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  Location: Home >> Key Laboratories >> State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics (SKLPG)
State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics (SKLPG)
The State Key Laboratory of Plant Genomics was founded in 2003 by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. The
Laboratory was upgraded from the Key Laboratory of Plant Biotechnology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences founded
in 1990. In the nationwide State Key Laboratory evaluation in 2006 and 2011, the Laboratory was twice evaluated as
outstanding (Rank A).
The Laboratory uses combined approaches of multidisciplinary life sciences to address fundamental questions in plant
growth and development, with an emphasis on the dissection of the molecular mechanisms of complex agronomic traits
of crops. An important mission of the Laboratory is to extend knowledge in basic research to crop improvement for
superior traits. The Laboratory mainly uses rice and Arabidopsis as model systems to unravel the structure and function
of plant genomes, functional genomics of important agronomic traits, phytohormone-regulated plant growth and
development, plant-environment and plant-pathogen interactions, and molecular breeding.
DIRECTOR: Jianru Zuo
DEPUTY DIRECTORS: Chengcai Chu, Xiaofeng Cao, Wei Qian
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATORS : Mingsheng Chen, Shouyi Chen, Zhukuan Cheng, Rongxiang Fang, Huishan Guo, Yuling Jiao, Zhaosheng Kong,
Chuanyou Li, Jiayang Li, Shaoyang Lin, Jun Liu, Dongping Lu, Jinlong Qiu, Guodong Wang, Xiujjie Wang,
Yonghong Wang, Guixian Xia, Qi Xie, Shanguo Yao, Jinsong Zhang, Jianmin Zhou, Yihua Zhou, Lihuang Zhu,
Zhen Zhu
CHAIR: Rongxiang Fang
VICE CHAIRS: Yongbiao Xue, Bin Han
MEMBERS: Xiaofeng Cao, Xiaoya Chen, Kang Chong, Huishan Guo, Jiayang Li, Yaoguang Liu, Hong Ma, Qian Qian, Weihua Wu, Jianmin
Zhou, Yuxian Zhu, Jianru Zuo
SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD: Shouyi Chen, Zhihong Xu, Qifa Zhang, Lihuang Zhu, Zhen Zhu
During the past year, scientists in the Laboratory have made important advances in several research fields. In plant
genomics studies, Xiaofeng Cao’s group reported that REF6 uses four zinc fingers to directly recognize a CTCTGYTY motif,
allowing genome-wide, site-specific demethylation of H3K27me3. These results identify a new targeting mechanism of
an H3K27 demethylase to counteract Polycomb-mediated gene silencing (Cui et al., Nat Genet, 2016). The same group
also applied genetics, transcriptomics, proteomics and biochemistry to show that AtPRMT5 modulates constitutive
and alternative pre-mRNA splicing, uncovering a key process through which arginine methylation impacts diverse
developmental processes (Deng et al., PNAS, 2016). Jiayang Li and several other scientists proposed a regulatory
framework for precision breeding with "genome-edited crops" (GECs) so that society can fully benefit from the latest
advances in plant genetics and genomics, which showed pioneering influence in the application of genome-edited
technology (Huang et al., Nat Genet, 2016). Jiayang Li’s group and collaborators successfully carried out efficient intronmediated
site-specific gene replacement through the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway assisted by the
CRISPR/Cas9 system, and these newly developed technology can be generally applied to molecular breeding and analysis
of plant genes (Li et al., Nat Plants, 2016). Xiujie Wang’s group and collaborators found that AGO3, and likely AOG4,
predominantly bound 24-nt sRNAs to modulate DNA methylation, indicating that AGO3 is a component in the epigenetic
pathway (Zhang et al., Nat Plants, 2016).
