Dr. Deyu Xie

Phytochemistry, Metabolomics and Metabolic Engineering

 Research Interests:

The research interests in my laboratory focus on understanding the structure and biosynthesis of plant natural products. Currently, my lab is working on flavonoids, monoterpenes and sesquiterpenoids. We are using a combinatorial approach that includes phytochemistry, metabolomics, molecular biology and biochemistry to understand the structures and biogenesis of these compounds. Meanwhile, we are developing the three groups of metabolites as a platform to study the metabolic biology of plant natural products. We are applying our findings to establish metabolic engineering technology to modify crop plants to synthesize natural products for biofuel or to produce novel natural products for nutraceuticals or pharmaceuticals. In addition, we are interested in establishing novel approaches to screen for natural anti-cancer, anti-malaria, and anti-aging products.


  1. Yue Zhu, Qingzhong Peng, Kegang Li, De-Yu Xie, 2018, Molecular Cloning and Functional Characterization of a Dihydroflavonol 4-Reductase from Vitis bellula. Molecules, 23 (4):861
  2. Gui Li, Jing Xi, Xiaoming Ji, Ming-Zhuo Li, De-Yu Xie, 2018, Non-plastidial expression of a synthetic insect geranyl pyrophosphate synthase effectively increases tobacco plant biomass. Journal of Plant Physiology, 221:144–155.
  3. Monica Borghi, and De-Yu Xie 2018 Cloning and characterization of a monoterpene synthase gene from flowers of Camelina sativa. Planta, 247 (2), 443-457
  4. Lei Zhao, Xiao-Lan Jiang, Yu-Mei Qian, Pei-Qiang Wang, De-Yu Xie, Li-Ping Gao, Tao Xia, 2017, Metabolic Characterization of the Anthocyanidin Reductase Pathway Involved in the Biosynthesis of Flavan-3-ols in Elite Shuchazao Tea (Camellia sinensis) Cultivar in the Field. Molecules, 22: 2242 (1-21).
  5. Lorenzo Rossia,Monica Borghia, Jinfen Yang, and De-Yu Xie 2017 Overexpression of Populus × canescens isoprene synthase gene in Camelina sativa leads to alterations of growth and metabolism.  Journal of Plant Physiology, 215:122–131
  6. Dong-Ming Ma, Gui Li, Fatima Alejos-Gonzalez, Yue Zhu, Zhen Xue, Aimin Wang, Hui Zhang, Xing Li, Hechun Ye, Hong Wang, Benye Liu, DE-Yu Xie  2017 Overexpression of a type I isopentenyl pyrophosphate isomerase of Artemisia annua in the cytosol leads to high arteannuin B production and artemisinin increase. Plant Journal, 91: 466–479.
  7. Mingzhuo Li, Yanzhi Li, Lili Guo, Niandi Gong, Yongzheng Pang, Wenbo Jiang, Yajun Liu, Xiaolan Jiang, Lei Zhao, Yunsheng Wang, De-Yu Xie, Liping Gao, Tao Xia, 2017, Functional Characterization of Tea (Camellia sinensis) MYB4a Transcription Factor Using an Integrative Approach. Frontiers of Plant Sciences, 8: 943. (doi:  10.3389/fpls.2017.00943)
  8. Dongming Ma, Gui Li, Yue Zhu, and De-Yu Xie 2017 Overexpression and Suppression of Artemisia annua 4-Hydroxy-3-Methylbut-2-enyl Diphosphate Reductase 1 Gene (AaHDR1) Differentially Regulate Artemisinin and Terpenoid Biosynthesis. Frontiers of Plant Sciences, 8:77 (https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2017.00077)
  9. Xianzhi He, Yong Li, Darlene Lawson and De-Yu Xie  2017 Metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in dark tobacco varieties, Physiologia Plantarum, 159: 2-12.
  10. Lorenzo Rossi& Monica Borghi, Alessandra Francinia, Xiuli Lin, De-Yu Xie and Luca Sebastiania, 2016, Salt stress regulations of phenylpropanoid metabolic pathway in Olea europaea cultivars Frantoio and Leccino. Journal of Plant Biology, 204: 8-15
  11. Hua Long, Jing Li, You-You Li, De-Yu Xie, Qing-Zhong Peng, Li Li 2016 Ontogenetic characterization of sporangium and spore of Huperzia serrata: an anti-aging disease fern. Botanical Studies, 57: 36-43
  12. De-Yu Xie, Dong-Ming Ma, Rika Judd, Ashley Loray Jones, 2016, Artemisinin biosynthesis in Artemisia annua and metabolic engineering: questions, challenges, and perspectives. Phytochemistry Review, 15: 1093-1114.
  13. Jing Xi, Lorenzo Rossi, Xiuli Lin and De-Yu Xie 2016 Overexpression of a synthetic insect-plant geranyl pyrophosphate synthase gene in Camelina sativa alters plant growth and terpene biosynthesis. Planta, 244: 215-230
  14. Xiang Liu, Jian Zhang, Ahmad Abuahmad, Robert G Franks, De-Yu Xie, Qiu-Yun Xiang 2016  Analysis of two TFL1 homologs of dogwood species (Cornus L.) indicates functional conservation in control of transition to flowering. Planta, 243: 1129-1141.
  15. De-Yu Xie, 2016, Artemisia annua, artemisinin, and the Nobel Prize: beauty of natural products and educational significance. Science Bulletin, 61: 42-44
  16. Monica Borghi and De-Yu Xie  2016 Tissue-specific production of limonene in Camelina sativa with the Arabidopsis promoters of genes BANYULS and FRUITFULL.  Planta, 243: 549-561
  17. Jyoti Dalal, Harry Lopez, Naresh B Vasani, Zhaohui Hu, Jennifer E Swift, Roopa Yalamanchili, Mia Dvora, Xiuli Lin, Deyu Xie, Rongda Qu, Heike W Sederoff, 2015, A photorespiratory bypass increases plant growth and seed yield in biofuel crop Camelina sativa. Biotechnology for biofuels, 8: 175
  18. Dong-Ming Ma, Zhilong Wang, Liangjiang Wang,  Fatima Alejos-Gonzales,  Ming-An Sun,  De-Yu Xie  2015 A Genome-Wide Scenario of Terpene Pathways in Self-pollinated Artemisia annua. Molecular Plant, 8: 1580–1598.
  19. Rodrigo A. Olarte, Carolyn J. Worthington, Bruce W. Horn, Geromy G. Moore, Rakhi Singh, James T. Monacell, Joe W. Dorner, Eric A. Stone, De-Yu Xie and Ignazio Carbone 2015 Enhanced diversity and aflatoxigenicity in interspecific hybrids of Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus parasiticus. Molecular Ecology, 24: 1889-1909
  20. Yue Zhu, Haiyun Wang, Qingzhong Peng, Yuntao Tang, Guixian Xia, Jiahe Wu and De-Yu Xie  2015 Functional characterization of an anthocyanidin reductase gene from the fibers of upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). Planta, 241: 1075-1089
  21. Yue Zhu, Qing-Zhong Peng, Ke-Gang Li and De-Yu Xie 2014 Molecular cloning and functional characterization of the anthocyanidin reductase gene from Vitis bellula. Planta, 240: 381-398
  22. Ming-Zhu Shi* and De-Yu Xie 2014 Biosynthesis and metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in Arabidopsis thaliana. Recent Patents on Biotechnology 8, 47-60
  23. Zhong Liu, Ming-Zhu Shi, De-Yu Xie  2014 Regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana red pap1-D cells metabolically programmed by auxins. Planta 239: 765-781
  24. Fatima Alejos-Gonzalez, Kelly Perkins, Malcolm Isaiah Winston, De-Yu Xie 2013 Efficient Somatic Embryogenesis and Organogenesis of Self-Pollination Artemisia annua Progeny and Artemisinin Formation in Regenerated Plants. American Journal of Plant Sciences 4: 2206-2217
  25. Yue Zhu, Qing-Zhong Peng, Ci Du, Ke-Gang Li, De-Yu Xie 2013 Characterization of flavan-3-ols and expression of MYB and late pathway genes involved in proanthocyanidin biosynthesis in foliage of Vitis bellula. Metabolites 3, 185-203.
  26. Xiang Liu, Chun-Miao Feng*, Robert Franks, Rongda Qu,De-Yu Xie and Qiu-Yun Jenny Xiang 2013 Plant regeneration and genetic transformation of C. canadensis: a non-model plant appropriate for investigation of flower development in Cornus (Cornaceae).  Plant Cell Reports 32: 77-87.
  27. Dong-Ming Ma, Saiprasad VS Gandra, Navin Sharma andDe-Yu Xie 2013 Integration of GC-MS based non-targeted metabolic profiling with headspace solid phase microextraction enhances the understanding of volatile differentiation in tobacco leaves from North Carolina, India and Brazil. American Journal of Plant Sciences 3: 1759-1769.
