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Research Interests


Principal Investigator

Lab Members


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Mengqing Xiang, Ph.D.
Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Rutgers University
679 Hoes Lane West
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Tel: 732-235-4491
Fax: 732-235-4466
Email: xiang@cabm.rutgers.edu


1981-1985, B.S. degree, Plant Genetics, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P. R. China.

1985-1986, Certificate, Intensive English language training in the CUSBEA Program, Guangzhou English Language Center, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, P. R. China.

1986-1991, Ph.D. degree, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

1989, Certificate, Embryology Course, Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA.

Academic Appointments

1987-1991, Graduate Research Assistant (Dr. William H. Klein, mentor), Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.

1991-1996, Postdoctoral Associate (Dr. Jeremy Nathans, mentor), Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD.

1996 - 2002, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

2002 - 2006, Associate Professor (with tenure), Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

2006 - present, Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

1996 - present, Resident Faculty Member, Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine, Piscataway, NJ.

1997 - present, Member, Cancer Institute of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ.

1996 - present, Faculty Member, Graduate Program in Cell and Developmental Biology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.

1997 - present, Faculty Member, Graduate Program in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

2004 - present, Faculty Member, Graduate Program in Neuroscience, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ.

Honors and Awards

1981-1984, The Most Excellent Student Award, awarded each year at Sun Yat-sen University.

1985, Selected to the Graduate School of Sun Yat-sen University as a "Recommended and Entrance Examination-Exempt Graduate Student."

1985-1991, China-U. S. Government Graduate Study Fellowship in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, selected to the CUSBEA (China-United States Biochemistry Examination and Application) Program.

1989, Arthur Klorfein Scholarship, Embryology Course, Marine Biological Laboratory.

1991-1995, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship.

1998-2000, Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Research Award, March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation.

1998-2001, Sinsheimer Scholar Award, Alexandrine and Alexander L. Sinsheimer Fund.

2003, Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, LLP Award in Auditory Science, National Organization for Hearing Research Foundation.


Refereed Original Articles:

Xiang, M., Bedard, P., Wessel, G., Filion, M., Brandhorst, B. P., and Klein, W. H. (1988) Tandem duplication and divergence of a sea urchin protein belonging to the troponin C superfamily. J. Biol. Chem. 263:17173-17180.

Xiang, M., Ge, T., Tomlinson, C. R., and Klein, W. H. (1991) Structure and promoter activity of the LpS1 gene of Lytechinus pictus: Duplicated exons account for LpS1 proteins with eight calcium-binding domains. J. Biol. Chem. 266:10524-10533.

Xiang, M., Lu, S.-Y., Musso, M., Karsenty, G., and Klein, W. H. (1991) A G-string positive cis-regulatory element in the LpS1 promoter binds two distinct nuclear factors distributed non-uniformly in Lytechinus pictus embryos. Development 113:1345-1355.

Xiang, M., Zhou, L., Peng, Y.-W., Eddy, R. L., Shows, T. B., and Nathans, J. (1993) Brn-3b: a POU-domain gene expressed in a subset of retinal ganglion cells. Neuron 11:689-701.

Xiang, M., Zhou, L., Macke, J. P., Yoshioka, T., Hendry, S. H. C., Eddy, R. L., Shows, T. B., and Nathans, J. (1995) The Brn-3 family of POU-domain factors: primary structure, binding specificity and expression in subsets of retinal ganglion cells and somatosensory neurons. J. Neurosci. 15:4762-4785.

Gan, L.*, Xiang, M.*, Zhou, L., Wagner, D., Klein, W. H., and Nathans, J. (1996) POU domain factor Brn-3b is required for the development of a large set of retinal ganglion cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93:3920-3925. (*Equal contribution by authors).

Xiang, M., Zhou, L., and Nathans, J. (1996) Similarities and differences among inner retinal neurons revealed by the expression of reporter transgenes controlled by Brn-3a, Brn-3b, and Brn-3c promoter sequences. Vis. Neurosci. 13:955-962.

