Actinobacterial Systematics and Resource Exploitation

Principal Investigator
Dr.Prof. Ying Huang
Deputy Director of SKLMR, IMCAS

Tel/Fax: 010-64807311, 64807436


Research Area

Systematics, evolution, ecology and exploitation of actinobacteria

Research Interests

Actinobacteria encompass a large group of Gram-positive bacteria with high genome G+C contents. The phylum Actinobacteria currently consists of 6 classes, 24 orders, >50 families and >300 genera. Actinobacteria are ubiquitous in nature and play important roles in biodegradation and bioremediation. These microorganisms are also well-known producers of bioactive compounds, notably antibiotics, making ~40% of the known antibiotics derived from microbial sources. Notwithstanding these findings, it is predicted that less than 10% of actinobacterial bioactive metabolites have been discovered so far. An integrated understanding of their species diversity, genetic diversity, and functional diversity is essential to the resource exploitation, but also a big challenge. Our group is engaged in molecular systematics and ecology of actinobacteria, as well as in evaluation and bioprospecting of actinobacteria of potential commercial significance. The overall goal of our studies is to improve and apply actinobacterial systematics to unravel their natural biodiversity and evolutionary history and to facilitate the exploitation and ecological research of these organisms.

The following projects are currently ongoing in our lab:

  • Community structures and ecological functions of actinobacteria in typical habitats
  • Molecular systematics and speciation of actinobacteria
  • Natural products exploitation and functional evolution of actinobacteria
  • Biological effects of space conditions on streptomycetes


Group Members

Principal Investigator

Ying Huang, Ph.D. Professor

Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences,
No.1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District,
Beijing 100101, P. R. China
Tel: +86 10 64807311

1987-1991   B.E. Department of Biotechnology, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
1991-1994   M.Sc. Department of Bioengineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
1996-1999   Ph.D. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Health Science Center, Peking University, Beijing, China

Professional Experience
1994-1996   Teaching Assistant of Microbial Engineering, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China
1999-2001   Research Associate of Microbial Systematics, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2002-2003   Visiting Scholar of Actinomycete Systematics, Ghent University and Newcastle University
2002-2007   Associate Professor and Principal Investigator, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2007-present   Professor and Principal Investigator, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences
2011-present   Deputy director, State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

Permanent staff

Ning Liu
MSc, Senior Engineer

Limin Zhang
MSc, Assistant Professor


Minghao Liu
PhD, Assistant Professor


Graduate Students  

Fangying Song (PhD Candidate)
Yisong  Li  (PhD Candidate)
Bingfa Yan  (PhD Candidate)
Jiao Huang  (PhD Candidate)
Jiao Wang  (PhD Candidate)
Xueyuan Du  (MSc student)
Kairui Wang  (MSc student)



Qingfeng Cui (2004, MSc)       
Chunguang Xu (2005, MSc)  
Hongli Luo (2006, MSc)      
Qiang Gu (2006, MSc)        
Yinping Guo (2007, MSc)    
Ning Liu (2007, MSc)           
Danheng Qiu (2008, MSc)    
Xiaoying Rong (2009, PhD)    
Peng Gao (2009, MSc)        
Hao Wang (2010, MSc)        
Lijun Xi (2012, PhD)        
Changwu Yue (2015, PhD)
Bing Huang (2015, PhD)
Xiaoxuan Guo (2015, PhD)
Minghao Liu (2016, PhD)
Kun Cheng (2016, PhD)
Ping Chen (2017, PhD) 
Jiao Huang (2017, MSc)


Postdoctoral and PhD Candidate Positions

Positions for postdoctoral scholars and PhD candidates are available. For application, please contact Prof. Ying Huang at

Representative pictures

Recent Publications (*, corresponding author; #, co-first author)