In functional genomics studies, Jiayang Li’s group identified a defective soluble starch synthase gene (SSIIIa) responsible
for resistant starch (RS) production. This discovery holds great promise in improving cooking quality of rice especially
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in the indica varieties which are dominating in southern Asia (Zhou et al., PNAS, 2016). Yonghong Wang and Jiayang Li’s
groups discovered a new molecular mechanism controlling shoot branching. They showed that the MKK7-MPK6 cascade
phosphorylates Ser337 on PIN1, establishing a molecular link between the MAPK cascade and auxin-regulated plant
development (Jia et al., PLoS Biol, 2016). Lihuang Zhu’s group and collaborators conducted integrated genetics and omics
analyses in a model two-line rice hybrid system, Liang-you-pei 9 (LYP9) and its parents to identify multiple quantitative trait
loci (QTLs) involved in yield heterosis, and proposed a common mechanism for yield heterosis in the present commercial
hybrid rice (Li et al., PNAS, 2016). Chengcai Chu’s group analyzed a newly identified a dominant panicle enclosure mutant
regulator of eui1 (ree1-D) to show that HOX12 acts directly through EUI1 to regulate panicle exsertion in rice (Gao et al.,
Plant Cell, 2016). Zhukuan Cheng’s group showed that P31comet is a functional synaptonemal complex (SC) protein and is
essential for double-strand break (DSB) formation and SC installation in rice (Ji et al., PNAS, 2016). The same group and
collaborators demonstrated that MS5 participates in progression of meiosis during early prophase I and that its allelic
variants alter fertility in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.), which may provide a promising strategy for pollination control
for heterosis breeding (Xin et al., Plant Cell, 2016). Chuanyou Li’s group and collaborators identified DA3 as a negative
regulator of endoreduplication and showed that endoreduplication is linked to cell and organ growth via interaction of
DA3 with key cell-cycle regulators (Xu et al., Plant Cell, 2016). Yuling Jiao’s group reported that the initiation of axillary
meristems requires a meristematic cell population continuously expressing the meristem marker SHOOT MERISTEMLESS
(STM), and proposed a threshold model for axillary meristem initiation (Shi et al., PLoS Genet, 2016).
In studying of plant-environment/pathogen interactions, Jian-Min Zhou’s group reported that the Pseudomonas syringae
effector HopB1 acts as a protease to cleave immune-activated BAK1, leading to enhanced virulence, but not disease
resistance revealing a virulence strategy by which a pathogen effector attacks the plant immune system with minimal
host perturbation (Li et al., Cell Host Microbe, 2016). The same group demonstrated that heterotrimeric G proteins are
directly coupled to the FLS2 receptor complex and regulate immune signaling through both pre-activation and postactivation
mechanisms (Liang et al., eLife, 2016). Huishan Guo’s group made several important progresses in the study of
devastating wilt diseases. Their work reported the pathway in which hyphopodium of Verticillium dahliae redirect fungal
growth toward host cells to penetrate cotton roots and to colonize the host vascular system (Zhao et al., PLoS Pathog,
2016). Further study revealed that in response to infection with Verticillium dahliae, cotton plants increase production
of microRNAs and export them to the fungal hyphae for specific silencing of fungal genes, uncovering cross-kingdom
gene silencing as a novel defence strategy of host plants (Zhang et al., Nat Plants, 2016). Jinlong Qiu’s group found that
MPK4 interacts with and phosphorylates MYB75 to increase the stability of MYB75 and that this modification is essential
for light-induced anthocyanin accumulation. These findings revealed an important role for a MAPK pathway in light
signal transduction (Li et al., Plant Cell, 2016). Qi Xie’s group reported that the two major complexes involved in the ERassociated
protein degradation (ERAD) system closely interact with each other, which is conserved between plants and
mammals (Chen et al., Nat Plants, 2016).
Prof. Xiaofeng Cao was elected as an academician of the Third World Academy of Sciences. Prof. Qi Xie was highlighted in
Thomson Reuters China Citation Laureates. Prof. Chuanyou Li and Prof. Xiujie Wang received Leading Talent Awards from
the Scientific and Technological Innovation Program.