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

Saijo, Y, Tintor, N, Lu, X, Rauf, P, Pajerowska-Mukhtar, K, Häweker, H, Dong, X, Robatzek, S, and Schulze-Lefert, P. "Receptor quality control in the endoplasmic reticulum for plant innate immunity." The Embo Journal 28, no. 21 (November 2009): 3439-3449. Full Text

Pajerowska-Mukhtar, K, and Dong, X. "A kiss of death--proteasome-mediated membrane fusion and programmed cell death in plant defense against bacterial infection." Genes Dev 23, no. 21 (November 1, 2009): 2449-2454. Full Text

Spoel, SH, Mou, Z, Tada, Y, Spivey, NW, Genschik, P, and Dong, X. "Proteasome-mediated turnover of the transcription coactivator NPR1 plays dual roles in regulating plant immunity." Cell 137, no. 5 (May 2009): 860-872. Full Text

Dong, X, and Kahmann, R. "Battle for survival: plants and their allies and enemies." Current Opinion in Plant Biology 12, no. 4 (2009): 387-389. Full Text

Tada, Y, Spoel, SH, Pajerowska-Mukhtar, K, Mou, Z, Song, J, Wang, C, Zuo, J, and Dong, X. "Plant immunity requires conformational changes [corrected] of NPR1 via S-nitrosylation and thioredoxins." Science (New York, N.Y.) 321, no. 5891 (August 2008): 952-956. Full Text

Spoel, SH, and Dong, X. "Making sense of hormone crosstalk during plant immune responses." Cell Host & Microbe 3, no. 6 (June 2008): 348-351. (Review) Full Text

Spoel, SH, Johnson, JS, and Dong, X. "Regulation of tradeoffs between plant defenses against pathogens with different lifestyles." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104, no. 47 (November 12, 2007): 18842-18847. Full Text

Wang, D, Pajerowska-Mukhtar, K, Culler, AH, and Dong, X. "Salicylic acid inhibits pathogen growth in plants through repression of the auxin signaling pathway." Current Biology : Cb 17, no. 20 (October 4, 2007): 1784-1790. Full Text

Xue, C, Tada, Y, Dong, X, and Heitman, J. "The human fungal pathogen Cryptococcus can complete its sexual cycle during a pathogenic association with plants." Cell Host & Microbe 1, no. 4 (June 2007): 263-273. Full Text