Plant Signal ​​Transduction and Lipid Metabolism Laboratory

Description of Dr Ma Wei Lab Research
  • Plants accumulate oil in the form of triacylglycerol in their seeds as a main resource of carbon and energy for seedling development. Plant oils are essential for the human diet and renewable industrial feedstock. The Ma lab focuses on how the transmission of exterior signals into plant cells, and the subsequent cellular responsive cascades, affect plant oil biosynthesis.
  • We use multiple approaches to elucidate the regulatory mechanisms of transcription factors that regulates oil biosynthesis. We investigate post-translational modifications, interacting partners, and regulatory domains/motifs of a key oil biosynthetic regulator, called WRINKED1 (WRI1). We establish the interactome of WRI1 and use the information to guide our efforts in understanding the regulatory mechanism of WRI1. We also study the relationship between key fatty acid biosynthetic regulators and plant developmental process. Our goals include identification of novel regulators that can be used to improve oil crops.


Ma Wei
Assistant Professor

Phone:(65) 6904 7230
Office: SBS-02S-88E
Kong QueKong Que
Senior Research Fellow

Cheah Yining
Project Officer

Noor Aqilah Binte Noor AzlanNoor Aqilah Binte Noor Azlan
PhD Student

Yang Yuzhou
Yang Yuzhou
PhD Student

Low Pui ManLow Pui Man
PhD Student

Lim Rui Qi, Audrey
PhD Student



  • Elucidating the molecular action of integrators of environmental signals to modulate plant metabolism
  • From protein droplets to oil droplets: understanding the role of WRINKLED1 phase separation in the biosynthesis of vegetable oils
  • Bioengineering-enabled Precision Farming: A Semi-closed Agri-food System
  • Increasing production of plant oils: Identification of novel transcriptional regulators that control oil biosynthesis
  • Towards a green future: improving urban farming under tropical weather conditions, for locally-grown vegetables of high quality
  • Functional characterization of WRINKLED1 (WRI1) in seed oil biosynthesis & development and Development of high oil crops
Full list of publications can be found here
  • Yang, Y., Kong, Q., Lim, A.R.Q., Lu, S., Zhao, H., Guo, L.*, Yuan, L.*, and Ma, W.* (2022) Transcriptional regulation of oil biosynthesis in seed plants: current understanding, applications and perspectives. Plant Commun. (In press) doi:10.1016/j.xplc.2022.100328.
  • Song, J.M., Zhang, Y., Zhou, Z.W., Lu, S., Ma, W., Lu, C., Chen, L.L., and Guo, L. (2022) Oil plant genomes: current state of the science. J. Exp. Bot. 73: 2859-2874.
  • Lim, A.R.Q., Kong, Q., Singh, S.K., Guo, L., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2022) Sunflower WRINKLED1 plays a key role in transcriptional regulation of oil biosynthesis. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 23: 3054.
  • Kong, Q., Low, P.M., Lim, A.R.Q., Yang, Y., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2022) Functional antagonism of WRI1 and TCP20 modulates GH3.3 expression to maintain auxin homeostasis in roots. Plants 11: 454. 
  • Chng, C.P., Wang, K., Ma, W., Hsia, K.J., and Huang, C. (2022) Chloroplast membrane lipid remodeling protects against dehydration by limiting membrane fusion and distortion. Plant Physiol. 188: 526-539.
  • Tang, S., Zhao, H., Lu, S., Yu, L., Zhang, G., Zhang, Y., Yang, Q.Y., Zhou, Y., Wang, X., Ma, W., Xie, W., and Guo, L. (2021) Genome- and transcriptome-wide association studies provide insights into the genetic basis of natural variation of seed oil content in Brassica napus. Mol. Plant 14: 470-487.
  • Kong, Q., Singh, S.K., Mantyla, J.J., Pattanaik, S., Guo, L., Yuan, L., Benning, C., and Ma, W.* (2020) TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PROLIFERATING CELL FACTOR 4 interacts with WRINKLED1 to mediate seed oil biosynthesis. Plant Physiol. 184: 658-665. 
  • Kong, Q., Yang, Y., Guo, L., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2020) Molecular basis of plant oil biosynthesis: insights gained from studying the WRINKLED1 transcription factor. Front. Plant Sci. 11: 24. 
  • Kong, Q., Yuan, L., and Ma, W.* (2019) WRINKLED1, a "Master Regulator" in Transcriptional Control of Plant Oil Biosynthesis. Plants 8: 238. 
  • Kong, Q., and Ma, W.* (2018) WRINKLED1 as a novel 14-3-3 client: Function of 14-3-3 proteins in plant lipid metabolism. Plant Signal. Behav. 13: e1482176.