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Ling Li

Office: 315 Harned
Phone: 662-325-7570

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Ph.D., Genetics (Minor: Statistics), Iowa State University

M.S., Botany, Peking University

B.S., Ecology and Environmental Biology, Peking University


Professional Activities

Adjunct Assistant Professor, Iowa State University

Associate Scientist, Iowa State University         

Postdoc, Iowa State University

Research Interests   

Dr. Li has been developing an integrated experimental/biocomputational approach to identify the factors that regulate plant metabolism and adaptation to environmental changes, focusing on expanding the fundamental understanding of biological networks, in particular those that shift metabolism and thus alter composition. Her research strategy integrates systems-based experimental data (such as transcriptomic, metabolomics, proteomic, and genomic sequences), to reveal the entirety of processes that make up a biological network. The integration of such comprehensive datasets with genetic manipulations and bioinformatic analysis is revealing the structure and regulation of complex molecular interaction networks, which impact metabolic and signaling processes. This integrated strategy is identifying new gene functions (particularly genes with unknown functions) and identifying innovative strategies on how to improve the performance of biological systems and solve problems in agriculture. One example of her research on the characterization of the Arabidopsis-specific QQS (Qua Quine Starch) orphan gene and its interactor in regulation of carbon and nitrogen allocation illustrates this strategy, and provides a prototype of how to improve biological traits (developing a molecular tool to increase protein content in agronomic species such as soybean, corn and rice), and how fundamental biotechnological research could bridge basic and applied research.

Selected Publications (for peer-reviewed publication list:

Tong Z, Wang D, Sun Y, Yang Q, Meng X, Wang L, Feng W, Li L, Wurtele ES, Wang X (2017) Comparative proteomics of rubber latex revealed multiple protein species of REF/SRPP family respond diversely to ethylene stimulation among different rubber tree clones. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 18: 958.

Guan X, Okazaki Y, Lithio A, Li L, Zhao X, Jin H, Nettleton D, Saito K, Nikolau BJ (2017) The 3-hydroxyacyl-ACP dehydratase component of the plant mitochondrial fatty acid synthase system. Plant Physiology, 173: 2010-2028.

Tong Z, Sun Y, Wang D, Wang L, Li L, Meng X, Feng W, Wurtele ES, Wang X (2016) Identification and functional characterization of HbOsmotin from Hevea brasiliensis. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, 109:  171-180.

Jones D, Zheng W, Huang S, Zhao X, Du C, Yennamalli RM, Sen TZ, Nettleton D, Wurtele ES, and Li L* (2016) A clade-specific Arabidopsis gene connects primary metabolism and senescence. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7: 983 (*corresponding author).

Soták M, Czeranková O, Klein D, Jurčacková Z, Li L and Čellárová E (2016) Comparative transcriptome reconstruction of four Hypericum species focused on hypericin biosynthesis. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7: 1039.

Soták M, Czeranková O, Klein D, Nigutová K, Altschmied L, Li L, Jose A, Wurtele ES, and Čellárová E (2016) Differentially expressed genes in hypericin-containing hypericum perforatum leaf tissues as revealed by de novo assembly of RNA-Seq. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter, doi:10.1007/s11105-016-0982-2.

Li L*, Zheng W, Zhu Y, Ye H, Tang B, Arendsee Z, Jones D, Li R, Ortiz D, Zhao X, Du C, Nettleton D, Scott P, Salas-Fernandez M, Yin Y, and Wurtele ES* (2015) The QQS orphan gene regulates carbon and nitrogen partitioning across species via NF-YC interactions. PNAS, 112: 14734-14739 (*corresponding authors; Faculty of 1000 Recommendation, doi: 10.3410/f.725926590.793512579; Paper of the month in TAIR for Feb 2016).

Li L*, and Wurtele ES* (2015) The QQS orphan gene of Arabidopsis modulates carbon and nitrogen allocation in soybean. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 13: 177-187 (*corresponding authors).

Li L*, Hur M, Lee J, Zhou WX, Song Z, Ransom N, Demirkale Y, Nettleton D, Westgate M, Arendsee Z, Iyer V, Shanks J, Nikolau BJ, and Wurtele ES* (2015) A systems biology approach toward understanding seed composition in soybean. BMC Genomics, 16 (Suppl 3): S9 (*corresponding authors).

Jiang F, An C, Bao Y, Zhao X, Jernigan R, Lithio A, Nettleton D, Li L, Wurtele E, Nolan L, Lu C, and Li G (2015) ArcA Controls Metabolism, Chemotaxis and Motility Contributing to the Pathogenicity of Avian Pathogenic E. coli. Infection and Immunity, 83: 3545-3554.

Arendsee Z, Li L*, and Wurtele ES* (2014) Coming of age: The species-specific (orphan) genes of plant. Trends in Plant Science, 19: 698-708 (*corresponding authors; Chosen Top 10 Editorial Board Favorites 2014).

Hur M, Cambell AA, Almeida-de-Macedo M, Li L, Ransom N, Jose A, Crispin M, Nikolau BJ, Wurtele ES (2013) A global approach to analysis and interpretation of metabolic data for plant natural product discovery. Natural Product Reports, 30: 565-583.

Ngaki MN, Louie GV, Philippe RN, Manning G, Pojer F, Bowman ME, Li L, Larsen E, Wurtele ES and Noel JP (2012) Evolution of the chalcone isomerase fold from fatty acid-binding to stereospecific enzyme. Nature, 485: 530-533.

Zhang L, Berleant D, Wang Y, Li L, Cook D and Wurtele ES (2012) BirdsEyeView: graphical overviews of experimental data. BMC Bioinformatics, 13: S11.

Feng YP, Hurst J, Almeida-De-Macedo M, Chen X, Li L, Ransom N, and Wurtele ES (2012) A massive human co-expression-network and its medical applications. Chemistry & Biodiversity, 9: 868-887.

Li X, Ilarslan H, Brachova L, Qian HR, Li L, Che P, Wurtele ES, and Nikolau BJ (2011) Reverse genetic analysis of the two biotin-containing subunit genes of the heteromeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase in Arabidopsis thaliana indicates a unidirectional functional redundancy. Plant Physiology, 155: 293-314.

Jia M, Li L, Boggess E, Wurtele ES, Dickerson JA (2010) Visualizing multivariate hierarchic data using enhanced radial space-filling layout. In: Advances in Visual Computing, Volume 6453. Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany: Springer, 350-360. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-17289-2_34.

Li L, Foster C, Gan Q, Nettleton D, James MG, Myers AM, and Wurtele ES (2009) Identification of the novel protein QQS as a component of the starch metabolic network in Arabidopsis leaves. Plant Journal, 58: 485-498 (Faculty of 1000 Recommendation, DOI: 10.3410/f.1162758.624354).

Li L, Ilarslan H, James MG, Myers AM, and Wurtele ES (2007) Genome wide co-expression among the starch debranching enzyme genes AtISA1, AtISA2, and AtISA3 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Experimental Botany, 58: 3323-3342.