  28. De-Yu Xie and Anastasios Melis 2012 Special Issue on Metabolic Plant Biology. Planta 236: 763-764.
  29. Li-Li Zhou, Ming-Zhu Shi* and De-Yu Xie 2012 Regulation of anthocyanin biosynthesis by nitrogen in TTG1–GL3/TT8–PAP1-programmed red cells of Arabidopsis thaliana. Planta 236: 825-837.
  30. Qing-Zhong Peng, Yue Zhu*, Zhong Liu, Ci Du*, Ke-Gang Li and De-Yu Xie 2012 An integrated approach to demonstrating the ANR pathway of proanthocyanidin biosynthesis in plants. Planta 236: 901-908.
  31. Chun-Miao Feng*, Xiang Liu, Yi Yu, De-Yu Xie, Robert G. Franks and Qiu-Yun (Jenny) Xiang 2012 Evolution of bract development and B-class MADS box gene expression in petaloid bracts of Cornus. l. (Cornaceae). New Phytologist 196: 631–643.
  32. De-Yu Xie and Ming-Zhu Shi* 2012 Differentiation of programmed Arabidopsis cells. Bioengineered Bugs 3: 54-59.
  33. Corey Broeckling, Ke-Gang Li, and De-Yu Xie 2012 Comparative metabolomics of transgenic tobacco plants (Nicotiana tabacum var. Xanthi) reveals differential effects of engineered complete and incomplete flavonoid pathways on the metabolome. In Transgenic Plants, 379-396.
  34. Wenrong He, Javier Brumos, Hongjiang Li, Yusi Ji, Qinglong Zeng, Wenyang Li, Xinyan Zhang, Fengying An, Xing Wen, Pengpeng Li, De-Yu Xie, Anna Stepanova, Jose Alonso, and Hongwei Guo, 2011 A Small-molecule screen identifies L-Kynurenine as a competitive inhibitor of TAA1 in ethylene-directed auxin biosynthesis and root growth, Plant Cell 23: 3944-3960.
  35. Fatima Alejos-Gonzalez, Guosheng Qu, Li-Li Zhou, Carole H. Saravitz, Janet L. Shurtleff and De-Yu Xie 2011 Characterization of development and artemisinin biosynthesis in self-pollinated Artemisia annua plants. Planta 234: 685-697.
  36. Mingzhu Shi* and De-Yu Xie 2011 Engineering of red cells of Arabidopsis thaliana and comparative genome-wide gene expression analysis of red cells vs. wild-type cells. Planta 233:787-805.
  37. Mary A. Samuels and De-Yu Xie (Corresponding author) 2011  Introduction to Catnip (Nepeta cataria) NCHA Newsletter (spring)
  38. Khalil ALMaarri, Lina Alamir, Yasmin Junaid, and De-Yu Xie 2010 Volatile compounds from leaf of Juniperus excelsa growing in Syria via gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Analytical Methods 2: 673-677.
  39. Ming-Zhu Shi* and De-Yu Xie 2010 Features of anthocyanin biosynthesis in pap1-D and wild typeArabidopsis thaliana plants grown in different light intensity and culture medium conditions. Planta 231: 1385-1400.
  40. Susan Joconis** and De-Yu Xie 2010 Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and its medicinal uses, NCHA Newsletter (fall): 4-6.
  41. Chunmiao Feng, Rongda Qu, Li-Li Zhou, De-Yu Xie, andQiuyun (Jenny) Xiang 2009 Shoot regeneration of dwarf dogwood (Cornus canadensis L.) and morphological characterization of the regenerated plants. Plant Cell, Tissue & Organ Culture 97: 27-37
  42. David John DeYoung, Jr.** and De-Yu Xie 2009 Introduction to Raphanus sativus, NCHA Newsletter, Winter 2009, 2-3/7.
  43. Lili Zhou, Hai-Nian Zeng*, Ming-Zhu Shi* and De-Yu Xie2008 Development of tobacco tissue culture expressing Arabidopsis PAP1/MYB75 gene and characterization of anthocyanin biosynthesis. Planta 229: 37-51.
  44. Shibiao Liu, Zhu-Xiang Liu, Hui Zhang, Shi-Jian Cai, Gong-Xi Chen, and De-Yu Xie, 2009 Extraction of essential oil and anatomical characterization of oil cell from leaves of Litsea euosma. 2009 International Conference of Natural Products and Traditional Medicine Proceedings, Springer, pp 737-744.
