Visiting Distinguished Professor (Long-Term) |School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology

Xing Wang Deng is a university endowed professor of plant biology at Peking University. He graduated from Peking University in 1985 with an MS degree and then from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 with a PhD in plant biology. He joined the faculty of Yale University’s Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology in 1992. Before moving back to China, Xing Wang was Daniel C. Eaton Professor of Yale University until 2014. His work has been reported in around 300 peer-reviewed publications, 14 in “Nature”, “Science” and “Cell” journals. Prof. Deng was awarded the Presidential Faculty Fellow Award in 1995, the Kumho Science International Award in 2003 and was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 2013.

Personal Profile


Professor Deng’s research is focused on light-mediated development in plants. Light is not only the major energy source, but also one of the essential environmental factors affecting the plant development throughout their life circle. We specifically focus on the following two areas:

1. Molecular mechanism of photomorphogenesis in plants

2. Molecular design breeding in crops

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Selected publications:

1. Heng, Y., F. Lin, Y. Jiang, M. Ding, T. Yan, H. Lan, H. Zhou, X. Zhao, D. Xu, and X.W. Deng, B-Box Containing Proteins BBX30 and BBX31, Acting Downstream of HY5, Negatively Regulate Photomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology, 2019. 180(1): p. 497-508.

2. Han, X., X. Chang, Z. Zhang, H. Chen, H. He, B. Zhong, and X.W. Deng, Origin and evolution of core components responsible for monitoring light environment changes during plant terrestrialization. Molecular Plant, 2019.

3. Zhao, X., Y. Jiang, J. Li, E. Huq, Z.J. Chen, D. Xu, and X.W. Deng, COP1 SUPPRESSOR 4 promotes seedling photomorphogenesis by repressing CCA1 and PIF4 expression in Arabidopsis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2018.

4. Lin, F., Y. Jiang, J. Li, T. Yan, L. Fan, J. Liang, Z.J. Chen, D. Xu, and X.W. Deng, B-BOX DOMAIN PROTEIN28 Negatively Regulates Photomorphogenesis by Repressing the Activity of Transcription Factor HY5 and Undergoes COP1-Mediated Degradation. The Plant Cell, 2018. 30(9): p. 2006-2019.

5. Wang, H. and X.W. Deng, Development of the “Third-Generation” Hybrid Rice in China. Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics, 2018. 16(6): p. 393-396.

6. Ling, J.-J., J. Li, D. Zhu, and X.W. Deng, Noncanonical role of Arabidopsis COP1/SPA complex in repressing BIN2-mediated PIF3 phosphorylation and degradation in darkness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2017.

7. Xu, D., Y. Jiang, J. Li, F. Lin, M. Holm, and X.W. Deng, BBX21, an Arabidopsis B-box protein, directly activates HY5 and is targeted by COP1 for 26S proteasome-mediated degradation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016.

8. Xu, D., F. Lin, Y. Jiang, X. Huang, J. Li, J. Ling, C. Hettiarachchi, C. Tellgren-Roth, M. Holm, and X.W. Deng, The RING-Finger E3 Ubiquitin Ligase COP1 SUPPRESSOR1 Negatively Regulates COP1 Abundance in Maintaining COP1 Homeostasis in Dark-Grown Arabidopsis Seedlings. The Plant Cell, 2014. 26(5): p. 1981-1991.

9. Huang, X., X. Ouyang, and X.W. Deng, Beyond repression of photomorphogenesis: role switching of COP/DET/FUS in light signaling. Current Opinion in Plant Biology, 2014. 21(0): p. 96-103.

10. Lau, O.S. and X.W. Deng, The photomorphogenic repressors COP1 and DET1: 20 years later. Trends in Plant Science, 2012. 17(10): p. 584-593.

11. Chen, H., X. Huang, G. Gusmaroli, W. Terzaghi, O.S. Lau, Y. Yanagawa, Y. Zhang, J. Li, J.-H. Lee, D. Zhu, and X.W. Deng, Arabidopsis CULLIN4-Damaged DNA Binding Protein 1 Interacts with CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC1-SUPPRESSOR OF PHYA Complexes to Regulate Photomorphogenesis and Flowering Time. The Plant Cell, 2010. 22(1): p. 108-123.

12. Zhu, D., A. Maier, J.-H. Lee, S. Laubinger, Y. Saijo, H. Wang, L.-J. Qu, U. Hoecker, and X.W. Deng, Biochemical Characterization of Arabidopsis Complexes Containing CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC1 and SUPPRESSOR OF PHYA Proteins in Light Control of Plant Development. The Plant Cell, 2008. 20(9): p. 2307-2323.

13. Saijo, Y., D. Zhu, J. Li, V. Rubio, Z. Zhou, Y. Shen, U. Hoecker, H. Wang, and X.W. Deng, Arabidopsis COP1/SPA1 Complex and FHY1/FHY3 Associate with Distinct Phosphorylated Forms of Phytochrome A in Balancing Light Signaling. Molecular Cell, 2008. 31(4): p. 607-613.

