Chundong Niu: The Plant Cell First Author

Chundong Niu, co-first author of “Methylation of a MITE insertion in the MdRFNR1-1 promoter is positively associated with its allelic expression in apple in response to drought stress”

Current Position: Post-doctoral in College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, China

Education: Master’s degree in Nanjing Agricultural University; PhD’s degree in Northwest A&F University

Non-scientific Interests: Reading, Road Trip

Brief bio:

In 2016, I was very honored to join the laboratory of Prof. Qingmei Guan at College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University to pursue my doctorate, and to start the research on molecular mechanism of stress-tolerance in fruit trees. Global climate change and rapid population growth have been increasing the shortage of water resources, as the main producing area of apple, the Loess Plateau has been affected by natural drought for long times. Accelerating the innovation of drought-tolerance apple accessions’ breeding by genetic engineering is the long-term goal of our teams.

The RFNR1 gene was first identified from RNA-seq analysis, which was induced in the roots of the wild apple Malus sieversii by polyethylene glycol (PEG) treatment, and the transposon MITE-MdRF1 was discovered while studying the effect of PEG on RFNR1 expression. Our results charactered a mechanism by which apple participates in drought-tolerance through the redox pathway, and clarifies the function of the natural variation of RFNR1 in the response of apple to drought stress. Our research provides a theoretical basis for stress-tolerance breeding of fruit trees.

I will continue my research on the mechanism of stress tolerance in fruit trees, explore stress-related genes from different perspectives, and contribute to the development of the fruit tree industry.