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Xiao, Youli
Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology

Research Focus

The research in the Xiao laboratory is focused on understanding how small molecules can be synthesized via enzymatic biological method and their biological roles. Objectives of this lab can be divided into three parts:   

1. Investigation of biosynthetic pathway of natural products from medicinal plants. By combining system biology and chemical biology tools, the strategy for elucidation of biologically active natural products' pathway from herbs will be developed. These studies will provide foundation for metabolic engineering and synthetic biology studies. 

2. Enzymatic mechanism studies of metalloprotein. About one-third of all proteins have metal as their cofactor. Metalloproteins offer catalysis, electron transfer and regulation biological functions. Through understanding the enzymatic reaction mechanism by bioorganic and biophysical methods, novel mechanism based inhibitors or manipulated enzymes will be developed. Currently, we are conducting radical SAM proteins involved enzymatic mechanism studies.  

3. Biological functions of small molecules. Small molecules (metabolites) play key role in regulation of biological functions. Our group is uniquely located at Shanghai Fenglin Scientific Research Area (consists of SIPPE-SIBS and SIOC, CAS), which allows us to actively collaborate with outstanding biologists & chemists to identification & synthesis of the certain molecules and investigation of the function mechanism. 


Dr. Youli Xiao received a Chemistry Bachelor degree from Shandong University in 2000. He finished his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Kuiling Ding at Shanghai Institute of Organic Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIOC-CAS) in 2005. From 2006-2012, He was a postdoctoral research associate in Boston University, and a research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Xiao is a Principal Investigator at the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, CAS since Sep. 2012.   

Selected Publications

1. Yingqing Zhou#, Weichao Li#,(#equal contribution) Youli Xiao*. Profiling of Multiple Targets of Artemisinin Activated by Hemin in Cancer Cell Proteome. ACS Chem Biol 2016.


2. Lishan Zhao*, Wei-chen Chang*, Youli Xiao*, Hung-wen Liu*, and Pinghua Liu*. Methylerythritol Phosphate Pathway of Isoprenoid Biosynthesis. Annual Review of Biochemistry 2013, 82,497-530. 


3. Kelly Daughtry, Youli Xiao, Deborah Stoner-Ma, Eunsun Cho, Allen M. Orville*, Pinghua Liu*, and Karen N. Allen*. Quaternary Ammonium Oxidative Demethylation: X-ray Crystallographic, Resonance Raman and UV-visible Spectroscopic Analysis of a Rieske-type Demethylase. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 2823-2834.


4. Youli Xiao, Wei-chen Chang, Hung-wen Liu*, Pinghua Liu*. Study of IspH, A Key Enzyme in the Methylerythritol Phosphate Pathway Using Fluoro-substituted Substrate Analogues. Organic Letter 2011, 13, 59125915. 


5. Wei-chen Chang#, Youli Xiao#, (#equal contribution) Hung-wen Liu*, Pinghua Liu*. Mechanistic Studies of IspH-catalyzed Reaction Using Substrate Analogue: Implications for Substrate Binding and Protonation. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 2011, 50, 1230412307.


6. Youli Xiao, Debra Rooker, Quincy You, Caren L. Freel Meyers, Pinghua Liu*. IspG-catalyzed Positional Isotopic Exchange in Methylerythritol Cyclodiphosphate of the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Mechanistic Implications. ChemBioChem 2011, 12, 527530 (selected as Cover Paper). 


7. Youli Xiao, Rodney L. Nyland II, Caren L. Freel Meyers, Pinghua Liu*. Methylerythritol Cyclodiphosphate (MEcPP) in Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Synthesis from an Epoxide and Mechanisms. Chemical Communications, 2010, 46, 7220-7222.


8. Rodney L. Nyland II, Youli Xiao, Pinghua Liu,* Caren L. Freel Meyers*. IspG converts an epoxide substrate analog to (E)-4-hydroxy-3-methylbut-2-enyl diphosphate: implications for IspG catalysis in isoprenoid biosynthesis J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 17734-17735.


9. Youli Xiao, Georgia Zahariou, Yiannis Sanakis, Pinghua Liu*. IspG Enzyme Activity in the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Roles of the Iron-Cluster Biochemistry, 2009, 48, 10483-10485.


10. Youli Xiao, Lisa Chu, Yiannis Sanakis, Pinghua Liu*. Revisiting the IspH Catalytic System in the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Achieving High Activity. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2009, 131, 9931-9933. 


11. Youli Xiao, Miranda Machacek, Kent Lee, Tomohisha Kuzuyama, and Pinghua Liu*. Prenyltransferase Substrate Binding Pocket Flexibility and Its Application in Isoprenoid Profiling. Molecular BioSystems 2009, 5, 913-917.


12. Youli Xiao, Pinghua Liu*. Synthesis of [1-13C] and Stereo-specifically [1-2H] Labeled Fluorinated Substrate Analogues of IspH Enzyme in the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway. Tetrahedron Letter, 2009, 50, 309-311.


13. Youli Xiao, Kent Lee, Pinghua Liu*. Synthesis of P-metlylase Substrates of the Bialaphos Biosynthetic Pathway. Organic Letter. 2008, 10, 5521-5524.


14. Youli Xiao, Pinghua Liu*. IspH Protein of the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Mechanistic Studies with C1 Deuterium Labeled Substrate and Fluorinated Analogue. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed., 2008, 47, 9722-9725.


15. Youli Xiao, Zongbao K. Zhao, Pinghua Liu*. Mechanistic Studies of IspH in the Deoxyxylulose Phosphate Pathway: Heterolytic C-O Bond Cleavage at C4 Position. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2008, 130, 2164-2165.


16. Youli Xiao, Zheng Wang, Kuiling Ding*. Intramolecularly Dinuclear Magnesium Complex Catalyzed Copolymerization of Cyclohexene Oxide with CO2 under Ambient CO2 Pressure: Kinetics and Mechanism. Macromolecules, 2006, 39, 128-137.


17. Youli Xiao, Zheng Wang, Kuiling Ding*. Copolymerization of Cyclohexene Oxide with CO2 Using Intramolecularly Dinuclear Zinc Catalysts. Chem.-Eur. J. 2005, 11, 3668-3678.

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