Recognizing featured Plant Cell first authors: Zhenlin Yang

Zhenlin Yang is featured first author of Structure of the Arabidopsis JMJ14-H3K4me3 Complex Provides Insight into the Substrate Specificity of KDM5 Subfamily Histone Demethylases

Current Position: PhD Student, Shanghai Center for Plant Stress Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Education: BS in Plant Science, Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University

Non-scientific Interests: Badminton, Basketball, and Climbing

I studied crop science during my undergraduate period, as I have been dreaming about improving the quality and yield of the crops. Then, I realize that the basic studies on molecular level may shed light on this. Currently in Prof. Jiamu Du’s lab, we carry out structural studies on important proteins participating in plant epigenetic regulation. In our lab, X-ray diffraction, cryo-EM, and other in vitro biochemistry methods are used to figure out the detailed molecular mechanism of important biological processes. I have solved the crystal structure of the H3K4me3 demethylase JMJ14 in complex with its substrate, which revealed the mechanism of the sequence-specific recognition of histone by KDM5 subfamily demethylase. Now, I am working on some interesting histone readers involving in plant flowering control. We hope that our studies may shape a molecular image for the mechanism that plant regulates its genes epigenetically.