  45. A N Stepanova, J Robertson-Hoyt, J Yun, LM Benavente, D-Y Xie, K Doležal, A Schlereth, G Jürgens, and JM Alonso 2008 “TAA1-mediated auxin biosynthesis is essential for hormone crosstalk and plant development.Cell 133, 177-191.
  46. DeYu Xie 2008 Active natural products of Calendula officinalis (1): flavonoid and terpenoid compounds, NCHA Newsletter, Winter 2008, p7.
  47. De-Yu Xie, Shashi Sharma, Elane Wright, Zeng-Yu Wang and Richard Dixon 2006 Metabolic engineering of proanthocyanidins through co-expression of anthocyanidin reductase and the PAP1 MYB transcription factor. Plant Journal 45, 895-907.
  48. De-Yu Xie and Richard A. Dixon, 2005 Proanthocyanidin biosynthesis-Still more questions than answers (Review). Phytochemistry, 66. , 2127-2144
  49. Richard A. Dixon, De-Yu Xie and Shashi B. Sharma 2005 Proanthocyanidins – a final frontier in flavonoid research? (Review). New Phytologist, 165, 9-28.
  50. De-Yu Xie, Lisa A. Jackson, John D. Cooper, Daneel Ferreira and Nancy L. Paiva 2004 Molecular and Biochemical Analysis of Two cDNA Clones Encoding Dihyroflavonol-4-reductase from Medicago truncatulaPlant Physiology, 134, 979-994.
  51. De-Yu Xie, Shashi B. Sharma, and Richard A. Dixon 2004 Anthocyanidin reductase from Medicago truncatula and Arabidopsis thaliana. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 422, 91-102.
  52. De-Yu Xie, Shashi B. Sharma, Nancy L. Paiva, Daneel Ferreira and Richard A. Dixon 2003 Role of Anthocyanidin Reductase, Encoded by BANYULS in plant flavonoid biosynthesis. Science, 299, 396-399.
  53. Deyu Xie and Yan Hong 2002 Agrobacterium-Mediated Genetic Transformation of Acacia mangium Plant Cell Reports, 20, 917-922.
  54. Deyu Xie and Yan Hong 2001 In vitro regeneration ofAcacia mangium via organogenesis. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 66, 167-173.
  55. Deyu Xie and Yan Hong 2001 Regeneration of Acacia mangium through somatic embryogenesis. Plant Cell Reports, 20, 34-40.
  56. Deyu Xie, Lianhui Wang, Hechun Ye and Guofeng Li 2000 Isolation and production of artemisinin and stigmasterol in hairy root cultures of Artemisia annua. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture, 63, 161-166.
  57. Deyu Xie, Zhuorong Zou, Hechun Ye, Guofeng Li and Zhongchen Guo 2001 Selection of hairy root clones ofArtemisia annua L. for Artemisinin production. The Israel Journal of Plant Sciences, 49, 129-134.
  58. Deyu Xie and Zhongchen Guo 1999 Zygotic embryo culture of Taxus chinesis var mairei and plant regeneration through organogenesis.  The Israel Journal of Plant Sciences 47, 287-290.
  59. Deyu Xie, Hechun Ye, Guofeng Li and Zhongchen Guo 1998 Artemisia annua L. Transformation with differentAgrobacterium rhizogenesis and large scale culture of hairy roots for Artemisinin (Qinghaosu) production. In: P.J.Larkin (eds) Agricultural biotechnology: Laboratory, Field and Market. CPN Publications, Fyshwick, Canberra, pp 134-136.
  60. De-Yu Xie, Ning-ling Kang and Guo-zhen Li. 1995 Studies on the karyotype of Artemisia annua, Chinese Bulletin of Botany, Vol.12 (Supplement) 71-72.
  61. De-Yu Xie, Hechun Ye and Guofeng Li.  1995 The Progress of Artemisia annua research–the application of biotechnology and prospects. (In Chinese). Chinese Bulletin of Botany, Vol.12 (4): 28-31.
  62. De-Yu Xie, Guozhen Li, Hechun Ye and Guofeng Li.  1993 Studies on the relation between the changes of endogenous IPA and the growth of cell of Arnebia euchroma during the culture. Journal of Jishou University (Natural Science) Vol.14 (6): 29-31.
  63. Guozhen Li, Mingpo Qi, Ningling Kang, Deyu Xie, Yechun Ye and Guofeng Li 1992 Tissue culture and chromosome analysis of Arnebia euchroma. (In Chinese). Chinese Bulletin of Botany, Vol. 9(1): 37-41.