Yucheng Zhang

Research Assistant(Loria Lab)

Interests and Expertise

Emergence of new, economically important plant-pathogenic species in the mostly saprophytic genus Streptomyces involves acquisition of a large, mobile pathogenicity island (PAI). Biosynthetic genes for a phytotoxin, thaxtomin A, are contained on this PAI. The Nec1 protein has necrogenic activity on excised potato tuber tissue, and the encoding gene is highly conserved in plant-pathogenic Streptomyces spp. The G+C content of nec1 indicates lateral transfer from an unrelated taxon; however, the nucleic acid and protein databases have not yielded homologs. 
During my master research, I mainly studied the evolution of two important grape gene superfamilies (ALDH and JAZ) and their roles in grape resistance to various abiotic and biotic stresses using bioinformatics, microarray, qRT-PCR, etc.
During my first year PhD study, I conducted rotation research in Dr. Dean Gabriel lab on HLB, Dr. Rosemary Loria lab on TxtA production and Dr. Jeff jones on Xanthomonas perforans host specificity. 
Currently, I've been working on several projects: (1) Identify additional components involved in thaxtomin induction and regulation by Streptomyces scabies ; (2) Study the evolution of several clavibacter michiganensis genomes using bioinformatic strategies; (3) Identify the factors that control the host specificity of Xanthomonas perforans; (4) The interaction of Nec1 protein with plant immunity system.

Selected Publications

  • Xu X., Guo R., Cheng C., Zhang H., Zhang Y., et al (2013). Overexpression of ALDH2B8, an aldehyde dehydrogenase gene from grapevine, sustains Arabidopsis growth upon salt stress and protects plants against oxidative stress. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture. 114:187–196.
  • Brocker C., Vasiliou M., Carpenter S., Carpenter C., Zhang Y., et al. (2012). Aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) superfamily in plants: gene nomenclature and comparative genomics. Planta 237(1).
  • Zhang Y., Gao M., Singer SD., Fei Z., Wang H., et al. (2012) Genome-Wide Identification and Analysis of the TIFY Gene Family in Grape. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44465.
  • Zhang Y., Mao L., Wang H., Brocker C., Vasiliou V., Fei Z. and Wang X. Genome-wide identification and analysis of grape aldehyde dehydrogenases (2012). PLoS ONE. 7(2): e3125
picture of Yucheng Zhang for Bio

Yucheng Zhang PhD.