Griffing, Lawrence individual record
Associate Professor

I am testing the theory that the endoplasmic reticulum, ER is the circulatory network of the cell, connecting different organelles to each other, allowing them to share signals, lipids, and proteins.

I am particularly interested in how the cytoskeletal system of plants regulates the movement of the ER network. In interphase, the actinomyosin network drives movement of the ER, just as it drives the movement organelles through the cytoplasm in a process called cytoplasmic streaming, a phenomenon in plants, but not animal cells. Of the seventeen different myosin forms in plants, only six are involved in active cytoplasmic streaming. We are sorting out which of those six guide the different movements of the endoplasmic reticulum.

I am also interested in the nature of the nexus between the ER and other organelles, including the chloroplast, plasma membrane, and Golgi. I have recently shown that by photo-stimulating the nexus between the chloroplast and the ER, the directional flow within the ER can be reversibly altered. This ability to generate very localized ER stress may have application in a wide variety of fields - from finding cures for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's syndrome to developing crops that can better-tolerate physiological heat stress and drought.

Finally, I recently founded the company, Griffing Biologics LLC, which is based on the discovery of a novel, non-toxic pre-emergent herbicide that interferes with plant sterol metabolism. Other work examining the uptake of sterols indicates that it may get into the plant cells via plasma membrane-ER contact sites. We are pursuing the function of this transport in controlling the early stages of plant growth.

selected publications
Academic Articles36
  • Griffing, L. (2021). Comments on Dr Whittaker's letter and the article.. J Microsc. 282(2), 191-192.
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  • Kumar, K., Gibbs, H. C., Yeh, A. T., & Griffing, L. R. (2021). The Sterol Trafficking Pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana.. Front Plant Sci. 12, 616631.
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  • Griffing, L. R. (2020). The lost portrait of Robert Hooke?. J Microsc. 278(3), 114-122.
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  • Cheng, X., Lang, I., Adeniji, O. S., & Griffing, L. (2017). Plasmolysis-deplasmolysis causes changes in endoplasmic reticulum form, movement, flow, and cytoskeletal association.. J Exp Bot. 68(15), 4075-4087.
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  • Griffing, L. R., Lin, C., Perico, C., White, R. R., & Sparkes, I. (2017). Plant ER geometry and dynamics: biophysical and cytoskeletal control during growth and biotic response.. Protoplasma. 254(1), 43-56.
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  • Griffing, L. R. (2018). Dancing with the Stars: Using Image Analysis to Study the Choreography of the Endoplasmic Reticulum and Its Partners and of Movement Within Its Tubules.. Methods in Molecular Biology. Methods in Molecular Biology. 75-102. Springer New York.
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  • Fowke. (2018). Plant Protoplasts. Fowke, L. C., & Constabel, F. (Eds.), Plant Protoplasts. 39-52. CRC Press.
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  • Fowke, L. C., Griffing, L. R., Mersey, B. G., & Tanchak, M. A. (2018). Protoplasts for Studies of Cell Organelles. Plant Protoplasts. 39-52. CRC Press.
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  • Griffing, L. R. (2015). Plant and Cell Architecture. Taiz, L., & Zeiger, E. (Eds.), Plant Physiology and Development. 1-49. Sinauer.
  • Stout, R. G., & Griffing, L. R. (2001). Plant Cell Physiology. Cell Physiology Source Book. 1079-1095. Elsevier.
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Conference Papers14
  • Griffing, L. (2011). Reversibly changing directional flow in the plant endoplasmic reticulum. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL. 22,
  • Kennedy, C. J., & Griffing, L. R. (2001). Quantitative analysis of transnuclear and intranuclear membranes in KDEL-GFP-expressing tobacco suspension culture cells. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF THE CELL. 12, 232A-232A.
  • Enloe, L. C., & Griffing, L. R. (2000). Improved volume rendering for the visualization of living cells examined with confocal microscopy. SPIE Proceedings, Electronic Imaging. 3960, 385-392.
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  • Griffing, L. R., & Nolte, B. (1997). Flying into the plant cell: 3D reconstruction of early endocytosis.. PLANT PHYSIOLOGY. 114(3), 265-265.
  • Carpita, N., McCann, M., & Griffing, L. R. (1996). The plant extracellular matrix: news from the cell's frontier.. Plant Cell. 8(9), 1451-1463.
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Internet Publications1
  • Griffing, L. (2020). The mystery of the missing portrait of Robert Hooke, 17th-century scientist extraordinaire. - An article submitted to The Conversation
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mailing address
Texas A&M University; Biology; 3258 TAMU
College Station, TX 77840-3258