Image of Dr Baoxiu Qi

Dr Baoxiu Qi

Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences

Faculty of Science


Telephone: 0151 904 6142

I am a plant molecular biologist/biotechnologist with a particular interest in lipid signalling and biotechnology. Using Arabidopsis as a model system I investigate protein palmitoylation, also known as S-acylation, a post-translational lipid modification that is responsible for membrane targeting of proteins involved in plant growth and stress responses. In addition I am interested in the genetic modification of higher plants to produce omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (EPA and DHA), components of fish oils that are known to have major health benefits, such as brain and eye development in infants and heart disease prevention.
1. Basic research carried out in the model plant Arabidopsis
The central focus of my research is investigating the function of signalling pathways linked to protein S-acylation in the regulation of growth, development and stress responses in plant. Through the systematic characterisation of the 24 Arabidopsis thaliana Palmitoyl S-Acyl Transferases (AtPATs – enzymes that carry out this lipid modification) we have found that protein S-acylation is involved in all aspects of plant growth and development from seed germination/seedling establishment to seed production in mature plants. Significantly, S-acylation also plays important roles in abiotic and biotic stress responses and is therefore central to plant adaptation and survival. For example, we demonstrated AtPAT10 to be involved in cell division, cell expansion, fertility and salt stress (Qi et al, 2013, New Phytologist) and went on to show that AtPAT14 regulates leaf senescence via the salicylic acid (SA) pathway (Li et al, 2016, Plant Physiology). Currently, we are working on 2 further AtPATs and have discovered that one is the key regulator in lipid catabolism during early seedling growth (Li et al, 2019a) with the other mediating male and female fertility via its regulatory roles in meiosis (Li et al, 2019b).

2. Applied research in generation of dwarf pear rootstocks
In agriculture dwarfism is used to increase crop productivity and aid in crop management. For example, the breeding of dwarf rice and wheat were major successes for the so-called ‘green revolution’ during the 1960s providing major increases in yield hence saving millions of lives. These varieties are still widely cultivated today. Dwarfing is routinely used in the cultivation in fruit trees (such as apple and pear) and is achieved by grafting scions onto dwarf rootstocks. While this is very successful in apples it is not so in pear trees. In order to address this problem we have utilised the CRISPR-cas9 technology to edit relevant genes regulating plant height and successfully generated dwarfed pear plantlets (Xu et al., unpublished; Pang et al., unpublished).
3. Genetic engineering of crop plants to produce fish oils
I pioneered the work that transferred 3 genes originating from a microalga and a fungus for the biosynthesis of EPA in Arabidopsis. This proved for the first time that it was feasible to produce fish oils in higher plants (Qi et al, 2004, Nature Biotechnology). Following from this I established a research lab in Shandong Agricultural University and took forward research to engineer this valuable beneficial trait into agriculturally relevant oilseed crops such as cotton, maize and peanut. My ultimate aim is to optimize multiple gene transfer strategies to produce large quantities of fish oils in these crops in order to provide a sustainable alternative source for these healthy oils (see Sun et al., 2012; Sun et al., 2013; Yuan et al., 2014; Liu et al., 2015; Xia et al., 2016; Wang et al., 2017; Wang et al., 2018).


Chinese (Mandarin)


University of Bath, United Kingdom, PhD


UK Higher Education of Academy, FHEA

Academic appointments

Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, 2019 - present
Research Associate/Research Fellow/Lecturer, Department of Biology and Biochemistry, University of Bath, 2004 - 2018
Postdoctoral Research Associate, School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, 2000 - 2004

Journal article

Nie X, Zhao S, Hao Y, Gu S, Zhang Y, Qi B, Xing Y, Qin L. 2023. Transcriptome analysis reveals key genes involved in the resistance to Cryphonectria parasitica during early disease development in Chinese chestnut BMC Plant Biology, 23 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Zhuang M, Li T, Xin Q, Zhou M, Zhang H, Ma H, Money M, Zhang Y, Qi B, Xu J. 2023. Establishment and application of callus induction and suspension culture system of pear anther Guoshu xuebao = Journal of fruit science, DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Gao C, Wang Y, Jin J, Li T, Li J, Zhou M, Zhang H, Ma H, Zhang Y, Qi B, Xu J. 2023. Method for High Efficiency Isolation of Protoplasts from Pear Leaves and Its Utility for Gene Transient Expression Acta Horticulturae Sinica, 50 :1141-1150 DOI

Liu R, Gao C, Jin J, Wang Y, Jia X, Ma H, Zhang Y, Zhang H, Qi B, Xu J. 2022. Induction and identification of tetraploids of pear plants (Pyrus bretschneideri and Pyrus betulaefolia) Scientia Horticulturae, 304 DOI Publisher Url Public Url

