Qianwen SUN, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

2014- Present     Principal Investigator, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University Tsinghua-Peking Centre for Life Sciences

2009-2014         Post-Doctoral Research Scientist, John Innes Centre UK

2004-2009         Ph.D.   Huazhong Agricultural University

2000-2004         B.Sc.    Huazhong Agricultural University


Research interest

We are interested in different aspects of genome regulation. Our lab mainly focuses on R-loop biology. We use Arabidopsis and other simple organisms (such as E coli and yeast) as model systems to investigate the fundamental questions in R-loop biology, such as R-loops formation, stabilization and resolution, and how R-loops are able to affect transcription regulation and genome instability.


Selected publications

From 2015,* Corresponding author(s); (# contributed equally):

19.  Li Y#, Song Y#, Xu W#, Li Q#, Wang X, Li K, Wang J, Liu Z, Velychko S, Ye R, Xia Q, Wang L, Guo R, Dong X, Zheng Z, Dai Y, Li H, Yao M, Xue Y, Sch?ler H, Sun Q*, Yao H*. R-loops Coordinate with SOX2 in Regulating Reprogramming to Pluripotency. Science Advances, in press.
18.  Xu W#, Li K#, Li S#, Hou Q#, ZhangY, Liu K and Sun Q*. The R-loop atlas of Arabidopsis development and responses to environmental stimuli. The Plant Cell, 2020 Apr; 32(4):888-903.
17.  Yang Z, Li M, Sun Q*. RHON1 Co-transcriptionally Resolves R-Loops for Arabidopsis Chloroplast Genome Maintenance. Cell Reports. 2020 Jan; 30(1), 243–256.
16.  Zhou J#, Liu L#, Li Q, Xu W, Li K, Wang ZW, Sun Q*. Intronic heterochromatin prevents cryptic transcription initiation in Arabidopsis. The Plant Journal. 2020 Mar;101(5):1185-1197.
15.  Yang X#, Liu QL#, Xu W#, Zhang YC#, Yang Y, Ju LF, Chen J, Chen YS, Li K, Ren J*, Sun Q*, Yang YG*. m6A promotes R-loop formation to facilitate transcription termination. Cell Research. 2019 Dec; 29(12):1035-1038.

14.  Yuan W#, Zhou J#, Tong J#, Zhuo W, Wang L, Li Y, Sun Q* , Qian W*, ALBA protein complex reads genic R-loops to maintain genome stability in Arabidopsis. Science Advances, 2019 May 15;5(5): eaav9040.

13.  Zhao S#, Cheng L#, Gao Y#, Zhang B#, Zheng X, Wang L, Li P*, Sun Q* , Li H*. Plant HP1 protein ADCP1 links multivalent H3K9 methylation readout to heterochromatin formation. Cell Res. 2019 Jan;29(1):54-66.

12.  Cheng L, Shafiq S, Xu W, Sun Q* . EARLY FLOWERING IN SHORT DAYS (EFS) regulates the seed size in Arabidopsis. Sci China Life Sci. 2018 Feb;61(2):214-224.

11. Yang Z#, Hou Q#, Cheng L#, Xu W, Hong Y, Li S and Sun Q* . RNase H1 Cooperates with, DNA Gyrases to Restrict R-Loops and Maintain Genome Integrity in Arabidopsis Chloroplasts. The Plant Cell, 2017; 29(10):2478-2497 ( #contributed equally).

10. Xu W, Xu H, Li K, Fan Y, Liu Y, Yang X* and Sun Q* . The R-loop is a common chromatin feature of the Arabidopsis genome. Nature Plants, 2017; 3(9):704-714 (*corresponding authors).

9.  Shafiq S#, Chen C#*, Yang J, Cheng L, Ma F, Widemann E and Sun Q* . DNA Topoisomerase 1 prevents R-loops accumulation to modulate auxin-regulated rice root development. Molecular Plant, 2017 Jun 5; 10(6):821-833 (#contributed equally).

8.  Shafiq S, Li J and Sun Q*. Functions of plants long non-coding RNAs. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jan;1859(1):155-62.


  • Before 2014:

7.  Csorba T#, Questa JI#, Sun Q# and Dean C. Antisense COOLAIR mediates the coordinated switching of chromatin states at FLC during vernalization. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014. 111:16160-5, ( #contributed equally).

6.  Wang ZW, Wu Z, Raitskin O, Sun Q and Dean C. Antisense-mediated FLC transcriptional repression requires the P-TEFb transcription elongation factor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014. 111:7468-73.

5.  Marquardt S, Raitskin O, Wu Z, Liu F, Sun Q and Dean C. Functional Consequences of Splicing of the Antisense Transcript COOLAIR on FLC Transcription. Mol Cell. 2014. 54:156-65.

4.  Sun Q, Csorba T, Skourti-Stathaki K, Proudfoot NJ and Dean C. R-Loop Stabilization Represses Antisense Transcription at the Arabidopsis FLC Locus. Science. 2013. 340:619-21.

3.  Qin FJ, Sun QW, Huang LM, Chen XS and Zhou DX. Rice SUVH histone methyltransferase genes display specific functions in chromatin modification and retrotransposon repression. Mol Plant. 2010. 3:773-82.

2.  Sun Q and Zhou DX. Rice jmjC domain-containing gene JMJ706 encodes H3K9 demethylase required for floral organ development. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2008. 105:13679-84.

1.  Huang L#, Sun Q#, Qin F, Li C, Zhao Y and Zhou DX. Down-regulation of a SILENT INFORMATION REGULATOR2-related histone deacetylase gene, OsSRT1, induces DNA fragmentation and cell death in rice. Plant Physiol. 2007. 144:1508-19. ( #contributed equally).




Contact information

Location:Biotechnology Building Room 4-313 (Office), 4-309 (Lab)

Tel: +86-10-62784002 (Office); 62796360 (Lab)

E-mail: sunqianwen(a t)mail.tsinghua.edu.cn