Xinnian Dong

Arts and Sciences Professor of Biology in the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

4213 French Family Science Center, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-1000
(919) 613-8176
Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model system, my laboratory studies the mechanisms of plant defense against microbial pathogens. We focus on a specific response known as systemic acquired resistance (SAR). SAR, which can be induced by a local infection, provides the plants with long lasting, systemic resistance against a broad spectrum of pathogens. Salicylic acid (SA; an active ingredient of aspirin) has been found to be the endogenous signal of SAR. Using a genetic approach, our laboratory identified genes involved in the regulation of SAR. Molecular and genetic analyses are being carried out to understand the gene function and to elucidate the SAR signaling pathway. These SAR-regulating genes are also favorite targets for molecular engineering of disease-resistance crops.


  • Ph.D., Northwestern University 1988

  • B.S., National Wuhan University 1982

Spoel, SH, and Dong, X. "How do plants achieve immunity? Defence without specialized immune cells." Nature Reviews. Immunology 12, no. 2 (February 2012): 89-100. (Review) Full Text

Pajerowska-Mukhtar, KM, Wang, W, Tada, Y, Oka, N, Tucker, CL, Fonseca, JP, and Dong, X. "The HSF-like transcription factor TBF1 is a major molecular switch for plant growth-to-defense transition." Current Biology : Cb 22, no. 2 (January 12, 2012): 103-112. Full Text

Moreno, AA, Mukhtar, MS, Blanco, F, Boatwright, JL, Moreno, I, Jordan, MR, Chen, Y, Brandizzi, F, Dong, X, Orellana, A, and Pajerowska-Mukhtar, KM. "IRE1/bZIP60-mediated unfolded protein response plays distinct roles in plant immunity and abiotic stress responses." Plos One 7, no. 2 (January 2012): e31944-null. Full Text

Cheng, YT, Li, Y, Huang, S, Huang, Y, Dong, X, Zhang, Y, and Li, X. "Stability of plant immune-receptor resistance proteins is controlled by SKP1-CULLIN1-F-box (SCF)-mediated protein degradation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108, no. 35 (August 22, 2011): 14694-14699. Full Text

Song, J, Durrant, WE, Wang, S, Yan, S, Tan, EH, and Dong, X. "DNA repair proteins are directly involved in regulation of gene expression during plant immune response." Cell Host Microbe 9, no. 2 (February 17, 2011): 115-124. Full Text

Wang, W, Barnaby, JY, Tada, Y, Li, H, Tör, M, Caldelari, D, Lee, D-U, Fu, X-D, and Dong, X. "Timing of plant immune responses by a central circadian regulator." Nature 470, no. 7332 (February 2011): 110-114. Full Text

Caldelari, D, Wang, G, Farmer, EE, and Dong, X. "Arabidopsis lox3 lox4 double mutants are male sterile and defective in global proliferative arrest." Plant Mol Biol 75, no. 1-2 (January 2011): 25-33. Full Text

Caldelari, D, Wang, G, Farmer, EE, and Dong, X. "Inflorescence meristem arrest defects and male infertility in Arabidopsis lox3 lox4 double mutants." Plant Molecular Biology 75 (2011): 25-33. (Academic Article)

Wang, D, and Dong, X. "A highway for war and peace: The secretory pathway in plant-microbe interactions." Molecular Plant 4, no. 4 (2011): 581-587. Full Text

Wang, S, Durrant, WE, Song, J, Spivey, NW, and Dong, X. "Arabidopsis BRCA2 and RAD51 proteins are specifically involved in defense gene transcription during plant immune responses." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 107, no. 52 (December 28, 2010): 22716-22721. Full Text