Zeng-Fu (Frank) Xu

Professor in Molecular Breeding of Energy Plants,

Director of Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use,

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences,

88 Xuefu Road, Kunming 650223, Yunnan, China


Research Center Room 3219, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden,

Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun, Yunnan 666303, China

Phone: +86-691-871 3051; Fax: +86-871-6516 0916; +86-691-871 5070

E-mail: zfxu@xtbg.ac.cn; zengfu.xu@gmail.com; Website: http://jatropha.groups.xtbg.cn/




Work Experience



Research interests

The goal of my research group is to breed improved varieties of biodiesel feedstock plants by transgenic approaches. In particular, my research group is focused on increasing the yield potential of two woody oil plants Jatropha curcas and Plukenetia volubilis through manipulating floral development and sex expression.


May, 1997 – April, 2001     The University of Hong Kong

Ph.D. in Plant Molecular Biology (Supervisors: Prof. Mee-Len Chye and Dr. Whei-Lan Teng)

Thesis Topic: Proteinase inhibitor II from Solanum americanum: molecular characterization and potential use in generating insect-resistant transgenic vegetables

Sep., 1987 – July, 1990:    Nanjing Agricultural University

M. Sc. in Plant Physiology and Biochemistry (Supervisor: Prof. Rong-Xian Zhang)

Thesis Topic: Differences between wheat genotypes in ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase and leaf conductance and the relationships to photosynthesis

Sep., 1983 – July, 1987:    Nanjing Agricultural University

B. Sc. in Genetics and Breeding

Work Experience

Nov., 2007 – present          Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences,

Menglun, Yunnan 666303, China

Professor, principal investigator, Research and teaching in molecular breeding of energy plants


Apr., 2004 – Nov., 2007:     Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Professor, Research and teaching in plant molecular biology and genetic engineering


May, 2001 – Mar., 2004:  Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Associate Professor, Research and teaching in plant molecular biology and genetic engineering


Oct., 1992 – Apr., 1997:    Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Lecturer, Research and teaching in plant molecular biology and genetic engineering


July, 1990 – Sep., 1992:    Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Teaching assistant, Research and teaching in plant molecular biology and genetic engineering

Publications (* indicates the corresponding author)

1.       Chaoqiong Li, Qiantang Fu, Longjian Niu, Li Luo, Jianghua Chen, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2017. Three TFL1 homologues regulate floral initiation in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Scientific Reports 7, Article number: 43090. doi:10.1038/srep43090. [Full text]

2.       Yan-Wei Sun, Chun-Ming Wang, Ning Wang, Xi-Yuan Jiang, Hui-Zhu Mao, Chang-Xiang Zhu, Fu-Jiang Wen, Xiang-Hua Wang, Zhi-Jun Lu,Gen-Hua Yue, Zeng-Fu Xu, Jian Ye*. 2017. Manipulation of Auxin Response Factor 19 affects seed size in the woody perennial Jatropha curcas. Scientific Reports 7: 40844. doi:10.1038/srep40844. [Full text]

3.       Chen M, Pan B, Fu Q, Tao Y, Martinez_herrera J, Niu L, Ni J, Dong Y, Zhao M and Xu Z* (2017) Comparative transcriptome analysis between gynoecious and monoecious plants identifies regulatory networks controlling sex determination in Jatropha curcas. Frontiers in Plant Science 7:1953. doi:10.3389/fpls.2016.01953 [Full text]

4.       Mingyong Tang, Yan-Bin Tao, Qiantang Fu, Yaling Song, Longjian Niu, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2016. An ortholog of LEAFY in Jatropha curcas regulates flowering time and floral organ development. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 37306. doi:10.1038/srep37306 [Full text]

5.       Yan-Bin Tao, Liang-Liang He, Longjian Niu and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2016. Isolation and characterization of the Jatropha curcas APETALA1 (JcAP1) promoter conferring preferential expression in inflorescence buds. Planta, 244(2):467-478. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-016-2519-1  [Full text]

6.       Mingyong Tang, Yan-Bin Tao and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2016. Ectopic expression of Jatropha curcas APETALA1 (JcAP1) caused early flowering in Arabidopsis, but not in Jatropha. PeerJ 4:e1969. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.1969  [Full text]

7.       Longjian Niu, Yan-Bin Tao, Mao-Sheng Chen, Qiantang Fu, Yuling Dong, Huiying He, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2016. Identification and characterization of tetraploid and octoploid Jatropha curcas induced by colchicine. Caryologia 69(1): 58–66. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00087114.2015.1110308. [Full text]

