Prof. Dr. Jijie Chai

Research focus

The main interests of our lab focus on structural and functional studies of immune-related proteins in animal and plant innate immune systems and plant receptor-like kinases. The innate immune system is the first line of defense against invading microorganisms. NOD-like receptors (NLRs) are a large family of receptors involved in monitoring the cytoplasmic environment inside cells and initiating immune response to eliminate pathogens. Plant receptor kinases (RKs) are membrane-localized receptors that play vital roles in various biological processes including growth, development and defense. We use X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, and biochemical techniques to study the autoinhibiton, ligand recognition and activation mechanisms of NLRs in immune defense; to elucidate ligand recognition and activation mechanisms of RKs; to discover new ligand-receptor pairs.

The five most important publications

  1. Song W, Liu L, Wang J, Wu Z, Zhang H, Tang J, Lin G, Wang Y, Wen X, Li W, Han Z, Guo H, Chai J. Signature motif-guided identification of receptors for peptide hormones essential for root meristem growth. Cell Res. 2016, 26(6):674-85
  2. Hu Z, Zhou Q, Zhang C, Fan S, Cheng W, Zhao Y, Shao F, Wang HW, Sui SF, Chai J. Structural and Biochemical Basis for Induced Self-propagation of a NOD-like Receptor. Science. 2015, 350(6259):399-404.
  3. Sun Y, Li L, Macho AP, Han Z, Hu Z, Zipfel C, Zhou JM, Chai J. Structural Basis for flg22-Induced Activation of the Arabidopsis FLS2-BAK1 Immune Complex. Science, 2013, 341(6142):172-5.
  4. Hu Z, Yan C, Liu P, Huang Z, Ma R, Zhang C, Wang R, Zhang Y, Martinon F, Miao D, Deng H, Wang J, Chang J, Chai J. Crystal structure of NLRC4 reveals its autoinhibition mechanism. Science. 2013 12; 341(6142):172-5.
  5. She, J., Hanm Z., Kim, T.W., Wang, J., Cheng, W., Chang, J., Shi, S., Wang, J., Yang, M., Wang, Z.Y. and Chai, J. Structural insight into brassinosteroid perception by BRI1. Nature 2011, 474, 472-476.
Prof. Dr. Jijie Chai


 +49 221 5062-960

Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research

Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10

50829 Cologne

Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich