About us
Research Centers
Key Laboratories
CAS Members
Center for Genome Biology
Molecular Agrobiology
Developmental Biology
Molecular Systems Biology
Agro-Resources Research
International Cooperation
Education & Training
Join Us
Societies & Publications
  Location: Home >> Faculty >> Molecular Agrobiology
  Molecular Agrobiology

Yunhai Li

2003 Ph.D, Genetics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

1999 M.S, Crop Breeding, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences.

1996 B.S, Biology, Henan University.

2003-2008 Postdoctoral fellow, John Innes Centre, UK


Research Interests
The size of determinate plant organs or seeds is coordinately determined by cell proliferation and cell growth. However, the molecular mechanisms that control the final size of seeds and organs are largely unknown, and how plants know their seed and organ size remains unclear in developmental biology. Thus, our lab has applied several complementary approaches to identify key regulators of seed and organ size in the model species rice and Arabidopsis. The major aims of our research are to elucidate molecular mechanisms that control the final size of seeds and organs and improve seed yield in key crops.

Publications (* author for correspondence; # Co-first authors)
Li N, Liu Z, Wang Z, Ru L, Gonzalez N, Baekelandt A, Pauwels L, Goossens A, Xu R, Zu Z, Inzé D, Li Y*.  (2018) STERILE APETALA modulates the stability of a repressor protein complex to control organ size in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genetics. 2018 Feb 5;14(2):e1007218.
Huang K#, Wang D#, Duan P#, Zhang B, Xu R, Li N, Li Y*. (2017) WIDE AND THICK GRAIN 1, which encodes an otubain-like protease with deubiquitination activity, influences grain size and shape in rice. Plant Journal. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13613.
Duan P#, Xu J#, Zeng D, Zhang B, Geng M, Zhang G, Huang K, Huang L, Xu R, Ge S, Qian Q and Li Y*. (2017) Natural variation in the promoter of GSE5 contributes to grain size diversity in rice. Molecular Plant 10(5):685-694. 
Dong H#, Dumenil J#, Lu F#, Li N#., Vanhaeren H, Naumann C, Klecker M, Prior R, Smith C, McKenzie N, Saalbach G, Chen C, Xia T, Gonzalez N, Seguela M, Inze D, Dissmeyer N, Li Y*, Bevan M*. (2017) Ubiquitylation activates a peptidase that promotes cleavage and destabilization of its activating E3 ligases and diverse growth regulatory proteins to limit cell proliferation in Arabidopsis. Genes & Development 15;31(2):197-208. 
Wang J, Tang M, Chen S, Zheng X, Mo H, Li S, Wang Z, Zhu K, Ding L, Liu S, Li Y*, Tan X*. (2017) Down-regulation of BnDA1, whose gene locus is associated with the seeds weight, improves the seeds weight and organ size in Brassica napus.Plant Biotechnology Journal doi: 10.1111/pbi.12696.
Li, N., Li, Y* (2016) Signaling pathways of seed size control in plants. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 33:23-32. (Invited review)
Chen L#., Peng, Y#., Tian, J., Wang, X, Kong, Z, Mao, T, Yuan, M, Li Y* (2016) TCS1, a microtubule-binding protein, interacts with KCBP/ZWICHEL to regulate trichome cell shape in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genetics doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1006266.
Xu, Y#., Jin, W#., Li, N., Zhang, W., Liu, C., Li, C*., Li, Y* (2016) UBIQUITIN-SPECIFIC PROTEASE 14 interacts with ULTRAVIOLET-B INSENSITIVE 4 to regulate endoreduplication and cell and organ growth in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 28(5):1200-1214.
Wang Z., Li N., Jiang S., Gonzalez N., Huang X., Wang Y., Inze D., Li, Y*  (2016) SCFSAP controls organ size by targeting PPD proteins for degradation in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature Communications doi:10.1038/NCOMMS11192.
Fang N, Xu R, Huang L, Zhang B, Duan P, Li N, Luo Y*, Li Y*. (2016) SMALL GRAIN 11 Controls Grain Size, Grain Number and Grain Yield in Rice. Rice 9(1):64.
Duan, P#., Ni, S#., Wang, J#., Zhang, B#., Xu, R., Wang, Y., Chen, H., Zhu, X*., and Li Y* (2015) Regulation of OsGRF4 by OsmiR396 controls grain size and yield in rice. Nature Plants doi: 10.1038/nplants.2015.203. (Cover story)
Zhang, Y., Du, L., Xu, R., Cui, R., Hao, J., Sun, C., and Li Y* (2015) Transcription factors SOD7/NGAL2 and DPA4/NGAL3 act redundantly to regulate seed size by directly repressing KLU expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Cell 27(3):620-32.
Peng, Y#., Chen, L#., Lu, Y., Wu, Y., Dumenil, J., Zhu, Z., Bevan, M., and Li Y* (2015) The ubiquitin receptors DA1, DAR1 and DAR2 redundantly regulate endoreduplication by modulating the stability of TCP14/14 in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 27(3):649-62.
