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Principal Investigator
Ping Zheng   Ph.D  
Phone +86 871 65197853
Address Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences No. 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan, 650223, P.R.China
Zip Code 650223
   Education and Appointments:
Ping Zheng, PhD
Section of Mammalian Embryonic Development,
Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
Room 330,
32 Jiao Chang Dong Lu,
Kunming, Yunnan, 650223
E-mail: or
Tel: 0871-65197853
Fax: 0871-65197853
  Professional Services
   Research Interests:

1. Preimplantation embryonic development:
We use the mouse as animal model to investigate the developmental biology of mammalian preimplantation embryos. We are interested in the regulatory roles of maternal accumulated factors in controlling early embryonic development. In particular, our previous work demonstrated that Filia, one of the components of subcortical maternal complex, was required for successful pre-implantation development as well as the maintenance of chromosome stability. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains largely unknown. Our current effort is to define the molecular basis of these phenotypes.  
2. Female gametogenesis:
Following primordial germ cell specification and germ cell sex determination, germ cells from males and females undergo distinct molecular changes leading to the formation of the mature gametes. We are investigating the molecular events regulating the development of female germ cells via in vivo and in vitro approaches.

  Supported Projects:
1. Germ cell biology
Germ cells are essential for the reproductive competence of all species relying upon sexual reproduction. The journey from the specification of small portion of progenitor cells into mature gametes involves detailed genetic, epigenetic and morphogenetic steps. We focus on the following events of germ cell development:

Primordial germ cell (PGC) specification and maintenance.
PGCs are progenitors of germ cells. We utilize embryonic stem cell differentiation system to identify the molecules implicated in germ cell specification and maintenance and to investigate their roles and functional mechanisms.

Ovarian germline stem cells (GSCs) in primates.
Ovarian GSCs have been isolated in mice. The ovarian GSCs were considered as fundamental machinery for maintenance of female reproductive competence. We hypothesize that this machinery might be conserved among mammalian species. To this end, we are investigating the existence of ovarian GSCs in rhesus monkeys. We also investigate the molecular characteristics of ovarian GSCs, their regenerative activity under the physiological condition, and the molecular events governing ovarian GSC self-renewal and differentiation in both primates and rodents. 
2.  Roles of maternal effect genes in early embryonic development.
 Maternal effect genes play essential roles in early embryonic development. We have described a sub-cortical maternal complex (SCMC) essential for pre-implantation embryonic development. Five components were identified in this complex and the essential roles of each protein were verified via genetic mutation. We use the knock-out mouse lines to investigate the detailed roles of these proteins during oocyte maturation and early embryonic development. Moreover, some of the SCMC components (e.g. Filia, Floped, and Tle6) are specifically expressed in undifferentiated embryonic stem cells (ESCs) as well. We also study the functions of these genes in ESC biology.

3.  Pig transgenesis 
The biotechniques currently utilized to make transgenic pig are costly and inefficient. To improve the efficiency of transgenesis in pig, we work in two ways: 1) Establish a pig donor cell type which allows efficient genetic modification and reprogramming upon nuclear transfer into enucleated recipient oocyte; 2) Isolate and propagate pig spermatogonia stem cells (SSCs) in vitro. SSCs are alternative to make gene modification in species in which pluripotent embryonic stem cells are not available.   

  Public Services:
  Selected Publications:


1.     Qin DD#, Zhou JK#, He XC#, Shen XY#, Li C, Chen HZ, Yan LZ, Hu ZF, Li X, Lv LB, Yao YG*, Wang Z*, Huang XX*, Hu XT*, Zheng P*. Depletion of giant ANK2 in monkeys causes drastic brain volume loss. Cell Discovery, 2021, 7(1):113.

2.     Wang L#, Li J#, Zhou H, Zhang W, Gao J, Zheng P*. A novel lncRNA Discn fine-tunes replication protein A (RPA) availability to promote genomic stability. Nat Communications, 2021,12(1):5572.

3.     Li JZ, Shang YF, Wang L, Zhao B, Sun CL, Li JL, Liu SL, Li C, Tang M, Meng FL*, Zheng P*. Genome integrity and neurogenesis of postnatal hippocampal neural stem/progenitor cells require a unique regulator Filia. Science Advances, 2020, 6(44):eaba0682.

