Department of Genetics

LI Xia

Dr. Xia Li


State Key Laboratory of Agricultural Microbiology

College of Plant Science and Technology

Huazhong Agricultural University

No.1 Shizishan Road, Hongshan District

Hubei, 430070

Tel: 86-027-87856638




   1985 B. S. Biological Sciences, Hebei Normal University (HNU)         

   1991 M.S. Plant Physiology, Hebei Normal University                

2002 Ph.D. Plant Molecular Biology, Purdue University                  


   1985-1988 Instructor, Department of Biological Sciences, HNU   

   1992-1995 Lecturer, Department of Biological Sciences, HNU           

1995-1998 Visiting scholar, Horticulture Department, Purdue University, USA   

2001-2004 Scientist, Vector Tobacco Inc. USA                        

2004-2015 Professor, Principal Investigator, IGDB, CAS

2015-present professor, Huazhong Agricultural University, China      


2015 Became as a distinguished professor, Huazhong Agricultural University, China

2011 Received Natural Science Award, Hebei Province. “The physiological and molecular mechanisms of plastic development of root system in response to salt stress”.

   2011 Received ‘Outstanding Award’ in final evaluation of “Hundred Talent Program of CAS”

   2009 Won “Outstanding Teacher Prize of Zhu Li Yuehua of CAS”

   2006 Selected as a PI of the State Key Laboratory of Plant Cell and Chromosome  

Engineering (PCCE)

   2004 Selected as one of the “Hundred Talent Program of CAS”


We are interested in molecular genetics of symbiosis between legumes and nitrogen fixing bacteria with the focus on molecular mechanisms underlying soybean symbiosis and nitrogen fixation. We also have interests in plant stress molecular genetics and genetic improvement of stress tolerance of crops. Current work in our group is focused on various aspects of symbiosis including rhizobia-soybean interaction, nodule organogenesis and nitrogen fixation of mature nodules in soybean under optimal conditions and/or unfavorable conditions, such as drought, high salinity.  



  1) Molecular dynamics of rhizobial infection and release in legume cells. NSFC-DFG (Germany) Key collaborative projects, 2020-2022;

2) The mechanism of miR172/NNC1-mediated symbtioc nitrogen fixation and

plant growth in soybean. Key projects of NSFC, 2018-2022;

  3) The regulatory mechanism of plant stress tolerance and symbiotic nitrogen fixation. Key projects of MOST, 2016-2021;

  4) Systemic optimization of biological nitrogen fixation efficiency. MOST Key Research Program, 2020-2024;

  5) Functional analysis of miR156 in soybean architecture and yield. 2019-2021.

5. RECENT PUBLICATIONS (*corresponding author)

Wang LX, Sun ZX, Su C, Wang YL, Yan QQ, Chen JH, Ott T, Li X*. (2019). A GmNINa-miR172c-NNC1 regulatory network coordinates the nodulation and autoregulation of nodulation pathways in soybean. Molecular Plant 12: 1211-1226.

Wang YN, Yang W, Zuo YY, Zhu L, Hastwell AH, Chen L, Tian Y, Su C, Ferguson BJ, Li X*. (2019). GmYUC2a mediates auxin biosynthesis during root development and nodulation in soybean. Journal of Experimental Botany 70: 3165-3176.

Ullah I, Magdy M, Wang LX, Liu MY, Li X*. (2019). Genome-wide identification and evolutionary analysis of TGA transcription factors in soybean. Scientific Reports 9: 11186.

Sun ZX, Su C, Yun JX, Jiang Q, Wang LX, Wang YN, Cao D, Zhao F, Zhao QS, Zhang MC, Zhou B, Zhang L, Kong FJ, Liu BH, Tong YP, Li X*. (2018). Genetic improvement of the shoot architecture and yield in soybean plants via the manipulation of GmmiR156b. Plant Biotechnology Journal 17: 50-62.

Yan Q, Wang LX, Li X*. (2018). GmBEHL1, a BES1/BZR1 family protein, negatively regulates soybean nodulation. Scientific Reports 8: 7614.

Ji HT, Wang SF, Cheng CH, Li R, Wang ZJ, Jenkins GI, Kong FJ, Li X*. (2018). The RCC1 family protein SAB1 negatively regulates ABI5 through multidimensional mechanisms during post-germination in Arabidopsis. New Phytologist 222: 907-922.

