Peking University (1992)
Graduate School
Yale University (1997)

Research Interest

  • Ion channels and membrane transporters: The research of our laboratory has been focusing on the structural and functional studies of ion channels and transporters which control the flow of ions across the cell membrane. These proteins regulate many biological processes such as the excitation of nerve and muscle cells, the secretion of hormones, and sensory transduction.
  • Ion selectivity of tetrameric cation Channels: To understand the structural basis of ion selectivity in tetrameric cation channels, we have been using the NaK channel as the model system to elucidate the basic principles of ion selectivity in CNG channels and K+ channels.
  • Ion transporters: The study on ion transporters in the lab has been focused on Na+/Ca2+ exchangers (NCX) which are crucial membrane transporters in maintaining the homeostasis of cytosolic Ca2+ for cell signaling. With the determination of a high-resolution structure of an NCX protein from Methanococcus jannaschii (NCX_Mj), we now have a working model system to elucidate the structural basis and mechanistic details of ion exchange in NCX proteins.
  • Ligand gating of cation channels: To study channel gating, the lab focuses on a group of ligand gated K+ channels that are regulated by a conserved ligand binding domain, the RCK domain. This group includes the majority of prokaryotic K+ channels and the eukaryotic high-conductance Ca2+-gated K+ channels (BK or maxiK).
  • Our research approach is a combination of membrane protein X-ray crystallography, aimed at determining the three dimensional structure of the ion transporting proteins, and channel electrophysiology, to study the physiological functions of these proteins.


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Structural analysis of ion selectivity in the NaK channel.
Alam A, Jiang Y Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 2009 Jan 16 1 35-41
Structural insight into Ca2+ specificity in tetrameric cation channels.
Alam A, Shi N, Jiang Y Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2007 Sep 104 39 15334-9
Gating and inward rectifying properties of the MthK K+ channel with and without the gating ring.
Li Y, Berke I, Chen L, Jiang Y J. Gen. Physiol. 2007 Feb 129 2 109-20
Structures of the MthK RCK domain and the effect of Ca2+ on gating ring stability.
Dong J, Shi N, Berke I, Chen L, Jiang Y J. Biol. Chem. 2005 Dec 280 50 41716-24
The principle of gating charge movement in a voltage-dependent K+ channel.
Jiang Y, Ruta V, Chen J, Lee A, MacKinnon R Nature 2003 May 423 6935 42-8
X-ray structure of a voltage-dependent K+ channel.
Jiang Y, Lee A, Chen J, Ruta V, Cadene M, Chait BT, MacKinnon R Nature 2003 May 423 6935 33-41
Functional analysis of an archaebacterial voltage-dependent K+ channel.
Ruta V, Jiang Y, Lee A, Chen J, MacKinnon R Nature 2003 Mar 422 6928 180-5
The open pore conformation of potassium channels.
Jiang Y, Lee A, Chen J, Cadene M, Chait BT, MacKinnon R Nature 2002 May 417 6888 523-6
Crystal structure and mechanism of a calcium-gated potassium channel.
Jiang Y, Lee A, Chen J, Cadene M, Chait BT, MacKinnon R Nature 2002 May 417 6888 515-22
Structure of the RCK domain from the E. coli K+ channel and demonstration of its presence in the human BK channel.
Jiang Y, Pico A, Cadene M, Chait BT, MacKinnon R Neuron 2001 Mar 29 3 593-601

Honors & Awards

  • Edith and Peter OÂ’Donnell Awards
    The Academy of Medicine, Engineering, and Science of Texas (TAMEST) (2013)
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
    Investigator (2008)
  • McKnight Scholar Award
    The McKnight Endowment Fund for Neuroscience (2006)
  • David and Lucile Packard Fellowship
    The David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2004)
  • Searle Scholars Award
    The Searle Scholars Program (2004)
  • Endowed Scholar
    UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas (2003)