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Prof. XIE Can



Principal Investigator in Biology research

Education Background





Visit the website of Dr. XIE Can's Laboratory 


Biography & Introduction


Dr. Can Xie received his B.A. in Biology with Prof. Youhui Shen from Hunan Normal University in 1995, his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry with Prof. Shouyi Chen and Prof. Jinsong Zhang from Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2001. He did a fellowship with Dr. Timothy Springer in Harvard Medical School in Boston, USA from 2001 to 2009. He began as Principal Investigator at Peking University (PKU) in 2009 and continued to steer his research program with his impeccable taste of Biology, with two major research fields that connect the disciplines of biology and physics: (I) The molecular mechanism of animal magnetoreception, migration and navigation with a focus on how animals sense the geomagnetic field.  (II) Structural color and dynamic color change with a focus on how octopuses change color. After ten years at Peking University, he decided to move his lab to the Science Island at Hefei in 2019, and has been here ever since.


He currently is Professor of Biophysics at Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Adjunct Professor at Beijing Computational Science Research Center (CSRC), Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP).


Dr. Xie and his lab have made significant contributions to the field of animal magnetoreception and navigation by identifying the world’s first putative magnetoreceptor (MagR, Qin et al. 2016, Nature Materials), a protein with innate magnetic feature. It was regarded as “opened a new field” and “remarkable discovery”, and has profound influence on both biological and physical fields. This work was awarded as ‘2015 Top 10 Scientific Advances in the Life Sciences of China’, and it has been followed up by many other scientists in the world. 






1.     FangweiLeng, Hang Yin, Siying Qin, Kai Zhang, Yukun Guan, Run Fang, Honglei Wang, Guohui Li, Zhengfan Jiang, Fei Sun, Da-Cheng Wang*&Can Xie*, NLRP6 self-assembles into a linear molecular platform following LPS binding and ATP stimulation. Scientific Reports 10, 198 (2020). 


2.       Lanqing Huang, Jingeng Mai, Qihui Zhu, Zhen Guo, Siying Qin, Peilin Yang, Xuanxuan Lia, Yingchen Shi, Xiaotian Wang, Qining Wang, Na Li, Can Xie* and Haiguang Liu*, Reversible rearrangement of magnetic nanoparticles in solution studied using time-resolved SAXS method. J Synchrotron Radiat. 26(Pt 4):1294-301. (2019)


3.   Tiantian Cai, Kui Han, Peilin Yang, Zhou Zhu, Mengcheng Jiang, Yanyi Huang*, and Can Xie*, Reconstruction of Dynamic and Reversible Color Change in Cephalopods usingReflectin Protein. Scientific Reports 9(1), 5201. (2019)


4.       Kelong Fan, Bing Jiang, Zhe Guan, Jiuyang He, Dongling Yang, Ni Xie, GuohuiNie, Can Xie*, and Xiyun Yan*. Fenobody: A Ferritin-Displayed Nanobody with High Apparent Affinity and Half-Life Extension. Anal Chem. 90 (9), 5671–5677 (2018).


5.       Zhe Guan, Tiantian Cai, Zhongmin Liu, Yunfeng Dou, Xuesong Hu, Peng Zhang, Xin Sun, Hongwei Li, Yao Kuang, QiranZhai, Hao Ruan, Xuanxuan Li, Zeyang Li, Qihui Zhu, Jingeng Mai, Qining Wang, Luhua Lai, Jianguo Ji, Haiguang Liu, Bin Xia, Taijiao Jiang, Shu-Jin Luo, Hongwei Wang, Can Xie*, Origin of the reflectin gene and hierarchical assembly of its protein. Current Biology 27, 833–2842, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.07.061 (2017).

(It was selected as Cover Story of Current Biology, and was highlighted by ‘Nature Research Highlights’)


6.     Jian-Nan Li, Xiao-Yu. Jia, Yong-Qiang Wang, Can Xie, Taijiao Jiang, Zhao Cui and Ming-Hui Zhao*, Plasma from patients with anti-glomerular basement membrane disease could recognize microbial peptides, PLoS One, 12(4): e0174553 (2017).


