Bo Liu

Bo Liu

Position Title

  • Department of Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences
2167 Life Sciences

Research Interests

Cybernetics of intracellular motility and cell division

We are cell biologists devoted to advancing our knowledge of the cytoskeleton and intracellular motility in plant and fungal cells. Our ongoing investigations include the dynamics of microtubules and actin microfilaments during plant cell division and cell growth; Functions of kinesin motor proteins in mitosis and cytokinesis; Molecular mechanisms of cytoskeleton-mediated hyphal growth in filamentous fungi. Experiments are carried out in organisms like Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa (rice), and Gossypium hirsutum (cotton) which are used as reference systems for plant studies, and Aspergillus nidulans as a model for fungal studies.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
  • Plant Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Cell Division and the Cytoskeleton


  • PLB 113 Molecular and Cellular Biology of Plants, Spring
  • BIS 104 Regulation of Cell Function (Cell Biology), Fall


  • 2203 & 2209 Life Sciences
    • Ms. M. Ximena Anleu Gil, Graduate Student. B.A., Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA
    • Mr. Xiaojiang Guo, Graduate Student. B.S., Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, China
    • Mr. Calvin H. Huang, Graduate Student. B.S., University of California, Davis, CA
    • Mr. Huan Huo, Graduate Student. B.S., Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China
    • Dr. Yuh-Ru Julie Lee, Research Plant Biologist. Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens, GA

Professional Societies

  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Society for Cell Biology


  • 1985, B.S. Cell Biology and Genetics, Peking University
  • 1988, M.S. Cell Biology, Peking University
  • 1995, Ph.D. Botany, University of Georgia


Xu, J., Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2020. Establishment of a mitotic model system by transient expression of the D-type cyclin in differentiated leaf cells of tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana). New Phytologist. 226(4):1213-1220. (A traditionally 6-12-month experiment becomes a one-week journey!)

Miao, H., R. Guo, J. Chen, Q. Wang, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2019. The gamma-tubulin complex protein GCP6 is crucial for spindle morphogenesis but not essential for microtubule reorganization in Arabidopsis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116 (52):27115-27123.

Boruc*, J., X. Deng*, E. Mylle, N. Besbrugge, M. Van Durme, D. Demidov, E. Tomastikova, C. T.-R. Tan, M. Vandorpe, D. Eeckhout, T. Beeckman, M. Nowack, G. De Jaeger, H. Lin, B. Liu#, and D. Van Damme#. 2019. The TPX2Like protein 3 is the primary activator of alpha-Aurora kinases and essential for embryogenesis.  Plant Physiology, 180:1389–1405. PMID: 31097675 DOI: 10.1104/pp.18.01515

Lee, Y.-R.J. and B. Liu. 2019. Microtubule nucleation for the assembly of acentrosomal microtubule arrays in plant cells (Tansley Review).  New Phytologist. 222:1705-1718. PMID: 30681146,

Zhang*, H., X. Deng*, B. Sun, S. Van, Z. Kang, H. Lin, Y.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2018. Role of the BUB3 protein in phragmoplast microtubule reorganization during cytokinesis.    Nature Plants (article),  4:485–494. PMID: 29967519. doi: 10.1038/s41477-018-0192-z.

Tseng, K.-F., P. Wang, Y.-R. J. Lee, J. Bowen, A.M. Gicking, L. Guo, B. Liu, and W. Qiu. 2018. The preprophase band-associated kinesin-14 OsKCH2 is a processive minus-end-directed microtubule motor. Nature Communications, 9(1):1067. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-03480-w.

Lee, Y.-R. J., Y. Hiwatashi, T. Hotta, T. Xie, J. Doonan, and B. Liu. 2017. The mitotic function of augmin is dependent on its microtubule-associated protein subunit EDE1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Current Biology, Volume 27, Issue 24, 18 December 2017, Pages 3891–3897.e4. PMID: 29225022; DOI:

Lv*, S., H. Miao*, M. Luo, Y. Li, Q. Wang, Y.-R. J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2017. CAPPI: a Cytoskeleton-based localization Assay reports Protein-Protein Interaction in living cells by fluorescence microscopy. Molecular Plant 10 (11), 1473–1476.  PMID: 28939449; DOI: 10.1016/j.molp.2017.09.006(Try CAPPI - it tells you unambiguously inside living cells whether two proteins interact with each other or not!) 

Li*, H., B. Sun*, M. Sasabe, X. Deng, Y. Machida, H. Lin, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2017. Arabidopsis MAP65-4 plays a role in phragmoplast microtubule organization and marks the cortical cell division site.  New Phytologist 215(1):187-201. PMID: 28370001 DOI: 10.1111/nph.14532.

