Yun-Xing Wang, Ph.D.

Senior Investigator

Structural Biophysics Laboratory


Advanced Technology Research Facility (ATRF)/B3340
Frederick, MD 27102-1201


Research Topics

My laboratory studies the RNA structural biology.  We use biophysical methods, including NMR spectroscopy, SAXS, and X-ray diffraction, to determine RNA three-dimensional structures or topological folds and to understand RNA function.  Our studies provide insight at the atomic level into fundamental mechanisms of RNA biological functions.  This knowledge is the key to the development of novel diagnostic and therapeutic reagents for cancer and AIDS.

RNA function is coded in its three-dimensional structures and dynamics.  To characterize RNA in four-dimensional space, we have resorted to new technologies that allow us to study ever more challenging problems.  For this reason, our laboratory has developed Position-selective Labeling of RNA (PLOR) technology, which can be applied for structural biology studies, imaging and disease detection. Currently, we are developing a new approach using X-ray free electron laser (XFEL) to study RNA structures and dynamics.


Dr. Wang conducted his graduate work on structure determination of fragments of 23S rRNA using NMR spectroscopy and UV-melting experiments in Professor David E. Draper's lab of the Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Wang received his Ph.D. in October 1994 from the Johns Hopkins University. From 1994 to 2000 he was an NIH postdoctoral later a research fellow in Dr. Dennis Torchia's laboratory where he studied the structure, hydration dynamics of HIV-1 protease in complex with inhibitors and elucidated the 3D structure and a new function of the antitumor/anti-HIV protein MAP30. In the late 2000 he then joined the Structural Biophysics Laboratory of NCI. Using high field NMR spectroscopy and other biophysical and biochemical methods, his group studies the functional structural biology of RNAs and proteins.

Selected Publications

  1. Liu Y, Holmstrom E, Zhang J, Yu P, Wang J, Dyba MA, Chen D, Ying J, Lockett S, Nesbitt DJ, Ferré-D'Amaré AR, Sousa R, Stagno JR, Wang YX. Synthesis and applications of RNAs with position-selective labelling and mosaic composition. Nature. 2015;522(7556):368-72.

  2. Fang X, Wang J, O'Carroll IP, Mitchell M, Zuo X, Wang Y, Yu P, Liu Y, Rausch JW, Dyba MA, Kjems J, Schwieters CD, Seifert S, Winans RE, Watts NR, Stahl SJ, Wingfield PT, Byrd RA, Le Grice SF, Rein A, Wang YX. An unusual topological structure of the HIV-1 Rev response element. Cell. 2013;155(3):594-605.

  3. Zuo X, Wang J, Yu P, Eyler D, Xu H, Starich MR, Tiede DM, Simon AE, Kasprzak W, Schwieters CD, Shapiro BA, Wang YX. Solution structure of the cap-independent translational enhancer and ribosome-binding element in the 3' UTR of turnip crinkle virus. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010;107(4):1385-90.

  4. Zuo X, Wang J, Foster TR, Schwieters CD, Tiede DM, Butcher SE, Wang YX. Global molecular structure and interfaces: refining an RNA:RNA complex structure using solution X-ray scattering data. J Am Chem Soc. 2008;130(11):3292-3.

  5. Lee D, Walsh JD, Mikhailenko I, Yu P, Migliorini M, Wu Y, Krueger S, Curtis JE, Harris B, Lockett S, Blacklow SC, Strickland DK, Wang YX. RAP uses a histidine switch to regulate its interaction with LRP in the ER and Golgi. Mol Cell. 2006;22(3):423-30.

This page was last updated on June 15th, 2017