4.     Ma H#, Zhai J#, Wan H#, Jiang X#, Wang X, Wang L, Xiang Y, He X, Zhao ZA, Zhao B, Zheng P*, Li L*, Wang H*. In vitro culture of cynomolgus monkey embryos beyond early gastrulation. Science, 2019, 366(6467):eaax7890.

5.     Zhang WD#, Chen ZL#, Zhang DF, Zhao B, Liu L, Xie ZY, Yao YG, Zheng P*. KHDC3L mutation causes recurrent pregnancy loss by inducing genomic instability of human early embryonic cells. PLoS Biology, 2019, 17(10):e3000468.

6.     Luo X#, He Y#, Zhang C#, He X#, Yan L#, Li M, Hu T, Hu Y, Jiang J, Meng X, Ji W, Zhao X, Zheng P*, Xu S*, Su B*. Trio deep-sequencing does not reveal unexpected off-target and on-target mutations in Cas9-edited rhesus monkeys. Nature Communications, 2019, 10(1):5525.

7.     Liu D#, Wang X#, He D#, Sun C#, He X, Yan L, Li Y, Han JJ*, Zheng P*. Single-cell RNA-sequencing reveals the existence of naive and primed pluripotency in pre-implantation rhesus monkey embryos. Genome Research, 2018, 28 (10):1481–1493. (封面论文)

8.     Zhao B#, Zhang WD#, Cun YX, Li JZ, Liu Y, Gao J, Zhu HW, Zhou H, Zhang RG, Zheng P*. Mouse embryonic stem cells have increased capacity for replication fork restart driven by the specific Filia-Floped protein complex. Cell Research, 2018, 28(1):69-89.

9.     Fan Y#, Luo R#, Su L-Y, Xiang Q, Yu D, Xu L, Chen J-Q, Bi R, Wu D-D, Zheng P*, Yao Y-G*. Does the genetic feature of the Chinese tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri chinensis) support its potential as a viable model for Alzheimer’s disease research? Journal of Alzheimers Disease, 2018, 61(3):1015-1028.

10.   Wang XY#, Liu DH#, He DJ, Suo SB, Xia X, He XC, Han JJ*, Zheng P*. Transcriptome analyses of rhesus monkey pre-implantation embryos reveal a reduced capacity for DNA double strand break (DSB) repair in primate oocytes and early embryos. Genome Research, 2017, 27(4):567-579.

11.   Li CH, Yan LZ, Ban WZ, Tu Q, Wu Y, Wang L, Bi R, Ji S, Ma YH, Nie WH, Lv LB, Yao YG*, Zhao XD*, Zheng P*. Long-term propagation of tree shrew spermatogonial stem cells in culture and successful generation of transgenic offspring. Cell Research, 2017, 27(2):241-252.

12.   Guo K#, Li CH#, Wang XY, He DJ, Zheng P*. Germ stem cells are active in postnatal mouse ovary under physiological conditions. Molecular Human Reproduction, 2016, 22(5):316-328 (该工作受到杂志同期特邀评论, Mol Hum Reprod, 2016, 22:313-315).

13.   Lu YQ, He XC, Zheng P*. Decrease in expression of maternal effect gene Mater is associated with maternal ageing in mice. Molecular Human Reproduction, 2016, 22(4):252-260.

14.   Zhao B, Zhang WD, Duan YL, Lu YQ, Cun YX, Li CH, Guo K, Nie WH, Li L, Zhang R, Zheng P*. Filia is an ESC-specific regulator of DNA damage response and safeguards genomic stability. Cell Stem Cell, 2015, 16(6):684-698.

15.   Tan T#, Zhang Y#, Ji W*, Zheng P*. miRNA Signature in mouse spermatogonial stem cells revealed by high-throughput sequencing. Biomed Res Int, 2014, 154251.

16.   Zhao YQ#, Ji S#, Wang JK#, Huang JF*, Zheng P*. mRNA-Seq and microRNA-Seq whole-transcriptome analysis of rhesus monkey ESC neural differentiation revealed the potential regulators of rosette neural stem cells. DNA Research, 2014, 21(5):541-54.

