Cell Biology


2000.09 - 2004.07: BSc, Beijing Normal University, China

2004.09 - 2010.07: Ph.D., Beijing Normal University, China

2011.04 - 2016.08: Postdoc., Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Germany

2016.11 - 2017.11: Research Associate, University of Cambridge, UK

2017.12 - present: Principal Investigator, Beijing Normal University, China


Research Interests

1. Molecular mechanism of plant cell wall biosynthesis: As one of the characteristic structures of plant cells, plant cell wall plays vital roles in controlling and modulating plant cell morphology and growth. It is the major factor key to several important agronomic traits such as plant architecture, lodging resistance and pest resistance. In addition, plant cell wall has a wide range of industrial applications. For example, cellulose, the main component of plant cell wall, is not only the main raw material of paper and textile industry, but also the biomass resource that can be converted into safe and clean renewable energy. One of the main directions of my laboratory is to study the molecular mechanism of cellulose biosynthesis in plant cell wall. We focus on functional characterization of novel components of cellulose synthase complex (CSC) and investigating the molecular mechanism underlying the assembly and secretion processes of CSC in plant cells.

2. Molecular mechanism of plant cell sensing and responding to mechanical stress: Another distinguishing feature of plants from animals is that plants could not move. In order to cope with external as well as internal mechanical stimulations plant cells have developed unique strategy to coordinate their growth and development with these physical signals. My laboratory tries to understand how plant cells sense and response to mechanical stress. We focus on investigating the roles of cell wall-cell membrane-cytoskeleton continuum in transducing mechanical signaling from the outside to the inside of plant cells.

3. Characterization of upstream signaling pathway of plant cytoskeleton: As one of the most abundant and conserved proteins in eukaryotic cells, actin forms a highly-ordered yet dynamic network and plays important roles in many fundamental processes, including cell division and growth. My laboratory aims to understand how the dynamics of actin cytoskeleton is precisely regulated in plant cells. We focus on characterizing key upstream regulators and signaling pathway controlling the dynamics of actin cytoskeleton in plant cells.


Selected Publications 

♦ Research Articles

1. Chang Liu#, Yi Zhang#, Haiyun Ren (2018). Actin polymerization mediated by AtFH5 directs the polarity establishment and vesicle trafficking for pollen germination in Arabidopsis. Molecular Plant, 11(11): 1389-1399.

2. Yi Zhang*, Youjun Zhang, Heather E. McFarlane, Toshihiro Obata, Andreas S. Richter, Mark Lohse, Bernhard Grimm, Staffan Persson, Alisdair R. Fernie*, Patrick Giavalisco* (2018). Inhibition of TOR represses nutrient consumption, which improves greening after extended periods of etiolation. Plant Physiology, 178(1): 101-117. (共同通讯作者)

3. Yi Zhang#, Nino Nikolovski#, Mathias Sorieul, Tamara Vellosillo, Heather E. McFarlane, Ray Dupree, Christopher Kesten, René Schneider, Carlos Driemeier, Rahul Lathe, Edwin Lampugnani, Xiaolan Yu, Alexander Ivakov, Monika S. Doblin, Jenny C Mortimer, Steven P Brown, Staffan Persson*, Paul Dupree* (2016). Golgi-localized STELLO proteins regulate the assembly and trafficking of cellulose synthase complexes in Arabidopsis. Nature Communications, 7, Article number: 11656, doi:10.1038/ncomms11656.

4. Zheng Zhang#, Yi Zhang#, Hexin Tan, Ying Wang, Gang Li, Wanqi Liang, Zheng Yuan, Jianping Hu, Haiyun Ren*, Dabing Zhang* (2011). RICE MORPHOLOGY DETERMINANT encodes the type II formin FH5 and regulates rice morphogenesis. The Plant Cell, 23: 681-700.

