Contact Information

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BIO)

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
4301 Jones Bridge Road, C1094
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Office: (301) 295-0000
Fax: (301) 295-3512
Lab: (301) 295-3571

PubMed listing

Xin Xiang, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Xin Xiang


  • B.S. & M.S. Department of Biology, Peking University, Beijing, P. R. China
  • Ph.D. Department of Biochemistry, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Post-doctoral research: Department of Pharmacology, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey

Research interests

Intracellular transport of various cellular materials is an essential activity of eukaryotic cells and long-distance cargo transport is especially important in elongated cells such as neurons. In neurons, the minus-end-directed microtubule motor cytoplasmic dynein powers retrograde movement of early endosomes that carry signaling molecules to the nucleus, which is crucial for neuronal survival. Mutations in the dynein-interacting complex, dynactin, cause the devastating neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As a subproject of the Neuroplasticity group within the Center of Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) at USUHS, we will investigate the role of dynein in neuronal regeneration upon injury of the central nervous system by using a mouse injury model.

To study the mechanism of dynein-early-endosome interaction, we will use Aspergillus nidulans, a filamentous fungus, as a genetic model system. The power of A. nidulans genetics has had a great impact on the understanding of neuronal dynein regulation by linking NUDF, a homolog of the human brain disease protein LIS1 (lissencephaly 1) to the dynein pathway through a genetic analysis of the fungal nuclear distribution (nud) mutants. We have developed methods for visualizing dynein and dynactin in vivo and for purifying the dynein and dynactin complexes in A. nidulans, and we have been using a combination of genetic, live-cell imaging and biochemical approaches to determine the specific roles of proteins and/or specific domains of proteins in the dynein pathway. In elongated hyphae of filamentous fungi, dynein, dynactin and NUDF/LIS1 all accumulate at the dynamic microtubule plus ends near the hyphal tip, where dynein may interact with early endosomes for their minus-end-directed transport. Our previous studies have revealed that kinesin-1 and the dynactin complex are important for the plus-end accumulation of dynein, and our recent studies suggest that the dynactin complex is also important for linking plus-end dynein to early endosomes. We are currently focusing on the p25 protein of the dynactin complex to determine its role in dynein-early-endosome interaction. Based on the phenotype of the p25 deletion mutant, we have developed a classic genetic strategy well suited for identifying other novel bridging factors and/or regulators involved in linking dynein to early endosomes in vivo.

Current lab members

Jun Zhang Rongde Qiu Xuanli Yao

Jun Zhang
Research Assistant Professor
B.S. Shanghai Medical University
Ph.D. Beijing Medical University

Rongde Qiu
Research Associate
B.S. Fudan University
M.S. Institute of Biochemistry
& Cell Biology, SIBS, CAS

Xuanli (Lia) Yao
Research Fellow
B.S. Nanjing University
Ph.D. Ohio State University

Selected Recent Publications

Research Articles (* co-first or co-corresponding authors):

  1. Yao, X., Wang, X., Xiang, X. (2014) FHIP and FTS proteins are critical for dynein-mediated transport of early endosomes in Aspergillus. Mol. Biol. Cell. May 28. pii: mbc.E14-04-0873. [Epub ahead of print]
  2. Zhang, J*., Qiu, R*., Arst, H.N. Jr, Peñalva, M.A., Xiang, X. (2014) HookA is a novel dynein-early endosome linker critical for cargo movement in vivo. J. Cell Biol. 204, 1009-1026.
  3. Zhang, J., Twelvetrees, A.E., Lazarus, J.E., Blasier, K.R., Yao, X., Inamdar, N.A., Holzbaur, E.L.F.*, Pfister, K.K.*, Xiang, X.* (2013) Establishing a novel knock-in mouse line for studying neuronal cytoplasmic dynein under normal and pathologic conditions. Cytoskeleton. 70, 215-227.
  4. Qiu, R., Zhang, J., Xiang, X. (2013) Identification of a novel site in the tail of dynein heavy chain important for dynein function in vivo. J. Biol. Chem. 288, 2271-2280.
  5. Yao, X., Zhang, J., Zhou, H., Wang, E., Xiang, X. (2012) In vivo roles of the basic domain of dynactin p150 in microtubule plus-end tracking and dynein function. Traffic 13, 375-387.
  6. Zhang, J.*, Yao, X.*, Fischer, L. Abenza J. F., Peñalva. M. A., Xiang, X. (2011) The p25 subunit of the dynactin complex is required for dynein-early endosome interaction. J. Cell Biol. 193, 1245-1255.
  7. Zhang, J., Tan, K., Wu, X., Chen, G., Sun, J., Reck-Peterson, S., Hammer, J.A. III*, Xiang, X.* (2011) Aspergillus myosin-V supports polarized growth in the absence of microtubule-based transport. PLoS ONE, 6(12):e28575. Epub 2011 Dec 14.
  8. Zhang, J., Zhuang, L., Lee, Y. Abenza J. F., Peñalva. M. A., Xiang, X. (2010) The microtubule-plus-end localization of Aspergillus dynein is important for dynein-early endosome interaction but not for dynein ATPase activation. J. Cell Sci. 123, 3596-3604.
Reviews/Book Chapters:
  1. Xiang, X. (2012) Nuclear Positioning: dynein needed for microtubule shrinkage-coupled movement (dispatch). Curr. Biol. 22, R496-499.
  2. Xiang, X. (2011) Insights into Cytoplasmic Dynein Function and Regulation from Fungal Genetics (book chapter). In Dyneins: Structure, Biology and Disease (Edited by S. M. King), Elsevier. p455-481
  3. Xiang, X. and Oakley, B. R. (2010). The Cytoskeleton in Filamentous Fungi (book chapter). In: Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi (Edited by K. Borkovich and D. Ebbole), ASM Press. p209-223.