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Dr. Peng Yu


Research interests

My scientific focus is the genetic and developmental control of branching mechanism of postembryonic roots (seminal roots, lateral roots and root hairs) and their biotic/abiotic interaction with environmental factors such as nutrients and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in maize.



  • Yu P, He X, Baer M, Beirinckx S, Tian T, Moya YAT, Zhang Y, Deichmann M, Frey FP, Bresgen V, Li C, Razavi BS, Schaaf G, von Wirén N, Su Z, Bucher M, Tsuda K, Goormachtig S, Chen X, Hochholdinger F (2021) Plant flavones enrich rhizosphere Oxalobacteraceae to improve maize performance under nitrogen deprivation Nat Plants 7: 481–499. PubMed

  • Lang M, Zou W, Chen X, Zou C, Zhang W, Deng Y, Zhu F, Yu P, Chen X (2021) Microbial Composition and phoD Gene Abundance Are Sensitive to Phosphorus Level in a Long-Term Wheat-Maize Crop System Front Microbiol 14;11: 605955. PubMed Free PMC Article

  • Bonkowski M, Tarkka MT, Razavi BS, Schmidt H, Blagodatskaya E, Koller R, Yu P, Knief C, Hochholdinger F, Vetterlein D (2021) Spatiotemporal dynamics of maize (Zea mays L.) root growth and its potential consequences for the assembly of the rhizosphere microbiota Front Microbiol 17: 619499. PubMed Free PMC Article

  • Rüger L, Feng K, Dumack K, Chen Y, Sun R, Wilson M, Yu P, Sun B, Deng Y, Hochholdinger F, Vetterlein D, Bonkowski M (2021) Assembly patterns of the rhizosphere microbiome along the longitudinal root axis of maize (Zea mays L.) Front Microbiol 12: 614501. PubMed Free Article


  • Yu P, Hochholdinger F, Li C (2019) Plasticity of lateral root branching in maize. Front Plant Sci 10: 363. PubMed  Free PMC Article

  • Kortz A, Hochholdinger F, Yu P (2019) Cell type-specific transcriptomics of lateral root formation and plasticity. Front Plant Sci 10: 21. Free Article

  • Kreszies T, Shellakkutti N, Osthoff A, Yu P, Baldauf J, Zeisler-Diehl V, Ranathunge K, Hochholdinger F, Schreiber L (2019) Osmotic stress enhances suberization of apoplastic barriers in barley seminal roots: analysis of chemical, transcriptomic and physiological responses. New Phytol 221: 180-194.  PubMed


  • Yu P, Hochholdinger F (2018) Unravelling the role of host genetic signatures on root-microbe interactions in the rhizosphere and endosphere. Front Plant Sci 9:1896.

  • Ashrafuzzaman M, Haque Z, Ali B, Mathew B, Yu P, Hochholdinger F, de Abreu Neto JB, McGillen MR, Ensikat H-J,  Manning WJ, Frei M (2018) Ethylenediurea (EDU) mitigates the negative effects of ozone in rice: insights into its mode of action. Plant Cell Env 41: 2882-2898.

  • Hochholdinger F, Marcon C, Baldauf J, Frey F, Yu P (2018) Proteomics of Maize Root Development. Front Plant Sci 9: 143. PubMed

  • Yu P, Wang C, Baldauf J, Tai H, Gutjahr C, Hochholdinger F, Li C (2018) Root type and soil phosphate determine the taxonomic landscape of colonizing fungi and the transcriptome of field-grown maize roots. New Phytol 217: 1240-1253. PubMed

  • Hochholdinger F, Yu P, Marcon C (2018) Genetic control of root system development in maize. Trends in Plant Sci 23: 79-88. PubMed

  • Yu P, Marcon C, Baldauf JA, Frey F, Baer M, Hochholdinger F (2018) Transcriptomic dissection of maize root system development. Compendium of plant genomes: The Zea mays Genome. 1st ed. (eds. J. Bennetzen, S. Flint-Garcia, C. Hirsch and R. Tuberosa) pp. 247-257. Springer Nature.


  • Yu P, Gutjahr C, Li C, Hochholdinger F (2016) Genetic control of lateral root formation in cereals. Trends Plant Sci, 21:951-961. PubMed

  • Yu P, Baldauf JA, Lithio A, Marcon C, Nettleton D, Li C, Hochholdinger F (2016) Root type specific reprogramming of maize pericycle transcriptomes by local high nitrate results in disparate lateral root branching patterns. Plant Physiol 170: 1783-98. PubMed Free Article


  • Yu P, White PJ, Li C (2015) New insights to lateral rooting: differential responses to heterogeneous nitrogen availability among maize root types. Plant Signal Behav 10: e1013795.

  • Yu P, Eggert K, von Wirén N, Li C, Hochholdinger F (2015) Cell-type specific gene expression analyses by RNA-Seq reveal local high nitrate triggered lateral root initiation in shoot-borne roots of maize by modulating auxin-related cell cycle-regulation. Plant Physiol 169: 690-704. PubMed Free Article

  • Yu P, Hochholdinger F, Li C (2015) Root-type-specific plasticity in response to localized high nitrate supply in maize (Zea mays). Ann Bot 116: 751-762. PubMed Free Article

  • Yu P, Li X, White PJ, Li C (2015) A large and deep root system underlies high nitrogen-use efficiency in maize production. PLoS ONE. Link


  • Yu P, White PJ, Hochholdinger F, Li C (2014) Phenotypic plasticity of the maize root system in response to heterogeneous nitrogen availability. Planta 240: 667-678. PubMed

  • Yu P, Li X, Yuan L, Li C (2014) A novel morphological response of maize (Zea mays) adult roots to heterogeneous nitrate supply revealed by a split-root experiment. Physiol Plant 150: 133-144.


  • Peng Y, Yu P, Li X, Li C (2013) Determination of the critical soil mineral nitrogen concentration for maximizing maize grain yield. Plant Soil 372:41-51.

  • Ning P, Li S, Yu P, Zhang Y, Li C (2013) Post-silking accumulation and partitioning of dry matter, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in maize varieties differing in leaf longevity. Field Crops Res 144: 19-27.


  • Peng Y, Yu P, Zhang Y, Sun G, Ning P, Li X, Li C (2012) Temporal and spatial dynamics in root length density of field-grown maize and NPK in the soil profile. Field Crops Res 115: 85-93.

  • Zhang Y, Yu P, Peng Y, Li X, Chen F, Li C (2012) Fine root patterning and balanced inorganic phosphorus distribution in the soil indicate distinctive adaptation of maize plants to phosphorus deficiency. Pedosphere 22: 870-877.

  • Ning P, Liao C, Li S, Yu P, Zhang Y, Li X, Li C (2012) Maize cob plus husks mimics the grain sink to stimulate nutrient uptake by roots. Field Crops Res 130: 38-45.


  • Yan H, Shang A, Peng Y, Yu P, Li C (2011) Covering middle leaves and ears reveals differential regulatory roles of vegetative and reproductive organs in root growth and nitrogen uptake in maize. Crop Sci 51: 265-272.