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Principal Investigator
Bing-Yu Mao   Ph.D  
Phone +86 871 68125418
Address Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences No. 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan, 650223, P.R.China
Zip Code 650201

2004 Present   Kunming Institute of Zoology, Principle Investigator 

19982003, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Postdoctoral fellow 

19931998Shandong University Ph.D.


19891993Shandong University Bachelor 
  Social service:
   Research Interests:
The molecular mechanisms of neural patterning and how these mechanisms evolve during vertebrate origin are the focuses of our lab. We use the amphibian Xenopus and the cephalochordate amphioxus as our model animals.
  Projects and Funds:

1. Dorsal-ventral patterning of the neural tube 

Vertebrate neural tube is patterned along the dorsal-ventral axis through the interplay of a group of signaling molecules and transcription factors. We have characterized several factors involved in dorsal-ventral neural patterning in Xenopus, including Nkx6, Islet1, Dbx2, etc. We have also isolated one ubiquitin ligase that is specifically expressed in the ventral neural tube both in Xenopus and mouse. We are currently studying its role in neural development and screening for its target molecules. 

2. Mechanisms of neural crest development 

Neural crest is a multipotent cell population originates at the border between the neural plate and epidermis in vertebrates. Later these cells migrate to various places throughout the body and give rise to various tissues. The induction, specification, migration and differentiation of the NC cells are tightly regulated by a multistep gene regulatory network. Using Xenopus as a model animal, we are studying the roles of Nkx6.3 and reduced folate carrier in neural crest development. Our current data suggest that Nkx6.3 regulates neural crest induction through regulating Wnt signaling pathway while Xenopus reduce folate carrier is involved in the epigenetic regulation of neural crest gene expression. 

  Category of Experts:
  Public Services:
  Selected Publications:

1.      Xu HB#, Li YX#, Li Y, Otecko NO, Zhang YP, Mao B*, Wu DD*. (2018) Origin of new genes after zygotic genome activation in vertebrate. J Mol Cell Biol. 10:139-146.

2.      Sun J#, Wang X#, Shi Y, Li J, Li C, Shi Z, Chen Y, Mao B*. (2018) EphA7 regulates claudin6 and pronephros development in XenopusBiochemBiophys Res Commun. 495:1580–1587.

3.      Ma P#,*, Ren B#, Yang X#, Sun B, Liu X, Kong Q, Li C, Mao B*, (2017) ZC4H2 stabilizes Smads to enhance BMP signalling, which is involved in neural development in Xenopus. Open Biol. 7: 170122.

4.      Liu X#, Xia Y#, Tang J, Ma L, Li C, Ma P*, Mao B*.2017Dual roles of Akirin2 during Xenopus neural development. J Biol Chem. 292:5676-5684.

5.      Wang X, Sun J, Li C, Mao B*. (2016. EphA7 modulates apical constriction of hindbrain neuroepithelium during neurulation in Xenopus. BiochemBiophys Res Commun. 479:759-765.

6.      Liu X, Yang X, Li Y., Zhao S, Li C, Ma P*, & Mao B*. (2016). Trip12 is an E3 ubiquitin ligase for USP7/HAUSP involved in the DNA damage response.  FEBS Lett. 590:4213-4222.

7.      Yang X#, Li J#, Zeng W, Li C, Mao B* (2016). Elongator Protein 3 (Elp3) stabilizes Snail1 and regulates neural crest migration in Xenopus. Sci. Rep. 6, 26238.

8.      Yang KY, Chen Y, Zhang Z, Ng PK, Zhou WJ, Zhang Y, Liu M, Chen J, Mao B*, Tsui SK*. 2016 Transcriptome analysis of different developmental stages of amphioxus reveals dynamic changes of distinct classes of genes during development. Sci Rep.6, 23195.

9.      Jiang S, Du J, Kong Q, Li C, Li Y, Sun H, Pu J*, Mao B*. (2015) A group of ent-Kauranediterpenoids inhibit hedgehog signaling and induce cilia elongation. PLoSONE 10: e0139830.

10. Sun J, Wang X, Li C, Mao B*. 2015Xenopus Claudin-6 is required for embryonic pronephros morphogenesis and terminal differentiation. BiochemBiophys Res Commun. 462:178-83.

