Xin Jie Chen, PhD
- Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Research Programs and Affiliations
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Biomedical Sciences Program
- Research Pillars
Education & Fellowships
- PhD: University of Paris-Sud, 1987, Molecular and Cellular Genetics
- Mitochondrial biogenesis and inheritance, aging and aging-related degenerative diseases.
Link to PubMed (Opens new window. Close the PubMed window to return to this page.)
Mitochondria are the powerhouses that generate energy by oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) to support cellular activities, and are the integrators of cellular signals that promote cell death. Mitochondria are also known as the “powerhouses of diseases and aging”, as mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with a rapidly growing number of aging-related neuromuscular degenerative diseases and metabolic disorders. How the mitochondrial function deteriorates during aging and how this in turn induces cellular degeneration are poorly understood. We use yeast, cultured cell lines and mouse as model systems to address these questions.
The ongoing research in our laboratory is focused on the following three projects:
(1) We are interested in understanding how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to aging and aging-related diseases.
(2) We are interested in identifying evolutionarily conserved pathways that can potentially delay and possibly, reverse mitochondria-induced cellular degeneration.
(3) We investigate the mechanisms of mitochondrial DNA recombination, replication and repair. Elucidating these fundamental processes could help better understanding how the mitochondrial system degenerates during aging.
Chen, X.J. (2013) Mechanism of homologous recombination and implications for aging-related deletions in mitochondrial DNA. Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, in press.
Mbantenkhu, M., Wierzbicki, S., Wang, X., Guo, S., Wilkens, S., Chen, X.J. (2013) A short carboxyl-terminal tail is required for single-stranded DNA binding, higher-order structural organization, and stability of the mitochondrial single-stranded annealing protein Mgm101. Mol Biol Cell 24:1507-18.
Nardozzi, J.D. *, Wang, X.* (* equal contribution), Mbantenkhu, M., Wilkens, S. and Chen, X.J. (2012) A properly configured ring structure is critical for the function of the mitochondrial DNA recombination protein, Mgm101. J Biol Chem 287:37259-68.
Chen, X.J. (2011) The search for nonconventional mitochondrial determinants of aging. Mol Cell 42:271-273. (Preview)
Mbantenkhu, M.*, Wang, X.* (* equal contribution), Nardozzi, J.D., Wilkens, S., Hoffman, E., Patel, A., Costrove, M.S. and Chen, X.J. (2011) Mgm101 is a Rad52-related protein required for mitochondrial DNA recombination. J Biol Chem 286:42360-70.
Wang X, Salinas K, Zuo X, Kucejova B, Chen XJ. (2008) Dominant membrane uncoupling by mutant adenine nucleotide translocase in mitochondrial diseases. Hum Mol Genet. 17:4036-44.
Wang X, Zuo X, Kucejova B, Chen XJ. Reduced cytosolic protein synthesis suppresses mitochondrial degeneration (2008) Nat Cell Biol. 10:1090-7.
Eric Wohlford received a 2012 travel award from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene and spent two months in Kenya working in the lab of Rosemary Rochford, PhD, professor and chair of Upstate’s Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Eric studied the effects of malaria on B cells (producers of antibodies that fight infection) and Epstein-Barr Virus infection in the region. “Tropical medicine is unique, in that small, focused improvements in patient care make dramatic improvements in the well-being of patients,” he said.