid-based signalling systems in plants

We successfully cloned and biochemically characterised the first neutral ceramidase from rice (Pata et al., 2008, Plant Journal 55: 1000-1009). To date, this remains the only plant ceramidase to be characterised. In our efforts to better understand the roles of sphingolipids in plants, I established a Science Foundation Ireland-funded Lipidomics/Metabolomics Technology Platform within the School  to enable us to profile and quantify the diverse sphingolipid species (sphingolipidome) in plants. We successfully characterised the sphingolipidome and glycerophospholipidome from Brachypodium distachyon, the model plant for temperate grass crop research (Islam et al, 2012, Metabolomics 8: 598-613). Additionally, we showed that the sphingoid bases with delta4 desaturation may be more widespread than previously thought (Islam et al, 2012, New Phytologist 193: 51-57).


Abiotic stress responses in plants

My research team successfully created an inducible, modular system for spatio-temporal control of gene expression in stomatal guard cells (Xiong et al., 2009, Journal of Experimental Botany 60: 4129-4136). This represented a significant advance that has the potential to be used for engineering the functional responses of guard cells, and for studies on stomatal cell fate transitions. More recently, my research has focused on  investigating the temporal dynamics of gene expression under abiotic stress. We were the first to show that dehydration stress can induce oscillations (non-circadian) in transcript abundance in the moss, Physcomitrella patens and that the amplitudes of these oscillations reflect the severity of the stress (Shinde et al., 2012, New Phytologist 195: 321-328). We have since extended our observations to other abiotic stresses like salt and osmotic stress (Suhas et al., 2013, Plant Signaling & Behavior, in press). Importantly, our work suggests that this temporally dynamic gene expression system may constitute an important cellular strategy for adaptation changing environmental conditions and confer evolutionary advantages during the colonisation of land by plants. 

Professional

Honours and Awards

Year: 1994.
Title: Dean's List
Year: 1995.
Title: Singapore Sawmiller's Association Gold Medal
Year: 1995.
Title: Lijen's Industrial Development Medal

Associations

Association: Member, Society for Experimental Biology, Function/Role:
Association: European Plant Science Organisation, Function/Role: Member
     

Conference Contributions

Hann C, Xiong TC and Ng CKY; (2007) Sub-cellular localisation of the Arabidopsis sphingosine kinase and sphingosine transfer protein. [Poster Presentation], 18th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, Beijing, China , 20-JUN-07 - 23-JUN-07.
Xiong TC and Ng CKY; (2007) The sphingolipid-signalling system in stomatal guard cells. [Poster Presentation], 18th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research, Beijing, China , 20-JUN-07 - 23-JUN-07.
Hann C, Xiong TC and Ng CKY ; (2007) Sub-cellular localisation of the Arabidopsis sphingosine kinase and sphingosine transfer protein. [Poster Presentation], 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07.
Pata M, Wu B, Hannun YA and Ng CKY ; (2007) Cloning and characterization of a ceramidase from rice (Oryza sativa Cv. Nipponbare). [Poster Presentation], 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07.
Xiong TC and Ng CKY ; (2007) Molecular dissection of the sphingolipid-signalling system in stomatal guard cells of the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana. [Poster Presentation], 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference, Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07.
Hann C and Ng CKY ; (2006) Sub-cellular localization of the sphingosine transfer protein in Arabidopsis thaliana. [Poster Presentation], Irish Plant Scientists' Association Meeting, National University of Ireland, Galway , 10-APR-06 - 12-APR-06.
Ng CKY; (2003) Seeing 'cool' and 'hot' ' infrared thermography as a tool for non-invasive, high-throughput screening of Arabidopsis guard cell signalling mutants. [Invited Oral Presentation], Novel Approaches to Understanding Photosynthetic Performance, University of Essex, Colchester, UK , 15-SEP-03 - 17-SEP-03.
Ng CKY; (2003) Abscisic acid regulates the subnuclear relocalization of AKIP1, a hnRNP-like RNA binding protein, in stomatal guard cells. [Invited Oral Presentation], 7th International Congress of Plant Molecular Biology, Barcelona, Spain , 23-JUN-03 - 28-JUN-03.
 

