Deyang Xu

Deyang Xu

Scientific Advisor

Primary fields of research

Deyang’s research focus on understanding mechanisms underlining plant communication cross membrane borders, especially at the maternal-filial interface and the interface between plant epidermis and phyllosphere and rhizosphere. This will provide breeding targets to improve nutritional value and plant resilience to (a)biotic stress of oilseed protein crop e.g. rapeseed. 

Current research

Basic research question: How do plants communicate? Plants produce chemical languages to communicate. From the site of synthesis to their site of function, those chemicals need to cross internal borders (e.g. at the maternal-filial interface) and cross external borders (e.g. interface between plant epidermis and phyllosphere and rhizosphere).

Impact: Elucidating molecular mechanisms underlying plant communication will provide breeding targets to improve seed nutritional value (e.g. removing antinutritional compounds) and plant resilience to (a)biotic stress. Currently, I implement single-cell sequencing and spatial transcriptomics to identify key genes expressed at the essential cellular transport barriers in major oilseed crops. Ultimately, I want to develop oilseed crops as ideal protein sources for human consumption in sustainable agriculture.

Expertise: Plant membrane transport of specialized metabolites/Pathway and transport engineering/Gene discovery using multi-omics

I have been using glucosinolate defense compounds as a model system to study the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the synthesis, transport and storage of metabolites and their biological significance in plant communication, including but not limited to the following three subareas:

  • Identification and characterization of transporter complement of glucosinolate defence compounds
  • Pathway and transport engineering of specialized metabolites to improve crop quality
  • Chemical communication in beneficial plant-microbe interaction


First and/or corresponding authors of 9 peer-reviewed papers in high-ranking journals (E.g. Nature, Nature Plants, Molecular Plant). Grantee of >10M DKK in external funding. Speaker at high-profile international forums and conferences (e.g. Plant Biology Europe, International Workshop on Plant Membrane Biology). Danish representative of the international PlantACT initiative. Active referee of journals (E.g. Molecular Plant, Plant Communication, Plant Physiology, Plant Biotechnology Journal, New Phytologist) and editorial board member of journals (e.g. Science China Life Sciences and Fundamental Research). Active in teaching, censor and supervision (supervised 20+ PhD, MSc and BSc students and 2 postdocs).

External funding


PI in Innoexplorer Innovation Foundation Denmark (DKK 1.5M)


PI in Novo Nordisk Foundation Project Grant, (DKK 3.0M)


PI in Innoexplorer, Innovation Foundation Denmark (DKK 1.5M)


co-applicant in Pioneer Innovator, Novo Nordisk Foundation, (DKK 1M)


PI in Theme Project Green transition, DFF-FNU (DKK 2.9 M)


Patner in Villum Investigator Program, Partner (Total DKK 30M)


Supervision (2016-) : Postdocs: Niels Christian Holm Sanden (Denmark), Carmina Falcato Cabral (Portugal); PhD students: Line Lykke Hansen (Denmark), Laura Dethier (Belgium), Shiwen Yang (China), Fangfei Niu (China), Ruochen Li (China), Jakob Skytte Thorsen (Denmark) ; BSc and MSc students: 9 MSc theses, 1 BSc thesis, 3 ERASMUS internship MSc students and 4 DAAD internship BSc students, 3 Projects outside course scope (PUK)

Teahcing (2019-) : Lectures: Frontiers in Plant Science (MSc  course 2024), Experimental Molecular Biology (EMB) (BSc course 2019-2023) Bioactive Food Components and Health (2019) Lab exercises: Lab exercise in EMB, BSc course (2020-2023), Biochemistry, BSc course, (2021-2022) 

Feedbacks from students:

Certificate: Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (Universitetspædagogikum) (2019) 

Selected publications

  1. Published

    An UMAMIT-GTR transporter cascade controls glucosinolate seed loading in Arabidopsis

    Sanden, Niels Christian Holm, Kanstrup, Christa, Crocoll, C., Schulz, Alexander, Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan, Halkier, Barbara Ann & Xu, Deyang, 2024, In: Nature Plants. 10, p. 172-179

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  2. Published

    Export of defensive glucosinolates is key for their accumulation in seeds

    Xu, Deyang, Sanden, Niels Christian Holm, Hansen, Line Lykke, Belew, Zeinu Mussa, Madsen, S. R., Meyer, L., Jørgensen, M. E., Hunziker, P., Veres, D., Crocoll, C., Schulz, Alexander, Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 2023, In: Nature. 617, p. 132-138

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  3. Published

    GTR-Mediated Radial Import Directs Accumulation of Defensive Glucosinolates to Sulfur-Rich Cells in the Phloem Cap of Arabidopsis Inflorescence Stem

    Xu, Deyang, Hunziker, P., Koroleva, O., Blennow, Andreas, Crocoll, C., Schulz, Alexander, Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 2019, In: Molecular Plant. 12, 11, p. 1474-1484

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  4. Published

    The ins and outs of transporters at plasma membrane and tonoplast in plant specialized metabolism: [Correction]

    Xu, Deyang & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 2022, In: Natural Product Reports. 39, 7, p. 1483-1491

    Research output: Contribution to journalReviewResearchpeer-review

  5. Published

    Harnessing beneficial microbes from Danish natural soils to biostimulate plant nutrition

    Xu, Deyang, Dethier, L. & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 13 Nov 2022.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearch

  6. Published

    An NPF transporter exports a central monoterpene indole alkaloid intermediate from the vacuole

    Payne, R., Xu, Deyang, Foureau, E., Ines Soares Teto Carqueijeiro, M., Oudin, A., Dugé de Bernonville, T., Novák, V., Burow, Meike, Olsen, C. E., Jones, D. M., C. Tatsis, E., Pendleton, A., Halkier, Barbara Ann, Geu-Flores, Fernando, Courdavault, V., Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan & O'Connor, S. E., 2017, In: Nature Plants. 3, 9 p., 16208.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  7. Published

    Origin and evolution of transporter substrate specificity within the NPF family: [with Correction]

    Jørgensen, M. E., Xu, Deyang, Crocoll, C., Ernst, H. A., Ramírez, D., Motawie, Mohammed Saddik, Olsen, C. E., Mirza, Osman Asghar, Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 2017, In: eLife. 6, 30 p., e19466.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  8. Published

    Rhizosecretion of stele-synthesized glucosinolates and their catabolites requires GTR-mediated import in Arabidopsis

    Xu, Deyang, Hanschen, F. S., Witzel, K., Kjeldgaard-Nintemann, Sebastian J, Nour-Eldin, Hussam Hassan, Schreiner, M. & Halkier, Barbara Ann, 2017, In: Journal of Experimental Botany. 68, 12, p. 3205-3214 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

ID: 40444984