Li G, Song P, Wang X, Ma Q, Xu J, Zhang Y, Qi B. 2022. Genome-Wide Identification of Genes Encoding for Rho-Related Proteins in ‘Duli’ Pear (Pyrus betulifolia Bunge) and Their Expression Analysis in Response to Abiotic Stress Plants, 11 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Song P, Li G, Xu J, Mao Q, Qi B, Zhang Y. 2022. Genome-Wide Analysis of Genes Involved in the GA Signal Transduction Pathway in ‘duli’ Pear (Pyrus betulifolia Bunge) International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 23 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Zhang W-W, Zhao S-Q, Gu S, Cao X-Y, Zhang Y, Niu J-F, Liu L, Li A-R, Jia W-S, Qi B-X, Xing Y. 2022. FvWRKY48 binds to the pectate lyase FvPLA promoter to control fruit softening in Fragaria vesca. Plant physiology, :kiac091 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Li G, Song P, Wang X, Ma Q, Zhang H, Zhang Y, Xu J, Qi B. 2021. Establishment of Agrobacterium tumefaciens mediated transient transformation system in young leaves of Duli pear (Pyrus betulifolia) Journal of Fruit Science, 38 :2006-2013 DOI

Shi C, Wang X, Xu J, Zhang Y, Qi B, Jun L. 2021. Dissecting the molecular mechanism of russeting in sand pear ( Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai.) by metabolomics, transcriptomics and proteomics The Plant Journal, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Li Y, Yu L, Wang Q, Zhao X, Li X, Qi B. 2020. Analysis of the Promoter of Emb5 from Zea mays Identifies a Region of 523 bp Responsible for Its Embryo-Specific Activity Plant Molecular Biology Reporter, DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Pang HG, Yan Q, Zhao S, He F, Xu JF, Qi BX, Zhang Y. 2019. Knockout of the S-acyltransferase gene, pbpat14, confers the dwarf yellowing phenotype in first generation pear by ABA accumulation International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Doucet J, Lee HK, Udugama N, Xu J, Qi B, Goring DR. 2019. Investigations into a putative role for the novel BRASSIKIN pseudokinases in compatible pollen-stigma interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana BMC Plant Biology, 19 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Li Y, Li H-J, Morgan C, Bomblies K, Yang W, Qi B. 2019. Both male and female gametogenesis require a fully functional protein S-acyl transferase 21 in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Journal, 100 :754-767 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Shi CH, Qi B, Wang XQ, Shen LY, Luo J, Zhang YX. 2019. Proteomic analysis of the key mechanism of exocarp russet pigmentation of semi-russet pear under rainwater condition Scientia Horticulturae, 254 :178-186 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Li Y, Xu J, Li G, Wan S, Batistic O, Sun M, Zhang Y, Scott R, Qi B. 2019. Protein S-acyl Transferase 15 is Involved in Seed Triacylglycerol Catabolism during Early Seedling Growth in Arabidopsis Journal of Experimental Botany, 70 :5205-5216 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Wang C, Qing X, Yu M, Sun Q, Liu F, Qi B, Li X. 2019. Production of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20:5n-3) in transgenic peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) through the alternative Delta 8-desaturase pathway MOLECULAR BIOLOGY REPORTS, 46 :333-342 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi B, Pang H, Xu J, Zhang J, Zhang Y. 2018. Comparison and quality analysis of total RNA extraction methods from different tissues of Pyrus betulaefolia Bunge Journal of Fruit Science, 35 DOI Public Url

Wang C, Yang X, Ma H, Liu J, Chen J, Zhang J, Dong S, Qi B, Li X. 2017. Production of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA, 20: 5n-3) in maize (Zea mays L.) through the alternative Delta 8 desaturation pathway mediated by particle bombardment ACTA PHYSIOLOGIAE PLANTARUM, 39 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Li Y, Qi B. 2017. Progress toward Understanding Protein S-acylation: Prospective in Plants Frontiers in Plant Science, 8 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Wang L, Clarke LA, Eason RJ, Parker CC, Qi B, Scott RJ, Doughty J. 2016. PCP-B class pollen coat proteins are key regulators of the hydration checkpoint in Arabidopsis thaliana pollen-stigma interactions New Phytologist, 213 :764-777 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Xia F, Li X, Li X, Zheng D, Sun Q, Liu J, Li Y, Hua J, Qi B. 2016. Elevation of the Yields of Very Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids via Minimal Codon Optimization of Two Key Biosynthetic Enzymes PLoS One, 11 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Li Y, Scott R, Doughty J, Grant M, Qi B. 2016. Protein S-Acyltransferase 14: A Specific Role for Palmitoylation in Leaf Senescence in Arabidopsis PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 170 :415-428 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Yuan X, Li Y, Liu S, Xia F, Li X, Qi B. 2014. Accumulation of eicosapolyenoic acids enhances sensitivity to abscisic acid and mitigates the effects of drought in transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana Journal of Experimental Botany, 65 :1637-1649 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Liu J, Ma YB, Sun QX, Wu X, Li XY, Sun MH, Li YE, Li XZ, Qi BX. 2014. Production of very long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in cotton Acta Agronomica Sinica(China), 40 :86-92 DOI Publisher Url

