Dr. Xiuren Zhang


Hefei College of Economy and Technology       Botany                   B.S. 1989
Auburn University             Horticulture/Biotechnology                   M.S. 1999
Cornell University     Plant Molecular Biology /Biochemistry       Ph.D. 2003


2014-present Associate Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University
2008-2013 Assistant  Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University
2003-2008 Postdoc,  Plant Molecular Biology/ RNA Biology, Rockefeller University


The long-term goal of my research is to elucidate the functions and biochemical mechanisms of RNA silencing in plants. RNA silencing has emerged as a key regulatory process that controls various aspects of biology in eukaryotes including growth and development and antiviral defense. The common themes of RNA silencing include the biogenesis of small RNAs by DICERs, and the incorporation of small RNAs into Argonaute (AGO)-centered RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs). The RISCs execute the repressive or regulatory functions on target genes at the transcriptional or post-transcriptional levels. Our research has four major aspects: 1) Arabidopsis AGO10 and stem cell development; 2) Novel biochemical mechanisms of microRNA biogenesis in plants; 3) Interplay between RNA processing and transcriptional gene silencing; and 4) Epigenetic silencing and viral suppressors. We address these fundamental issues using integrated molecular, biochemical, genetic, genomic and high-throughput and other the state-of-the-art approaches.


2012 NSF CAREER award


2011-2013 Ad hoc members for NSFC-TAMU seed  grants
2009-present  Ad hoc members for NIH (DEV1)
2009-present Ad hoc members for NSF (MCB)
2008- Reviewer for the following journals: Cell/ Genes & Dev. / Mol Cell /Genome Biol. /Plant Cell / Plant J. / Trends in Plant Biol. / Curr. Opin. in Plant Biol./ PLoS Pathogen / PLoS Genetics / Cell Research / Immunology / Vaccine / Nucl. Acid Res./ RNA / Nat. Comm. /eLife / PNAS / Nat. Struc. Mol Biol.




  1. Hongliang Zhu, Yuyi Zhou, Claudia Castillo, Amber Lu, Yingtao Zhao, Liusheng Duan, Zhaohu Li, Xiujie Wang and Xiuren Zhang**. 2013. Bidirectional processing of pri-miRNAs with branched terminal loops by Arabidopsis Dicer-like1. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. 20:1106-1115 (Cover Story)
  2. Zhonghui Zhang and Xiuren Zhang**. 2012. Argonautes fight for miRNAs to regulate stem cell activity in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 15:652-658. (Cover Page)
  3. Hongliang Zhu*, Fuqu Hu*, Ronghui Wang*, Xin Zhou, Sing-Hoi Sze, Lisa Wen Liou, Ashley Barefoot, Martin Dickman, Xiuren Zhang**. 2011. The Arabidopsis Argonaute 10 specifically recruits miR166/165 to maintain shoot apical meristem. Cell. 145:242-256.
  4. Huan Wang*, Xiuren Zhang*, Jun Liu, Takatoshi Kiba, Tolulope Ojo, Markus Hafner, Thomas Tuschl, Nam-Hai Chua** and Xiu-Jie Wang**. 2011. Deep sequencing of small RNAs specifically associated with AGO1 and AGO4 uncovers new AGO functions. The Plant J. 67, 292–304. PMCID: PMC3135789.
  5. Rafael Catala, Jian Ouyang, Isabel A. Abreu, Yuxin Hu, Haksoo Seo, Xiuren Zhang, and Nam-Hai Chua. 2007. The Arabidopsis E3 SUMO ligase SIZ1 regulates plant development and drought responses. Plant Cell. 19:2952-2966. PMCID: PMC2048692
  1. Xiuren Zhang, Yu-Ren Yuan, Yi Pei, Shih-Shun Lin, Thomas Tuschl, Dinshaw J. Patel, and Nam-Hai Chua. 2006. Cucumber mosaic virus-encoded 2b suppressor inhibits Arabidopsis Argonaute1 cleavage activity to counter plant defense. Genes & Development. 20:3255-3268. PMCID: PMC1686603
  2. Xiuren Zhang, Rossana Henriques, Shih-Shun Lin, Qi-Wen Niu, and Nam-Hai Chua. 2006. Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of Arabidopsis thaliana using the floral dip method. Nature Protocols 1(2): 641-646.
  3. Xiuren Zhang, Virginia Garreton and Nam-Hai Chua. 2005. The AIP2 E3 ligase acts as a novel negative regulator of ABA signaling by promoting ABI3 degradation. Genes & Development. 19: 1532-1543. PMCID: PMC1172060
  4. Xiuren Zhang and Hugh S. Mason. 2006. Bean Yellow Dwarf Virus Replicons for High-level Transgene Expression in Transgenic Plants and Cell Cultures. Biotechnology and Bioengineering. 93:271-279.
  5. Xiuren Zhang, Norene Buehner, and Hugh S. Mason. 2006. Tomato is a highly effective vehicle for expression and oral immunization with Norwalk virus capsid protein. Plant Biotechnology Journal. 4 (4):419-432.
  6. Xiuren Zhang, David G. Himelrick,  Floyd M. Woods and Robert C. Ebel. 2005.  Effect of Temperature, Photoperiod and Pretreatment Growing Condition on Floral Induction in Springbearing Strawberry. Small Fruits Review. 1(2): 113 – 123.
  7. Xiuren Zhang, Guoguang Luo, Ronghui Wang Jin Wang and David G. Himelrick. 2003. Growth and developmental responses of seeded and seedless grape berries to shoot girdling. Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science.  128(3): 316-323.


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