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  Location: Home >> Faculty >> Developmental Biology
  Developmental Biology

Weicai Yang


1984 BSc Lanzhou University, China

1987 MSc Lanzhou University, China

1994 PhD Wageningen University, The Netherlands



1990 PhD Fellowship, European--China PhD Program

1994 Research Fellow, Wageningen University

1996 Research Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA

1996 Research Fellow, The Institute of Molecular Agrobiology,Singapore


Employment History

1987 Teaching Assistant, Department of Biology, Lanzhou University,China

2000 Senior Scientist, The Institute of Molecular Agrobiology,Singapore

2002 Senior Scientist, Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory,Singapore

Research Interests/Areas

Plant development generally

Cell polarity and cell fate during gametogenesis

Functional genomics



1.Higashiyama T, Yang WC. (2017) Gametophytic Pollen Tube Guidance: Attractant Peptides, Gametic Controls, and Receptors. Plant Physiol. 173(1):112-121.
2.Zhou JM, Yang WC.(2016) Receptor-like kinases take center stage in plant biology.Sci China Life Sci. 59(9):863-6.
3.Li H, Yang WC. (2016) RLKs orchestrate the signaling in plant male-female interaction.Sci China Life Sci. 59(9):867-77.
4.Yu TY, Shi DQ, Jia PF, Tang J, Li HJ, Liu J, Yang WC. (2016) The Arabidopsis receptor kinase ZAR1 is required for zygote asymmetric division and its daughter cell fate. PLoS Genet. 25;12(3):e1005933.
5.Wang, T., Liang, L., Xue, Y., Jia, P.F., Chen, W., Zhang, M.X., Wang, Y.C., Li, H.J.* and Yang, W.C.*(2016) A receptor heteromer mediates the male perception of female attractants in plants., Nature, 531:241-244.

6.Li, H.J., Zhu, S.S., Zhang, M.X., Wang, T., Liang, L., Xue, Y., Shi,D.Q., and Liu, J., Yang,W.C.* (2015). Arabidopsis CBP1 Is a Novel Regulator of Transcription Initiation in Central Cell-Mediated Pollen Tube Guidanc.Plant  Cell.2015, 27:2880-2893.

7.Wang, J.Z., Li, H.J., Han, Z.F., Zhang, H.Q., Wang, T., Lin, G.Z., Chang, J.B., Yang, W.C.* and Chai, J.J*. (2015). Allosteric receptor activation by the plant peptide hormone phytosulfokine. Nature 525, 265-268.

8.Yan, L.H., Wei, S.W., Wu, Y.R., Hu, R.L., Li, H.J., Yang, W.C, and Xie, Q. (2015). High-Efficiency Genome Editing in Arabidopsis Using YAO Promoter-Driven CRISPR/Cas9 System. Molecular Plant

9. Chen, L.Y., Shi, D.Q., Zhang, W.J., Tang, Z.S., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2015). The Arabidopsis alkaline ceramidase TOD1 is a key turgor pressure regulator in plant cells. Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms

10. Li, X.R., Li, H.J., Yuan, L., Liu, M., Shi, D.Q., Liu, J., and Yang W.C. (2014). Arabidopsis DAYU/ABERRANT PEROXISOME MORPHOLOGY9 is a key regulator of peroxisome biogenesis and plays critical roles during pollen maturation and germination in planta. Plant Cell. DOI:10.1105/tpc.113.121087

11. Zhu, Y.N., Shi, D.Q., Ruan, M.B., Zhang, L.L., Meng, Z.H., Liu, J., and Yang, WC. (2013). Transcriptome analysis reveals crosstalk of responsive genes to multiple abiotic stresses in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). PLoS ONE 8: e80218.

12. Cheung, A.Y., Palanivelu, R., Tang, W.H., Xue, H.W., and Yang, W.C. (2013). Pollen and Plant Reproduction Biology: Blooming from East to West. Molecular Plant 6: 995–997.

13. Wang, S.Q., Shi, D.Q., Long, Y.P., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2012) GAMETOPHYTE DEFECTIVE 1, a putative subunit of RNases P/MRP, is essential for female gametogenesis and male competence in Arabidopsis. PLoS One 7(4): e33595.

