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GAO, Ning
Office Phone: 62744236
Office Address: LUI CHE WOO BUILDING,Peking University, No.5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District,Beijing, P.R.China 100871
Lab Phone: 62744236
Lab Address: LUI CHE WOO BUILDING,Peking University, No.5 Yiheyuan Road, Haidian District,Beijing, P.R.China 100871
Lab Homepage: http://
Personal Homepage: http://
2001 – 2006 Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Biomedical Sciences, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, New York. Advisor: Dr. Joachim Frank. Received Ph.D. degree in 2006.
1996 – 2000 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, China. Received B.S. degree in 2000.
Professional Experience
2017/04 – present, Professor, School of Life Sciences, Peking University
2017/04 - present, PI, Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences
2008/12 – 2017/03, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor with tenure, Full Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University
2007/01 – 2008/12, Research Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY (2008/04-2008/12); Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY (2007/01-2008/03)
2006/08 – 2006/12, Research Affiliate, Health Research Inc., Wadsworth Center, Albany, New York
Research Interests
The general research interest of our laboratory is to understand mechanistic details of various cellular molecular machines, using cryo-EM technique as a major tool. In the past a few years, with continuous efforts of adopting different complimentary tools, we have primarily focused on studying ribosome biogenesis in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems, towards answers to a few fundamental questions, such as “how the ribosome is made in the cell”, and “how ribosome biogenesis, or the translation capacity of a cell is regulated by various well-characterized growth-control pathways”. The onging projects in the lab include:
1. Ribosome biogenesis and translation regulation.
2. Structure and mechanisms of DNA replication machinery.
3. Structural and functional study of Long non-coding RNA.
Representative Peer-Reviewed Publications
Ribosome Biogenesis and Translation Control

