Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Gao Yonggui

Nanyang Associate Professor (NRF)

School of Biological Sciences
College of Science

Phone: (+65)69082211
Office: EMB 06-08

  • PhD Zhejiang University 2003
  • MS Zhejiang University 1997
  • BS Zhejiang University 1994
I got my Ph.D major in biochemical engineering, Zhejiang University, China, I worked as a lecturer in College of Life Science, Zhejiang University. In 2003, I moved to Professor Tanaka’s Lab funded by Center of Excellence (COE) project, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University. The research topic is the structural and functional research on transcription, translational initiation control, and cellulose synthesis. Since 2008, I worked as a senior scientist in Professor Ramakrishnan Venki’s group where Nobel Prize is awarded in 2009, Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK. There, I made breakthrough in understanding structure and function of ribosome with GTPase factors, for which two landmark papers were published.
Research Interests
I am interested in the field of DNA/RNA-protein interactions, particularly in the structural and functional research of translation initiation control and protein synthesis by ribosome. For the first time, I recently discovered a new crystal form from ribosome lacking the subunit L9, that allows crystallization of the ribosome in the presence of GTPase factors. Based on this, the crystal structures of the 70S ribosome with elongation factor G (EF-G) trapped by fusidic acid in the post-translocational state, and with elongation factor Tu (EF-Tu) and aminoacyl-tRNA were solved, respectively. Both structures reveal many significant aspects of ribosome functions at atomic level with regard to elongation, the heart of translation. Meanwhile, I solved crystal structures of E. coli RelE (a toxin related to riboendonucleases) bound to 70S ribosomes in the precleavage and postcleavage states, which provides a clear basis for understanding the mechanism of ribosome-dependent endonucleases (mRNA shutdown). I want to pursue further research on the structure and function of translational factors with ribosome in Singapore. I will focus on further understanding EF-G function in translation as well as in the post-termination complex with ribosome recycling factor (RRF). Meanwhile, the structural and functional protein complex associated with disease and industrial application will be targed.

Positions for Postdoc, Ph.D. Scholarship, Research Assistant or Technician are available, interested candidates are invited to email me.
Research Grant
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2015-)
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (2017-) [by MOE]
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (2015-)
  • Academic Research Fund Tier 2 (2016-)
Current Projects
  • A tagging approach to natively extract bacterial cellulose-synthesizing terminal complex for in vitro biosynthesis reconstitution and structure determination
  • Fat Hope - Innovation Strategy Towards Small Molecule Probe of FTO as Potential Treatment for Obesity
  • Molecular basis of LCIB and LCIC in CO2 concentrating mechanisms (CCMs)
  • Molecular mechanism of back-translocation involving LepA and fusidic acid
  • Structural and functional research of macromolecules: ribosome and cellulose terminal complex
  • Structural basis of ATP-dependent dsDNA helicases lrc3p/CSB functioning in mitochondrial DNA maintenance
  • Structure and Functional Interactions of Translational Factors with Ribosome by X-Ray Crystallography
  • Structure and Functional Interactions of Translational Factors with Ribosome by X-Ray Crystallography
Selected Publications
  • Jin S, Sun J, Wunder T, Tang D, Cousins AB, Sze SK, Mueller-Cajar O, Gao YG. (2016). Structural insights into the LCIB protein family reveals a new group of β-carbonic anhydrases.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 113(51), 14716-14721.
  • Kumar V, Ero R, Ahmed T, Goh KJ, Zhan Y, Bhushan S, and Gao YG. (2016). The Structure of Elongation Factor 4 (EF4/LepA) in GTP Form Bound to the Ribosome. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(Cover Image July), 12943-50.
  • Kumar V, Chen Y, Ero R, Ahmed T, Tan J, Li Z, wong AS, Bhushan S, Gao YG. (2015). Structure of BipA in GTP form bound to the ratcheted ribosome. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), 112(35), 10944-9.
  • Chen Y, Feng S, Kumar V, Ero R, Gao YG. (2013). Structure of EF-G-Ribosome complex in a pretranslocation state. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, , 2013, 20: 1077–1084 (online on 4 August 2013).
  • Gao, Y.G., Selmer M, Dunham CM, Weixlbaumer A, Kelley AC, and Ramakrishnan, V. (2009). The structure of the ribosome with elongation factor G trapped in the posttranslocational state. Science, 326, 694-699.

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