14. Li, H.J. and Yang, W.C. (2012). Emerging role of ER quality control in plant cell signal perception. Protein & Cell 3: 10-16.

15. Zhao, Y.T., Wang, M., Fu, S.X., Yang, W.C., Qi, C.K., and Wang, X.J. (2011). Small RNA profiling in two Brassica napus cultivars identifies microRNAs with oil production and developmental correlated expressions and new small RNA classes. Plant Physiology 158: 813-823.

16. Liu, W., Kohlen, W., Lillo, A., Op den Camp, R., Ivanov, S., Hartog, M., Limpens, E., Jamil, M., Smaczniak, C., Kaufmann, K., Yang, W.C., Hooiveld, G.J.E.J., Charnikhova, T., Bouwmeester, H.J., Bisseling, T., and Geurts, R. (2011). Strigolactone biosynthesis in Medicago truncatula and rice requires the symbiotic GRAS-type transcription factors NSP1 and NSP2. Plant Cell 23: 3853-3865.

17. Li H.J., Xue Y., Jia D.J., Wang T., Shi D.Q., Liu J., Cui F., Xie Q., Ye D., and Yang W.C. (2011). POD1 regulates pollen tube guidance in response to micropylar female signalling and acts in early embryo patterning in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23: 3288–3302.

19. Zhao, P., Shi, D.Q., Yang, W.C. (2011). Patterning the embryo in higher plants: Emerging pathways and challenges. Frontiers in Biology 6: 3-11.

20. Li, H.J., Liu, N.Y., Shi, D.Q., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2010). YAO is a nucleolar WD40-repeat protein critical for embryogenesis and gametogenesis in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biology 10:169.

21. Liu, M., Shi, D.Q., Yuan, L., Liu J., and Yang, W.C. (2010). SLOW WALKER3, encoding a putative DEAD-box RNA helicase, is essential for female gametogenesis in Arabidopsis. J Integrat Plant Biol 52: 817-828.

22. Yang, W.C., Shi, D.Q., and Chen, Y.H. (2010). Female gametophyte development in flowering plants. Annu Rev Plant Biol 61:89–108.

23. Deng, Y., Dong, H., Mu, J., Ren, B., Zheng, B., Ji, Z., Yang, W.C., Liang, Y., and Zuo, J. (2010). Arabidopsis histidine kinase CKI1 acts upstream of HISTIDINE PHOSPHOTRANSFER PROTEINS to regulate female gametophyte development and vegetative growth. Plant Cell 22: 1232–1248.

24. Shi, D.Q. and Yang, W.C. (2009). Pollen germination and tube growth. In Plant Developmental Biology – Biotechnological Perspectives (eds. E.C. Pua and M.R. Davey), Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg. Vol. I, pp245-282.

25. Li, N., Yuan, L., Liu, N., Shi, D., Li, X., Tang, Z., Liu, J., Sundaresan, V., and Yang W.C. (2009). SLOW WALKER2, a NOC1/MAK21 homologue, is essential for coordinated cell cycle progression during female gametophyte development in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 151: 1486-1497.

26. Ruan, M.B., Zhao, Y.T., Meng, Z.H., Wang, X.J., and Yang W.C. (2009). Conserved miRNA analysis in Gossypium hirsutum through small RNA sequencing. Genomics 94: 263-268.

27. Liu, M., Yuan, L., Liu, N.Y., Shi, D.Q., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2009). GAMETOPHYTIC FACTOR1, involved in pre-mRNA splicing, is essential for megagametogenesis and embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. J Integrat Plant Biol 51: 261-271.

28. Liu, N.Y., Zhang, Z.F., and Yang, W.C. (2008). Isolation of embryo-specific mutants in Arabidopsis: Plant transformation. In Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Embryogenesis (ed. M.F. Suarez and P.V. Bozhkov), pp91-100. Humana Press, Totowa, USA.

29. Liu, N.Y., Zhang, Z.F., and Yang, W.C. (2008). Isolation of embryo-specific mutants in Arabidopsis: Genetic and phenotypic analysis. In Methods in Molecular Biology: Plant Embryogenesis (ed. M.F. Suarez and P.V. Bozhkov), pp101-109. Humana Press, Totowa, USA.