14. Yu, J.-W., V. Rubio, N.-Y. Lee, S. Bai, S.-Y. Lee, S.-S. Kim, L. Liu, Y. Zhang, M.L. Irigoyen, J.A. Sullivan, Y. Zhang, I. Lee, Q. Xie, N.-C. Paek, and X.W. Deng, COP1 and ELF3 Control Circadian Function and Photoperiodic Flowering by Regulating GI Stability. Molecular Cell, 2008. 32(5): p. 617-630.

15. Feng, S., C. Martinez, G. Gusmaroli, Y. Wang, J. Zhou, F. Wang, L. Chen, L. Yu, J.M. Iglesias-Pedraz, S. Kircher, E. Schafer, X. Fu, L.-M. Fan, and X.W. Deng, Coordinated regulation of Arabidopsisthaliana development by light and gibberellins. Nature, 2008. 451(7177): p. 475-479.

16. Lee, J., K. He, V. Stolc, H. Lee, P. Figueroa, Y. Gao, W. Tongprasit, H. Zhao, I. Lee, and X.W. Deng, Analysis of Transcription Factor HY5 Genomic Binding Sites Revealed Its Hierarchical Role in Light Regulation of Development. The Plant Cell, 2007. 19(3): p. 731-749.

17. Yanagawa, Y., J.A. Sullivan, S. Komatsu, G. Gusmaroli, G. Suzuki, J. Yin, T. Ishibashi, Y. Saijo, V. Rubio, S. Kimura, J. Wang, and X.W. Deng, Arabidopsis COP10 forms a complex with DDB1 and DET1 in vivo and enhances the activity of ubiquitin conjugating enzymes. Genes and Development, 2004. 18(17): p. 2172-2181.

18. Sullivan, J.A., K. Shirasu, and X.W. Deng, The diverse roles of ubiquitin and the 26S proteasome in the life of plants. Nature Reviews Genetics, 2003. 4(12): p. 948-958.

19. Wang, H., L.-G. Ma, J.-M. Li, H.-Y. Zhao, and X.W. Deng, Direct Interaction of Arabidopsis Cryptochromes with COP1 in Light Control Development. Science, 2001. 294(5540): p. 154-158.

20. Osterlund, M.T., C.S. Hardtke, N. Wei, and X.W. Deng, Targeted destabilization of HY5 during light-regulated development of Arabidopsis. Nature, 2000. 405(6785): p. 462-466.

21. Hardtke, C.S., K. Gohda, M.T. Osterlund, T. Oyama, K. Okada, and X.W. Deng, HY5 stability and activity in Arabidopsis is regulated by phosphorylation in its COP1 binding domain. The EMBO Journal, 2000. 19(18): p. 4997-5006.

22. von Arnim, A.G. and X.-W. Deng, Light Inactivation of Arabidopsis Photomorphogenic Repressor COP1 Involves a Cell-Specific Regulation of Its Nucleocytoplasmic Partitioning. Cell, 1994. 79(6): p. 1035-1045.

23. Wei, N., D.A. Chamovitz, and X.-W. Deng, Arabidopsis COP9 is a component of a novel signaling complex mediating light control of development. Cell, 1994. 78(1): p. 117-124.


25. Deng, X.-W., M. Matsui, N. Wei, D. Wagner, A.M. Chu, K.A. Feldmann, and P.H. Quail, COP1, an arabidopsis regulatory gene, encodes a protein with both a zinc-binding motif and a Gβ homologous domain. Cell, 1992. 71(5): p. 791-801.

26. Deng, X.W., T. Caspar, and P.H. Quail, cop1: a regulatory locus involved in light-controlled development and gene expression in Arabidopsis. Genes and Development, 1991. 5(7): p. 1172-1182.

News More

  • Novel mechanism found, showing how plants grow using circadian clock

  • SUSTech researchers find unique function for light-based growth-promoting protein

  • SUSTech hosted 3rd Symposium on Ubiquitin and Proteostasis in Cellular Control


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Welcome to the Department of Biology! Since its establishment in 2012, the Department of Biology has attracted internationally renowned professors to join as leaders and dozens of young scientists to start their independent academic career here pursuit of excellence in research and teaching. The research interests of our faculty members include diverse topics such as systems biology, plant biology, neurobiology, structural biology and molecular cell biology. The primary goals of our faculty are to address the most significant fundamental biological questions and to develop new strategies to treat various complex diseases. Such efforts will benefit from the shared inter-disciplinary collaborative spirit deeply rooted in the minds of all the faculty members working in different departments at SUSTech.

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Life science, one of the fastest developing natural scientific disciplines, has been the driving force behind the growth of the world economy and provides the know for the development of new technologies serving to improve the human health and welfare at large. Wit generous financial support from the Shenzhen municipal government, we are confident that the Department of Biology in SUSTech will surely grow into a top tier globally-renowned research and teaching center!

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