Hailing Jin studies molecular mechanisms of plant-pathogen interactions, with an overall goal to develop effective and environmentally friendly strategies to control plant diseases and to ensure sufficient food production.
One of her research focuses is cross-kingdom RNA interference and small RNA trafficking between plant and fungal pathogens. She has demonstrated that some small RNAs from eukaryotic pathogens can be transported into host plant cells and suppress host immunity genes for successful infection. Jin has also discovered that such cross-kingdom genetic interference is bi-directional: plant hosts can send small RNAs into pathogens to silence fungal virulence genes as part of its immune response.
Furthermore, her research group has discovered that many fungal pathogens can take up double-stranded RNAs and small RNAs from the environment. She has been able to significantly inhibit grey mold disease caused by Botrytis cinereaby by applying small RNAs or double-stranded RNAs that target Dicer genes of B. cinerea on the surface of fruits, vegetables and flowers. Such pathogen gene-targeting RNAs represent a new generation of fungicides that are durable and eco-friendly.
Ruth Allen Award, American Phytopathological Society, 2017
Cy Mouradick Endowed Chair, 2016 - present
Elected Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), 2015
University of California President’s Chair Professor, 2015
NSF Career Award 2007
Po Hu, Hongwei Zhao, Pei Zhu, Yongsheng Xiao, Weili Miao, Yinsheng Wang, and Hailing Jin*: Dual regulation of Arabidopsis AGO2 by arginine methylation. Nature Communications, 2019, doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-08787-w.
Qiang Cai, Lulu Qiao, Ming Wang, Baoye He, Feng-Mao Lin, Jared Palmquist, Hsien-Da Huang, and Hailing Jin*: Plants send small RNAs in extracellular vesicles to fungal pathogen to silence virulence genes. Science, 2018, 360(6393)1126-1129.
Ming Wang, Arne Weiberg, Feng-Mao Lin, Bart P. H. J. Thomma, Hsien-Da Huang and Hailing Jin*: Bidirectional cross-kingdom RNAi and fungal uptake of external RNAs confer plant protection. Nature Plants, 2016, 10.1038/nplants.2016.151.
Xiaoming Zhang, DongDong Niu, Alberto Carbonell, Airong Wang, Angel Lee, Vinnary Tun, Zonghua Wang, James C. Carrington, Chia-en A. Chang & Hailing Jin*: ARGONAUTE PIWI domain and microRNA duplex structure regulate small RNA sorting in Arabidopsis. Nature Communications 2014, doi: 10.1038/ncomms6468.
Arne Weiberg, Ming Wang, Feng-Mao Lin, Hongwei Zhao, Zhihong Zhang, Isgouhi Kaloshian, Hsien-Da Huang, Hailing Jin*: Fungal small RNAs suppress plant immunity by hijacking host RNA interference pathways. Science, 2013, 342 (6154) 118-123.