30. Pu, L., Li, Q., Fan, X.P., Yang, W.C., Xue, Y.B. (2008). A R2R3 MYB transcription factor GhMYB109 is required for cotton fiber development. Genetics 180:811-820.

31. Wang, F., Shi, D.Q., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2008). Novel nuclear protein ALC-INTERACTING PROTEIN1 is expressed in vascular and mesocarp cells in Arabidopsis. J Integrat Plant Biol 50: 918-927.

32. Liu, J., Zhang, Y., Qin, G., Tsuge, T., Sakaguchi, N., Luo, G., Sun, K., Shi, D., Aki, S., Zheng, N., Aoyama, T., Oka, A., Yang, W.C., Umeda, M., Xie, Q., Gu, H., and Qu L.J. (2008). Targeted degradation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor ICK4/KRP6 by RING-type E3 ligases is essential for mitotic cell cycle progression during Arabidopsis gametogenesis. Plant Cell 20: 1538-1554.

33. Chen, Y.H., and Li, H.J., Shi, D.Q., Yuan, L., Liu, J., Sreenivasan, R., Baskar, R., Grossniklaus, U., and Yang, W.C. (2007). The central cell plays a critical role for pollen tube guidance in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 19: 3563-3577.

34. Escobar-Restrepo, J.M., Huck, N., Kessler, S., Gagliardini, V., Gheyselinck, J., Yang, W.C., and Grossniklaus, U. (2007). The FERONIA receptor-like kinase mediates male-female interactions during pollen tube reception. Science 317: 656-660.

35. Meng, Z.H., Liang, A.H., and Yang, W.C. (2007). Effects of hygromycin on cotton cultures and its application in Agrobacterium-mediated cotton transformation. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol-Plant 43: 111-118.

36. Song, X.F., Yang, C.Y., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2006). RPA, a Class II ARFGAP protein, activates ARF1 and U5 and plays a role in root hair development in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 141: 966-976.

37. Ding, Y.H., Liu, N.Y., Tang, Z.S., Liu, J., and Yang, W.C. (2006). Arabidopsis GLUTAMINE-RICH PROTEIN23 is essential for early embryogenesis and encodes a novel nuclear PPR motif protein that interacts with RNA polymerase II subunit III. Plant Cell 18: 815-830.

38. Chen, Y.H., Wu, X.M., Ling, H.Q., and Yang, W.C. (2006). Transgenic expression of DwMYB2 impairs iron transport from root to shoot in Arabidopsis thaliana. Cell Research 16: 830-840.

39. Yang, W.C. (2005). Female gametophyte development, In Handbook of Seed Science and Technology (ed. Basra, A.S.), pp.27-62. The Haworth Press, Inc. New York.

40. Yang, S.L., Jiang, L., Puah, C.S., Xie, L.F., Zhang, X.Q., Chen, L.Q., Yang, W.C., and Ye, D. (2005). Overexpression of TAPETUM ETERMINANT1 alters the cell fates in the Arabidopsis carpel and tapetum via genetic interaction with EXCESS MICROSPOROCYTES1/EXTRA SPOROGENOUS CELLS. Plant Physiology 139:186-191.

41. Shi, D.Q., Liu, J., Xiang, Y.H., Ye, D., Sundaresan, V., and Yang, W.C. (2005). SLOW WALKER1, essential for gametogenesis in Arabidopsis, encodes a WD40 protein involved in 18S ribosomal RNA biogenesis. Plant Cell 17: 2340-2354.

42. Li, X.B., Fan, X.P., Wang, X.L., Cai, L., and Yang, W.C. (2005). The cotton ACTIN1 gene is functionally expressed in fibers and participates in fiber elongation. Plant Cell 17: 859-875.

43. Jiang, J., Yang, S.L., Xie, L.F., Puah, C.S., Zhang, X.Q., Yang, W.C., Sundaresan, V., and Ye, D. (2005). VANGUARD1 encodes a pectin methylesterase that enhances pollen tube growth in the Arabidopsis style and transmitting tract. Plant Cell 17: 584-596.

44. Rotman, N., Durbarry, A., Wardle, A., Yang, W.C., Chaboud, A., Faure, J.-F., Berger, F., and Twell, D. (2005). A novel class of MYB factors controls sperm-cell formation in plants. Current Biology 15: 244-248.

