Dr. Yunyao Xu

Graduate Student, Columbia University. (2012--2018)
B.S., Hunan University. (2011)
My research is focused on connecting structural and functional states of KcsA, a model bacterial potassium channel, as it undergoes activation, potassium conduction, and subsequent inactivation. I am particularly interested in the C-type inactivation process, in which the channel slowly inactivates spontaneously after activation. By combining solid-state NMR with other biophysical methods, including electrophysiology and site-directed mutagenesis, my work elucidates the strong allosteric coupling between the activation gate and the potassium selectivity filter and connects this allostery to the functional role of the channel in controlling potassium ion permeation.


  1. Xu, Yunyao. , Zhang, Allison. , Rogawski, Rivkah. , Nimigean, C.. and McDermott, Ann. E. # "Identifying coupled clusters of allostery participants through chemical shift perturbations" 2019. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America : link info
  2. Xu, Yunyao. , Bhate, M.. and McDermott, Ann. E. "Transmembrane allosteric energetics characterization for strong coupling between proton and potassium ion binding in the KcsA channel" 2017. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 :8788-8793 link info
  3. Mompeán, M.. , Hervás, R.. , Xu, Yunyao. , Tran, T.. , Guarnaccia, C.. , Buratti, E.. , Baralle, F.. , Tong, L.. , Carrión-Vázquez, M.. , McDermott, Ann. E. and Laurents, D.. "Structural Evidence of Amyloid Fibril Formation in the Putative Aggregation Domain of TDP-43" 2015. Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 6 :2608-2615 link info