Dr. Zhaomin Yang

(On Sabbatical)

Associate Professor, Microbiology
Virginia Tech, Biological Sciences
221 Life Sciences I Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061-0910
Phone: 540-231-1350; FAX: 540-231-4043;
Email me

Yang Lab Page
Community of Science Profile

Myxo 2009, Boston, MA, USA


Postdoctoral Training, University of California, Los Angeles

Ph.D. Microbiology, University of California, Davis

M.Sc. Food Microbiology, University of California, Davis

B.Sc. Biology, Peking University, Beijing , China


Research Overview:

The research in the Yang lab focuses primarily on the function and sensory regulation of bacterial type IV pili (Tfp) which are important for at least three related bacterial processes: surface motility, pathogenesis and biofilm formation. The functions of Tfp in all these three depends the ability of Tfp to retract and deliberately move and translocate cells. We are interested in deciphering the mechanisms by which bacteria direct their Tfp-mediated cell movements and in understanding how the regulation of Tfp function impacts bacterial pathogenesis, biofilm formation and motility. M. xanthus and other piliated bacteria are used as model organisms in our research. We use a multidisciplinary approach of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology in our lab.



1.      Xu Q., WP Black, EMF Mauriello, DR Zusman and Z. Yang. Chemotaxis mediated by NarX-FrzCD chimeras and non-adapting repellent responses in Myxococcus xanthus. Molecular Microbiology. In Press, 2007.

2.      Zusman, DR, AE Scott, Z Yang and JR Kirby. Chemosensory pathways, motility and development in Myxoccocus xanthus. Nature Reviews Microbiology. In Press. 2007.

3.      Yang, Z., X. Duan, M. Esmaeiliyan and HB Kaplan. Composition, Structure and Function of the Myxococcus xanthus Cell Envelope. In Multicellularity and Differentiation Among the Myxobacteria and Their Neighbors. Heidi B. Kaplan and David Whitworth, editors. ASM Press. In Press. 2007.

4.      Bonner, PJ, W. Black, Z. Yang, and L. Shimkets. A Branched Pathway Mediates Fruiting Body Formation in Myxococcus xanthus . Molecular Microbiology. Molecular Microbiology. 61(2): 1283-1293, Sept, 2006

5.      Black, W., Q. Xu and Z. Yang. Type IV pili function upstream of the Dif chemotaxis pathway in Myxococcus xanthus EPS regulation. Molecular Microbiology. 61(2): 447-456, July, 2006

6.      Xu, Q., W. Black, S. Ward and Z. Yang. Nitrate-dependent Activation of the Dif Signaling Pathway of Myxococcus xanthus Mediated by a NarX-DifA Inter-species Chimera. Journal of Bacteriology. 187(18), Sept, 2005

7.      Bonner, PJ, Q. Xu, W. Black, Z. Li, Z. Yang, and L. Shimkets. The Dif chemosensory pathway is directly involved in phosphatidylethanolamine sensory transduction in Myxococcus xanthus . Molecular Microbiology. 57(5): 1499-1508, Sept 2005

8.      Yang, Z. and Z. Li.  Demonstration of interactions among Myxococcus xanthus Dif chemotaxis-like proteins by the yeast two-hybrid system. Archives of Microbiology. 183(4):243-52. May, 2005.

9.      Lu A, Cho K, Black WP, Duan XY, Lux R, Yang Z, Kaplan HB, Zusman DR, Shi W. Exopolysaccharide biosynthesis genes required for social motility in Myxococcus xanthus. Molecular Microbiology. 55(1):206-20. Jan 2005.

10.  Black, W. P. and Z. Yang. Myxococcus xanthus chemotaxis homologs DifD and DifG negatively regulate fibril polysaccharide production. Journal of Bacteriology. 186(4):1001-1008, Feb, 2004

11.  Bellenger K, Ma X, Shi W, Yang Z. A CheW homologue is required for Myxococcus xanthus fruiting body development, social gliding motility, and fibril biogenesis. Journal of Bacteriology. 184(20): 5654-60, Oct 2002

12.  Yang Z, Guo D, Bowden MG, Sun H, Tong L, Li Z, Brown AE, Kaplan HB, Shi W. The Myxococcus xanthus wbgB gene encodes a glycosyltransferase homologue required for lipopolysaccharide O-antigen biosynthesis. Archives of Microbiology. 174(6): 399-405, Dec 2000

13.  Shi W, Yang Z, Sun H, Lancero H, Tong L. Phenotypic analyses of frz and dif double mutants of Myxococcus xanthus . Fems Microbiology Letters. 192(2): 211-5, Nov 2000

14.  Yang Z, Ma X, Tong L, Kaplan HB, Shimkets LJ, Shi W. Myxococcus xanthus dif genes are required for biogenesis of cell surface fibrils essential for social gliding motility. Journal of Bacteriology. 182(20): 5793-8, Oct 2000

15.  Sun H, Yang Z, Shi W. Effect of cellular filamentation on adventurous and social gliding motility of Myxococcus xanthus . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). 96(26): 15178-83, Dec 1999

16.  Yang Z, Geng Y, Xu D, Kaplan HB, Shi W. A new set of chemotaxis homologues is essential for Myxococcus xanthus social motility. Molecular Microbiology. 30(5): 1123-30, Dec 1998

17.  Geng Y, Yang Z, Downard J, Zusman D, Shi W. Methylation of FrzCD defines a discrete step in the developmental program of Myxococcus xanthus . Journal of Bacteriology. 180(21): 5765-8, Nov 1998

18.  Shi W, Yang Z, Geng Y, Wolinsky LE, Lovett MA. Chemotaxis in Borrelia burgdorferi. Journal of Bacteriology. 180(2): 231-5, Jan 1998

19.  Yang Z, Geng Y, Shi W. A DnaK homolog in Myxococcus xanthus is involved in social motility and fruiting body formation. Journal of Bacteriology. 180(2): 218-24, Jan 1998

20.  Yang Z, Bisson LF. The SKS1 protein kinase is a multicopy suppressor of the snf3 mutation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Yeast. 12(14): 1407-19, Nov 1996

Last updated on 1 September 2011