45. Yang, S.L., Xie, L.F., Mao, H.Z., Puah, C.S., Yang, W.C., Lixi Jiang, L.X., Sundaresan, V., and Ye, D. (2003). The TAPETUM DETERMINANT 1 gene is required for cell specialization in the Arabidopsis anther. Plant Cell 15: 2792-2804.

46. Wu, X.M. Lim, S.H., and Yang, W.C. (2003). Characterization, expression and phylogenetic study of R2R3-MYB genes in orchid. Plant Mol Biol 51: 959-972.

47. Compaan, B., Yang. W.C., Bisseling, T., and Franssen, H. (2001). ENOD40 expression in the pericycle precedes cortical cell division in Rhizobium-legume interaction and the highly conserved internal region of the gene does not encode a peptide. Plant & Soil 230: 1-8.

48. Yang, W.C., and Sundaresan, V. (2000). Genetics of gametophyte biogenesis in Arabidopsis. Curr Opin Plant Biol 3: 53-57.

49. Yang, W.C., Ye, D., Xu, J., and Sundaresan, V. (1999). The SPOROCYTELESS gene of Arabidopsis is required for sporogenesis and encodes a novel protein. Genes & Development 13: 2108-2117.

50. Yang, W.C. (1999). Molecular mechanism of root nodule formation. In Molecular Mechanisms of Plant Development (ed. Z.H. Xu and C.M. Liu) (in Chinese). Science Press, Beijing, China.

51. Kumaran, M., Ye, D., Yang, W.C., and Sundaresan, V. (1999). Molecular cloning of abnormal floral organs: a gene required for flower development in Arabidopsis. Sex Plant Reprod 12: 118-122.

52. Parinov, S., Sevugan, M., Ye, D., Yang, W.C., Kumaran, M., and Sundaresan, V. (1999). Analysis of flanking sequences from Dissociation insertion lines: a database for reverse genetics in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 11: 1-9.

53. Heidstra, R., Yang, W.C., Yalcin, Y., Peck, S., Emons, A., Van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1997). Ethylene provides positional information on cortical cell division but is not involved in Nod factor-induced root hair tip growth in Rhizobium-legume interaction. Development 124: 1781-1787.

54. Meskiene, I., Yang, W.C., De Blank, C., Bogre, L., Zwerger, K., Brandstotter, M., Mattauch, M., Bisseling, T., and Hirt, H. (1996). Cell cycle regulation during nodule development. In Biological Fixation of Nitrogen for Ecology and Sustainable Agriculture/NATO ASI series, Series G, Ecological Sciences, 39:63-65.

55. Christiansen, H., Hansen, A.C., Vijn, I., Pallisgaard, N., Larsen, K., Yang W.C., Bisseling, T., Marcker, K.A., and Jensen, E.O. (1996). A novel type of DNA-binding protein interacts with a conserved sequence in an early nodulin ENOD12 promoter. Plant Mol Biol 32: 809-821.

56. Vijn, I., Yang W.C., Pallisgaard, N., Ostergaard Jensen, E., van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1995). VsENOD5, VsENOD12 and VsENOD40 expression during Rhizobium-induced nodule formation on Vicia sativa roots. Plant Mol Biol 28: 1111-1119.

57. Vijn, I., Martinez-Abarca, F., Yang, W.C., das neves, L., van Brussel, A., van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1995). Early nodulin gene expression during Nod factor-induced processes in Vicia sativa. Plant Journal 8: 111-119.

58. Bialek, U., Skorupska, A., Yang, W.C., Bisseling, T., and Van Lammeren, A.A.M. (1995). Disturbed gene expression and bacteroid development in Trifolium pratense root nodules induced by a Tn5 mutant of Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. trifolii defective in exopolysaccharide synthesis. Planta 197: 184-192.

59. Brito, B., Palacios, J.M., Imperial, J., Ruiz-Argueso, T., Yang, W.C., Bisseling, T., Schmidt, H., Kerl, V., Bauer, T., Kokotek, W., and Lotz, W. (1995). Temporal and spatial co-expression of hydrogenase and nitrogenase genes from Rhizobium leguminosarum bv. viciae in pea (Pisum sativum L.) root nodules. Mol Plant-Micobe Interact 8: 235-240.