7.    Narinder Sanghera, Alexander Anderson, Nick Nuar, Can Xie, Daniel Mitchell and Judith Klein -Seetharaman*, Insulin biosensor development: a case study. International Journal of Parallel Emergent and Distributed Systems, 32(1): 119-138 (2017).


8.       Siying Qin, Hang Yin, Celi Yang, Yunfeng Dou, Zhongmin Liu, Peng Zhang, He Yu, Yulong Huang, Jing Feng, Junfeng Hao, Jia Hao, Lizong Deng, Xiyun Yan, Xiaoli Dong, Zhongxian Zhao, Taijiao Jiang, Hong-WeiWang, Shu-Jin Luo and Can Xie*, A magnetic protein biocompass. Nature Materials, 15(2): 217-226 (2016).

(The identification of animal magnetoreceptor (MagR) and the MagR/Cry biocompass model for animal navigation)


9.      Jian-Nan Li, Zhao Cui, Jia Wang, Shui-Yi Hu, Xiao-Yu Jia, Zhe Guan, Min Chen, Can Xie and Ming-Hui Zhao*, Autoantibodies against Linear Epitopes of Myeloperoxidase in Anti-Glomerular Basement Membrane Disease. Clin J Am SocNephrol, 11(4): 568-575 (2016).


10.     Christopher S. Kollmann, Xiaopeng Bai, Ching-Hsuan Tsai, Hongfang Yang, Kenneth E. Lind, Steven R. Skinner, Zhengrong Zhu, David I. Israel, John W. Cuozzo, Barry A. Morgan, Koichi Yuki, Can Xie, Timothy A. Springer, MotomuShimaoka, GhotasEvindar* , Application of encoded library technology (ELT) to a protein–protein interaction target: Discovery of a potent class of integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) antagonists , Bioorg Med Chem 22(7): 2353-2365, (2014).


11.     Lifang Liu, LianJin, Xiahe Huang, YongtaoGeng, Feng Li, Qingqing Qin, Rui Wang, Shaoyi Ji, Shanshan Zhao, Qi Xie, Chunhong Wei, Can Xie, Biao Ding, and Yi Li*, OsRFPH2-10, a RING-H2 Finger E3 Ubiquitin Ligase, Is Involved in Rice Antiviral Defense in the Early Stages of Rice dwarf virus Infection, Mol Plant 7(6): 1057-1060, (2014).


12.    Lianshun Feng, Senlian Hong, JieRong, Qiancheng You, Peng Dai, Rongbing Huang, Yanhong Tan, Weiyao Hong, Can Xie*, Jing Zhao*, and Xing Chen* , Bifunctional Unnatural Sialic Acids for Dual Metabolic Labeling of Cell-Surface Sialylated Glycans , J. Am. Chem. Soc. , DOI: 10.1021/ja402326z, (2013).


13.     Liang Lin, Xiangdong Tian, Senlian Hong, Peng Dai, Qiancheng You, Ruyi Wang, Lianshun Feng, Can Xie, Zhong-QunTian,* and Xing Chen*, A bioorthogonal Raman reporter strategy for SERS detection of glycans on live cells , AngewChemInt Ed Engl. Jul 8;52(28):7266-71, (2013).


14.     Xiao Xu, Gui-Xin Dong, Xue-Song Hu, Lin Miao, Xue-Li Zhang, De-Lu Zhang, Han-Dong Yang, Tian-You Zhang,  Zheng-Ting Zou, Ting-Ting Zhang, Yan Zhuang, Jong Bhak, Yun Sung Cho, Wen-Tao Dai, Tai-Jiao Jiang, Can Xie,Ruiqiang Li*, and Shu-Jin Luo*, The genetic basis of white tigers, Current Biology , 1031-1035, (2013).


15.     Can Xie, Jianghai Zhu, Xing Chen, Lizhi Mi, Noritaka Nishida and Timothy A Springer*.  Structure of an integrin with an I domain, complement receptor type 4. EMBO J, 29(3): 666-679, (2010).

(It is the first complement receptor structure and also the first I domain integrin structure.)


16.    Xing Chen, Can Xie,Noritaka Nishida, Zongli Li, Thomas Walz, and Timothy A. Springer. Requirement of open headpiece conformation for activation of leukocyte integrin αXβ2. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA , 107: 14727-32, (2010).