8.       Bang-Zhen Pan, Yan Luo, Liang Song, Mao-Sheng Chen, Jia-Long Li, Zeng-Fu Xu 2016. Thidiazuron increases fruit number in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas by promoting pistil development. Industrial Crops and Products 81: 202–210. DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2015.11.054. [Full text]

9.       Dong Yuling, Chen Maosheng, Wang Xiulan, Niu Longjian, Fu Qiantang, Xu Zengfu*, 2016. Establishment of in vitro regeneration system of woody oil crop Plukenetia volubilis. Molecular Plant Breeding 14(2): 462-470. [Full Text]

10.   Qiantang Fu, Chaoqiong Li, Mingyong Tang, Yan-Bin Tao, Bang-Zhen Pan, Lu Zhang, Longjian Niu, Huiying He, Xiulan Wang, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015. An efficient protocol for Agrobacterium-mediated transformation of the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas by optimizing kanamycin concentration and duration of delayed selection. Plant Biotechnology Reports 9(6): 405-416. Download PDF (1514KB)

11.   Jun Ni, Congcong Gao, Mao-Sheng Chen, Bang-Zhen Pan, Kaiqin Ye, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015 Gibberellin promotes shoot branching in the perennial woody plant Jatropha curcas. Plant and Cell Physiology 56 (8): 1655-1666. [Full text]  [cover story]

12.   Longjian Niu, Yan-Bin Tao, Mao-Sheng Chen, Qiantang Fu, Chaoqiong Li, Yuling Dong, Xiulan Wang, Huiying He, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015 Selection of reliable reference genes for gene expression studies of a promising oilseed crop, Plukenetia volubilis, by real-time quantitative PCR. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 16, 12513-12530; doi:10.3390/ijms160612513. [full text]

13.   Yan-Bin Tao, Liang-Liang He, Long-Jian Niu and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015. Isolation and characterization of an ubiquitin extension protein gene (JcUEP) promoter from Jatropha curcas. Planta. 241 (4): 823-836. [full text]  

14.   Cong-Cong Gao, Jun Ni, Mao-Sheng Chen, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015, Characterization of genes involved in gibberellin metabolism and signaling pathway in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Plant Diversity and Resources 37(2): 157-167. DOI: 10.7677/ynzwyj201514076. [full text]

15.   Chaoqiong Li, Li Luo, Qiantang Fu, Longjian Niu, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2015. Identification and characterization of the FT/TFL1 gene family in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Plant Molecular Biology Reporter 33(2): 326-333. DOI: 10.1007/s11105-014-0747-8. [full text]

16.   Mao-Sheng Chen, Bang-Zhen Pan, Gui-Juan Wang, Jun Ni, Longjian Niu and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2014. Analysis of the transcriptional responses in inflorescence buds of Jatropha curcas exposed to cytokinin treatment. BMC Plant Biology 14: 318. [full text]

17.   Bang-Zhen Pan, Mao-Sheng Chen, Jun Ni and Zeng-Fu Xu*.2014. Transcriptome of the inflorescence meristems of the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas treated with cytokinin. BMC Genomics.15: 974. DOI:10.1186/1471-2164-15-974. [PDF Full-Text]

18.   Qiantang Fu, Longjian Niu, Qingfeng Zhang, Bang-Zhen Pan, Huiying He, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2014. Benzyladenine treatment promotes floral feminization and fruiting in a promising oilseed crop Plukenetia volubilis. Industrial Crops and Products. 59: 295–298. DOI:10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.05.028. [PDF Full-Text]

19.   Yan-Bin Tao, Li Luo, Liang-Liang He, Jun Ni and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2014 A promoter analysis of MOTHER OF FT AND TFL1 1 (JcMFT1), a seed-preferential gene from the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Journal of Plant Research.127(4): 513-524. DOI: 10.1007/s10265-014-0639-x. [PDF Full-Text]

20.   Chaoqiong Li, Li Luo, Qiantang Fu, Longjian Niu and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2014 Isolation and functional characterization of JcFT, a FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) homologous gene from the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. BMC Plant Biology, 14:125, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2229-14-125. [PDF Full-Text]

21.   Longjian Niu, Jialong Li, Mao-Sheng Chen, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2014 Determination of oil contents in Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis) seeds at different developmental stages by two methods: Soxhlet extraction and time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance. Industrial Crops and Products. 56, 187–190. [PDF Full-Text]