Employment

Employer: University College Dublin
Position: Lecturer
Employer: Pennylvania State University
Position: Post-doctoral Fellow

Education

Year 2001 Institution: University of Lancaster
Qualification: PhD Subject: Plant Cell Biology
Year 1997 Institution: National University of Singapore
Qualification: MSc Subject: Plant Physiology
Year 1995 Institution: National University of Singapore
Qualification: BSc (First Class Hons) Subject: Cell & Molecular Biology, Plant Science

Languages

English:
Chinese:
   

Journals Edited

Plos Biology: Reviewer.
Plant Cell: Reviewer.
Development: Reviewer.
The Plant Journal: Reviewer.
Trends In Plant Science: Reviewer.
Plant Physiology: Reviewer.
New Phytologist: Reviewer.
Journal Of Experimental Botany: Reviewer.
Planta: Reviewer.
Annals Of Botany: Reviewer.
Physiologia Plantarum: Reviewer.
European Journal Of Biochemistry: Reviewer.
Journal Of Plant Physiology: Reviewer.
Biochimica Et Biophysica Acta: Reviewer.
Cell Calcium: Reviewer.
Plant Methods: Reviewer.

Other Activities

Peer-reviewer for grant funding agencies

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (Netherlands), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (United Kingdom), US-Israel Binational Foundation (USA, Israel), French National Research Agency (ANR).

Associate Editor, BMC Plant Biology, 2008-present.

Conference organisation
Co-organiser, 18th New Phytologist Symposium, 'Calcium-based Signalling Systems in Plants'. Royal Dublin Society, 5th to 7th December, 2007.

Co-organiser, Irish Plant Scientists' Association Meeting, University College Dublin, March 2005. 

Invited Seminars

Feb 2008, Sphinx on Guard - plant sphingolipids and stomatal guard cells. UMR 5546 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Universite Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.

Nov 2007, Demystifying Plant Sphingolipids - cloning and characterisation of plant ceramidases. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore.

March 2006, Plant Sphingolipids: demystifying the sphinx. College of Life Sciences, Peking University, China. 

February 2006. ¿Plant sphingolipids : demystifying the sphinx¿. Department of Biological Sciences, Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, United Kingdom.

August 2002. "Pores wide shut: guarding the sphinx and signalling to speckles". Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


 




Publications

 

Book Chapters

McAinsh MR, Ng CKY (2012) 'Measurement of Cytosolic-free Ca2+ in Plant Tissue' In: D.G. Lambert (eds). Calcium Signaling Protocols, 3rd Edition. New York: Humana Press. [Details]
McAinsh MR, Ng CKY; (2005) 'Measurement of Cytosolic-Free Calcium in Plant Tissue' In: Lambert, David G (eds). Calcium Signaling Protocols, 2nd Edition. [Details]
 