60. Mylona, P., Moerman, M., Yang, W.C., Gloudemans, T., De Kerkhove, J., Van Kammen, A., Bisseling, T., and Franssen, H.J. (1994). The root epidermis specific pea gene RH2 is homologous to a pathogen related gene. Plant Mol Biol 26: 39-50.

61. Matvieko, M., Van de Sande, Yang, W.C., K., Van Kammen, A., Bisseling, T., and Franssen, H. (1994). Comparison of soybean and pea ENOD40 cDNA clones representing genes expressed during both early and late stages of nodule development. Plant Mol Biol 26: 487-493.

62. Yang, W.C., De Blank, C., Meskiene, I., Hirt, H., Bakker, J., Van Kammen, A., Franssen, H., and Bisseling, T. (1994). Rhizobium nod factors reactivate the cell cycle during infection and nodule primordium formation, but the cycle is only completed in primordium formation. Plant Cell 6: 1415-1426.

63. De Maagd, R.A., Yang, W.C., Goosen-de Roo, L., Mulders, I.H.M., Roest, H.P., Spaink, H.P., Bisseling, T., and Lugtenberg, B.J.J. (1994). Down-regulation of expression of the Rhizobium leguminosarum outer membrane protein gene ropA occurs abruptly in interzone II-III of pea nodules and can be uncoupled from nif gene activation. Mol Plant-Microbe Interact 7: 276-281.

64. Kardailsky, I., Yang, W.C., Zalensky, A., Van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1993). The pea late nodulin gene PsNOD6 is homologous to the early nodulin genes PsENOD3/14 and is expressed after the leghaemoglobin genes. Plant Mol Biol 23: 1029-1037.

65. Franssen, H., Yang, W.C., Katinakis, P. and Bisseling, T. (1993). Characterization of GmENOD40, a gene expressed in soybean nodule primordia. Curr Plant Sci Biotechnol Agric 17: 275-284.

66. Yang, W.C., Katinakis, P., Hendriks, P., Smolders, A., De Vries, F., Spee, J., Van Kammen, A., Bisseling, T., and Franssen, H. (1993). Characterization of GmENOD40, a gene showing novel patterns of cell-specific expression during soybean nodule development. Plant Journal 3: 573-585.

67. Yang, W.C., and Bisseling, T. (1993). Nodulin gene expression during pea nodule development. In Current Developments in Soybean-Rhizobium Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation (ed. X. Dou). Heilongjiang Science & Technology Publishing House, Harbin, China, pp55-62.

68. De Blank, C., Mylona, P., Yang, W.C., Katinakis, P., Bisseling, T., and Franssen, H. (1993). Characterization of the soybean early nodulin cDNA clone GmENOD55. Plant Mol Biol 22: 1167-1171.

69. Franssen, H., Heidstra, R., Geurts, R., Horvath, B., Moerman, M., Yang, W.C., Vijn, I., and Bisseling, T. (1993). Nodulin genes as molecular markers to study Rhizobium nod factor activity. Plant Signals in Interactions with Other Organisms (Penn. State Symposium in Plant Physiology: Current Topics in Plant Physiology), 11:164-170.

70. Yang, W.C., Canter Cremers, H.C.J., Hogendijk, P., Katinakis, P., Wijffelman, C.A., Franssen, H., Van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1992). In-situ localization of chalcone synthase mRNA in pea root nodule development. Plant Journal 2: 143-151.

71. Franssen, H., Vijn, I., Yang, W.C., and Bisseling, T. (1992). Developmental aspects of the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis. Plant Mol Biol 19: 89-107.

72. Yang, W.C., Horvath, B., Hontelez, J., Van Kammen, A., and Bisseling, T. (1991). In situ localization of Rhizobium mRNAs in pea root nodules: nifA and nifH localization. Mol Plant-Microbe Interact 4: 464-468.

73. Franssen, H., Scheres, B., Van De Wiel, C., Horvath, B., Moerman, M., Yang, W.C., Govers, F., and Bisseling, T. (1990). Nodulins and nodule development. In Nitrogen Fixation: Achievements and Objectives (ed. P.M. Gresshoff). P709-712.