PROF. XIA, Yiji (夏亦薺)

Chair Professor
Ph.D. (Iowa State University)
M.Sc. (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)
B.Sc. (Hons.) (Zhejiang Agricultural University, Ningbo)


Professor Yiji Xia obtained his PhD in Genetics in 1997 from Iowa State University. He was a Principal Investigator at Danforth Plant Science Center (St. Louis, USA) from 2001-2009 before joining HKBU. Professor Xia obtained research grants from US National Institute of Health, National Science Foundation, and Environmental Protection Agency while working in USA. Since joining HKBU in 2009, Professor Xia has succeeded in 12 grants from Research Grants Council of Hong Kong to support his research, including 10 GRF projects and two Collaborative Research Fund (CRF-group) projects, securing a cumulative sum of more than HK$25 million. In addition, he has established extensive collaboration at the University and with other institutions and was/is a Co-Investigator of two Area-of-Excellence projects and four CRF projects. Professor Xia has published over 60 research articles in Nature, PNAS, Plant Cell, EMBO Journal, Nucleic Acids Research, and other journals, earning a citation count of over 7,300.

The main research focus of Xia laboratory is on understanding molecular mechanisms that sense environmental changes and regulate gene expression. In recent years, RNA modifications, such as RNA capping, have increasingly been recognized as important mechanisms in controlling gene expression. The NAD cap is a newly discovered RNA cap that is present in many RNAs in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. However, the mechanisms of NAD capping and decapping and the molecular and physiological functions of the NAD cap remain largely unknown. Xia laboratory has developed new methods for global-scale identification and characterization of NAD-capped RNAs, and has recently published three papers in PNAS on study of NAD-capped RNAs. The Xia team is using molecular biology, genetics, biochemical, and functional genomics approaches to reveal the mechanisms of gene regulation by RNA modifications in Arabidopsis, E. coli, yeast, and human cells.


    • Gene regulation
    • RNA modifications
    • Stress responses

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (*Y Xia as a corresponding/co-corresponding author)

