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Doctoral tutor > botany  
Bao-Cai Tan
Phone number: 0531-88363592
Fax number: 
E-mail: bctan@sdu.edu.cn
Title: Professor


Ph.D., 1992/09 - 1997/06, Plant Molecular Genetics, University of Florida

Master, 1984/09 - 1987/06, Plant Physiology, Lanzhou University

Bachelor, 1980/09 - 1984/06, Plant Physiology, Lanzhou University


2013/12 - Present, Professor and Taishan Scholar, Dean, School of Life Sciences, Shandong University,

2011/01 - 2013/12, Professor, Shenzhen Research Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong,

2007/12 - 2013/12, Research Associate Professor, Plant Molecular Biology and Agricultural Technique Institute, The Chinese University of Hong Kong,

2001/03 - 2007/12, Research Assistant Professor, Horticultural Sciences Department, Cancer and Genetic Research Institute, University of Florida,

1997/07 - 2001/02, Postdoctoral fellow, Plant Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Florida,

1992/08 - 1997/06, Research Assistant, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida,

1987/06 - 1992/08, Lecturer, Department of Biology, Lanzhou University.


1. Genetic Control of Seed Development.

We are interested in understanding how a seed is formed after double fertilization. A major task is to genetically dissect and decipher the functions of the genes that play critical roles in seed formation. As a contributor lab to the UniformMu population, we isolated many seed developmental mutants in maize. Forward and reverse genetics approaches are employed to identify the genes and multi-disciplinary approaches are used to decipher their functions. Then we attempt to understand the mechanism underlying seed development in maize. We also selectively exploit the potentials of some genes in crop improvement.

2. Provitamin A Nutrition Accumulation in Crop Seeds.

Provitamin A is the precursor of Vitamin A, an essential nutrient for human health. However, human cannot synthesize Provitamin A; leaving dietary intake the only choice. Enriching Provitamin A cereals becomes a promising means to improve cereal nutrition. The goal of this study is to understand the mechanism of provitamin A accumulation by studying the biosynthesis and degradation.

3. Regulation of Abscisic Acid Biosynthesis.

ABA plays a key role in seed dormancy and plant responses to various environmental stresses. We are interested in understanding the regulation of ABA biosynthesis, in particular, the question how the plant senses stresses and initiates the transcription of the NCED/Vp14 genes.


1. 2018-2019, Molecular mechanism of maize kernel size control, Key Projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China (PI).

2. 2017-2021, Functional and mechanistic study of PPR genes that is essential to seed development, Key Projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China (PI).

3. 2015-2017, Cloning and functional analysis of key genes of maize kernels, Key Projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China (PI).

4. 2014-2016, Functional analysis of SMALL KERNEL 11 and identification of its interacting proteins, Hong Kong Research Grants Council (PI).

5. 2013-2015, Functional analysis of Empty pericarp 5 in maize seed development, Hong Kong Research Grants Council (PI).

6. 2012-2015, Cloning and functional analysis of maize Small Kernel 2 gene, General Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (PI).

7. 2012-2014, Functional analysis of EMB15 in maize seed development, Hong Kong Research Grants Council (PI).

8. 2012-2016, Applied research of plant molecular biotechnology on modern agriculture, Shenzhen Peacock Scheme (Co-PI).

9. 2011-2013, Functional analysis of SMK2 in maize, CUHK Shenzhen Research Institute Start-up Support Scheme (PI).

10. 2010-2012, Genetic and functional dissection of Emb12 and Emb14 in maize embryo development, Hong Kong Research Grants Council (PI).


(*Corresponding Author)

1. Zhang, Y.F., Suzuki, M., Sun, F.,Tan, B.C.*(2017). The mitochondrion-targeted PENTATRICOPEPTIDE REPEAT78 protein is required for nad5 mature mRNA stability and seed development in maize.Molecular Plant10: 1321-1333.

2. Yang, Y.Z., Ding, S., Wang, Y. Li, C.L., Shen, Y., Meeley, R., McCarty D.R.,Tan, B.C.*(2017).Small kernel 2encodes a glutaminase in Vitamin B6biosynthesis and is essential for maize seed development.Plant Physiology174: 1127-1138.

3. Cai, M., Li, S., Sun, F., Sun, Q., Zhao, H., Ren, X., Zhao, Y.,Tan, B.C., Zhang, Z.,* Qiu, F.* (2017).Emp10encodes a mitochondrial PPR protein that affects thecis-splicing ofnad2intron 1 and seed development in maize.Plant Journal91: 132-144.

4. Tan, B.C., Guan, J.C., Ding, S., Wu, S., Koch, K.E., McCarty, D.R.* (2017).WcStructure and origin of the White Cap locus and its role in evolution of grain color in maize.Genetics206: 135-150.

5. Yang, Y.Z., Ding, S., Wang, H.C., Sun, F., Huang, W.L., Song, S., Xu, C.H.,Tan, B.C.*(2017). The pentatricopeptide repeat protein EMP9 is required for mitochondrial ccmB and rps4 transcript editing, mitochondrial complex biogenesis and seed development in maize.New Phytologist214: 782-795.

