Xinnian Dong
Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of Biology

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens. We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). SAR, which can be induced by a local infection, provides the plants with long lasting, systemic resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Salicylic acid (SA; an active ingredient of aspirin) has been found to be the endogenous signal of SAR. Using a genetic approach, our laboratory identified genes involved in the regulation of SAR. Molecular and genetic analyses are being carried out to understand the gene function and to elucidate the SAR signaling pathway. These SAR-regulating genes are also favorite targets for molecular engineering of disease-resistance crops.

Current Research Interests

Xinnian Dong's lab is interested in studying host-microbe interactions with the focus on elucidating how plants defend against pathogen challenge under different environmental conditions. The current projects include (1) Studying the signal transduction mechanism leading to the establishment of systemic acquired resistance, which is a long-lasting broad-spectrum resistance mechanism in plants. (2) Understanding how plants reprogram their transcriptional and translational activities to mount immune responses. (3) Determining how plants use the circadian clock to control the immune responses based on their cellular metabolic activities as well as on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. (4) Examining cellular processes, such as nuclear transport and formation of biomolecular condensates, in plant defense. (5) Developing new strategies in engineering broad-spectrum disease resistance for agricultural applications.

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

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