17.  Thomas Vorup-Jensen, Lianli Chi, Louise C. Gjelstrup, Uffe B. Jensen, Craig A. Jewett, Can Xie, MotomuShimaoka, Robert J. Linhardt, and Timothy A. Springer*, Binding between the integrin αXβ2 (CD11c/CD18) and heparin. J. Biol. Chem.  2007, 282:30869-77.


18.     Cao W, Liu J, Chen T, Cao Y, He X, Mu R, Zhou H, Xie C, Chen S*, Zhang J*. Ethylene receptor signaling and plant salt-stress responses. Advances in Plant Ethylene Research, 2007, 333-339.


19.    Noritaka Nishida*, Can Xie*,MotomuShimaoka, Yifan Cheng, Thomas Walz and Timothy A. Springer, Activation of leukocyte β2 integrins by conversion from bent to extended conformation. Immunity, 2006,  583-594. (* : co-first author)

(It is the first EM structure of aI Integrins. It also provided structural basis of integrin activation.)


20.     Can Xie,MotomuShimaoka, Tsan Xiao, Pascale Schwab, Lloyd B. Klickstein, and Timothy A. Springer. The integrin α subunit leg extends at a Ca2+-dependent epitope in the thigh/genu interface upon activation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 2004 101: 15422-15427.


21.    Jianfeng Chen, Junichi Takagi, Can Xie,Tsan Xiao, Bing-Hao Luo, Timothy A. Springer. The relative influence of metal ion binding sites in the I-like domain and the interface with the hybrid domain on rolling and firm adhesion by integrin α4β7. J. Biol. Chem. 2004, 279: 55556-55561.


22.    Can Xie,Jin-Song Zhang, Hua-Lin Zhou, Jian Li, Zhi-Gang Zhang, Dao-Wen Wang and Shou-Yi Chen, Serine/threonine kinase activity in the putative histidine kinase-like ethylene receptor NTHK1 from tobacco. Plant J. 2003 Jan;33(2):385-393.

(It is the first report of Ser/Thr kinase activity, but not Histidine kinase activity of plant ethylene receptor, which overturned a previously proposed mechanism for ethylene signaling based on histidine kinase activity of the receptors.)


23.    Can Xie,Zhi-Gang Zhang, Jin-Song Zhang, Xin-Jian He, Wan-Hong Cao, Si-Jie He and Shou-Yi Chen, Spatial expression and characterization of a putative ethylene receptor protein NTHK1 in tobacco. Plant Cell Physiol. 2002 Jul;43(7):810-815.


24.    Jin-Song Zhang*, Can Xie*, Yi-Guo Shen, Shou-Yi Chen, A two-component gene (NTHK1) encoding a putative ethylene receptor homolog is both developmently- and stress-regulated in tobacco. Thero. Appl. Genet., 2001, 102 (6/7): 815-824 (* : co-first author)


25.   Jin-Song Zhang, Can Xie, Xiao-Lei Wu, Bao-Xing Du, Shou-Yi Chen, Tobacco two-component gene NTHK2, Chinese Science Bulletin, 2001, 46(7): 574-577.


26.   Can Xie,Jin-Song Zhang, Shou-Yi Chen, Protein Phosphorylation and two-component system. Progress in Biotechnology. 2001, 21(6), 9-14. (in Chinese)


27.     Wang WM, Zhu LH, Xie R, Xie C,Jin L, Morphological and anatomical analysis of a floral organ mutant in rice, Acta Botanica Sinica, 2000, 42(4): 379-382.


28.    Can Xie,Jin-Song Zhang, Shou-Yi Chen, Tobacco floral homeotic gene NFBP6 is specifically expressed during pollen and ovule development, Science in China (Series C), 1999, 42(5),481-484.


29.    Jin-Song Zhang, Can Xie,Zi-Yin Li, Shou-Yi Chen, Expression of the plasma membrane H+-ATPase gene in response to salt stress in a rice salt-tolerance mutant and its original variety, TheorAppl Genet (1999), 99, (6), 1006-1011.


30.   Jin-Song Zhang, Can Xie, Feng Liu, Feng-Hua Liu, Shou-Yi Chen, A novel tobacco gene coding for a product similar to bacterial two-component regulators, Chinese Science Bulletin, 1999, 44(11), 1025-1029.