22.   Lu Zhang, Liang-Liang He, Qian-Tang Fu, Zeng-Fu Xu* 2013 Selection of reliable reference genes for gene expression studies in the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas using real-time quantitative PCR. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 14(12), 24338-24354. [PDF Full-Text]

23.   Yaling Song*, Zeng-Fu Xu. 2013. Ectopic overexpression of an AUXIN/INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID (Aux/IAA) gene OsIAA4 in rice induces morphological changes and reduces responsiveness to auxin. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 14(7), 13645-13656. [PDF Full-Text]

24.   S. A. Omar, N. I. Elsheery, H. M. Kalaji*, M. K. H. Ebrahim, S. Pietkiewicz, C.H. Lee, S. I. Allakhverdiev*, and Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2013. Identification and differential expression of two dehydrin cDNAs during maturation of Jatropha curcas seeds. Biochemistry (Moscow), 78(5):485-495. [PDF Full-Text]

25.   Song, J., Chen, M.-S., Li J.-L., Niu, L.-J., Xu, Z.-F.* (2013). Effects of soil-applied paclobutrazol on the vegetative and reproductive growth of biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Plant Diversity and Resources 35 (2): 173-179. [PDF Full-Text]

26.   Pi, X.-J., Pan, B.-Z., Xu, Z.-F.* (2013). Induction of bisexual flowers by gibberellin in monoecious biofuel plant Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae). Plant Diversity and Resources 35 (1): 26-32. [PDF Full-Text]

27.   Omar, S.A., Elsheery, N.I., Kalaji, H.M., Xu, Z.-F.*, Song, S.Q*., Carpentier, R., Lee, C.H., and Allakhverdiev, S.I. (2012). Dehydroascorbate Reductase and Glutathione Reductase Play an Important Role in Scavenging Hydrogen Peroxide during Natural and Artificial Dehydration of Jatropha curcas Seeds. Journal of Plant Biology 55 (6): 469-480. [PDF Full-Text] [Erratum]

28.   Luo, M., Ding, L.-W., Ge, Z.-J., Wang, Z.-Y., Hu, B.-L., Yang, X.-B., Sun, Q.-Y., Xu, Z.-F*. (2012). The Characterization of SaPIN2b, a Plant Trichome-Localized Proteinase Inhibitor from Solanum americanum. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 13 (11): 15162-15176. [Full Text PDF]

29.   Mao-Sheng Chen, Gui-Juan Wang, Ru-Ling Wang, Jun Wang, Song-Quan Song*, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2011. Analysis of expressed sequence tags from biodiesel plant Jatropha curcas embryos at different developmental stages. Plant Science. 181(6): 696-700. [Full text PDF]

30.   Samar A. Omar, Qian-Tang Fu, Mao-Sheng Chen, Gui-Juan Wang, Song-Quan Song, Nabil I. Elsheery, Zeng Fu Xu*. 2011. Identification and expression analysis of two small heat shock protein cDNAs from developing seeds of biodiesel feedstock plant Jatropha curcas. Plant Science. 181(6): 632-637. [Full text PDF]                                 

31.   Yu-Juan Zhong, Jun-Chao Huang*, Jin Liu, Yin Li, Yue Jiang, Zeng-Fu Xu, Gerhard Sandmann, and Feng Chen*. 2011 Functional characterization of various algal carotenoid ketolases reveals that ketolating zeaxanthin efficiently is essential for high production of astaxanthin in transgenic Arabidopsis. Journal of Experimental Botany. 62 (10): 3659-3669. [Full text PDF]

32.   Qiao-Yang Sun; Ling-Wen Ding; George P. Lomonossoff; Yong-Bing Sun; Ming Luo; Chao-Qiong Li; Liwen Jiang; Zeng Fu Xu*. 2011. Improved expression and purification of recombinant human serum albumin from transgenic tobacco suspension culture. Journal of Biotechnology. 155(2):164-172. [Full text PDF] 

33.   Bang-Zhen Pan, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2011, Benzyladenine treatment significantly increases the seed yield of the biofuel plant Jatropha curcas. Journal of Plant Growth Regulation, 30(2), 166-174. [Full text PDF]

34.   Jingli Pan, Qiantang Fu, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2010. Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation of biofuel plant Jatropha curcas using kanamycin selection. African Journal of Biotechnology, 9(39): 6477-6481. [Full text PDF]  

35.   Jun-Li Shao, Yue-Sheng Long, Gu Chen, Jun Xie, Zeng-Fu Xu*. 2010. The reversed terminator of octopine synthase gene on the Agrobacterium Ti plasmid has a weak promoter activity in prokaryotes. Molecular Biology Reports, 37(5): 2157-2162. [Full-Text]

