Shandong Normal University (2011), Biological Sciences
East Tennessee State Universit (2011), Biology
Graduate School
University of Illinois Urbana (2018), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Bacterial Genetics and Physiology
  • High-Throughput Screening of Novel Transcription Inhibitors
  • Next-Generation Sequencing for Gene Expression Analysis
  • Structure (Cryo-EM) and Function of Bacterial RNA Polymerase and Transcriptional Factors


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

RNA polymerase SI3 domain modulates global transcriptional pausing and pause-site fluctuations.
Bao Y, Cao X, Landick R, Nucleic Acids Res 2024 Mar
Programming bacteria for multiplexed DNA detection.
Cheng YY, Chen Z, Cao X, Ross TD, Falbel TG, Burton BM, Venturelli OS, Nat Commun 2023 Apr 14 1 2001
A roadmap for designing narrow-spectrum antibiotics targeting bacterial pathogens.
Cao X, Landick R, Campbell EA, Microb Cell 2022 Jul 9 7 136-138
Structural basis for backtracking by the SARS-CoV-2 replication-transcription complex.
Malone B, Chen J, Wang Q, Llewellyn E, Choi YJ, Olinares PDB, Cao X, Hernandez C, Eng ET, Chait BT, Shaw DE, Landick R, Darst SA, Campbell EA, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 May 118 19
Enterococcus faecalis Encodes an Atypical Auxiliary Acyl Carrier Protein Required for Efficient Regulation of Fatty Acid Synthesis by Exogenous Fatty Acids.
Zhu L, Zou Q, Cao X, Cronan JE, mBio 2019 May 10 3
Understanding and Engineering Distributed Biochemical Pathways in Microbial Communities.
Cao X, Hamilton JJ, Venturelli OS, Biochemistry 2019 Jan 58 2 94-107
Lipoate-binding proteins and specific lipoate-protein ligases in microbial sulfur oxidation reveal an atpyical role for an old cofactor.
Cao X, Koch T, Steffens L, Finkensieper J, Zigann R, Cronan JE, Dahl C, Elife 2018 Jul 7
Protein moonlighting elucidates the essential human pathway catalyzing lipoic acid assembly on its cognate enzymes.
Cao X, Zhu L, Song X, Hu Z, Cronan JE, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 Jul 115 30 E7063-E7072
Novel Xanthomonas campestris Long-Chain-Specific 3-Oxoacyl-Acyl Carrier Protein Reductase Involved in Diffusible Signal Factor Synthesis.
Hu Z, Dong H, Ma JC, Yu Y, Li KH, Guo QQ, Zhang C, Zhang WB, Cao X, Cronan JE, Wang H MBio 2018 May 9 3

Honors & Awards

  • K99/R00, NIH Pathway to Independence, 2022-2026
  • UT Southwestern Endowed Scholar, 2024