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Tao Cai

Tao Cai, Ph.D.

Associate Investigator, TIB, Tianjin, China

Email: cai_t(AT)




2000-2004    Bachelor's Degree, school of life sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University

2004-2010    Master and Ph.D.Degree, department of microbiology, school of life sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University

Professional Experience

2007-2011    Visiting scholar, medical school, University of Pennsylvania.

2012-present  Associate professor, TIB, CAS

Research Interest

1 We are interested in the mechanisms of LysR-type transcriptional regulators (LTTRs) and their applications in industrial biology. LTTRs compose the largest group of regulators in prokaryotes and participate in diverse cell functions, such as metabolism, cell division, nitrogen fixation and motility. Our works focus on their oligomerization, ligand reorganization, operator binding and interactions with RNA polymerase.

2 We also have interests in transporters. Though several models were proposed , the mechanisms of transporters still is a puzzle. We developed several methods to screen mutants with different phenotypes which will be helpful for understanding the transportation mechanisms. We also put efforts on crystallization of several transporters.

Selected Publications

1.        Wang H, Zhong Z, Cai T, Li S and Zhu J. 2004 Heterologous overexpression of quorum-sensing regulators to study cell-density-dependent phenotypes in a symbiotic plant bacterium Mesorhizobium huakuii. Arch Microbiol. 182:520-5. [IF:1.927]

2.        Wang H, Cai T, Weng M, Zhou J, Cao H, Zhong Z and Zhu J. 2006 Conditional production of acyl-homoserine lactone-type quorum-sensing signals in clinical isolates of enterobacteria. J Med Microbiol. 55:1751-3. [IF: 2.272]: co-first authors.

3.        Wang P, Zhong Z, Zhou J, Cai T and Zhu J. 2008 Exopolysaccharide biosynthesis is important for Mesorhizobium tianshanense: plant host interaction. Arch Microbiol. 189:525-30. [IF:1.927]

4.        Cai T, Cai W, Zhang J, Zheng H, Tsou AM, Xiao L, Zhong Z and Zhu J. 2009 Host legume-exuded antimetabolites optimize the symbiotic rhizosphere*. Mol Microbiol. 73:507-17. [IF:5.361]*: cover image(

5.        Yang M, Giel JL, Cai T, Zhong Z and Zhu J. 2009 The LuxR family quorum-sensing activator MrtR requires its cognate autoinducer for dimerization and activation but not for protein folding. J Bacteriol. 191:434-8. [IF: 3.94]

6.        Tsou AM, Cai T, Liu Z, Zhu J and Kulkarni RV. 2009 Regulatory targets of quorum sensing in Vibrio cholerae: evidence for two distinct HapR-binding motifs. Nucleic Acids Res. 37:2747-56. [IF: 7.479]

7.        Tsou, A., Liu, Z., Cai, T., Zhu, J. The VarS/VarA two-component system modulates the activity of the Vibrio cholerae quorum sensing transcriptional regulator HapR. Microbiology. [IF: 0.638]

8.        Bi HP, Bai YF, Cai T, Zhuang YB, Liang XM, Zhang XL, Liu T and Ma YH.2013 Engineered short branched-chain acyl-CoAs synthesis in E.coli and acylation of chloramphenicol to branched-chain derivatives. Appl Microbiol Biot.


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