Peer Reviewed Journals

Shinde, S., Behpouri, A., McElwain, J.C., Ng, C.K.Y (2015) 'Genome-wide transcriptomic analysis of the effects of sub-ambient atmospheric oxygen and elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on gametophytes of the moss, Physcomitrella patens'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66 :4001-4012. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Li C, Ng CKY, Fan LM (2015) 'MYB transcription factors, active players in abiotic stress signaling'. Environmental and Experimental Botany, 114 :80-91. [DOI] [Details]
Gjoni E., Brioschi L., Cinque A., Coant N., Islam M.N., Ng C.K.Y., Verderio C., Magnan C., Riboni L, Viani P,Le Stunff H, Giussani P. (2014) 'Glucolipotoxicity impairs ceramide flow from the endoplasmic reticulum to the golgi apparatus in INS-1 cells'. PLoS ONE, 9 . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Véret J, Bellini L, Guissani P, Ng CKY, Magnan C, Le Stunff H (2014) 'Roles of sphingolipid metabolism in pancreatic β cell dysfunction induced by lipotoxicity'. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 3 :646-662. [DOI] [Details]
Hunt, D.,Chambers, J.P., Behpouri, A., Kelly, S.P., Whelan, L., Pietrykowska, M., Downey, F., McCabe, P.F., Ng, C.K.Y. (2014) 'Brachypodium distachyon cell suspension cultures: establishment and utilisation'. Cereal Research Communications, 42 :58-69. [DOI] [Details]
Islam, M.N., Downey, F. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2013) 'Comprehensive profiling of flavonoids in Scutellaria incana using LC-Q-TOF'. Acta Chromatographica, 25 (3):555-569. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Shinde, S., Shinde, R., Downey, F. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2013) 'Abiotic stress-induced oscillations in steady-state transcript levels of Group 3 LEA protein genes in the moss, Physcomitrella patens'. Plant Signaling and Behaviour, 8 (1):e22535-e22535. Available Online [Details]
Chambers, J.P., Behpouri, A., Bird, A. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2012) 'Evaluation of the use of the polyubiquitin genes, Ubi4 and Ubi10 as reference genes for gene expression studies in Brachypodium distachyon'. PLoS ONE, 7 (11):e49372-e49372. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Islam, M.N., Chambers, J.P. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2012) 'Lipid profiling of the model temperate grass, Brachypodium distachyon'. Metabolomics, 8 (4):598-613. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Shinde, S., Islam, N.M. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2012) 'Dehydration stress induced oscillations in LEA protein transcripts involves abscisic acid in the moss, Physcomitrella patens'. New Phytologist, 195 (2):321-328. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Ng, C.K.Y. and Coursol, S. (2012) 'New insights into phospholipase D and sphingosine kinase activation in Arabidopsis'. Frontiers in Plant Physiology, 3, Article No. 67 . Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Islam, M.N., Jacquemot, M.P., Coursol, S. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2012) 'Sphingosine in plants - more riddles from the Sphinx?'. New Phytologist, 193 (1):51-57. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Alden, K.P., Dhont-Cordelier, S., McDonald, K.L., Reape, T.J., Ng, C.K.Y., McCabe, P.F. and Leaver, C.J.; (2011) 'Sphingolipid long chain base phosphates can regulate apoptotic-like programmed cell death in plants'. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 410 (3):574-580. [DOI] [Details]
Islam, M.N., Downey, F. and Ng, C.K.Y. (2011) 'Comparative analysis of bioactive phytochemicals from Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora, Scutellaria racemosa, Scutellaria tomentosa and Scutellaria wrightii by LC-DAD-MS'. Metabolomics, 7 (3):446-453. Available Online [DOI] [Details]
Pata, M.O., Hannun, Y.A. and Ng, C.K.Y.; (2010) 'Plant sphingolipids: decoding the enigma of the Sphinx'. New Phytologist, 185 (3):611-630. Available Online [Details]
Xiong, T.C., Hann, C.M., Chambers, J.P., Surget, M. and Ng, C.K.Y. ; (2009) 'An inducible, modular system for spatio-temporal control of gene expression in stomatal guard cells'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 60 :4129-4136. Available Online [Details]
Pata MO, Wu BX, Bielawski J, Xiong TC, Hannun YA & Ng CKY; (2008) 'Molecular Cloning and Characterization of OsCDase, a Ceramidase Enzyme from Rice'. The Plant Journal, 55 (6):1000-1009. Available Online [Details]
Bothwell JHB, Brownlee C, Hetherington AM, Ng CKY, Wheeler G & McAinsh MR; (2006) 'Biolistic delivery of Ca2+ dyes into plant and algal cells'. The Plant Journal, 46 (2):327-335. Available Online [Details]
Ng CKY, Kinoshita T, Pandey S, Shimazaki K, Assmann SM; (2004) 'Abscisic acid induces rapid subnuclear reorganisation in guard cells'. Plant Physiology, 134 :1327-1331. [Details]
Wang Y, Holroyd G, Hetherington AM, Ng CKY; (2004) 'Seeing 'cool' and 'hot' - infrared thermography as a tool for non-invasive, high-throughput screening of Arabidopsis guard cell signalling mutants'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 55 :1187-1193. [Details]
Worrall D, Ng CKY and Hetherington AM; (2003) 'Sphingolipids, new players in plant signalling'. Trends in Plant Science, 8 :317-320. [Details]
Li J, Kinoshita T, Pandey S, Ng CKY, Gygi SP, Shimazaki K and Assmann SM; (2002) 'Modulation of an RNA-binding protein by abscisic-acid-activated protein kinase'. Nature, 418 :793-797. [Details]
Ng CKY, Carr K, McAinsh MR, Powell B and Hetherington AM; (2001) 'Drought-induced guard cell signal transduction involves sphingosine-1-phosphate'. Nature, 410 :596-599. [Details]
Ng CKY and Hetherington AM; (2001) 'Sphingolipid-mediated signalling in plants'. Annals of Botany, 88 :957-965. [Details]
Ng CKY, McAinsh MR, Gray JE, Hunt L, Leckie CP, Mills L and Hetherington AM; (2001) 'Calcium-based signalling systems in guard cells'. New Phytologist, 151 :109-120. [Details]
McAinsh MR, Gray JE, Hetherington AM, Leckie CP & Ng C; (2000) 'Calcium signalling in stomatal guard cells'. Biochemical Society Transactions, 28 :476-481. [Details]
Bothwell JHF, Ng CKY; (2005) 'The evolution of calcium signalling in photosynthetic eukaryotes'. New Phytologist, 166 :21-38. [Details]
Ng CKY and Hew CS; (2000) 'Orchid pseudobulbs false bulbs with a genuine importance in orchid growth and survival!'. Scientia Horticulturae, 83 :165-173. [Details]
Tanaka M, Yap DCH, Ng CKY and Hew CS; (1999) 'The physiology of Cymbidium plantlets cultured in vitro under conditions of high carbon dioxide and low photosynthetic photon flux density'. Journal of Horticultural Science, 74 :632-638. [Details]
Ng CKY and Hew CS; (1999) 'Regulation of photosynthesis by end-product accumulation in leaves of the C3 tropical epiphytic orchid hybrid, Oncidium Goldiana'. Lindleyana, 14 :2-11. [Details]
Hetherington AM, Gray JE, Leckie CP, McAinsh MR, Ng C, Pical C, Priestley AJ, Staxén I and Webb AAR; (1998) 'The control of specificity in guard cell signal transduction'. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 353 :1489-1494. [Details]
Hew CS, Soh WP and Ng CKY; (1998) 'Variation in photosynthetic characteristics along the leaf blade of Oncidium Goldiana, a C3 tropical epiphytic orchid hybrid'. 159 :16-120. [Details]
Ng CKY and Hew CS; (1996) 'Pathway of phloem loading in the C3 tropical orchid hybrid Oncidium Goldiana'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 47 :1935-1939. [Details]
Hew CS and Ng CKY; (1996) 'Changes in mineral and carbohydrate content in pseudobulbs of the C3 epiphytic orchid hybrid Oncidium Goldiana at different growth stages'. Lindleyana, 11 :125-134. [Details]
Hew CS, Ng CKY, Gouk SS, Yong JWH and Wong SC; (1996) 'Variation in d13C values for different plant parts of an Oncidium orchid'. Photosynthetica, 32 :135-139. [Details]
 

