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Tao Xu, Ph.D, Prof.

Principal Investigator
National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, IBP
To identify key proteins and regulatory mechanisms involved in the docking, priming and fusion of different secretary vesicles; To develop novel super-resolution imaging tools in combination with spectroscopic, biophysical and electron microscopy techniques.
Fax:010-64871293,Zip code:100101

Biography & Introduction 


1988-1992     B.S. in Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

1992-1996     Ph.D. in Physics, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

1996-1999     Postdoctoral Fellow, Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Germany

1999-2000     Senior Fellow, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Washington, USA

2000-2003     Professor, Institute of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China

2003-            Professor, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China


1997-1999     Max-Planck-Institute Fellowship

2000             Cheung Kong Scholars, China

2001/2002  Li Foundation Heritage Prize, USA

2004     Expert entitled to Government Special Allowance

2004             Young expert with outstanding contributions

2006             The 10th May 4th Youth Medal, China

2007             Young Affiliate, TWAS

2008             National Natural Science Award (the Second Class), China

Membership in Academies & Societies 

2008-    Editorial Board Vice-Chair, Biochemical Journal

2007-    Editorial Board Member, Journal of Biological Chemistry

2006-2010  Associate Chairman, the Biophysical Society of China     

2006-2010  Chairman, Membrane and Cellular Biophysics Committee of the Biophysical Society of China       

2004-    Invited Editor, Chinese Science Bulletin

Research Interests 

Our studies focus on two aspects: one is to identify key proteins and regulatory mechanisms involved in the docking, priming and fusion of different secretary vesicles, particularly large dense-core vesicles (DCVs) and GLUT4 storage vesicles (GSVs). The other is to develop novel super-resolution imaging tools, in combination with spectroscopic, biophysical and electron microscopy techniques.

1. We maintain our focus on regulated exocytosis involved in blood glucose regulation, trying to elucidate the key molecular events involved in insulin release. We are now approaching this goal in a systematical way by combining a variety of techniques taken from different scientific fields and assessing protein function from molecule to system level. For example, by constructing protein mutants and RNA interference, we explore roles of multiple proteins in distinct exocytotic processes; then we combine techniques like optical imaging, electrophysiology and biological chemistry to study the co-localization, function and interaction of these proteins at cellular level; in the end, we employ gene knockout and transgenetic animals to study the function of certain protein at system level.

2. Another direction is to develop new methods to improve the performance of currently used diffraction-unlimited microscopy especially in spatial resolution, temporal resolution and labeling technology. We are generating novel algorithms for super-resolution microscopy with higher resolution and accuracy. We are also developing instruments for near-molecular resolution optical microscopy, capable of imaging intracellular proteins with nanometer resolution and determining the static structural relationship between two or more proteins of interest at the molecular level.

Selected Publications 

1) Junjie Hou, Zonghong Li, Wen Zhong, Qiang Hao, Lei Lei, Linlin Wang, Dongyu Zhao, Pingyong Xu, Yifa Zhou, You Wang*, and Tao Xu*.Temporal Transcriptomic and Proteomic Landscapes of Deteriorating Pancreatic Islets in Type 2 Diabetic Rats. Diabetes. 2017, 66: 2188-2200

2) Wen Du, Maoge Zhou, Wei Zhao, Dongwan Cheng, Lifen Wang, Jingze Lu, Eli Song, Wei Feng, Yanhong Xue*, Pingyong Xu*, Tao Xu*. HID-1 is required for homotypic fusion of immature secretory granules during maturation. Elife. 2016 Online.

3) Xi Lan, Chunyan Fan, Wei Ji, Fuyun Tian, Tao Xu*, Zhaobing Gao*. Grafting voltage and pharmacological sensitivity inpotassium channels. Cell Research. 2016:1-11.

4) Bei Liu, Yanhong Xue, Wei Zhao, Yan Chen, Chunyan Fan, Lusheng Gu, Yongdeng Zhang, Xiang Zhang, Lei Sun, Xiaojun Huang, Wei Ding, Fei Sun,Wei Ji* and Tao Xu*. Three-dimensional super-resolution protein localization correlated with vitrified cellular context. Scientific Reports. 2015, 5:13017-13028.

5) Xiaoyu Yang, Shen Wang, Yi Sheng, Mingshu Zhang, Wenjuan Zou, Lijie Wu, Lijun Kang, Josep Rizo, Rongguang Zhang, Tao Xu* & Cong Ma*. Syntaxin Opening by the MUN Domain Underlies the Function of Munc13 in Synaptic Vesicle Priming. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology. 2015, 22(7) : 547-554.

6) Sanyou Chen, Lei Li, Jiangli Li, Bei Liu, Xinyu Zhu, Li Zheng, Rongying Zhang*, Tao Xu*. SEC-10 and RAB-10 coordinate basolateral recycling of clathrin-independent cargo through endosomal tubules in C. elegans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2014,111(43): 15432–15437.

7) Mingshu Zhang, Hao Chang, Yongdeng Zhang, Junwei Yu, Lijie Wu, Wei Ji , Juanjuan Chen, Bei Liu, Jingze Lu, Yingfang Liu, Junlong Zhang, Pingyong Xu*, Tao Xu*. Rational design of true monomeric and bright photoactivatable fluorescent proteins. Nature Methods. 2012, 9(7): 727-729.

8) Hao Chang, Mingshu Zhang, Wei Ji, Juanjuan Chen, Yongdeng Zhang, Bei Liu, Jingze Lu, Junlong Zhang, Pingyong Xu *, Tao Xu*. A unique series of reversibly switchable fluorescent proteins with beneficial properties for various applications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA. 2012, 109(12):4455-4460.

9) Zhaoyu Li, Yidong Li, Yalan Yi, Wenming Huang, Song Yang, Weipin Niu, Li Zhang, Zijing Xu, Anlian Qu, Zhengxing Wu* & Tao Xu*. Dissecting a central flip-flop circuit that integrates contradictory sensory cues in C. elegans feeding regulation. Nature Communications. 2012, 3: 776-784.

10) Zhengzheng Li, Lin Liu, Yongqiang Deng, Wei Ji, Wen Du, Pingyong Xu, Liangyi Chen, Tao Xu*. Graded activation of CRAC channel by binding of different numbers of STIM1 to Orai1 subunits. Cell Research. 2011, 21: 305-315.


From Tao Xu, 2018-02-11 update


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Institute of Biophysics, CAS    Address: 15 Datun Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing, 100101, China
Tel:8610-64889872    Fax: 8610-64871293    E-mail: office@ibp.ac.cn