  1. Chen P, Zhang L, Guo X, Dai X, Liu L, Xi L, Wang J, Song L, Wang Y, Zhu Y, Huang L Huang Y*. Diversity, biogeography, and biodegradation potential of actinobacteria in the deep-sea sediments along the Southwest Indian Ridge. Front Microbiol, 2016, 7: 1340.
  2. Cheng K, Rong X*, Huang Y* . Widespread interspecies homologous recombination reveals reticulate evolution within the genus Streptomyces. Mol Phylogenet Evol, 2016, 102: 246-254.
  3. Liu M#, Liu N#, Shang F, Huang Y*. Activation and identification of NC-1, a cryptic cyclodepsipeptide from red soil-derived Streptomyces sp. FXJ1.172. Eur J Org Chem, 2016, 23: 3943-3948.
  4. Liu N#, Song L#, Liu M#, Shang F, Anderson Z, Fox DJ, Challis GL*, Huang Y*. 2016. Unique post-translational oxime formation in the biosynthesis of the azolemycin complex of novel ribosomal peptides from Streptomyces sp. FXJ1.264. Chem Sci, 7(1): 482-488. doi:10.1039/c5sc03021h
  5. Liu N., Song F., Shang F. and Huang Y.* 2015. Mycemycins A-E, new dibenzoxazepinones isolated from two different streptomycetes. Mar Drugs, 13(10): 6247-6258. doi:10.3390/md13106247
  6. Huang B., Liu N., Rong X., Ruan J., Huang Y.* 2015. Effects of simulated microgravity and spaceflight on morphological differentiation and secondary metabolism of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2). Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, 2015, 99(10): 4409-4422. doi:10.1007/s00253-015-6386-7
  7. Guo X., Liu N., Li X., Ding Y., Shang F., Gao Y., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2015. Red soils harbour diverse culturable actinomycetes that are promising sources of novel secondary metabolites. Appl Environ Microbiol, 81: 3086-3103. doi:10.1128/AEM.03859-14.
  8. Cheng K., Rong X., Pinto-Tomás A., Fernández-Villalobos M., Murillo-Cruz C. and   Huang Y.*2015. Population genetic analysis of Streptomyces albidoflavus reveals habitat barriers to homologous recombination in the diversification of streptomycetes. Appl Environ Microbiol, 81: 966-975.
  9. Rong X. and Huang Y.* 2014.  Multi-locus sequence analysis: taking prokaryotic systematics to the next level. In Michael Goodfellow, Iain Sutcliffe and Jongsik Chun. Method Microbiol, 41: 221-251.
  10. Rong X., Doroghazi J.R., Cheng K., Zhang L., Buckley D.H., Huang Y*. 2013. Classification of Streptomyces phylogroup pratensis (Doroghazi and Buckley, 2010) based on genetic and phenotypic evidence, and proposal of Streptomyces pratensis sp. nov. Syst Appl Microbiol, 36: 401-407.
  11. Liu N. Shang F. Xi L. and Huang Y*. 2013. Tetroazolemycins A and B, two new oxazole-thiazole siderophores from deep-sea Streptomyces olivaceus FXJ8.012. Mar Drugs, 11: 1524-1533.
  12. Rong X. and Huang Y.* 2012. Taxonomic evaluation of the Streptomyces hygroscopicus clade using multilocus sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization, validating the MLSA scheme for systematics of the whole genus. Syst Appl Microbiol, 35:7-18.
  13. Xi L., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2012. Diversity and biosynthetic potential of culturable actinomycetes associated with marine sponges in the China seas. Int J Mol Sci, 13: 5917-5932.
  14. Zhang L., Xi L., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2012. Microbacterium marinum sp. nov., isolated from deep-sea water. Syst Appl Microbiol, 35: 81-85.
  15. Xi L., Zhang L., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2012. Verrucosispora qiuiae sp. nov., isolated from mangrove swamp, and emended description of the genus Verrucosispora. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, 62: 1564-1569.
  16. Wang H., Liu N., Xi L., Rong X., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2011. Genetic screening strategy for rapid access to polyether ionophore producers and products in actinomycetes. Appl Environ Microbiol, 77: 3433-3442.
  17. Rong X., Liu N., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2010. Multilocus sequence analysis of Streptomyces griseus isolates delineating intraspecific diversity in terms of both taxonomy and biosynthetic potential. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, 98: 237-248.
  18. Rong X. and Huang Y.* 2010. Taxonomic evaluation of the Streptomyces griseus clade using multilocus sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization, with proposal to combine 29 species and three subspecies as 11 genomic species. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, 60: 696-703.
  19. Gao P. and Huang Y.* 2009. Detection, distribution, and organohalogen compound discovery implications of the reduced flavin adenine dinucleotide-dependent halogenase gene in major filamentous actinomycete taxonomic groups. Appl Environ Microbiol, 75: 4813-4820.
  20. Rong X., Guo Y. and Huang Y.* 2009. Proposal to reclassify the Streptomyces albidoflavus clade on the basis of multilocus sequence analysis and DNA-DNA hybridization, and taxonomic elucidation of Streptomyces griseus subsp. solvifaciens. Syst Appl Microbiol, 32: 314-322.
  21. Qiu D., Ruan J. and Huang Y.* 2008. Selective isolation and rapid identification of members of the genus Micromonospora. Appl Environ Microbiol, 74: 5593-5597.
  22. Guo Y. Zheng W., Rong X. and Huang Y.* 2008. A multilocus phylogeny of Streptomyces griseus 16S rRNA gene clade: use of multilocus sequence analysis for streptomycete systematics. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol, 58: 149-159.