Xiang, M., Gan, L., Zhou, L., Klein, W. H., and Nathans, J. (1996) Targeted deletion of the mouse POU domain gene Brn-3a causes a selective loss of neurons in the brainstem and trigeminal ganglion, uncoordinated limb movement, and impaired suckling. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93:11950-11955.

Xiang, M., Gan, L., Li, D., Chen, Z.-Y., Zhou, L., O'Malley, B. W., Klein, W. H., and Nathans, J. (1997) Essential role of POU-domain factor Brn-3c in auditory and vestibular hair cell development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:9445-9450.

Xiang, M. (1998) Requirement for Brn-3b in early differentiation of postmitotic retinal ganglion cell precursors. Dev. Biol. 197:155-169.

Xiang, M., Gao, W.-Q., Hasson, T., and Shin, J. J. (1998) Requirement for Brn-3c in maturation and survival, but not in fate determination of inner ear hair cells. Development 125, 3935-3946.

Huang, E. J., Zang, K., Schmidt, A., Saulys, A., Xiang, M., and Reichardt, L. F. (1999) POU domain factor Brn-3a controls the differentiation and survival of trigeminal neurons by regulating Trk receptor expression. Development 126:2869-2882.

Liu, W., Wang, J.-H., and Xiang, M. (2000) Specific expression of the LIM/homeodomain protein Lim-1 in horizontal cells during retinogenesis. Dev. Dyn. 217:320-325.

Liu, W., Khare, S. L., Liang, X., Peters, M. A., Liu, X., Cepko, C. L., and Xiang, M. (2000) All Brn3 genes can promote retinal ganglion cell differentiation in the chick. Development 127:3237-3247.

Liu, W., Mo, Z., and Xiang, M. (2001) The Ath5 proneural genes function upstream of Brn3 POU domain transcription factor genes to promote retinal ganglion cell development. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98:1649-1654.

Huang, E. J., Liu, W., Fritzsch, B., Bianchi, L. M., Reichardt, L. F., and Xiang, M. (2001) Brn3a is a transcriptional regulator of soma size, target field innervation, and axon pathfinding of inner ear sensory neurons. Development 128:2421-2432.

Zhao, G., Huang Y., Xiang, M., Zhong, X., and Xu A. (2001) Sequence analysis and characterization of a novel cDNA clone. Acta Scientiarum Naturalium Universitatis Sunyatseni 40:98-100.

Ichikawa, H., Yamaai, T., Mo, Z., Xiang, M., and Sugimoto, T. (2002) Effect of Brn-3a deficiency on CGRP-immunoreactivity in the dorsal root ganglion. Neuroreport 13:409-412.

Li, S., Price, S. M., Cahill, H., Ryugo, D. K., Shen, M. M., and Xiang, M. (2002) Hearing loss caused by progressive degeneration of cochlear hair cells in mice deficient for the Barhl1 homeobox gene. Development 129:3523-3532.

Ichikawa, H., Yamaai, T., Jacobowitz, D. M., Mo, Z., Xiang, M., and Sugimoto, T. (2002) Effect of Brn-3a deficiency on parvalbumin-, calbindin D-28k-, calretinin- and calcitonin gene-related peptide-immunoreactive primary sensory neurons in the trigeminal ganglion. Neuroscience 113:537-546.

Ichikawa, H., Mo, Z., Xiang, M., and Sugimoto, T. (2002) Effect of Brn-3a deficiency on nociceptors and low-threshold mechanoreceptors in the trigeminal ganglion. Mol. Brain Res. 104:240-245.

Xiang, M., Maklad, A., Pirvola, U. and Fritzsch, B. (2003) Brn3c null mutant mice show long-term, incomplete retention of some afferent inner ear innervation. BMC Neurosci. 4:2.