Conference Publications

Pata, M.O., Wu, B.X., Bielawski, J., Xiong, T.C., Hannun, Y.A. and Ng, C.K.-Y. ; (2008) Molecular cloning and characterization of OsCDase, a ceramidase enzyme from rice 18th International Conference on Plant Lipids Bordeaux, France, , 20-JUL-08 - 24-JUL-08 , pp.186-186 Available Online [Details]
Hann, C., Xiong, T.C. and Ng, C.K.Y.; (2007) Sub-cellular localisation of the Arabidopsis sphingosine kinase and sphingosine transfer protein 18th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research Beijing, China, , 20-JUN-07 - 23-JUN-07 [Details]
Xiong, T.C. and Ng, C.K.Y.; (2007) The sphingolipid-signalling system in stomatal guard cells 18th International Conference on Arabidopsis Research , 20-JUN-07 - 23-JUN-07 [Details]
Hann, C., Xiong, T.C. and Ng, C.K.Y. ; (2007) Sub-cellular localisation of the Arabidopsis sphingosine kinase and sphingosine transfer protein 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA, , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07 [Details]
Pata, M., Wu, B., Hannun, Y.A. and Ng, C.K.Y. ; (2007) Cloning and characterization of a ceramidase from rice (Oryza sativa Cv. Nipponbare) 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA, , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07 [Details]
Xiong, T.C. and Ng, C.K.Y.; (2007) Molecular dissection of the sphingolipid-signalling system in stomatal guard cells of the model plant species, Arabidopsis thaliana 4th International Charleston Ceramide Conference Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, USA, , 07-MAR-07 - 11-MAR-07 [Details]
Hann, C. & Ng, C.K.Y.; (2006) Sub-cellular localisation of the sphingosine transfer protein in Arabidopsis thaliana Irish Plant Scientists' Association Meeting Galway, Ireland, , 10-APR-06 - 12-APR-06 [Details]
                                                                                         

Research

Research Interests

Plant cell signalling.

Abiotic stress signalling

Stomatal biology and guard cell signalling.

Sphingolipid-based signalling in plants.

Metabolomics and lipidomics.

Molecular biology and transgenesis.

     

Collaborators

Internal Collaborators

Dr. Paul McCabe, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Fiona Doohan, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Jennifer McElwain, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

Dr. Jon Yearsley, School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Ireland

External Collaborators

Dr. Herve Le Stunff - Unite Biologie Fonctionnelle et Adaptative ¿ EAC CNRS 4413, Laboratoire de Biologie et Pathologie du Pancreas Endocrine, Universite PARIS ¿ DIDEROT (7), Batiment BUFFON, 5eme stage ¿ piece 540A, 4 rue Marie-Andree Lagroua Weill-Halle, 75205 PARIS Cedex 13, France.

 

Dr. Sylvie Coursol - UMR de Genetique Vegetale, INRA/Univ Paris-Sud/CNRS/AgroParisTech, Ferme du Moulon, F-91190, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.