Center for Algal Biology and Applied Research

Research Group of Algal Genetics and Biotechnology




PI:   Prof. XU Xudong, PhD


Renqiu Kong, Associate Professor  

Hong Gao, Associate professor  

Yali Wang, Assistant professor 

Xiantao Fang, Technician 

Contact Us:   






General Introduction:   

The Research Group of Algal Genetics and Biotechnology is interested in molecular bases for adaptation of cyanobacteria to adverse conditions and cell differentiation in multicellular cyanobacteria.   

Cyanobacteria, also called ‘blue-green algae’, are a group of oxygenic photosynthetic prokaryotes distributed in a vast array of habitats, including open seas, inland water bodies, freshwater ponds of polar regions, hot springs and certain terrestrial environments. Some groups of cyanobacteria can differentiate akinetes or heterocysts to survive cold, drought and other adverse conditions or adapt to nitrogen deficiency. Also, as proposed by this laboratory, unicellular cyanobacteria in temperate regions may survive the chill-light stress in winter by 'acquired chill-light tolerance (ACLT)’.  

Most efforts of this group are focused on two questions: how unicellular cyanobacteria overwinter and how filamentous nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria produce heterocysts and the pattern along filaments. They use Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 as the research model for unicellular cyanobacteria and Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 as the model for filamentous heterocyst-forming species.  



Selected publications:  

1. Yu Wang, Xudong Xu, 2005. Regulation by hetC of genes required for heterocyst differentiation and cell division in Anabaena sp. Journal of Bacteriology, 187: 8489-8493.   

2. Yu Wang, Sigal Lechno-Yossef, Yangmin Gong, Qing Fan, C. Peter Wolk,Xudong Xu, 2007. Predicted glycosyl transferase genes located outside of the HEP island are required for formation of heterocyst envelope polysaccharide in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Journal of Bacteriology, 189: 5372-5378.   

3. Wei Zhang, Ye Du, Ivan Khudyakov, Qing Fan, Hong Gao, Degang Ning, C. Peter Wolk and Xudong Xu, 2007. A gene cluster that regulates both heterocyst differentiation and pattern formation in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Molecular Microbiology, 66:1429-1443.   

4. Yang Yang, Chuntao Yin, Weizhi Li, Xudong Xu, 2008. a-tocopherol is essential for the acquired chill-light tolerance (ACLT) in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Journal of Bacteriology, 190:1554-1560.   

5. Haibo Jiang, Renqiu Kong, Xudong Xu, 2010. The N-acetylmuramic acid 6-phosphate etherase gene promotes the growth and cell differentiation in cyanobacteria under light-limiting conditions. Journal of Bacteriology, 192:2239-2245.   

6. Xiaoming Tan, Tao Zhu, Si Shen, Chuntao Yin, Hong Gao, Xudong Xu, 2011. Role of Rbp1 in the acquired chill-light tolerance of cyanobacteria. Journal of Bacteriology, 193: 2675-2683.   

7. Xiaoxiang Liu, Yali Wang, Hong Gao, Xudong Xu, 2011. Identification and characterization of genes encoding two novel LEA proteins in Antarctic and temperate strains of Chlorella vulgaris. Gene, 482:51-58.   

8. Hong Gao, Xudong Xu, 2012. The cyanobacterial NAD kinase gene sll1415 is required for photoheterotrophic growth and cellular redox homeostasis in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Journal of Bacteriology, 194:218-224.   

9. Ye Du, Yan Cai, Shengwei Hou and Xudong Xu, 2012. Identification of the HetR-recognition sequence upstream of hetZ in Anabaena sp. Strain PCC 7120. Journal of Bacteriology, 194: 2297-2306.   

10. Weizhi Li, Hong Gao, Chuntao Yin and Xudong Xu, 2012. Identification of a novel thylakoid protein gene involved in cold acclimation in cyanobacteria. Microbiology-SGM, 158: 2440-2449.   

11. Xiangzhi Zhu, Qiong Li, Chuntao Yin, Xiantao Fang, Xudong Xu, 2015. Role of spermidine in overwintering of cyanobacteria. Journal of Bacteriology, 197: 2325-2334.   

12. Hong Gao, Tao Zhu, Min Xu, Shuai Wang, Xudong Xu, Renqiu Kong, 2016. pH-dependent gas vesicle formation in Microcystis. FEBS Letters, 590: 3195-3201.   

13. Lianglin Zhang, Fang Zhou, Shuai Wang, Xudong Xu, 2017. Processing of PatS, a morphogen precursor, in cell extracts of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120. FEBS Letters, 591: 751-759.  

14. He Zhang, Shuai Wang, Yali Wang, Xudong Xu, 2018. Functional overlap of hetP and hetZ in regulation of heterocyst differentiation in Anabaena sp. strain PCC 7120. Journal of Bacteriology, 200: e00707-17.  

15. Yali Wang, Yuan Gao, Chao Li, Hong Gao, Cheng-Cai Zhang and Xudong Xu, 2018. Three substrains of the cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 display divergence in genomic sequences and hetC function. Journal of Bacteriology, 200: e00076-18. 

16. Zhenzhen Xiong, Yali Wang, Yanling Dong, Qiya Zhang, Xudong Xu, 2019. Cyanophage A-1(L) adsorbs to lipopolysaccharides of Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 via the tail protein Lipopolysaccharide-Interacting Protein (ORF36). Journal of Bacteriology, 201: e00516-18. 

17. Yali Wang, Xiaoxiang Liu, Hong Gao, Hong-Mei Zhang, An-Yuan Guo, Jian Xu, Xudong Xu, 2020. Early stage adaptation of a mesophilic green alga to Antarctica: systematic increases in abundance of enzymes and LEA proteins. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 37: 849-863.