Xin Xiang, Ph.D.

Xin Xiang, Ph.D.

xin xiang

Name: Xin Xiang, Ph.D.

Department of Primary Appointment: Biochemistry
Position: USU Faculty
Title: Professor

Affiliated Departments: Molecular & Cell Biology,

Research Interests:
In vivo regulation of cytoplasmic dynein

Email: (link sends e-mail)
Office Phone: (301) 295-0000
Lab Phone: (301) 295-3571
Fax Number: (301) 295-3512
Room: B3032

Department Website
PubMed Listing



  • B.S. & M.S. Department of Biology, Peking University, Beijing, P. R. China
  • Ph.D. Department of Biochemistry, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Advisor: Dr. Kiran Chada.
  • Post-doctoral research: Department of Pharmacology, UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey. Advisor: Dr. Ron Morris.

Research interests

Cytoplasmic dynein is a microtubule motor protein that transports a variety of cargoes including vesicles/organelles, proteins and mRNAs. Its proper function is crucial for human health as mutations in dynein or its regulators, such as dynactin and Lis1, are causally linked to brain developmental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. We are interested in how dynein attaches to its cargoes and how dynein activity is coordinated with cargo binding. 

We use the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans as a genetic model organism for our studies. In A. nidulans, dynein accumulates at the microtubule plus end near the hyphal tip in a kinesin-1- and dynactin-dependent manner, which places the dynein motor in close proximity with the early endosome cargo. A few years ago we found that the dynein-early endosome interaction in A. nidulans specifically requires the p25 subunit of dynactin. Based on the phenotype of the p25 null mutant, we performed a genetic screen to uncover the unknown molecular machinery linking dynein-dynactin to early endosomes.

Our genetic approach has allowed us to identify two key proteins, HookA (Hook in A. nidulans) and FhipA (FHIP in A. nidulans), which link dynein-dynactin to early endosomes. FhipA is required for the C-terminus of HookA to bind early endosome. The N-terminal part of HookA is important for the HookA-dynein-dynactin interaction, which intriguingly requires not only dynactin p25 but also the dynein complex. We are currently dissecting the role of p25 in HookA binding and dynactin regulation. Recently, we have also discovered a vezatin-like protein VezA as a novel factor crucial for dynein-mediated early endosome transport. Interestingly, VezA is not a cargo adapter like HookA or FhipA, but instead, it localizes at the hyphal tip and regulates the interaction between the HookA-bound eary endosomes and dynein-dynactin. The mechanism of VezA action remains a mystery and we will elucidate it using a combination of biochemical and genetic approaches.

Current lab members

Jun ZhangRongde QiuXuanli Yao

Jun Zhang
Research Assistant Professor
B.S. Shanghai Medical University
Ph.D. Beijing Medical University

Rongde Qiu
Research Associate
B.S. Fudan University
M.S. Institute of Biochemistry
& Cell Biology, SIBS, CAS

Xuanli (Lia) Yao 
Research Assistant Professor
B.S. Nanjing University
Ph.D. Ohio State University

(recent alumna)

Selected Recent Publications

Research Articles

1.     Yao, X., Arst, H.N. Jr, Wang, X. and Xiang, X. (2015). Discovery of a vezatin-like protein for dynein-mediated early endosome transport. Mol. Biol. Cell. 26, 3816-3827.  (highlighted by MBoC Highlights) 

2.     Wang, B., Li, K., Jin, M., Qiu, R., Liu, B., Oakley, B.R. and Xiang, X. (2015). The Aspergillus nidulans bimC4 mutation provides an excellent tool for identification of kinesin-14 inhibitors. Fungal Genet. Biol. 82:51-55. 

3.     Pantazopoulou, A., Pinar, M., Xiang, X., Peñalva, M.A. (2014) Maturation of late Golgi cisternae into RabERAB11 exocytic post-Golgi carriers visualized in vivo. Mol. Biol. Cell. 25, 2428-2443.

4.     Yao, X., Wang, X., Xiang, X. (2014) FHIP and FTS proteins are critical for dynein-mediated transport of early endosomes in Aspergillus. Mol. Biol. Cell. 25, 2181-2189. (highlighted by MBoC Highlights)

5.     Zhang, J*., Qiu, R*., Arst, H.N. Jr, Peñalva, M.A., Xiang, X. (2014) HookA is a novel dynein-early endosome linker critical for cargo movement in vivo. J. Cell Biol. 204, 1009-1026. (highlighted by JCB In Focus: Motor proteins Hook on to early endosomes ( and by Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology Research Highlight: Molecular Motors- Hook-ing up early endosomes (

6.     Zhang, J., Twelvetrees, A.E., Lazarus, J.E., Blasier, K.R., Yao, X., Inamdar, N.A., Holzbaur, E.L.F.*, Pfister, K.K.*, Xiang, X.* (2013) Establishing a novel knock-in mouse line for studying neuronal cytoplasmic dynein under normal and pathologic conditions. Cytoskeleton. 70, 215-227.

7.     Qiu, R., Zhang, J., Xiang, X. (2013) Identification of a novel site in the tail of dynein heavy chain important for dynein function in vivo. J. Biol. Chem. 288, 2271-2280.

8.     Yao, X., Zhang, J., Zhou, H., Wang, E., Xiang, X. (2012) In vivo roles of the basic domain of dynactin p150 in microtubule plus-end tracking and dynein function. Traffic 13, 375-387.

9.     Zhang, J.*, Yao, X.*, Fischer, L. Abenza J. F., Peñalva. M. A., Xiang, X. (2011) The p25 subunit of the dynactin complex is required for dynein-early endosome interaction. J. Cell Biol. 193, 1245-1255.

10.  Zhang, J., Tan, K., Wu, X., Chen, G., Sun, J., Reck-Peterson, S., Hammer, J.A. III*, Xiang, X.* (2011) Aspergillus myosin-V supports polarized growth in the absence of microtubule-based transport. PLoS ONE, 6(12):e28575.

11.  Zhai, B*., Zhou, H.*, Yang, L., Zhang, J., Jung, K., Giam, C.Z., Xiang, X., Lin X. (2010) Polymyxin B, in combination with fluconazole, exerts a potent fungicidal effect. J Antimicrob Chemother. 65, 931-938.  

12.  Zhang, J., Zhuang, L., Lee, Y. Abenza J. F., Peñalva. M. A., Xiang, X. (2010) The microtubule-plus-end localization of Aspergillus dynein is important for dynein-early endosome interaction but not for dynein ATPase activation. J. Cell Sci. 123, 3596-3604.

(* co-first or co-corresponding authors)

Invited Reviews/Book Chapters

1.     Xiang, X, Qiu, R., Yao, X., Arst, H.N. Jr, Peñalva, M.A. and Zhang, J. (2015). Cytoplasmic dynein and early endosome transport (review). Cellular and molecular life sciences 72, 3267-3280. 

2.     Xiang, X. (2012) Nuclear Positioning: dynein needed for microtubule shrinkage-coupled movement (dispatch). Curr. Biol. 22, R496-499.

3.     Xiang, X. (2011) Insights into Cytoplasmic Dynein Function and Regulation from Fungal Genetics (book chapter). In Dyneins: Structure, Biology and Disease (Edited by S. M. King), Elsevier. p455-481

4.     Xiang, X. and Oakley, B. R. (2010). The Cytoskeleton in Filamentous Fungi (book chapter). In: Cellular and Molecular Biology of Filamentous Fungi (Edited by K. Borkovich and D. Ebbole), ASM Press. p209-223.