1. Li, Z., Ge, X., Zhang, Y., Zheng, L., Sanyal, S.#, and Gao, N.# (2018). Cryo-EM structure of Mycobacterium smegmatis ribosome reveals two unidentified ribosomal proteins close to the functional centers. Protein & Cell 9, 384-388.
2. Zhang, Y., Xiao, Z., Zou, Q., Fang, J., Wang, Q., Yang, X.#, and Gao, N.# (2017). Ribosome Profiling Reveals Genome-wide Cellular Translational Regulation upon Heat Stress in Escherichia coli. Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics 15, 324-330.
3. Li, Z., Guo, Q., Zheng, L., Ji, Y., Xie, Y.-T., Lai, D.-H., Lun, Z.-R., Suo, X., and Gao, N.# (2017). Cryo-EM structures of the 80S ribosomes from human parasites Trichomonas vaginalis and Toxoplasma gondii. Cell Research 27, 1275-1288.
4. Biedka, S., Wu, S., LaPeruta, A.J., Gao, N., and Woolford, J.L., Jr. (2017). Insights into remodeling events during eukaryotic large ribosomal subunit assembly provided by high-resolution cryo-EM structures. RNA Biol 10, 1306-1313.
5. Ma, C., Kurita, D., Li, N., Chen, Y., Himeno, H.#, and Gao, N.# (2017). Mechanistic insights into the alternative translation termination by ArfA and RF2. Nature 541, 550-553.
6. Ma, C., Wu, S., Li, N., Chen, Y., Yan, K., Li, Z., Zheng, L., Lei, J., Woolford, J.L., Jr.#, and Gao, N.# (2017). Structural snapshot of cytoplasmic pre-60S ribosomal particles bound by Nmd3, Lsg1, Tif6 and Reh1. Nat Struct Mol Biol 24, 214-220.
7. Kong, M.Y., Yan, K.G., Ma, C.Y., and Gao, N. # (2016). Distinct Binding and Enzymatic Activities of Two Ribosome-dependent NTPases YchF and YihA. Progress in Biochemistry and Biophysics 43, 570-578.
8. Tutuncuoglu, B., Jakovljevic, J., Wu, S., Gao, N., and Woolford, J.L., Jr. (2016). The N-terminal extension of yeast ribosomal protein L8 is involved in two major remodeling events during late nuclear stages of 60S ribosomal subunit assembly. RNA 22, 1386-1399.
9. Wu, S., Tutuncuoglu, B., Yan, K., Brown, H., Zhang, Y., Tan, D., Gamalinda, M., Yuan, Y., Li, Z., Jakovljevic, J., Ma, C., Lei, J., Dong, M.-Q., Woolford, J.L.#, and Gao, N.# (2016). Diverse roles of assembly factors revealed by structures of late nuclear pre-60S ribosomes. Nature 534, 133-137.
10. Wu, S., Tan, D., Woolford, J.L., Jr., Dong, M.Q., and Gao, N.# (2017). Atomic modeling of the ITS2 ribosome assembly subcomplex from cryo-EM together with mass spectrometry-identified protein-protein crosslinks. Protein Science 26, 103-112.
11. Ma, C., Yan, K., Tan, D., Li, N., Zhang, Y., Yuan, Y., Li, Z., Dong, M.Q., Lei, J., and Gao, N.# (2016). Structural dynamics of the yeast Shwachman-Diamond syndrome protein (Sdo1) on the ribosome and its implication in the 60S subunit maturation. Protein & Cell 7, 187-200.
12. Zhang, D., Yan, K., Liu, G., Song, G., Luo, J., Shi, Y., Cheng, E., Wu, S., Jiang, T., Lou, J., Gao, N. #, and Qin, Y.# (2016). EF4 disengages the peptidyl-tRNA CCA end and facilitates back-translocation on the 70S ribosome. Nat Struct Mol Biol 23, 125-131.
13. Zhang, J., Pan, X., Yan, K, Sun, S., Gao, N.# and Sui, S-F#. (2015). Mechanisms of ribosome stalling by SecM at multiple elongation steps. eLife, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.09684
14. Zhang, Y., Mandava, C.S., Cao, W., Li, X., Zhang, D., Li, N., Zhang, Y., Zhang, X., Qin, Y., Mi, K., Lei, J.#, Sanyal, S.#, and Gao, N.# (2015). HflX is a ribosome-splitting factor rescuing stalled ribosomes under stress conditions. Nat Struct Mol Biol 22, 906-913.
15. Zhang, D., Yan, K., Zhang, Y., Liu, G., Cao, X., Song, G., Xie, Q.#, Gao, N.#, and Qin, Y.# (2015). New insights into the enzymatic role of EF-G in ribosome recycling. Nucleic Acids Res 43, 10525-10533.
16. Zhang, Y., Ma, C., Yuan, Y., Zhu, J., Li, N., Chen, C., Wu, S., Yu, L., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2014). Structural basis for interaction of a cotranslational chaperone with the eukaryotic ribosome. Nat Struct Mol Biol 21, 1042-1046.
17. Zhang, X., Yan, K., Zhang, Y., Li, N., Ma, C., Li, Z., Zhang, Y., Feng, B., Liu, J., Sun, Y., Xu, Y., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2014). Structural insights into the function of a unique tandem GTPase EngA in bacterial ribosome assembly. Nucleic Acids Res 42, 13430-13439.
18. Feng, B., Mandava, C.S., Guo, Q., Wang, J., Cao, W., Li, N., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Wang, Z., Wu, J., Sanyal, S.#, Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2014). Structural and functional insights into the mode of action of a universally conserved Obg GTPase. PLoS Biol 12, e1001866.
19. Yang, Z., Guo, Q., Goto, S., Chen, Y., Li, N., Yan, K., Zhang, Y., Muto, A., Deng, H., Himeno, H., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2014). Structural insights into the assembly of the 30S ribosomal subunit in vivo: functional role of S5 and location of the 17S rRNA precursor sequence. Protein Cell 5, 394-407.
20. Li, N., Chen, Y., Guo, Q., Zhang, Y., Yuan, Y., Ma, C., Deng, H., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2013). Cryo-EM structures of the late-stage assembly intermediates of the bacterial 50S ribosomal subunit. Nucleic Acids Res 41, 7073-7083.
21. Guo, Q., Goto, S., Chen, Y., Feng, B., Xu, Y., Muto, A., Himeno, H., Deng, H., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2013). Dissecting the in vivo assembly of the 30S ribosomal subunit reveals the role of RimM and general features of the assembly process. Nucleic Acids Res 41, 2609-2620.
22. Guo, Q., Yuan, Y., Xu, Y., Feng, B., Liu, L., Chen, K., Sun, M., Yang, Z., Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2011). Structural basis for the function of a small GTPase RsgA on the 30S ribosomal subunit maturation revealed by cryoelectron microscopy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 108, 13100-13105.
23. Gao, N., Zavialov, A.V., Ehrenberg, M., and Frank, J. (2007). Specific interaction between EF-G and RRF and its implication for GTP-dependent ribosome splitting into subunits. J Mol Biol 374, 1345-1358.
24. Frank, J., Gao, H., Sengupta, J., Gao, N., and Taylor, D.J. (2007). The process of mRNA-tRNA translocation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104, 19671-19678.
25. Gao, N., and Frank, J. (2006). A library of RNA bridges. Nat Chem Biol 2, 231-232.
26. Gao, N., Zavialov, A.V., Li, W., Sengupta, J., Valle, M., Gursky, R.P., Ehrenberg, M., and Frank, J. (2005). Mechanism for the disassembly of the posttermination complex inferred from cryo-EM studies. Mol Cell 18, 663-674.