5. Yi Zhang#, Yingyu Xiao#, Fei Du, Lijuan Cao, Huaijian Dong, Haiyun Ren (2011). Arabidopsis VILLIN4 is involved in root hair growth through regulating actin organization in a Ca2+-dependent manner. New Phytologist, 190: 667-682. (封面文章)

6. Jiaojiao Wang#, Yi Zhang#, Jing Wu, Lei Meng, Haiyun Ren (2013). AtFH16, an Arabidopsis type II formin, binds and bundles both microfilaments and microtubules, and preferentially binds to microtubules. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 55 (11): 1002-1015.

7. Zhanhong Ren, Yan Zhang, Yi Zhang, Yunqiu He, Pingzhou Du, Zhanxin Wang, Fei Sun, Haiyun Ren (2019), Cryo-EM structure of actin filaments from Zea mays pollen. The Plant Cell, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1105/tpc.18.00973.

8. Rene Schneider, Lu Tang, Edwin R. Lampugnani, Sarah Barkwill, Rahul Lathe, Yi Zhang, Heather E. McFarlane, Edouard Pesquet, Totte Niittyla, Shawn D. Mansfield, Yihua Zhou, and Staffan Persson (2017). Two complementary mechanisms underpin cell wall patterning during xylem vessel development. The Plant Cell, 29: 2433–244.

9. Zengyu Liu, Rene Schneider, Christopher Kesten, Yi Zhang, Marc Somssich, Youjun Zhang, Alisdair R. Fernie, Staffan Persson (2016). Cellulose-Microtubule Uncoupling 1 and 2 are necessary to prevent lateral displacement of microtubules during cellulose synthesis in Arabidopsis. Developmental cell, 38: 305-315.

10. Anne Endler#, Christopher Kesten#, René Schneider, Yi Zhang, Alexander Ivakov, Anja Froehlich, Norma Funke, Staffan Persson (2015). A mechanism for sustained cellulose synthesis during salt stress. Cell, 162: 1353-1364.

11. Yu Luo#, Stefan Scholl#, Anett Doering#, Yi Zhang, Niloufer G. Irani, Simone Di Rubbo, Lutz Neumetzler, Praveen Krishnamoorthy, Isabelle Van Houtte, Evelien Mylle, Volker Bischoff, Samantha Vernhettes, Johan Winne, Jiří Friml, York-Dieter Stierhof, Karin Schumacher*, Staffan Persson*, Eugenia Russinova* (2015). V-ATPase activity in the TGN/EE is required for exocytosis and recycling in Arabidopsis. Nature Plants, doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.94.

12. Camila Caldana#*, Yan Li#, Andrea Leisse, Yi Zhang, Lisa Bartholomaeus, Alisdair R. Fernie, Lothar Willmitzer, Patrick Giavalisco* (2013). Systemic analysis of inducible target of rapamycin mutants reveal a general metabolic switch controlling growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal, 73: 897-909.

13. Fei Du, Yi Zhang, Haiyun Ren (2011). The universal bundling activity of AtVLN4 in diffusely growing cells. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 6 (9): 1290-1293.

(# indicates equal contribution and * indicates the corresponding author)


♦ Reviews

1. Yi Zhang, Staffan Persson, Jennifer Hirst, Margaret S. Robinso, Daniel van Damme, Clara Saenchez-Rodriguez (2015). Change your Tplate, change your fate: plant CME and beyond. Trends in Plant Science, 20: 41-48.

2. Yi Zhang, Staffan Persson, Patrick Giavalisco (2013). Differential regulation of carbon partitioning by the central growth regulator Target of Rapamycin (TOR). Molecular Plant, 6 (6): 1731-1733.

3. Zengyu Liu, Staffan Persson, Yi Zhang (2015). The connection of cytoskeletal network with plasma membrane and the cell wall. Journal of Integrative Plant Biology, 57 (4): 330-340. (corresponding author)

4. Weike Pei, Fei Du, Yi Zhang, Tian He, Haiyun Ren (2012). Control of the actin cytoskeleton in root hair development. Plant Science, 187: 10-18.  



Contact Information

No. 19 Xin Jie Kou Wai Street,

Hai Dian District,

College of Life Sciences,

Beijing Normal University,

Beijing 100875,

P. R. China

Tel. : +86-10-58808126

E-mail: yi.zhang@bnu.edu.cn