Zuanbao Zhou

Ruanbao Zhou, PhD

South Dakota State University
Biology & Microbiology
(605) 688-5259

Dr. Zhou is a Professor of molecular microbiology. Dr. Zhou has two research focuses:

  1. Synthetic biology of N2-fixing cyanobacteria - Using synthetic biology approach to develop cellular cyanofactories capable of converting air (CO2 & N2), mineralized water and sunlight into high-value chemicals
  2. Molecular biology of multicellular differentiation - Vegetative cells of Anabaena cylindrica can differentiate into three other cell types: a heterocyst for a solar-powered, oxic N2-fixation, an enlarged spore called akinete for stress survival, and a terminally tapered cell that is highly active in cell division. Heterocysts inhibit nearby cells from differentiating into heterocysts but can induce nearby cells to become akinetes, a rare embryogenetic induction in prokaryotes. We seek to understand how they do so.

Areas of expertise:
Biochemistry and molecular microbiology, synthetic biology and green chemicals, oxic nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria

Selected publications:
Johnson TJ, Gibbons JL, Gu L, Zhou R, Gibbons WR. (2016) Molecular genetic improvements of cyanobacteria to enhance the industrial potential of the microbe: A review. Biotechnol Prog. 32(6):1357-1371.

Halfmann C, Gu L, Gibbons W, Zhou R. (2014).Genetically engineering cyanobacteria to convert CO₂, water, and light into the long-chain hydrocarbon farnesene. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2014 98(23):9869-77

Halfmann C, Gu L, and Zhou R (2014) Engineering Cyanobacteria for Production of a Cyclic Hydrocarbon Fuel from CO2 and H2O. Green Chem. 16:3175‐3185

Zhou R., K. Chen, X. Xiang, L. Gu and L. Kroos. 2013. Features of Pro-σK important for cleavage by SpoIVFB, an intramembrane metalloprotease.  J. Bacteriol. 195(12):2793-806).

Zhou R., C. Cusumano, D. Sui, R. M. Garavito and L. Kroos (2009) Intramembrane proteolytic cleavage of a membrane-tethered transcription factor by a metalloprotease depends on ATP. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 106(38):16174-9.

Zhou R, L Kroos (2005) Serine proteases from two cell types target different components of a complex that governs regulated intramembrane proteolysis of pro-σK during Bacillus subtilis development.  Mol. Microbiol. 58: 835-846

Zhou R, L Kroos (2004) BofA protein inhibits intramembrane proteolysis of Pro-sK in an intercompartmental signaling pathway during Bacillus subtilis sporulation. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 101:6385-6390

Zhou R, CP Wolk (2003) A two-component system mediates developmental regulation of biosynthesis a heterocyst polysaccharide. J. Biol. Chem. 278: 19939-19946

Zhou R, CP Wolk (2002) Identification of an akinete marker gene in Anabaena variabilis. J. Bacteriol. 184:2529-2532

Zhou R, X Wei, N Jiang, H Li, Y Dong, J Zhao (1998) Evidence that HetR is an unusal serine-type protease. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 95:4959-4963


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