36.   Wang, H., Tse, Y.C., Law, A.H.Y., Sun, S.S.M., Sun, Y.B., Xu, Z.F., Hillmer, S., Robinson, D.G., Jiang, L.W*. (2010). Vacuolar sorting receptors (VSRs) and secretory carrier membrane proteins (SCAMPs) are essential for pollen tube growth. Plant J 61 (5): 826-838. [Full-Text]

37.   Fu, L., Miao, Y., Lo, S., Seto, T., Sun, S., Xu, ZF., Clemens, S., Clarke, L., Kermode, A., and Jiang, L*. 2009. Production and characterization of soluble human lysosomal enzyme-iduronidase with high activity from culture media of transgenic tobacco BY-2 cells. Plant Science 177(6): 668-675. [Full-Text]

38.   Qiao-Yang Sun, Ling-Wen Ding, Liang-Liang He, Yong-Bin Sun, Jun-Li Shao, Ming Luo, Xu Z.-F.*. 2009. Culture of Escherichia coli in SOC medium improves the cloning efficiency of toxic protein genes. Analytical Biochemistry 394 (1) 144–146. [Full-Text]

39.   Li A.-M., Yu B.-Y., Chen F.-H., Gan H.-Y., Yuan J.-G., Qiu R., Huang J.-C., Yang Z.-Y., Xu, Z.-F*. 2009. Characterization of the Sesbania rostrata Phytochelatin Synthase Gene: Alternative Splicing and Function of Four Isoforms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 10(8): 3269-3282. [Full-Text]

40.   Wang JQ, Suen PK, Xu ZF, and Jiang L*. 2009. A 64-kDa Sucrose Binding Protein is Membrane-associated and Tonoplast-localized in Developing Mung Bean Seeds. Journal of Experimental Botany 62(2): 629-639. [Full Text]

41.   Luo M, Wang Z, Li H, Xia KF, Cai Y, and Xu, Z.-F*. 2009. Overexpression of a Weed (Solanum americanum) Proteinase Inhibitor in Transgenic Tobacco Results in Increased Glandular Trichome Density and Enhanced Resistance to Helicoverpa armigera and Spodoptera litura. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 10(4): 1896-1910. [Full-Text]

42.   Wang RL, Peng SL*, Zeng RS, Ding LW, and Xu ZF. 2009. Cloning, expression and wounding induction of β-caryophyllene synthase gene from Mikania micrantha H.B.K. and allelopathic potential of β-caryophyllene. Allelopathy Journal 24 (1): 35-44. [Full-Text]

43.   Ding LW, Sun QY, Wang ZY, Sun YB, and Xu, Z.-F*. 2008. Using silica particles to isolate total RNA from plant tissues recalcitrant to extraction in guanidine thiocyanate. Analytical Biochemistry 374(2): 426-428. [Full text PDF]

44.   Miao YS, Ding Y, Sun QY, Xu ZF, and Jiang L*. 2008. Plant bioreactors for pharmaceuticals. Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews 25: 363-380. [Full Text]

45.   Wang RL, Ding LW, Sun QY, Li J, Xu ZF*, and Peng SL*. 2008. Genome sequence and characterization of a new virus infecting Mikania micrantha H.B.K. Archives of Virology 153(9): 1765-1770. [Full Text]

46.   Wang ZY, Ding LW, Ge ZJ, Wang Z, Wang F, Li N, and Xu ZF*. 2007. Purification and characterization of native and recombinant SaPIN2a, a plant sieve element-localized proteinase inhibitor. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 45: 757-766. [Full text]

47.   Miao Y, Yang M, Li KY, Suen PK, Shao J, Xu ZF, and Jiang L*. 2007. Molecular Characterization of Plant Vacuolar Sorting Receptor (VSR) Proteins. Functional Plant Science and Biotechnology 1(2): 254-260. [Full text PDF ]

48.   Lao Y, Zhang X, Zhou J, Wang Y, Chen R, Su W*, Zhou W, and Xu ZF*. 2007. Characterization and in vitro mineralization function of a soluble protein complex P60 from the nacre of Pinctada fucata. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology B 148: 201-208. [Full text PDF]

49.   Xie J, Ouyang XZ, Xia KF, Huang YF, Pan WB, Cai YP, Xu X, Li B, and Xu ZF*. 2007. Chloroplast-like organelles were found in enucleate sieve elements of transgenic plants overexpressing a proteinase inhibitor. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 71 (11): 2759–2765. [Full text]