Citovsky, V., and B. Liu. 2017. Myosin-driven transport network in plants is functionally robust and distinctive. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Feb 8. pii: 201700184. PMID: 28179563; PMCID: PMC5338398; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1700184114.

Lee, Y.-R. J., and B. Liu. Cytokinesis. 2016. In Plant Cell Biology, S. Assmann, B. Liu (eds.). Springer, New York. DOI 10.1007/978-1-4614-7881-2_9-1

Zhang, B., G. Yang, Y. Chen, Y. Zhao, P. Gao, B. Liu, H. Wang, and Z.-L. Zheng. 2016. C-terminal domain (CTD) phosphatase links Rho GTPase signaling to Pol II CTD phosphorylation in Arabidopsis and yeast. Proc. Natl. Aca. Sci. USA. 113(50):E8197-E8206. PMID: 27911772 PMCID: PMC5167197

Lee, Y.-R.J., W. Qiu, and B. Liu. 2015. Kinesin motors in plants: from subcellular dynamics to motility regulation. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 28:120-126. PMID: 26556761

Kong, Z., M. Ioki, S. Braybrook, S. Li, R. Zhong, Z. Ye, Y.-R.J. Lee, T. Hotta, A. Chang, J. Tian, G. Wang, and B. Liu. 2015. Kinesin-4 functions in vesicular transport on cortical microtubules and regulates cell wall mechanics during cell elongation in plants. Molecular Plant. 8(7):1011-1023. PMID: 25600279

Liu, T., J. Tian, G. Wang, Y. Yu, C. Wang, Y. Ma, X. Zhang, G. Xia, B. Liu, Z. Kong. 2014. Augmin triggers microtubule-dependent microtubule nucleation in interphase plant cells. Current Biology. 24:2708-2713.

Zeng, C.T., H.R. Kim, I. Vargus Arispuro, J.-M. Kim, A.-C. Huang, and B. Liu. 2014. Contributions of microtubule plus end-tracking proteins to robust microtubule dynamics and sustained directional extension of hyphae in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Molecular Microbiology. 94:506-521.

Lee, Y.-R.J. and B. Liu. 2013. The rise and fall of the phragmoplast microtubule array. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 16:757–763.

Liu, B. 2013. Microtubule disassembly: when a sleeper is activated. Current Biology. 23: R932-933.

Hotta, T., Z. Kong, C.M.K. Ho, C.J.T. Zeng, T. Horio, S. Fong, T. Vuong, Y.R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2012. Characterization of the Arabidopsis augmin complex uncovers its critical function in the assembly of the acentrosomal spindle and phragmoplast microtubule arrays. Plant Cell 24:1494-1509.

Ho, C.-M.K., Y.R.J. Lee, L.D. Kiyama, S.P. Dinesh-Kumar, and B. Liu. 2012. The Arabidopsis microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 cross-links anti-parallel microtubules toward their plus ends in the phragmoplast via its distinct C-terminal microtubule-binding domain. Plant Cell 24:2071-2085.

Liu, B., T. Hotta, C.-M.K. Ho, and Y.-R.J. Lee. 2011. Microtubule organization in the phragmoplast. In The Plant Cytoskeleton, Advances in Plant Biology 2, B. Liu (ed.). Springer, New York. Pp 207-225.

Ho, C.-M.K., T. Hotta, F. Guo, R. Roberson, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2011. Interaction of anti-parallel microtubules in the phragmoplast is mediated by the microtubule-associated protein MAP65-3 in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23:2909-2923.

Ho, C.-M.K., T. Hotta, Z. Kong, C.T. Zeng, J. Sun, Y.-R.J. Lee, and B. Liu. 2011. Augmin plays a critical role in organizing the spindle and phragmoplast microtubule arrays in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell. 23:2606–2618.

Liu, B., C.-M. K. Ho, and Y.-R.J. Lee. 2011. Microtubule reorganization during mitosis and cytokinesis: lessons learned from developing microgametophytes in Arabidopsis thaliana. Front. Plant Sci. 2:27. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00027.

Kong, Z., T. Hotta, Y.-R.J. Lee, T. Horio, and B. Liu. 2010. The γ-tubulin complex protein GCP4 is required for organizing functional microtubule arrays in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell. 22:191–204.

Guo, L., C.-M. Ho, Z. Kong, Y.-R.J. Lee, Q. Qian, and B. Liu. 2009. Evaluating the microtubule cytoskeleton and its interacting proteins in monocots by mining the rice genome. Annals Bot. 103:387–402.

Kim, J.-M., C.T. Zeng, T. Nayak, R. Shao, A. Huang, B.R. Oakley, and B. Liu. 2009. Timely septation requires SNAD-dependent spindle pole body localization of the septation initiation network components in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. Mol. Biol. Cell. 20:2874–2884.