Microbial Natural Product Biosynthesis & Bacterial Signaling Laboratory

The main thrust of my research lab is to uncover new proteins that underlie bacterial pathogenesis and novel enzymes in natural product biosynthesis. (1) We discover new microbial secondary metabolites using a genomicsguided approach. We mine the genome of ecologically unique microbes to identify novel biosynthetic pathways. We employ synthetic biology tools to manipulate the pathways to access the targeted secondary metabolites. We expect the research work to yield new bioactive natural products and biosynthetic enzymes that catalyze new chemical transformations. (2) Cyclic dinucleotides (cDNs) have emerged as prominent messengers in many pathogenic bacteria. cDNs contribute to bacterial pathogenesis by mediating pathogenicity and stress resistance. We aim to uncover cDNs-mediated mechanisms that underpin bacterial infection. The research will potentially unveil novel signaling proteins and pathways that can be targeted for developing antimicrobial and biofilm-controlling agents.

Liang Zhao-XunLEAD PI
Liang Zhao-Xun

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (65) 6592 7736
Office: SBS-03S-53
Ma Guang-Lei
Research Fellow

Email: [email protected]
Phone: (65) 6592 7911
Hartono Candra
Research Assistant

Email: [email protected]
 Wang Xuejiao
Research Fellow

Email: [email protected]
Daryn Tan Fu Ern
M.Sc Student

Email: [email protected]
Rachel Andrea Chea Yuen Fong
M.Sc Student

Email: [email protected]


  • Project 1: Genome-guided discovery of microbial natural products
  • Project 2: Engineering of microbial heterologous hosts for the production of high value-added Chemicals
  • Project 3. Molecular mechanism underlying bacterial pathogenesis and antibiotic resistance
Full list of publications can be found here
  • Taming the flagellar motor of pseudomonads with a nucleotide messenger. **Ma, GL, *Candara, H, Liang, Z.-X., Environmental Microbiology, 2020, 22:2496-2513.
  • Sungeidines from a non-canonical enediyne biosynthetic pathway. *Low, Z., **Ma, G.; *Tran, HT; Zou, Y, *Xiong, J., *Pang, LM; Ye, H., Hu, JF, Houk, K., Liang, Z.-X. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2020, 142, 4, 1673-1679.
  • Discovery, biosynthesis and antifungal activity of the polyene-polyol meijiemycin, *Low, Z. J., **Xiong, J., Xie, Y, **Saw, H., **Ma, G. L., Wong, D., **Lu, P., *Pang, L.M., **Tran, H., Hu. J.-H., Yang, L., Miao, Y., Liang, Z.-X., Chemical Communications, 2020, 56, 822 – 825.
  • Regulation of flagellar motor switching by c-di-GMP phosphodiesterases in Pseudomonas aeruginosa. *Xin, L., Zeng, Y., **Shen, S., **Chea, R., Lin, S, Yang, L., **Xu, L, Chiam, K.-H., Liang, Z.-X. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2019, 294, 13789-13799.
  • A c-di-GMP-binding adaptor protein directly interacts with a chemotaxis methyltransferase to control flagellar motor switching, **Xu, L. H, *Xing, L. Y., Zeng, Y., Yam, J. K. H., Ding, Y., *Venkataramani, P., *Cheang, Q. W., *Yang, X., Tang, X., Zhang, L.-H., Chiam, K.-H., L, Yang, Liang, Z.-X. Science Signaling, 2016, 9, ra102.
  • The expanding role of cyclic dinucleotides in the biosynthesis of polysaccharides and secondary metabolites. Liang, Z.-X. Natural Product Reports, 2015, 32, 663-683.
  • Visualizing the perturbation of cellular cyclic di-GMP levels in bacterial cells. *Ho, C. L., **Chong, K. S. J., *Oppong, J. A., *Chuah, M. L. C., Tan, S. M., Liang, Z.-X. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135, 566-569.
  • Synthesis of (R)-mellein by a partially reducing iterative polyketide synthase. *Sun, H., *Ho, C-L, Ding, F., **Soehano, I., Liu, X. Liang, Z.-X., Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2012. 134, 11924-11927.
  • YybT is a signaling protein that contains a cyclic dinucleotide phosphodiesterase domain and a GGDEF domain with ATPase activity, *Rao. F., **See, R.Y., **Zhang, D., **Toh, D. C., **Ji, Q., Liang, Z.-X. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2010, 285, 473-482.
  • Characterization of a carbonyl-conjugated polyene intermediate in the biosynthesis of 10-membered enediyne antitumor natural products. *Kong, R., **Goh, L. P., **Liew, C. W., **Ho, Q. S., *Murugan, E., Li, B., Tang, K., Liang, ZX. Journal of the American Chemical Society 2008, 130, 8142-8143.