  1. H Zhang, H Zhong, X Wang, S Zhang, X Shao, H Hu, Z Yu, Z Cai, X Chen and Y Xia*(2021) Use of NAD tagSeq II to identify growth-phase dependent alterations in coli NAD-capping. PNAS, in press.
  2. H Hu, N Flynn, H Zhang, C You, R Hang, X Wang, H Zhong, Z Chan, Y Xia*, and X Chen(2021) SPAAC-NAD-seq, a sensitive and accurate method to profile NAD+-capped transcripts. PNAS, in press.
  3. X Shao, H Zhang, Z Yang, H Zhong, Y Xia*, and Z Cai (2020) NAD tagSeq for transcriptome-wide identification and characterization of NAD+-capped RNAs. Nature Protocols, 15:2813–2836.
  4. Zhang H, Zhong H, Zhang S, Shao X, Ni M, Cai Z, Chen X, Xia Y* (2019) NAD tagSeq reveals that NAD+-capped RNAs are mostly produced from a large number of protein-coding genes in Arabidopsis. PNAS,
  5. Wang Y, Li S, Zhao Y, You C, Le B, Gong Z, Mo B, Xia Y, Chen X (2019) NAD+-capped RNAs are widespread in the Arabidopsis transcriptome and can probably be translated. PNAS,
  6. Li Y, Liu W, Zhong H, Zhang H, Xia Y* (2019) Redox-sensitive bZIP68 plays a role in balancing stress tolerance with growth in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal, doi: 10.1111/tpj.14476.
  7. Pan S, Li K, Huang W, Zhong H, Wu H, Wang Y, Zhang H, Cai Z, Guo H, Chen X, Xia Y* (2019) Arabidopsis DXO1 possesses deNADding and exonuclease activities and its mutation affects defense-related and photosynthetic gene expression. J Integr Plant Biol. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12867.
  8. Zhang S, Zhang H, Xia Y*, Xiong L (2018) The caseinolytic protease complex component CLPC1 in Arabidopsis maintains proteome and RNA homeostasis in chloroplasts. BMC Plant Biology, 18:192.
  9. Wang Y, Wu Y, Yu B, Yin Z, Xia Y* (2017) XLGs interact with AtPUB4 and AtPUB2 and function in multiple plant developmental processes. Plant Physiology, 173(2):1235–1246.
  10. Guan G, Yan B, Hua J, Thieme C, Zhu H, Zhao Z, Kragler F, Xia Y*, Zhang S (2016) PlaMoM: A comprehensive database compiles plant mobile macromolecules. Nuclear Acid Research, doi: 1093/nar/gkw988.
  11. Zhao P, Liu P, Shao J, Li C, Wang B, Guo X, Yan B, Xia Y*, Peng M (2015) Analysis of different strategies adapted by two cassava cultivars in response to drought stress: Ensuring survival or continuing growth. Journal of Experimental Botany, 66(5): 1477-1488.
  12. Liu P, Zhang H, Wang H, Xia Y* (2014) Identification of redox-sensitive cysteines in the Arabidopsis proteome using OxiTRAQ, a quantitative redox proteomics method. Proteomics, 6:750-762.
  13. Wang H, Lu Y, Jiang T, Berg H, Li C, Xia Y* (2013) The Arabidopsis U-box/ARM repeat E3 ligase AtPUB4 influences growth and degeneration of tapetal cells and its mutation leads to conditional male sterility. Plant Journal, 74:511–523.
  14. Wang H, Lu Y, Liu P, Wen W, Zhang J, Ge X, Xia Y* (2013) The ammonium/nitrate ratio is an input signal in the temperature-modulated, SNC1-mediated and EDS1- dependent autoimmunity of nudt6-2 nudt7. Plant Journal, 73:262-275.
  15. Li C, Shao J, Wang Y, Li W, Guo D, Yan B, Xia Y*, Peng M (2013) Analysis of banana transcriptome and global gene expression profiles in banana roots in response to infection by race 1 and tropical race 4 of Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cubense. BMC genomics 14 (1), 851.
  16. Wang H, Wang S, Lu Y, Alvarez S, Hicks L, Ge X, Xia Y* (2012) Proteomic Analysis of Early-Responsive Redox-Sensitive Proteins in Arabidopsis. Journal of Proteome Research, 11:412-424.
  17. Lu Y, Li C, Wang H, Chen H, Berg H, Xia Y* (2011) AtPPR2, an Arabidopsis pentatricopeptide repeat protein, binds to plastid 23S rRNA and plays an important role in the first mitotic division during gametogenesis and in cell proliferation during embryogenesis. Plant Journal 67:13-25.
  18. Xie YD , Li W , Guo D , Dong J , Zhang J, Fu Y, Ren D, Peng M, Xia Y* (2010) The Arabidopsis gene SIGMA FACTOR-BINDING PROTEIN 1 plays a role in the salicylate- and jasmonate-mediated defence responses. Plant, Cell & Environment 33:828-839.
  19. Zhu H, Li G, Ding L, Berg H, Cui X, Assmann S, Xia Y*. (2009) Arabidopsis Extra Large G Protein 2 (XLG2) interacts with the G subunit of heterotrimeric G protein and functions in disease resistance. Molecular Plant 2: 513-525.
  20. Ge X, Li G, Wang S, Zhu H, Zhu T, Wang X, Xia Y* (2007) AtNUDT7, a negative regulator of basal immunity in Arabidopsis, modulates two distinct defense response pathways and is involved in maintaining redox homeostasis. Plant Physiology, 145:204-215.
  21. Ge X, Dietrich C, Matsuno M, Li G, Berg H, Xia Y* (2005) An Arabidopsis aspartic protease functions as an anti-cell death component in reproduction and embryogenesis. EMBO Reports, 6:282-288.
  22. Xia Y*, Suzuki H, Borevitz J, Blount J, Guo Z, Dixon R, and Lamb C (2004) An extracellular aspartic protease in Arabidopsis functions in disease resistance signaling. EMBO Journal, 23:980-988.
  23. Borevitz# J, Xia# Y, Blount J, Dixon R, C Lamb. (2000) Activation tagging identifies a conserved MYB regulator of phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. Plant Cell 12, 2383-2394. #Co-first authors.
  24. Delledonne# M, Y Xia#, R Dixon and C Lamb (1998) Nitric oxide functions as a signal in plant disease resistance. Nature, 394:585-588. #Co-first authors.
  25. Xia Y, BJ Nikolau, PS Schnable (1996) Cloning and characterization of CER2, an Arabidopsis gene that affects cuticular wax accumulation. Plant Cell, 8:1291-1304.


Positions Open for Application:

Xia Laboratory is recruiting postdoc/research assistant/PhD students to study gene regulation mediated by NAD-capped RNAs in plants, animals, and microorganisms. Successful candidates should have a strong training in molecular biology, biological chemistry, or bioinformatics. Prior experience in gene regulation and genome-wide analysis, protein biochemistry, or cancer biology is desirable. Interested candidates should forward CV and a short description of research experience and interest to


Yiji Xia, Professor
Department of Biology
Office: T717
Office Tel: (+852) 3411 7052