Weiss S., Gottfried, I., Mayrose, I., Khare, S. L., Xiang, M., Dawson, S. J., and Avraham, K. B. (2003) The DFNA15 deafness mutation affects POU4F3 protein stability, localization and transcriptional activity. Mol. Cell. Biol. 23:7957-7964.

Mo, Z., Li, S., Yang, X., and Xiang, M. (2004) Role of the Barhl2 homeobox gene in the specification of glycinergic amacrine cells. Development 131:1607-1618.

Li, S., Qiu, F., Xu, A., Price, S. M., and Xiang, M. (2004) Barhl1 regulates migration and survival of cerebellar granule cells by controlling expression of the neurotrophin-3 gene. J. Neurosci. 24:3104-3114.

Ichikawa, H., Mo, Z., Xiang, M. and Sugimoto, T. (2004) Effect of Brn-3a deficiency on parvalbumin-immunoreactive primary sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion. Dev. Brain Res. 150:41-45.

*Li, S., Mo, Z., Yang, X., Price, S. M., Shen, M. M. and Xiang, M. (2004) Foxn4 controls the genesis of amacrine and horizontal cells by retinal progenitors. Neuron 43:795-807. (*highlighted by the cover image and a mini-review in the September 16th issue).

Ichikawa, H., Schulz S., Hollt, V., Mo, Z., Xiang, M. and Sugimoto, T. (2005) Effect of Brn-3a deficiency on primary nociceptors in the trigeminal ganglion. Neurosci. Res. 51:445-451.

Ichikawa, H., Mo, Z., Xiang, M. and Sugimoto, T. (2005) Brn-3a deficiency increases tyrosine hydroxylase-immunoreactive neurons in the dorsal root ganglion. Brain Res. 1036:192-195.

Yu, C., Dong, M., Wu, X., Li, S., Huang, S., Su, J., Wei, J., Shen, Y., Mou, C., Xie, X., Lin, J., Yuan, S., Yu, X., Yu, Y., Du, J., Zhang, S., Peng, X., Xiang, M. and Xu, A. (2005) Genes "waiting" for recruitment by the adaptive immune system: the insights from Amphioxus. J. Immunol. 174:3493-3500.

Li, S., Misra, K., Matise, M. and Xiang, M. (2005) Foxn4 acts synergistically with Mash1 to specify subtype identity of V2 interneurons in the spinal cord. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 102:10688-10693.

Ichikawa, H., Qiu, F., Xiang, M. and Sugimoto, T. (2005) Brn-3a is required for the generation of proprioceptors in the mesencephalic trigeminal tract nucleus. Brain Res. 1053:203-206 .

Li, S. and Xiang, M. (2006) Barhl1 is required for maintenance of a large population of neurons in the zonal layer of the superior colliculus. Dev. Dyn. 235:2260-2265 .

Fujitani, Y., Fujitani, S., Luo, H., Qiu, F., Burlison, J., Long, Q., Kawaguchi, Y., Edlund, H., MacDonald, R. J., Furukawa, T., Fujikado, T., Magnuson, M. A., Xiang, M., and Wright, C. V. E. (2006) Ptf1a determines horizontal and amacrine cell fates during mouse retinal development. Development 133:4439-4450 .

Del Barrio, M. G., Taveira-Marques, R., Muroyama, Y., Yuk, D.-I., Li, S., Wines-Samuelson, M., Shen, J., Smith, H. K., Xiang, M., Rowitch, D., and Richardson, W. D. (2007) A regulatory network involving Foxn4, Mash-1 and Delta-like 4/Notch-1 generates V2a and V2b spinal interneurons from a common progenitor pool. Development 134:3427-3436 .