Ma HZ, Zhu WW, Wang QB, Wang GL, Li XZ, Qi BX. 2014. Regeneration capacity and some affecting factors of different parts of young seedlings of maize (Zea mays L.) Acta Agronomica Sinica(China), 40 :313-319 DOI Publisher Url

Sun Q, Liu J, Li Y, Zhang Q, Shan S, Li X, Qi B. 2013. Creation and validation of a widely applicable multiple gene transfer vector system for stable transformation in plant PLANT MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 83 :391-404 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Yuan X, Zhang S, Sun M, Liu S, Qi B, Li X. 2013. Putative DHHC-Cysteine-Rich Domain S-Acyltransferase in Plants PLoS One, 8 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Qi B, Doughty J, Hooley R. 2013. A Golgi and tonoplast localized S-acyl transferase is involved in cell expansion, cell division, vascular patterning and fertility in Arabidopsis New Phytologist, 200 :443-454 DOI Author Url Publisher Url Public Url

Sun Q, Liu J, Zhang Q, Qing X, Dobson G, Li X, Qi B. 2013. Characterization of three novel desaturases involved in the delta-6 desaturation pathways for polyunsaturated fatty acid biosynthesis from Phytophthora infestans APPLIED MICROBIOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, 97 :7689-7697 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

LIU J, SUN Q-X, LI X-Z, QI B-X. 2013. Functional Characterization of Isochrysis galbana Δ5 Desaturase Gene IgD5 in Arabidopsis thaliana Acta Agronomica Sinica, 39 :928-928 DOI Publisher Url


Sayanova O, Haslam R, Qi BX, Lazarus CM, Napier JA. 2006. The alternative pathway C-20 Delta 8-desaturase from the non-photo synthetic organism Acanthamoeba castellanii is an atypical cytochrome b5-fusion desaturase FEBS LETTERS, 580 :1946-1952 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Napier JA, Sayanova O, Qi BX, Lazarus CM. 2004. Progress toward the production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in transgenic plants LIPIDS, 39 :1067-1075 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi BX, Fraser T, Mugford S, Dobson G, Sayanova O, Butler J, Napier JA, Stobart AK, Lazarus CM. 2004. Production of very long chain polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in plants NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY, 22 :739-745 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Fraser TCM, Qi BX, Elhussein S, Chatrattanakunchai S, Stobart AK, Lazarus CM. 2004. Expression of the Isochrysis C18-Delta(9) polyunsaturated fatty acid specific elongase component alters arabidopsis glycerolipid profiles PLANT PHYSIOLOGY, 135 :859-866 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi BX, Fraser TCM, Bleakley CL, Shaw EM, Stobart AK, Lazarus CM. 2003. The variant 'his-box' of the C18-Delta 9-PUFA-specific elongase IgASE1 from Isochrysis galbana is essential for optimum enzyme activity FEBS LETTERS, 547 :137-139 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi BX, Beaudoin F, Fraser T, Stobart AK, Napier JA, Lazarus CM. 2002. Identification of a cDNA encoding a novel C18-Delta(9) polyunsaturated fatty acid-specific elongating activity from the docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-producing microalga, Isochrysis galbana FEBS LETTERS, 510 :159-165 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi BX, Moore KG, Orchard J. 2000. Effect of cooking on banana and plantain texture JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY, 48 :4221-4226 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Qi BX, Moore KG, Orchard J. 2000. A comparison of two methods and the effect of cooking time on the extractability of pectin from the cell walls of cooking banana LEBENSMITTEL-WISSENSCHAFT UND-TECHNOLOGIE-FOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY, 33 :369-373 DOI Author Url Publisher Url

Wang J, Lin J, Kan J, Wang H, Li X, Yang Q, Li H, Chang Y. Genome-Wide Identification and Functional Prediction of Novel Drought-Responsive lncRNAs in Pyrus betulifolia Genes, 9 :311-311 DOI Publisher Url

Conference publication

Qi B, Hooley R. 2005. Hunting for G-protein binding partners in Arabidopsis COMPARATIVE BIOCHEMISTRY AND PHYSIOLOGY A-MOLECULAR & INTEGRATIVE PHYSIOLOGY, 141 :S280-S281 Author Url