Zhe Wu

Assistant Professor |School of Life Sciences, Department of Biology

Zhe Wu received his Ph.D in Peking University, 2011, for his research on the roles of two RNA-binding proteins in regulating plant gene expression and development. He then worked with Dr. Caroline Dean at the John Innes Centre, UK, as a post-doctoral scientist for 5 years. His work during post-doc focused on the interconnection between the RNA-processing of long non-coding RNAs and chromatic repression at FLC, a key gene underlying developmental timing in plants. His expertise is in co-transcriptional gene regulation in plants and he aims to explore more of the unknown roles of these regulatory mechanisms during developmental phase transitions in plants (e.g. seed germination and flowering). In late 2016, he was appointed assistant professor at SUSTech.

Personal Profile





1. Co-transcriptional gene regulation in plant.


2. Roles of RNA-binding proteins in developmental phase transition of plants.


3. Epigenetic reprograming underlying developmental phase transition in plants.

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Representative Publications

Yang, D., Zhao, F., Zhu, D., Chen, X., Kong, X., Wu, Y., Chen, M., Du, J., Qu, L.-j., and Wu, Z. (2021). Progressive chromatin silencing of ABA biosynthesis gene permits seed germination in Arabidopsis. bioRxiv. (corresponding author)

Xu, C*., Wu, Z*., Duan, H.C*., Fang, X., Jia, G., and Dean, C. (2021). R-loop resolution promotes co-transcriptional chromatin silencing. Nat Commun 12, 1790. (co-first author)

Fang, X*., Wu, Z*., Raitskin, O., Webb, K., Voigt, P., Lu, T., Howard, M., and Dean, C. (2020). The 3′ processing of antisense RNAs physically links to chromatin-based transcriptional control. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 117, 15316-15321. (co-first author) 

Zhu D*., Mao F*., Tian Y., Lin X., Gu L., Gu H., Qu L.J., Wu Y#., and Wu Z#. (2020): The features and regulation of co-transcriptional splicing in Arabidopsis.Molecular Plant, 13, 278- 294. (co-corresponding author) 

Wu Z*., Fang X., Zhu D., Dean C. (2020). Autonomous pathway: FLC repression through an antisense-mediated chromatin silencing mechanism. Plant Physiology 182, 27-37.

Ietswaart, R.*, Rosa, S.*, Wu, Z.*, Dean, C., and Howard, M. (2017). Cell-size-dependent transcription of FLC and its antisense long non-coding RNA COOLAIR explain cell-to-cell expression variation. Cell Systems 4, 622-635 e629.(co-first author)

Wu, Z.*, Ietswaart, R.*, Liu, F., Yang, H., Howard, M., and Dean, C. (2016). Quantitativeregulation of FLC via coordinated transcriptional initiation and elongation. PNAS 113,218-223.

Wu, Z.*, Zhu, D.*, Lin, X.*, Miao, J.*, Gu, L., Deng, X., Yang, Q., Sun, K., Cao, X., Tsuge, T., Dean, C., Aoyama, T., Gu, H., and Qu, L.J. (2016). RNA-binding proteins RZ-1B andRZ-1C play critical roles in regulating pre-mRNA splicing and gene expression duringdevelopment in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell 28, 55-73.

Wang, Z.W.*, Wu, Z.*, Raitskin, O., Sun, Q., and Dean, C. (2014). Antisense-mediated FLCtranscriptional repression requires the P-TEFb transcription elongation factor. PNAS 111,7468-7473. (co-first author)

Zhu, D.*, Wu, Z.*, Cao, G.*, Li, J., Wei, J., Tsuge, T., Gu, H., Aoyama, T., and Qu, L.J. (2014). TRANSLUCENT GREEN, an ERF family transcription factor, controls water balance in Arabidopsis by activating the expression of aquaporin genes. Molecular Plant 7,601-615. (co-first author)

Ietswaart, R., Wu, Z., and Dean, C. (2012). Flowering time control: another window to the connection between antisense RNA and chromatin. Trends in Genetics 28, 445-453.

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  • Long term food security closer through improved understanding of gene regulation


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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.
Mentoring the next generation biologists with the highest standards is another primary task of the Department of Biology. Our professors choose internationally acclaimed textbooks to teach core courses biological sciences, biotechnology and bioinformatics. Undergraduates are encouraged to join the laboratory early to get firsthand working experience in basic and/or applied biological research, which helps them to consolidate the mastering of basic techniques, to broaden their knowledge horizons and to acquire the capabilities of problem identifying, hypothesis formulating and problem solving.
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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Biological Sciences
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