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Featured Researchers

Professor Yiji Xia

Chair Professor and Head of Department
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science

Professor Yiji Xia



The main research focus of Professor Xia Yiji’s laboratory is on understanding molecular mechanisms that sense environmental changes and regulate gene expression. In recent years, RNA modifications, such as RNA capping and decapping, have increasingly been recognised as important mechanisms in controlling gene expression. The NAD cap is a newly discovered RNA cap that is present in some RNAs in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. However, the mechanisms of NAD capping and decapping and the molecular and physiological functions of the NAD cap remain largely unknown. 

Professor Xia’s laboratory has developed a new method for global scale identification and the characterisation of NAD-capped RNAs. Recently, his team has been using molecular biology, genetics, biochemical and functional genomics approaches to reveal the mechanisms of NAD capping and decapping and the role of the NAD cap in controlling gene expression in Arabidopsis, E. coli, and yeast.



  • Identified and characterized several important genes and signaling molecules involved in regulating plant immune responses.
  • Developed a new method for genome-wide identification and characterization of NAD-capped RNAs.
  • Served as a principal investigator for over one dozen research grants supported by Hong Kong and the US government funding agencies, including NSF and NIH grants from the US and two CRF grants and ten GRF grants from Hong Kong RGC.


Research Outputs

  • Li, Y., W. Liu, H. Zhong, H. Zhang H & Y. Xia. “Redox-sensitive bZIP68 plays a role in balancing stress tolerance with growth in Arabidopsis.” Plant Journal 100.4 (2019): 768-783. DOI: 10.1111/tpj.14476
  • Zhang, H., H. Zhong, S. Zhang, X. Shao, M. Ni, Z. Cai, X. Chen & Y. Xia. “NAD tagSeq reveals that NAD+-capped RNAs are mostly produced from a large number of protein-coding genes in Arabidopsis.” PNAS 116.24 (2019): 12072-12077.
  • Wang, Y., S. Li, Y. Zhao, C. You, B. Le, Z. Gong, B. Mo, Y. Xia & X. Chen. “NAD+-capped RNAs are widespread in the Arabidopsis transcriptome and can probably be translated.” PNAS 116.24 (2019): 12094-12102.
  • Zhang, S., H. Zhang, Y. Xia & L. Xiong. “The caseinolytic protease complex component CLPC1 in Arabidopsis maintains proteome and RNA homeostasis in chloroplasts.” BMC Plant Biology 18.1 (2018): 192.
  • Wang, Y., Y. Wu, B. Yu, Z. Yin & Y. Xia. “XLGs interact with AtPUB4 and AtPUB2 and function in multiple plant developmental processes.” Plant Physiology 173.2 (2017): 1235-1246.
  • Guan, G., B. Yan, J. Hua, C. Thieme, H. Zhu, Z. Zhao, F. Kragler, Y. Xia Y & S. Zhang. “PlaMoM: A comprehensive database compiles plant mobile macromolecules.” Nuclear Acid Research 45.D1 (2016): D1021-D1028. DOI: 10.1093/nar/gkw988
  • Zhao, P., P. Liu, J. Shao, C. Li, B. Wang, X. Guo, B. Yan, Y. Xia Y & M. Peng. “Analysis of different strategies adapted by two cassava cultivars in response to drought stress: Ensuring survival or continuing growth.” Journal of Experimental Botany 66.5 (2014): 1477-1488.
  • Liu, P., H. Zhang, H. Wang & Y. Xia Y. “Identification of redox-sensitive cysteines in the Arabidopsis proteome using OxiTRAQ, a quantitative redox proteomics method.” Proteomics 14.6 (2014):750-762.
  • Wang, H., Y. Lu, T. Jiang, H. Berg, C. Li & Y. Xia. “The Arabidopsis U-box/ARM repeat E3 ligase AtPUB4 influences growth and degeneration of tapetal cells and its mutation leads to conditional male sterility.” Plant Journal 74.3 (2013): 511–523.
  • Wang, H., Y. Lu, P. Liu, W. Wen, J. Zhang, X. Ge & Y. Xia. “The ammonium/nitrate ratio is an input signal in the temperature-modulated, SNC1-mediated and EDS1- dependent autoimmunity of nudt6-2 nudt7.” Plant Journal 73.2 (2012): 262-275.
  • Li, C., J. Shao, Y. Wang, W. Li, D. Guo, B. Yan, Y. Xia & M. Peng. “Analysis of banana transcriptome and global gene expression profiles in banana roots in response to infection by race 1 and tropical race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense.” BMC Genomics 14 (2013): 851.
  • Wang, H., S. Wang, Y. Lu, S. Alvarez, L. Hicks, X. Ge & Y. Xia Y. “Proteomic Analysis of Early-Responsive Redox-Sensitive Proteins in Arabidopsis.” Journal of Proteome Research 11 (2012): 412-424.
  • Lu, Y., C. Li, H. Wang, H. Chen, H. Berg & Y. Xia Y. “AtPPR2, an Arabidopsis pentatricopeptide repeat protein, binds to plastid 23S rRNA and plays an important role in the first mitotic division during gametogenesis and in cell proliferation during embryogenesis.” Plant Journal 67 (2011): 13-25.
  • Xie, Y. D., W. Li, D. Guo, J. Dong, J. Zhang, Y. Fu, D. Ren, M. Peng & Y. Xia. “The Arabidopsis gene SIGMA FACTOR-BINDING PROTEIN 1 plays a role in the salicylate- and jasmonate-mediated defence responses.” Plant, Cell & Environment 33 (2010): 828-839.
  • Zhu, H., G. Li, L. Ding, H. Berg, X. Cui, S. Assmann & Y. Xia. “Arabidopsis extra large G-protein 2 (XLG2) interacts with the Gbeta subunit of heterotrimeric G protein and functions in disease resistance.” Molecular Plant 2 (2009): 513-525.
  • Ge, X., G. Li, S. Wang, H. Zhu, T. Zhu, X. Wang & Y. Xia “AtNUDT7, a negative regulator of basal immunity in Arabidopsis, modulates two distinct defense response pathways and is involved in maintaining redox homeostasis.” Plant Physiology 145 (2007): 204-215.
  • Ge, X., C. Dietrich, M. Matsuno, G. Li, H. Berg, Y. Xia. “An Arabidopsis aspartic protease functions as an anti-cell death component in reproduction and embryogenesis.” EMBO Reports 6 (2005): 282-288.
  • Xia, Y., H. Suzuki, J. Borevitz, J. Blount, Z. Guo, R. Dixon & C. Lamb. “An extracellular aspartic protease in Arabidopsis functions in disease resistance signaling.” EMBO Journal 23 (2004): 980-988.
  • Borevitz, J., Y. Xia, J. Blount, R. Dixon & C. Lamb. “Activation tagging identifies a conserved MYB regulator of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis.” Plant Cell 12 (2000): 2383-2394.
  • Delledonne, M., Y. Xia, R. Dixon & C. Lamb. “Nitric oxide functions as a signal in plant disease resistance.” Nature 394 (1998): 585-588.
  • Xia, Y., B. J. Nikolau & P. S. Schnable. “Cloning and characterization of CER2, an Arabidopsis gene that affects cuticular wax accumulation.” Plant Cell 8 (1996): 1291-1304.