6. Xiu, Z., Sun, F., Shen, Y., Zhang, X., Jiang, R., Bonnard, G., Zhang, J.,Tan, B.C.*(2016). EMPTY PERICARP16 is required for mitochondrialnad2intron 4cis-splicing and seed development in maize.Plant Journal85: 507-519.

7. Li, C., Shen, Y., Meeley, R., McCarty, D.R.,Tan, B.C.* (2015).Embryo defective 14encodes a plastid-targeted cGTPase essential for embryogenesis in maize.Plant Journal84: 785-799.

8. Sun, F., Wang, X., Bonnard, G., Shen,Y., Xiu, Z., Li, X., Gao, D., Zhang, Z.,Tan, B.C.* (2015).Empty pericarp7encodes a mitochondrial E-subgroup pentatricopeptide repeat protein that is required for ccmFN editing, mitochondrial function and seed development in maize.Plant Journal84: 283-295.

9. Chen, Y.,Tan, B.C.* (2015).New insight in the Gibberellin biosynthesis and signal transduction.Plant Signaling & Behavior10:5, e1000140

10. Chen, Y., Hou, M., Liu, L., Wu, S., Shen, Y., Ishiyama, K., Kobayashi, M., McCarty, D.R.,Tan, B.C.* (2014). The maize DWARF1 encodes a Gibberellin 3-oxidase and is dual-localized to the nucleus and cytosol.Plant Physiology166: 2028-2039.

11. Li, X.J., Zhang, Y.F., Hou, M.M., Sun, F., Shen, Y., Xiu, Z.H., Wang, X.M., Chen, Z.L., Sun, S.S.M., Small, I.,Tan,B.C.* (2014).Small kernel1encodes a pentatricopeptide repeat protein required for mitochondrialnad7transcript editing and seed development in maize and rice.Plant Journal79: 797–809.

12. Yang,Y.Z.,Tan,B.C.* (2014).A distal ABA responsive element in AtNCED3 promoter is required for positive feedback regulation of ABA biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.PLoS One9: e87283.

13. Zhang,Y.F., Hou,M.M.,Tan,B.C.* (2013). The requirement of WHIRLY1 for embryogenesis is dependent on genetic background in maize.PLoS One8: e67369.

14. Shen, Y., Li, C., Meeley, R., McCarty, D.R.,Tan, B.C.* (2013).Embryo defective12encodes translation initiation factor3 and is essential to maize embryogenesis.Plant Journal74: 792-804.

15. Liu, Y., Xiu, Z.H., Meeley, R.,Tan, B.C.* (2013).Empty pericarp5encodes a pentatricopeptide repeat protein that is required for mitochondrial RNA editing and seed development in maize.Plant Cell25:868-883.

16. Tan, B.C.*, Chen, Z., Shen, Y., Zhang, Y., Lai, J., Sun, S.S.M. (2011). Identification of an active new Mutator transposable element in maize.Genes Genome Genetics1:293-302.

17. Messing, S.A., Gabelli, S.B., Echeverria, I., Vogel, J.T., Guan, J.C.,Tan, B.C., Klee, H.J., McCarty, D.R., Amzel, L.M. (2010). Structural insights into maize Viviparous14, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of the phytohormone abscisic acid.Plant Cell22:2970-2980.

18. Vogel, J.T.,Tan, B.C., McCarty, D.R., Klee, H.J. (2008). The carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 1 enzyme has broad substrate specificity, cleaving multiple carotenoids at two different bond positions.J. Biol. Chem.283:11364-1137.

19. Settles, A.M. Holding, D.R.,Tan, B.C., et al., (2007). Sequence-indexed mutations in maize using the UniformMu transposon-tagging population.BMC Genomics8: 116-124.

20. McCarty, D.R., Settles, A.M., Suzuki, M.,Tan, B.C., Latshaw, S., Porch, T., Robin, K., Baier, J., Avigne, W., Lai, J., Messing, J., Koch, K.E., Hannah, L.C. (2005) Steady-state transposon mutagenesis in inbred maize.Plant Journal44: 52-61.

21. Tan, B.C.*, Joseph, L.M., Deng, W.T., Liu, L.J., Li, Q.B., Cline, K., McCarty, D.R. (2003).Molecular characterization of the Arabidopsis nine-cis expoxycarotenoid dioxygenase gene family.Plant Journal35: 44-56.

22. Tan, B.C.*, Cline, K.,McCarty, D.R. (2001).Localization and targeting of VP14 epoxy-carotenoid dioxygenase to the chloroplast membrane.Plant Journal27: 373-382.

23. Tan, B.C., Schwartz, S., Zeevaart, J.A.,McCarty, D.R.* (1997).Genetic control of abscisic acid synthesis in maize.Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA94: 12235-12240.

24. Schwartz, S.*,Tan, B.C.*, (*Co-first author), Gage, D.A., Zeevaart, J.A.,McCarty, D.R.* (1997).Specific oxidative cleavage of carotenoids by VP14 of maize.Science276: 1872-1875.


1. Award of Excellence in Graduate Research, University of Florida, 1998

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