DNA Replication, Epigenetic Regulation & other Protein-RNA/DNA complexes

1. Yan, L., Wu, H., Li, X., Gao, N.#, and Chen, Z. # (2019). Structures of the ISWI-nucleosome complex reveal a conserved mechanism of chromatin remodeling. Nat Struct Mol Biol 10.1038/s41594-019-0199-9. (在线发表)
2. Li, N., Lam, W.H., Zhai, Y.#, Cheng, J., Cheng, E., Zhao, Y., Gao, N.#, and Tye, B.K.# (2018). Structure of the origin recognition complex bound to DNA replication origin. Nature 559, 217-222.
3. Zhai, Y.#, Li, N., Jiang, H., Huang, X., Gao, N.#, and Tye, B.K.# (2017). Unique Roles of the Non-identical MCM Subunits in DNA Replication Licensing. Molecular Cell 67, 168-179.
4. Zhai, Y., Cheng, E., Wu, H., Li, N., Yung, P.Y., Gao, N.#, and Tye, B.K.# (2017). Open-ringed structure of the Cdt1-Mcm2-7 complex as a precursor of the MCM double hexamer. Nat Struct Mol Biol 24, 300-308.
5. Li, N., Zhai, Y.#, Zhang, Y., Li, W., Yang, M., Lei, J., Tye, B.K.#, and Gao, N#. (2015). Structure of the eukaryotic MCM complex at 3.8 A. Nature 524, 186-191.
6. Peng, R., Xu, Y., Zhu, T., Li, N., Qi, J., Chai, Y., Wu, M., Zhang, X., Shi, Y., Wang, P.#, Wang, J.#, Gao, N.#, and Gao, G.F.# (2017). Alternate binding modes of anti-CRISPR viral suppressors AcrF1/2 to Csy surveillance complex revealed by cryo-EM structures. Cell Research 27, 853-864.
7. Dong, D., Ren, K., Qiu, X., Zheng, J., Guo, M., Guan, X., Liu, H., Li, N., Zhang, B., Yang, D., Ma, C., Wang, S., Wu, D., Ma, Y., Fan, S., Wang, J., Gao, N., and Huang, Z. (2016). The crystal structure of Cpf1 in complex with CRISPR RNA. Nature 532, 522-526.

Membrane Protein Complex & other Large Molecular Machines

1. Jiang, F., Li, N., Wang, X., Cheng, J., Huang, Y., Yang, Y., Yang, J., Cai, B., Wang, Y.P., Jin, Q.#, and Gao, N.# (2019). Cryo-EM Structure and Assembly of an Extracellular Contractile Injection System. Cell 10.1016/j.cell.2019.02.020. (在线发表)
2. Liang, K., Li, N., Wang, X., Dai, J., Liu, P., Wang, C., Chen, X.W., Gao, N., and Xiao, J. (2018). Cryo-EM structure of human mitochondrial trifunctional protein. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 10.1073/pnas.1801252115.
3. Yu, J., Zhang, B., Zhang, Y., Xu, C.Q., Zhuo, W., Ge, J., Li, J., Gao, N.#, Li, Y.#, and Yang, M.# (2018). A binding-block ion selective mechanism revealed by a Na/K selective channel. Protein & Cell 9, 629-639.
4. Yuan, Y., Du, C., Sun, C., Zhu, J., Wu, S., Zhang, Y., Ji, T., Lei, J., Yang, Y., Gao, N.#, and Nie, G.# (2018). Chaperonin-GroEL as a Smart Hydrophobic Drug Delivery and Tumor Targeting Molecular Machine for Tumor Therapy. Nano Lett 18, 921-928.
5. Zhang, S., Li, N., Zeng, W., Gao, N.# and Yang, M.# (2017). Cryo-EM structures of the mammalian endo-lysosomal TRPML1 channel elucidate the combined regulation mechanism. Protein & Cell 8, 834-847.
6. Li, N., Wu, J.X., Ding, D., Cheng, J., Gao, N.#, and Chen, L.# (2017). Structure of a Pancreatic ATP-Sensitive Potassium Channel. Cell 168, 101-110 e110.
7. Gu, J., Wu, M., Guo, R., Yan, K., Lei, J., Gao, N.#, and Yang, M.# (2016) The architecture of mammalian respirasome, Nature, 537, 639-643.
8. Ge, J., Li, W., Zhao, Q., Li, N., Chen, M., Zhi, P., Li, R., Gao, N.#, Xiao, B.#, and Yang, M.# (2015). Architecture of the mammalian mechanosensitive Piezo1 channel. Nature 527, 64-69.
9. Sun, C., Yuan, Y., Xu, Z., Ji, T., Tian, Y., Wu, S., Lei, J., Li, J.#, Gao, N.#, and Nie, G#. (2015). Fine-tuned H-ferritin nanocage with multiple gold clusters as near-infrared kidney specific targeting nanoprobe. Bioconjugate chemistry 26, 193-196.
10. Liu, J., Mei, Z., Li, N., Qi, Y., Xu, Y., Shi, Y., Wang, F.#, Lei, J.#, and Gao, N.# (2013). Structural dynamics of the MecA-ClpC complex: a type II AAA+ protein unfolding machine. J Biol Chem 288, 17597-17608.
Laboratory Introduction

    My group employs cryo-electron microscopy and single-particle reconstruction techniques to study the structures and functions of large macromolecular assemblies, aiming at understanding the structural dynamics of these large complexes at sub-atomic resolution. Currently, we are focusing on molecular elucidation of ribosome assembly in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, and mechanistic study of translation regulation on the ribosome.