Liu, S., Hua, L., Dong, S., Chen, H., Zhu, X., Jiang, J., Zhang, F., Li, Y., Fang, X., and Chen F (2015) OsMAPK6, a mitogen-activated protein kinase, influences rice grain size and biomass production. Plant Journal. 14. doi: 10.1111/tpj.13025.
Zheng, L*#., Shang, L#., Chen, X., Zhang, L., Xia, Y., Smith, C., Bevan, MW., Li, Y., Jing, HC. (2015) TANG1, Encoding a Symplekin_C Domain-Contained Protein, Influences Sugar Responses in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 168(3):1000-12.
Li, N., and Li, Y., * (2015) Maternal control of seed size in plants. Journal of Experimental Botany 66(4):1087-1097. (Invited review)
Du, L#., Li, N#., Chen, L., Xu, Y., L, Y., Zhang, Y., Li, C., Li, Y*. (2014) The ubiquitin receptor DA1 regulates seed and organ size by modulating the stability of the ubiquitin-specific protease UBP15/SOD2 in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 26(2):665-677.
Li, N., Li, Y*. (2014) Ubiquitin-mediated control of seed size in plants. Frontiers in Plant Science doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00332. (Invited review)
Duan, P#., Rao, Y#., Zeng, D#., Yang, Y., Xu, R., Zhang, B., Dong, G., Qian, Q.*, Li, Y*. (2014SMALL GRAIN 1, which encodes a mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 (MKK4), influences grain size in rice. The Plant Journal 77(4):547-57.
Colas des Francs-Small C, Falcon de Longevialle A, Li Y, Lowe E, Tanz S, Smith C, Bevan M, Small I. (2014) THE PPR PROTEINS TANG2 AND OTP439 ARE INVOLVED IN THE SPLICING OF THE MULTIPARTITE nad5 TRANSCRIPT ENCODING A SUBUNIT OF MITOCHONDRIAL COMPLEX I. Plant Physiology pii: pp.114.244616
Xia T#., Li, N#., Dumenil, J., Li, J., Kamenski, A., Bevan, M., Gao, F., Li, Y*. (2013) The Ubiquitin Receptor DA1 Interacts with the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase DA2 to Regulate Seed and Organ Size in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 25(9):3347-59.
Peng, Y#., Ma, W#., Chen, L., Yang, L., Li, S., Zhao, H., Zhao, Y., Jin, W., Li, N., Bevan, MW., Li, X., Tong, Y*., Li, Y*. (2013)  Control of root meristem size by DA1-related protein 2 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiology 161(3):1542-56.
Peng Y, Chen L, Lu Y, Ma W, Tong Y, Li Y*. (2013) DAR2 acts as an important node connecting cytokinin, auxin, SHY2 and PLT1/2 in root meristem size control. Plant Signal Behav. Mar 21;8(6). doi:pii: e24226.
Fang, W#., Wang, Z#., Cui, R., Li, J., and Li, Y*. (2012) Maternal control of seed size by EOD3/CYP78A6 in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Journal 70(6):929-39.
Li, S#., Liu, Y#., Zheng, L., Chen, L., Li, N., Corke, F., Lu, Y., Fu, X., Zhu, Z., Bevan, M., and Li, Y*. (2012) The plant specific G protein γ subunit AGG3 influences organ size and shape in Arabidopsis thaliana. New Phytologist 194(3):690-703.
Li S, Liu W, Zhang X, Liu Y, Li N, Li, Y*. (2012) Roles of the Arabidopsis G protein γ subunit AGG3 and its rice homologs GS3 and DEP1 in seed and organ size control. Plant Signal Behav. 7(10):1357-9
Xu, R and Li, Y*. (2012). The Mediator complex subunit 8 regulates organ size in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Signal Behav. 7(2):182-3.
Xu, R and Li, Y*. (2011) Control of final organ size by Mediator complex subunit 25 in Arabidopsis thalianaDevelopment 138:4545-4554. 
Before 2010
Li, Y*, Zheng, L., Corke, F., Smith, C., and Bevan, M.W*. (2008) Control of seed and organ size by the DA1 gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genes & Development 22:1331-1336.
Li, Y., Smith, C., Corke, F., Zheng, L., Merali, Z., Ryden, P., Derbyshire, P., Waldron, K., and Bevan, M.W*. (2007) Signaling from an altered cell wall to the nucleus mediates sugar-responsive growth and development in Arabidopsis thaliana. The Plant Cell 19: 2500-2515.
Li, Y., Lee, K.K., Walsh, S., Smith, C., Hadingham, S., Sorefan, K., Cawley, G., and Bevan, M.W*. (2006) Establishing glucose- and ABA-regulated transcription networks in Arabidopsis by microarray analysis and promoter classification using a Relevance Vector Machine. Genome Research 16: 414-427.
Rook F, Hadingham S, Li Y and Bevan MW*. (2006) Sugar and ABA response pathways and the control of gene expression. Plant Cell & Enviroment 29 (3):426-434.
Li, Y#., Sorefan, K#., Hemmann, G#., and Bevan, M.W*. (2004) Arabidopsis NAP and PIR regulate actin-based cell morphogenesis and multiple developmental processes. Plant Physiology 136: 3616-3627.
Li, Y#., Qian, Q#., Zhou, Y#., Yan, M., Sun, L., Zhang, M., Fu, Z., Wang, Y., Han, B., Pang, X., Chen, M., and Li, J*. (2003) BRITTLE CULM1, which encodes a COBRA-like protein, affects the mechanical properties of rice plants. The Plant Cell 15: 2020-2031.