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Jin-Rong Xu

Botany and Plant Pathology 

  • Professor
Whistler Hall Room 222

Area of Expertise: Fungal Biology - Characterization of infection-related signal transduction pathways and genes important for fungal-plant interactions in Magnaporthe grisea and Fusarium graminearum

Fungi have enormous impact on human welfare by destroying valuable crops and producing toxins that are harmful to humans and livestock. My interest lies in the identification and characterization of genes essential for fungal development and pathogenesis. My lab works with the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae and the wheat scab fungus Fusarium graminearum. Rice blast is one of the most severe diseases on rice and is a model to study fungal-plant interactions. Current efforts are focused on the signal transduction pathways that regulate infection-related morphogenesis and infectious growth after penetration. We are also using proteomics and functional genomics approaches to identify pathogenesis-related genes and characterize their interactions during plant infection.

The wheat scab fungus is a less studied but important pathogen that can cause devastating outbreaks on wheat and barley worldwide. Besides yield loss, F. graminearum also produced a variety of mycotoxins, including vomitoxin and zearalenone. Currently, we are using comparative genomics approaches to study genes that are important for F. graminearum biology and pathogenesis (in comparison with F. orysporum and F. verticillioides).  We are also studying molecular mechanisms regulating Fusarium-wheat interactions and DON production in flowering wheat heads.

Awards & Honors

(2010) Member of the Editorial Board for Eukaryotic Cell. Eukaryotic Cell, American Society of Microbiology.

Selected Publications

Kong, L., Yang, J., Li, G., Qi, L., Zhang, Y., Zhao, W., . . . Peng, Y. L. (2012). Systematic Characterization of Chitin Synthase Genes in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. PLoS Pathogens, 8(2), e1002526.

Wang, C., Zhang, H., Zhao, Z., Zheng, Q., Xu, Q., Zheng, D., . . . Xu, J. (2011). Functional Analysis of the Kinome of the Wheat Scab fungus Fusarium graminearum. PLoS Pathogens, 7(12), e1002460.

Zhang, H., Xue, C., Kong, L., Li, G., & Xu, J. (2011). A Pmk1-interacting gene is involved in appressorium differentiation and plant infection in Magnaporthe oryzae. Eukaryotic Cell, 10, 1062-1070.

Li, G., Zhou, X., Kong, L., Wang, Y., Zhang, H., Zhu, H., . . . Xu, J. (2011). MoSFL1 Encodes a transcription factor important for virulence and heat sensitivity in Magnaporthe oryzae. PLoS One, 6(5), e19951.

Zhou, X., Liu, W., Wang, C., Xu, Q., Wang, Y., Ding, S., & Xu, J. (2011). A MADS box transcription factor Mmc1 is required for male fertility and virulence in Magnaporthe oryzae. Molecular Microbiology, 80, 33-53.

Li, Y., Wang, C., Liu, W., Wang, G., Kang, Z., Kistler, H. C., & Xu, J. (2011). Systematic Characterization of Type II HDAC Genes in Fusarium graminearum.. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 24, 487-496.

Liu, W., Zhou, X., Li, G., Li, L., Kong, L., Wang, C., & Xu, J. (2011). Multiple plant surface signals are sensed by different mechanisms in the rice blast fungus.. PLoS Pathogens, 7, e1001261.

Zhang, Y. P., Choi, Y., & Xu, J. (2011). The FvMK1 mitogen-activated protein kinase gene regulates conidiation, pathogenesis, and fumonisin production in Fusarium verticillioides. Fungal Genetics and Biology, 48, 71-79.

Wang, Y., Liu, W., Hou, Z., Wang, C., Zhou, X., Jonkers, W., . . . Xu, J. (2011). A novel transcriptional factor important for pathogenesis and ascosporogenesis in Fusarium graminearum. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, 24, 118-128.

Ding, S., Liu, W., Iliuk, A., Ribot, C., Vallet, J., Wang, Y., . . . Xu, J. (2010). The TIG1 HDAC complex regulated infectious growth in the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae. Plant Cell, 22, 2495–2508.