School of
Integrative Biology
Li-Qing Chen

1201 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801

Mail: 379 ERML
Lab Page

Li-Qing Chen
Assistant Professor - Plant Biology


Postdoctoral Fellow, Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Plant Biology, Stanford, CA
Ph.D. China Agricultural University, China
M.S. Nanjing Forestry University, China
B.S. Nanjing Forestry University, China

Teaching Interests

IB 271, Organismal Biology
IB 100, Biology in Today's World

Control of sugar allocation to improve crop yield or biomass for food and biofuels

Ongoing research in plant biology is essential for growing a sustainable bio-based economy, which encapsulates our vision of a future society with improved global food security and no longer wholly dependent on fossil fuels for energy and industrial raw materials. In plants, photosynthetic products are primarily generated in mature leaves. A better understanding of photoassimilates allocation could help to improve crop yields of food, fiber, wood and fuel for a sustainable bio-based economy. Despite decades of research on carbon allocation, especially sugar translocation from source leaves to sinks, such as root, fruit and seeds, the regulatory network that controls and coordinates allocation is largely elusive. My core interest is to unravel these regulatory networks as a basis for engineering and optimizing assimilates allocation using a combination of in vivo biochemistry, cell biology, molecular genetics, systems and synthetic biology.

Representative Publications

Wang H*, Yan S, Xin H, Huang W, Zhang H, Teng S, Yu YC, Lu X, Li P, Li S, Zhang C, Chen LQ* and Lang Z* (2019). A subsidiary cell-localized glucose transporter is tightly associated with stomatal conductance and photosynthesis. The Plant Cell 31: 1328–43 ( *corresponding author)

Eom JS, Chen LQ, Sosso D, Julius BT, Lin IW, Qu XQ Braun DW and Frommer WB. (2015) SWEETs, transporters for intra- and intercellular sugar translocation. Curr Opin Plant Biol. 25: 53-62 (PMID: 25988582)

Chen LQ, Lin IW, Qu XQ, Sosso D, Londoño A, McFarlane HE, Samuels AL, Frommer WB. (2015) A cascade of sequentially expressed sucrose transporters in the seed coat and endosperm provides nutrition for the Arabidopsis embryo. The Plant Cell. 27: 607-19 (PMCID: PMC4558658)

Chen LQ*, Cheung LS*, Feng L, Tanner W & Frommer WB. (2015) Transport of sugars. Annual Review of Biochemistry. 84: 865-94 (*equal contribution) (Link to download)

Xu Y, Tao YY, Cheung LS, Fan C, Chen LQ, Xu S, Perry K, Frommer WB & Feng L (2014) Structures of bacterial homologues of SWEET transporters in two distinct conformations. Nature 515: 448-52 (PMCID:PMC4300204)

Lin IW, Sosso D, Chen LQ, Gase K, Kim SG, Kessler D, Klinkenberg PM, Gorder MK, Hou BH, Qu XQ, Carter CJ, Baldwin IT & Frommer WB (2014) Nectar secretion requires sucrose phosphate synthases and the sugar transporter SWEET9. Nature 508: 546-49 (PMID:24670640)

Chen LQ (2014) SWEET sugar transporters for phloem transport and pathogen nutrition. New phytol. 201: 1150-55 (PMID: 24649486)

Chen LQ*, Qu XQ*, Hou BH, Sosso D, Osorio S, Fernie AR & Frommer WB (2012) Sucrose efflux mediated by SWEET proteins as a key step for phloem transport. Science 335: 207-11. (*equal contribution) (PMID: 22157085)

Chen LQ, Hou BH, Lalonde S, Takanaga H, Hartung M, Qu XQ, Guo WJ, Kim JG, Underwood W, Chaudhuri B, Chermak D, Antony G, White FF, Somerville SC, Mudgett MB & Frommer WB (2010) Sugar transporters for intercellular exchange and nutrition of pathogens. Nature 468: 527-32. (PMCID: PMC3000469)

Xu J*, Li HD*, Chen LQ*, Wang Y*, Liu LL*, He L & Wu WH (2006) A protein kinase, interacting with two calcineurin B-like proteins, regulates K+ transporter AKT1 in Arabidopsis. Cell 125: 1347–60. (*equal contribution) (PMID:16814720)