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Research Achievements
 
 

     

        Prof. He Fangliang’s research has proved that the actual rate of species extinction is 40% of past estimate, which has overturned old assumptions about species extinction rate in scientific community. His paper Pecies-area Relationships Always Overestimate Extinction Rates from Habitat Loss was published in Nature in May, 2011, the first academic paper published in the main issue of Nature from Sun Yat-sen University. Nature has held a global telephone video interview for Prof. He Fangliang to release the significant findings, which were reported or reprinted by more than one hundred international and national media including AP, Reuters and Bloomberg.


         Based on RNA-Seq data of technology of the second-generation gene sequencing, Prof. He Xionglei has found the expression of single X chromosome in mammals is half of that of two autosomes, which has denied the universally acknowledged classic Ohno hypothesis of understanding sex chromosomes evolution and overturned the long standing theoretical frame of understanding X chromosome evolution. The significant findings were published in the international top journal Nature Genetics in December 2010.


       The research group, led by Prof. Li Baojian, has made great accomplishments in the“research on efficacious siRNA drug of preventing and curing SARS”, and the research findings were published in international top journal Nature Medicine.


        Based on research on immune system of amphioxi, Prof. Xu Anlong has found that extrinsic apoptotic pathway formed in amphioxi and possessed more elaborate control mechanism than vertebrates. This research achievement has refreshed ideas that this signal path existed in vertebrates and proved the extrinsic apoptotic pathway formed at least one hundred million years earlier. This findings were published in international prestigious journal-subjournal of Science- Science Signaling in September 14th, 2010, and awarded 2010 “Ten Technology Advances in Chinese Universities”.


 

 

 

         Increasing grain yields is a major focus of crop breeders around the world. Here Prof Chen report that overexpression of the rice microRNA (miRNA) OsmiR397, which is naturally highly expressed in young panicles and grains, enlarges grain size and promotes panicle branching, leading to an increase in overall grain yield of up to 25% in a field trial. To our knowledge, no previous report has shown a positive regulatory role of miRNA in the control of plant seed size and grain yield. We determined that OsmiR397 increases grain yield by downregulating its target, OsLAC, whose product is a laccase-like protein that we found to be involved in the sensitivity of plants to brassinosteroids. As miR397 is highly conserved across different species, our results suggest that manipulating miR397 may be useful for increasing grain yield not only in rice but also in other cereal crops.


  

       Both mitochondria, which are metabolic powerhouses, and telomeres, which help maintain genomic stability, have been implicated in cancer and aging. However, the signaling events that connect these two cellular structures remain poorly understood. Here, group of Prof Songyang Zhou report that the canonical telomeric protein TIN2 is also a regulator of metabolism. TIN2 is recruited to telomeres and associates with multiple telomere regulators including TPP1. TPP1 interacts with TIN2 N terminus, which contains overlapping mitochondrial and telomeric targeting sequences, and controls TIN2 localization. We have found that TIN2 is posttranslationally processed in mitochondria and regulates mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. Reducing TIN2 expression by RNAi knockdown inhibited glycolysis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and enhanced ATP levels and oxygen consumption in cancer cells. These results suggest a link between telomeric proteins and metabolic control, providing an additional mechanism by which telomeric proteins regulate cancer and aging.