50.   Wei JY, Li AM, Li Y, Wang J, Liu XB, Liu LS, and Xu ZF*. 2006. Cloning and characterization of a RNase-related protein gene preferentially expressed in rice stems. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry 70(4): 1041-1045. [Full text]

51.   Chye ML*, Sin SF, Xu ZF, and Yeung EC. 2006. Serine proteinase inhibitor proteins: exogenous and endogenous functions. In Vitro Cellular & Development Biology-Plant 42(2): 100-108. [Full text]

52.   Liu J, Xia KF, Zhu JC, Deng YG, Huang XL, Hu BL, Xu X, and Xu ZF*. 2006. The nightshade proteinase inhibitor IIb gene is constitutively expressed in glandular trichomes. Plant and Cell Physiology 47(9): 1274-1284. [Full text]

53.   Rawat R, Xu ZF, Yao KM, and Chye ML*. 2005. Identification of cis-elements in ethylene and circadian regulation of gene encoding Solanum melongena cysteine proteinase. Plant Molecular Biology 57(5): 629-643. [Full text]

54.   Xu ZF, Teng WL, and Chye ML*. 2004. Inhibition of endogenous trypsin- and chymotrypsin-like activities in transgenic lettuce expressing heterogeneous proteinase inhibitor SaPIN2a. Planta 218(4): 623-629. [Full text]

55.   Xu ZF, Chye ML*, Li HY, Xu FX, and Yao KM. 2003. G-box binding coincides with increased Solanum melongena cysteine proteinase gene expression in senescent fruits and circadian-regulated leaves. Plant Molecular Biology 51: 9-19. [Full Text]

56.   Yu RMK, Zhou Y, Xu ZF, Chye ML, and Kong RYC*. 2003. Two genes encoding protein phosphatase 2A catalytic subunits are differentially expressed in rice. Plant Molecular Biology 51: 295-311. [Full Text PDF]

57.   Wong WS, Li GG, Ning W, Xu ZF, Hsiao WL, Zhang LY, and Li N*. 2001. Repression of chilling-induced ACC accumulation in transgenic citrus by overproduction of antisense 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate synthase RNA. Plant Science 161: 969-977. [Full text]

58.   Xu ZF, Qi WQ, Ouyang XZ, Yeung E. and Chye ML*. 2001. A proteinase inhibitor II of Solanum americanum is expressed in phloem. Plant Molecular Biology 47: 727-738. [Full text]

59.   Cao J*, Liang D, Xu Zengfu, Qiu Guohua, Li Baojian and Vonshak A. 2000. Physico-chemical parameters influencing DNase activity of the cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis. Microbiological Research 155 (1): 59-63. [Full Text PDF]

60.   Cao Jixiang*, Xu Zengfu, Qiu Guohua, Li Baojian, 1999. Studies on the sensitivity of Spirulina platensis to antibiotics and berbicide: relationship with selectable markers for genetic transformation. Bioresource Technology 70: 89-93. [Full Text PDF]

61.   Cao Jixiang*, Xu Zengfu, Qiu Guohua, Li Baojian, 1999. Effects of Mg2+ on the growth and DNase activity of Spirulina platensis, a cyanobacterium. Bioresource Technology 67: 287-290. [Full Text PDF]

62.   Zengfu Xu, Jixiang Cao, Xiaoqin Liu, Guohua Qiu and Li Baojian, 1997, A simple and efficient protocol for isolation of high molecular weight DNA from the Cyanobacterium Spirulina platensis. Biotechnology Techniques 11(9): 631-632. [Full Text PDF]

63.   Li Baojian, Wang Jinfa, Xu Zengfu, Xu Youqing, Yu Muzhen, He Xin and Shen Yu 1994, Integration and expression of Human growth hormone gene in Caladium bicolor. Science in China (Series B) 37(3): 280-285. [Full Text PDF]

64.   Xu Zeng-Fu, Li Bao-Jian, Lai Lai-Zhan, Ouyang Xue-Zhi. 1993, Comparison of Seed Storage Proteins Between Ordinary and Purple Pericarp Rice (Oryza sativa L.). Chinese Journal of Botany 5(1): 6-10. [Full Text PDF]

中国科学院西双版纳热带植物园 能源植物分子育种研究组 ICP06026202

地址: 云南省昆明市学府路88中科院版纳植物园昆明分部;邮政编码: 650223; Email: chinajatrophacurcas@gmail.com