11. Zhang Z, Shi Y, Zhao S, Li J, Li C, Mao B*. (2014) Xenopus Nkx6.3 is a neural plate border specifier required for neural crest development. PLoS ONE9: e115165.

12. Ma P, Yang X, Kong Q, Li C, Yang S, Li Y, Mao B*. (2014) The ubiquitin ligase RNF220 enhances canonical Wnt signaling through USP7 mediated deubiquitination of β-catenin. Mol. Cell. Biol., 34:4355-4366.

13. Ma P, Xia Y, Ma L, Zhao S*, Mao B*. (2013) Xenopus Nkx6.1 and Nkx6.2 are required for mid-hindbrain boundary development.Dev Genes Evol. 223:253-259.

14. Chen Y, Ding Y, Zhang Z, Wang W, Chen J, Naoto Ueno, Mao B*. (2011). Evolution of vertebrate central nervous system is accompanied by novel expression changes of duplicate genes. J. Genet. Genomics, 38:577-584.

15. Li J, Shi Y, Sun J, Zhang Y, Mao B*. (2011), Xenopus reduced folate carrier regulates neural crest development epigenetically, PLoS ONE 6(11): e27198.

16. Ma P, Zhao S, Zeng W, Yang Q, Li C, Lv X, Zhou Q, Mao B*. (2011), Xenopus Dbx2 is involved in primary neurogenesis and early neural plate patterning. BiochemBiophys Res Commun. 412:170-174.

17. Zhang Y, Mao B*. (2010), Embryonic expression and evolutionary analysis of the amphioxus Dickkopf and Kremen family genes. J. Genet. Genomics, 37:637-645.

18. Zeng W, Kong Q, Li C, Mao B*. (2010), Xenopus RCOR2 (REST corepressor 2) interacts with ZMYND8, which is involved in neural differentiation. Biochem. Biophy. Res. Comm., 394:1024-1029.

19. Kong Q, Zeng W, Wu J, Hu W, Li C, Mao B*. (2010), RNF220, an E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets Sin3B for ubiquitinationBiochem. Biophy. Res. Comm., 393:708-713.

20. Wu J, Li C, Zhao S, Mao B*. (2010), Differential expression of the Brunol/CELF family genes during Xenopuslaevis early development. Int. J. Dev. Biol., 54209-214.

21. Shi Y, Zhao S, Li J, Mao B*. (2009), Islet-1 is required for ventral neuron survival in Xenopus. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 388:506-510.

22. Ma L, Pan XF, Wei YH, Li ZY, Li CC, Yang JX, Mao BY*. (2008) Embryonic stages and eye specific gene expression of the local cyprinoid fish Anabariliusgrahami in Fuxian Lake, China. J Fish Biol. 73:1946-1959.

23. Zhao S, Jiang H, Wang W, Mao B*. (2007), Cloning and developmental expression of the Xenopus Nkx6 genes. Dev Genes Evol., 217:477-4832007.

24. Mao B and Niehrs C (2003) Kremen2 modulates Dickkopf2 activity during Wnt/LRP6 signaling. Gene, 302:179-183,.

25. Mao B, Wu W, Davidson G, Marhold J, Li M, Mechler BM, Delius H, Hoppe D, Stannek P, Walter C, Glinka A, Niehrs C (2002), Kremen proteins are Dickkopf receptors that regulate Wnt/beta- catenin signalling. Nature, 417:664-667.

26. Davidson G, Mao B, Del Barco Barrantes I, Niehrs C (2002) Kremen proteins interact with Dickkopf1 to regulate anteroposterior CNS patterning. Development, 129:5587-96.

27. Mao B#, Wu W#, Li Y, Hoppe D, Stannek P, Glinka A, Niehrs C (2001), LDL- receptor-related protein 6 is a receptor for Dickkopf proteins. Nature, 411:321-325.

  Research Team:


Chao-Cui Li, Senior Technician 

Peng-Cheng Ma, Assistant Professor 

Graduate Students 

Zu-Ming Zhang, 2008 

Shi-you Jiang2009 

Jian Sun2009 

Xiang-Cai Yang, 2010 

Xiao-Lei Wang2011 

Xiao-Liang Liu2011 


Yong-Xin Li2013 

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