Cai ZM, Wang YN, Zhu L, Tian YP, Chen L, Sun ZX, Ullah I, Li X*. (2017). GmTIR1/GmAFB3-based auxin perception regulated by miR393 modulates soybean nodulation, New Phytologist, 215: 672-686.

Cheng CH, Wang ZJ, Ren ZY, Zhi LY, Yao B, Su C, Liu L, Li X*. (2017). SCFAtPP2-B11 modulates ABA signaling by facilitating SnRK2.3 degradation in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Genetics, 13: e1006947.

Hussain RM, Ali M, Feng X, Li X*. (2017). The essence of NAC gene family to the cultivation of drought-resistant soybean (Glycine max L. Merr.) cultivars. BMC Plant Biology, 17: 55.

Wang YN, Yuan JH, Yang W, Zhu L, Su C, Wang XD, Wu HY, Sun ZX, Li X*. (2017). Genome wide identification and expression profiling of ethylene receptor genes during soybean nodulation. Frontier in Plant Science, 8: 859.

Cheng CH, Wang ZJ, Yuan BJ, Li X*. (2017). RBM25 mediates abiotic responses in plants. Frontier in Plant Science, 8: 292.

Sahito ZA, Wang LX, Sun ZX, Yan Q, Zhang X, Jiang Q, Ullah I, Tong YP, Li X*. (2017). The miR172c-NNC1 module modulates root plastic development in response to salt in soybean. BMC Plant Biology, 17: 229.

Su C, Zhao HT, Zhao YK, Ji HT, Wang YN, Zhi LY, Li X*.2017.RUG3 and ATM synergistically regulate the alternative splicing of mitochondrial nad2 and the DNA damage response in Arabidopsis thaliana. Science Reports, 7:43897.

Zheng X, Liu HP, Ji HT, Wang YN, Dong BD, Qiao YZ, Liu MY*, Li X*. (2016). The wheat GT factor TaGT2L1D negatively regulates drought tolerance and plant development. Scientific Reports, doi:10.1038/srep27042.

Sun ZX#, Wang YN#, Mou FP, Tian YP, Chen L, Zhang SL, Jiang Q, Li X*. (2016). Genome- wide small RNA analysis of soybean reveals auxin-responsive microRNAs that are differentially expressed in response to salt stress in root apex. Frontier in Plant Science, 6: 1273.

Wang ZJ, Ji HT, Yuan BJ, Wang SF, Yao BJ, Su C, Li X*. (2015). ABA signalling is fine-tuned by antagonistic HAB1 variants. Nature Communications 6: 8138.

Ji HT#, Wang YN#, Cloix C#, Li KX#, Jenkins JI, Wang SF, Shang ZL, Shi Y, Yang SH, Li X*. (2015). The Arabidopsis RCC1 family protein TCF1 regulates freezing      

tolerance and cold acclimation through modulating lignin biosynthesis. PLoS

Genetics 11: e1005471.

Cao D, Li Y, Wang Y, Nan H, Wang Y, Lu S, Jiang Q, Li X, Shi D, Fang C, Yuan X, Zhao X, Li X*, Liu B*, Kong F*. (2015) Gmmiar156b overexpression delays flowering time in soybean. Plant Molecular Biology 89: 353-363.

Wang YN, Li KX, Zhang SL, Chen L, Zou YM, Liu HP, Li DX, Wang R, Tian YP, Zhao F, Ferguson BJ, Gresshoff PM, Li X*. (2015). MicroRNA167-directed      

regulation of the auxin response factors, GmARF8a and GmARF8b, is required for soybean (Glycine max L.) nodulation and lateral root development. Plant Physiology 168: 101-116.

Wang YN#, Wang LX#, Zou YM#, Chen L, Cai ZM, Zhang SL, Zhao F, Tian YP, Jiang Q, Ferguson B, Gresshoff P, Li X*. (2014) Soybean miR172c targets the repressive AP2 transcription factor NNC1 to activate ENOD40 expression and regulate nodule initiation. Plant Cell 26: 4782-4801.

Ji HT, Wang SF, Li KX, Szakonyi D, Koncz C, Li X*. (2014) PRL1 modulates root stem cell niche activity and meristem size through WOX5 and PLTs in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 81: 399-412


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