Collin, R. W. J., Chellappa, R., Pauw, R. -J., Vriend, G., Oostrik, J., van Drunen, W., Huygen, P. L., Admiraal, R., Hoefsloot, L. H., Cremers, F. P. M., Xiang, M., Cremers, C. W. R. J., and Kremer, H. (2008) Missense mutations in POU4F3 cause autosomal dominant hearing impairment DFNA15 and affect subcellular localization and DNA binding. Hum. Mutat. 29:545-554 .

Chellappa, R., Li, S., Pauley, S., Jahan, I., Jin, K., and Xiang, M. (2008) Barhl1 regulatory sequences required for cell-specific gene expression and autoregulation in the inner ear and central nervous system. Mol. Cell. Biol. 28:1905-1914 .

Qiu, F., Jiang, H., and Xiang, M. (2008) A comprehensive negative regulatory program controlled by Brn3b to ensure ganglion cell specification from multipotential retinal precursors. J. Neurosci. 28:3392-3403 .

Huang, M., Sage, C., Li, H., Xiang, M., Heller, S., and Chen, Z. -Y. (2008) Diverse expression patterns of LIM-homeodomain transcription factors (LIM-HDs) in mammalian inner ear development. Dev. Dyn. 237:3305-3312 .

Ichikawa, H., Terayama, R., Yamaai, T., Jacobowitz, D. M., Qiu, F., Xiang, M., and Sugimoto, T. (2009) Brn-3a deficiency transiently increases expression of calbindin D-28 k and calretinin in the trigeminal ganglion during embryonic development. Cell. Mol. Neurobiol. 29:691-698 .

Jiang, H. and Xiang, M. (2009) Subtype specification of GABAergic amacrine cells by the orphan nuclear receptor Nr4a2/Nurr1. J. Neurosci. 29:10449-10459 .

Jin, K., Jiang, H., Mo, Z., and Xiang, M. (2010) Early B-cell factors are required for specifying multiple retinal cell types and subtypes from postmitotic precursors. J. Neurosci. 30:11902-11916 .

Panayi, H., Orford, M., Panayiotou, E., Genethliou, N., Mean, R., Lapathitis, G., Li, S., Xiang, M., Kessaris, N., Richardson, W., and Malas, S. (2010) SOX1 is required for the specification of a novel p2-derived interneuron subtype in the mouse ventral spinal cord. J. Neurosci. 30:12274-12280 .

Li, S., Misra, K., and Xiang, M. (2010) A Cre transgenic line for studying V2 neuronal lineages and functions in the spinal cord. Genesis 48:667-672 .

Li, S. and Xiang, M. (2011) Foxn4 influences alveologenesis during lung development. Dev. Dyn. 240:1512-1517. Dev. Dyn. 240:1512-1517 .

Li, S. and Xiang, M. (2011) Kunzevitzky, N. J., Almeida, M. V., Duan, Y., Li, S., Xiang, M., and Goldberg, J. L. (2011) Foxn4 is required for retinal ganglion cell distal axon patterning. Mol. Cell. Neurosci. 46:731-741 .

Jin, K. and Xiang, M. (2011) Ebf1 deficiency causes increase of Muller cells in the retina and abnormal topographic projection at the optic chiasm. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 414:539-544 .

Poschl, J., Lorenz, A., von Bueren, A.O., Peraud, A., Li, S., Tonn, J.-C., Herms, J., Xiang, M., Rutkowski, S., Kretzschmar, H.A., and Schuller, U. (2011) Expression of BARHL1 in medulloblastoma is associated with prolonged survival in mice and humans. Oncogene 30:4721-4730 .

Ding, Q., Joshi. P. S., Xie, Z.-H., Xiang, M., and Gan, L. (2012) BARHL2 transcription factor regulates the ipsilateral/contralateral subtype divergence in postmitotic dI1 neurons of the developing spinal cord. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:1566-1571 .

Luo, H., Jin, K., Xie, Z., Qiu, F., Li, S., Zou, M., Cai, L., Hozumi, K., Shima, D. T., and Xiang, M. (2012) Forkhead box N4 (Foxn4) activates Dll4-Notch signaling to suppress photoreceptor cell fates of early retinal progenitors. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:E553-E562 .

