Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Chinese Academy Of Sciences (2015)
  • Bachelor of Engineering, Xi'An Jiaotong University (2009)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Structural insights into catalytic mechanism and product delivery of cyanobacterial acyl-acyl carrier protein reductase. Nature communications Gao, Y., Zhang, H., Fan, M., Jia, C., Shi, L., Pan, X., Cao, P., Zhao, X., Chang, W., Li, M. 2020; 11 (1): 1525


    Long-chain alk(a/e)nes represent the major constituents of conventional transportation fuels. Biosynthesis of alkanes is ubiquitous in many kinds of organisms. Cyanobacteria possess two enzymes, acyl-acyl carrier protein (acyl-ACP) reductase (AAR) and aldehyde-deformylating oxygenase (ADO), which function in a two-step alkane biosynthesis pathway. These two enzymes act in series and possibly form a complex that efficiently converts long chain fatty acyl-ACP/fatty acyl-CoA into hydrocarbon. While the structure of ADO has been previously described, structures of both AAR and AAR-ADO complex have not been solved, preventing deeper understanding of this pathway. Here, we report a ligand-free AAR structure, and three AAR-ADO complex structures in which AARs bind various ligands. Our results reveal the binding pattern of AAR with its substrate/cofactor, and suggest a potential aldehyde-transferring channel from AAR to ADO. Based on our structural and biochemical data, we proposed a model for the complete catalytic cycle of AAR.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-15268-y

    View details for PubMedID 32251275

  • X-ray and cryo-EM structures of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter. Nature Fan, C., Fan, M., Orlando, B. J., Fastman, N. M., Zhang, J., Xu, Y., Chambers, M. G., Xu, X., Perry, K., Liao, M., Feng, L. 2018


    Mitochondrial calcium uptake is critical for regulating ATP production, intracellular calcium signalling, and cell death. This uptake is mediated by a highly selective calcium channel called the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU). Here, we determined the structures of the pore-forming MCU proteins from two fungi by X-ray crystallography and single-particle cryo-electron microscopy. The stoichiometry, overall architecture, and individual subunit structure differed markedly from those described in the recent nuclear magnetic resonance structure of Caenorhabditis elegans MCU. We observed a dimer-of-dimer architecture across species and chemical environments, which was corroborated by biochemical experiments. Structural analyses and functional characterization uncovered the roles of key residues in the pore. These results reveal a new ion channel architecture, provide insights into calcium coordination, selectivity and conduction, and establish a structural framework for understanding the mechanism of mitochondrial calcium uniporter function.

    View details for PubMedID 29995856