17.   Zheng P*, Baibakov B, Wang XH, Dean J*. PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 is constitutively synthesized and required for spindle translocation during meiosis in mouse oocytes. Journal of Cell Science, 2013, 126(Pt 3):715-21.

18.   Li L, Zheng P, Dean J*. Maternal control of early mouse development. Development, 2010, 137:859-870.

19.   Zheng P, Dean J*. Role of Filia, a maternal effect gene, in maintaining euploidy during cleavage stage mouse embryogenesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2009, 106(18):7473-8.

20.   Ohsugi M, Zheng P, Baibakov B, Li L, Dean J*. Maternally derived FILIA-MATER complex localizes asymmetrically in cleavage-stage mouse embryos. Development, 2008, 135(2):259-269.

21.   Zheng P, Vassena R, Latham KE*. Effects of in vitro oocyte maturation and embryo culture on the expression of glucose transporters, glucose metabolism and insulin signaling genes in rhesus monkey oocytes and preimplantation embryos. Molecular Human Reproduction, 2007, 13:361-371.

22.   Zheng P*, Dean J. Oocyte-specific genes affect folliculogenesis, fertilization, and early development (Invited review). Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 2007, 25(4):243-251.

23.   Zheng P*. Effects of in vitro maturation of monkey oocytes on their developmental capacity (Invited review). Animal Reproduction Science, 2007, 98:56-71.

24.   Zheng P, Vassena R, Latham KE*. Expression and downregulation of WNT signaling pathway genes in rhesus monkey oocytes and embryos. Molecular Reproduction and Development, 2006, 73:667-677.

25.   Zheng P, Patel B, McMenamin M, Moran E, Paprocki AM, Kihara M, Schramm RD, Latham KE*. Effects of follicle size and oocyte maturation conditions on maternal message RNA regulation and gene expression in rhesus monkey oocytes and embryos. Biology of Reproduction, 2005, 72:890-897. 

26.   Zheng P, Schramm RD, Latham KE*. Developmental regulation and in vitro culture effects on expression of DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoint control genes in rhesus monkey oocytes and embryos. Biology of Reproduction, 2005, 72:1359-1369.  

27.   Zheng P, Patel B, McMenamin M, Reddy, S, Paprocki AM, Schramm RD, Latham KE*. The primate embryo gene expression resource:  A novel resource to facilitate rapid analysis of gene expression patterns in non-human primate oocytes and preimplantation stage embryos. Biology of Reproduction, 2004, 70:1411-1418.

28.   Zheng P, Patel B, McMenamin M, Paprocki AM, Schramm RD, Nagl N, Wilsker D, Wang G, Moran E, Latham KE*. Expression of genes encoding chromatin regulatory factors in developing rhesus monkey oocytes and preimplantation stage embryos: Possible roles in genome activation. Biology of Reproduction, 2004, 70:1419-1427.

29.   Zheng P, Si W, Bavister BD, Yang JF, Ding CH, Ji WZ*. 17-b Estradiol and progesterone improve in-vitro cytoplasmic maturation of oocytes from unstimulated prepubertal and adult rhesus monkeys. Human Reproduction, 2003, 18(10):2137-2144.

30.   Zheng P, Bavistser BD, Ji WZ*.  Amino acid requirements for maturation of rhesus monkey oocytes in culture. Reproduction, 2002, 124, 515-525. 

31.   Zheng P, Wang H, Bavister BD, Ji WZ*. Maturation of rhesus monkey oocytes in chemically defined culture media and their functional assessmental by IVF and embryo development. Human Reproduction, 2001, 16(2):300-305.

32.   Zheng P, Bavister BD, Ji WZ*. Energy substrate requirement for in vitro maturation of oocytes from unstimulated adult rhesus monkeys. Molecular Reproduction and Development, 2001, 58: 348-355. 

33.   Zheng P, Si W, Wang H, Zou RJ, Bavister BD, Ji WZ*. Effect of age and breeding season on the developmental capacity of oocytes from unstimulated and FSH-stimulated rhesus monkeys. Biology of Reproduction, 2001, 64:1417-1421.

  Research Team:


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