Zou, M., Li, S., Klein, W. H., and Xiang, M. (2012) Brn3a/Pou4f1 regulates dorsal root ganglion sensory neuron specification and axonal projection into the spinal cord. Dev. Biol. 364:114-127 .

Wu, F., Li, R., Umino, Y., Kaczynski, T.J., Sapkota, D., Li, S., Xiang, M., Fliesler, S.J., Sherry, D.M., Gannon, M., Solessio, E., and Mu, X. (2013) Onecut1 is essential for horizontal cell genesis and retinal integrity. J. Neurosci. 33:13053-13065 .

Islam, M.M., Li, Y., Luo, H., Xiang, M., and Cai, L. (2013) Meis1 regulates Foxn4 expression during retinal progenitor cell differentiation. Biol. Open 2:1125-1136 .

Misra, K., Luo, H., Li, S., Matise, M., and Xiang, M. (2014) Asymmetric activation of Dll4-Notch signaling by Foxn4 and proneural factors activates BMP/TGFbeta signaling to specify V2b interneurons in the spinal cord. Development 141:187-198 .

Review Articles and Book Chapters:

Klein, W. H., Tomlinson, C. R., Zhang W., Xiang, M., Kozlowski, M., Gan, L., Nguyen, T., and Wessel, G. M. (1990) Ectoderm differentiation and the Spec gene family of sea urchins. In Develop. Biol., UCLA Symposium on Molecular and Cellular Biology (E. Davidson, J. Ruderman & J. Posakony, eds.), Vol. 125, pp. 123-134, New Series, Alan R. Liss, Inc., New York, NY.

Klein, W. H., Xiang, M., and Wessel, G. M. (1991) Spec proteins: Calcium-binding proteins in the embryonic ectoderm of sea urchins. In Novel Calcium Binding Proteins: Structures, Principles and Chemical relevance (C. W. Heizman, ed.) pp. 465-479, Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Xiang, M., Zhou, H., and Nathans, J. (1996) Molecular biology of retinal ganglion cells. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93:596-601.

Xiang, M., Gan, L., Li, D., Zhou, L., Chen, Z.-Y., Wagner, D., O'Malley, B. W., Jr., Klein, W. H., and Nathans, J. (1997) Role of the Brn-3 family of POU-domain genes in the development of the auditory/vestibular, somatosensory, and visual systems. Cold Spring Harb. Symp. Quant. Biol. LXII:325-336.

Fritzsch, B., Pauley, S., Matei, V., Katz, D. M., Xiang, M. and Tessarollo, L. (2005) Mutant mice reveal the molecular and cellular basis for specific sensory connections to inner ear epithelia and primary nuclei of the brain. Hear Res. 206:52-63 .

Xiang, M. (2006) Intrinsic mechanisms that control the specification of mammalian retinal cell types. In Trends in Neurosciences (X.M. Wang, M. Zhuo, X.J. Li, J. Chen, T.M. Gao, M. Fan, & L. Xu, eds.), Vol. 4, pp. 80-94, Higher Education Press, Beijing.

Xiang, M., Jiang, H., Jin, K., and Qiu, F. (2011) Molecular control of retinal ganglion cell specification and differentiation. In Glaucoma - Basic and Clinical Concepts (R. Shimon, ed.), pp. 65-84, InTech, Rijeka.

Jin, K. and Xiang, M. (2012) In vitro explant culture and related protocols for the study of mouse retinal development. Methods Mol. Biol. 884:155-165 .

Xiang, M. (2013) Intrinsic control of mammalian retinogenesis. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 70:2519-2532 .

Xiang, M. and Li, S. (2013) Foxn4: a multi-faceted transcriptional regulator of cell fates in vertebrate development. Sci. China Life Sci. 56:985-993 .