News & Events
Leveraging biochemical tools for understanding c-di-GMP signalling and discovering microbial natural products
Speaker(s): A/Prof. Liang Zhao-Xun, School of Biological Sciences, College of Science, Nanyang Technological University
When: 15 December 2017 (3:00 - 4:00pm)
Where: SCELSE, B3 Meeting Room 2
Type: Seminars


In this talk, I will briefly introduce the two ongoing research projects in my lab in the School of Biological Sciences of NTU. C-di-GMP has emerged as a prominent bacterial messenger that controls a wide range of cellular functions and multicellular behaviours. One of the most intriguing observations is that c-di-GMP signalling networks often consist of a large number of c-di-GMP metabolising enzymes and binding effectors. By focusing on c-di-GMP-degrading phosphodiesterases and c-di-GMP-binding PilZ proteins, I will demonstrate that the complexity of c-di-GMP signalling network is underpinned by functionally diverse and pathway-specific c-di-GMP signalling proteins generated by divergent protein evolution. We recently embarked on a new research project that aims to discover novel microbial enzymes and secondary metabolites. In this project, we take a genome-guided approach to identify novel biosynthetic pathways in indigenous Actinomycetes by leveraging our experience in biosynthetic mechanism. We also employ genome-editing tools to activate silent or cryptic biosynthetic pathways, or use synthetic biology tools to assemble the biosynthetic gene clusters de novo in heterologous hosts.


Liang Zhao-Xun studied organic chemistry at Lanzhou University in China (B.S. & M.S., 1997). He studied the interaction between heme proteins at Northwestern University under the supervision of Brian Hoffman (Ph.D., 2002). After working with Judith Klinman on enzyme mechanism as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley, he joined the School of Biological Sciences of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) as an assistant professor in 2005. He is currently an associate professor and his lab is interested in identifying new protein targets for treating bacterial biofilm infections and discovering novel microbial natural products by using a genome-guided approach.