Please note: The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio will now be called "UT Health San Antonio."

Search Program Faculty/Research

Xiao-Dong Li, Ph.D., M.D.



Dr. Xiao-Dong Li's lab is interested in understanding the mechanism of innate immune sensing of microbial nucleic acids in host defense and inflammation. 

Recently, we have uncovered: (I) Sequence specific detection of bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA by TLR13 (eLife, 2012). In this study, we identified the bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA as the long sought TLR13 ligand. Remarkably, we showed that TLR13 recognizes bacterial RNA with an exquisite sequence specificity that is unique in innate immunity. (II) Pivotal roles of cGAS-cGAMP signaling in antiviral defense and immune adjuvant effects (Science, 2013). 

In this study, we demonstrated that cGAS plays a non-redundant role in innate immune sensing of microbial DNA. More importantly, we also provided the proof-of-concept evidence on the immune adjuvant effects of cGAMP, a novel second messenger.

Selected Publications

Ming Zeng, Zeping Hu, Xiaolei Shi, Xiaohong Li, Xiaoming Zhan, Xiao-Dong Li, Jianhui Wang, Jin Huk Choi, Kuan-wen Wang, Tiana Purrington, Miao Tang, Maggy Fina, Ralph J. DeBerardinis, Eva Marie Y. Moresco, Gabriel Pedersen, Gerald M. McInerney, Gunilla B. Karlsson Hedestam, Zhijian J. Chen, and Bruce Beutler, (2014) MAVS, cGAS, and endogenous retroviruses in T-independent B cell responses. Science, 346:1486-1492.

Liufu Deng, Hua Liang, Meng Xu, Xuanming Yang, Byron Burnette, Ainhoa Arina, Xiao-Dong Li, Helena Mauceri, Michael Beckett, Thomas Darga, Xiaona Huang, Thomas F. Gajewski, Zhijian J. Chen, Yang-Xin Fu, Ralph R. Weichselbaum, (2014) Sensing Promotes Radiation-Induced Type I Interferon-Dependent Antitumor Immunity in Immunogenic Tumors. Immunity, 41:843-852.

Peihong Dai, Weiyi Wang, Hua Cao, Francesca Avogadri, Lianpan Dai, Ingo Drexler, Johanna Joyce, Xiao-Dong Li, Zhijian Chen, Taha Merghoub, Stewart Shuman, Liang Deng. (2014) Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Triggers Type I IFN Production in Murine Conventional Dendritic Cells via a cGAS/STING-Mediated Cytosolic DNA-Sensing Pathway. PLoS Pathog. 10:e1003989.

Xiao-Dong Li, Jiaxi Wu, Daxing Gao, Hua Wang, Lijun Sun, Zhijian J. Chen. (2013) Pivotal Roles of cGAS-cGAMP Signaling in Antiviral Defense and Immune Adjuvant Effects. Science. 341:1390-1394

Xiao-Dong Li, Zhijian J. Chen. (2012) Sequence Specific Detection of Bacterial 23S ribosomal RNA by TLR13. eLife. 1:e00102.

Xiao-Dong Li, Yu-Hsin Chiu, Anisa S. Ismail, Cassie L. Behrendt, Mary Wight-Carter, Lora V. Hooper, Zhijian J. Chen. (2011) The RIG-I-MAVS Pathway Detects Commensal Bacterial RNA and Induces an Immune Response that Prevents Experimental Colitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108:17390-17395.

Nina Gratz, Harald Hartweger, Ulrich Matt, Franz Kratochvill, Marton Janos, Stefanie Sigel, Barbara Drobits, Xiao-Dong Li, Sylvia Knapp, Pavel Kovarik. (2011) Type I Interferon Production Induced by Streptococcus pyogenes-Derived Nucleic Acids Is Required for Host Protection. PLoS Pathogen, 7:e1001345.

Xiao-Dong Li, Lijun Sun, Rashu B. Seth, Gabrel Pineda, Zhijian J. Chen. (2005) Hepatitis C virus protease NS3/4A cleaves mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein off the mitochondria to evade innate immunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 102:17717-17722.

Xiao-Dong Li, Hilkka Lankinen, Niina Putkuri, Olli Vapalahti, Antti Vaheri. (2005) Tula Hantavirus triggers pro-apoptotic signals of ER stress in Vero E6 cells. Virology, 333, 180-189.

Xiao-Dong Li, Sami Kukkonen, Olli Vapalahti, Alexander Plyusnin, Hilkka Lankinen, Antti Vaheri. (2004) Tula hantavirus infection of Vero E6 cells induces apoptosis involving caspase 8 activation. Journal of General Virology, 85: 3261-3268.

Xiao-Dong Li, Tomi P. Mäkelä, Deyin Guo, Rabah Soliymani, Ying Cheng, Vesa Koistinen, Olli Vapalahti, Antti Vaheri, Hilkka Lankinen. (2002) Hantavirus Nucleocapsid Protein Interacts with the Fas-mediated Apoptosis Enhancer Daxx. Journal of General Virology, 83: 759-766.

Assistant Professor
Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics


Ph.D., University of Helsinki, 2005

M.D., Henan Medical University,1997



Phone: (210) 567-3986
Fax: (210) 567-6612

Research Profile

Graduate Students

Lab Rooms: 5.037V