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 B.S. in Agronomy from Zhejiang Agricultural University (Ningbo) in China, M.S. in Forage Science from the Graduate School, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in China and PhD in Genetics from Iowa State University in USA.  He has developed his research in the field of plant molecular biology before and after joining the University in 2009.

In the past five years, Professor Xia has succeeded in five Research Grants Council grant applications to support his research, including four General Research Fund projects and one Collaborative Research Fund (CRF) project, securing a cumulative sum of more than HK$12 million. He has proactively established multiple collaborative projects at the University and with other institutions. He is currently a Co-Principal Investigator of two Area-of-Excellence projects and has been a Co-Investigator for four CRF projects. Professor Xia has published over 60 research articles and many of them are in prestigious journals such as Nature, PNAS, Plant Cell, EMBO Journal, Nucleic Acids Research, Plant Journal and Plant Physiology, earning a citation count of over 7,000.

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 and decapping, have increasingly been recognized as important mechanisms in controlling gene expression. The NAD cap is a newly discovered RNA cap that is present in some 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 a new method for global-scale identification and characterization of NAD-capped RNAs. Recently, 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, and yeast.


    • RNA capping and decapping
    • RNA modifications
    • Gene regulation
    • Plant immunity
    • Oxidative stress and stress responses

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (*as corresponding author)

Prof. Xia’s publications have been cited over 6,300 times.

    1. 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.
    2. 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,
    3. 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,
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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: 10.1093/nar/gkw988.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
    17. 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.
    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.



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