Ing-Nang Wang

Ing-Nang Wang

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
The RNA Institute

PhD, State University of New York, Stony Brook

Ing-Nang Wang

Areas of Interest

  • The evolution of bacteriophage lysis timing and lysis genes
  • The evolution of bacteriophage life history traits
  • R-factor-dependent ssRNA bacteriophages



I study experimental evolution by using microorganisms, particularly bacteriophage, as a model system. Currently my research focuses on two areas: (1) the genetic basis for the evolution of life history traits, with phage lambda as a model system, and (2) the identification of bacterial enzymes targeted by ssRNA phage lysis proteins. Based on the detailed molecular information we have on the simplest organism in a most simplified environment, we can make specific predictions on the evolutionary pathways and trade-offs among various traits important to phage fitness. Competition experiments and long-term evolution experiments are used to test the validity of these predictions. Related questions include the evolution of genome size and the attainability of co-adapted genome under rampant recominational flux of large scale genome exchanges. It has been shown that ssDNA and ssRNA phage lyse their hosts by producing a single lysis protein that works as an inhibitor for enzymes involved in cell wall synthesis. By identifying various enzymatic steps targeted by these bacteriophages, it is hoped that we can uncover an alternative, and potentially useful, resource for making new generations of antibiotics.


Book Chapters:

  • Young, R. and Wang, I.-N. 2006 "Phage Lysis," pp. 104-125. In R. Calendar (ed.) The Bacteriophages. Oxford University Press, New York.

Journal Articles:

  • Gallet, R. Shao, Y. and Wang, I. -N. (2009) "High adsorption rate is detrimental to bacteriophage fitness in a biofilm-like environment." BMC Evolutionary Biology 9: 241. 
  • Shao, Y. and Wang, I. -N. (2009) "Effect of late promoter activity on bacteriophage lambda fitness." Genetics: 181: 1467-1475. 
  • Shao, Y. and Wang, I. -N. (2008) "Bacteriophage adsorption rate and optimal lysis time." Genetics 180: 471-482.
  • Caraco, T. and Wang, I. -N. (2008) "Free-living pathogens: life history constraints and strain competition" J. Theor. Biol. 250: 569-579.
  • Wang, I. -N. (2006) "Lysis timing and bacteriophage fitness." Genetics 172:17-26.
  • Xu, M., Struck, D. K., Deaton, J., Wang, I. -N., and Young, R. (2004) "A new type of signal, the signal arrest-release (SAR) sequence, mediates export and control of the phage P1 endolysin." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101: 6415-6420.
  • Bull, J. J., Pfennig, D. W., and Wang, I. -N. (2004) "Genetic details, optimization, and phage life histories." Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19: 76-82.
  • Wang, I. -N., Deaton, J., and Young, R. (2003) "Sizing the holin lesion with an endolysin-β-galactosidase fusion." Journal of Bacteriology 185: 779-787.
  • Bernhardt, T. G., Wang, I. -N., Struck, D. K., and Young, R. (2002) "Breaking free: "Protein antibiotics" and phage lysis." Research in Microbiology 153: 493-501.
  • Wang, I. -N. and Dykhuizen, D. E. (2001) "Variation of enzyme activities at a branched pathway involved in the utilization of gluconate in Escherichia coli." Evolution 55: 897-908.
  • Bernhardt, T. G., Wang, I. -N., Struck, D., and Young, R. (2001) "A protein antibiotic in the phage Qβ virion: diversity in lysis targets." Science 292: 2326-2329.
  • Young, R., Wang, I. -N. and Roof, W. (2000) "Phages will out: strategies of host cell lysis." Trends in Microbiology 8: 120-128. 
  • Wang, I. -N., David L. Smith and Young, R. (2000) "Holin: the protein clocks of bacteriophage infections." Annual Review of Microbiology 54: 799-825.
  • Wang, I. -N., Dykhuizen, D. E., Qiu, W. -G., Dunn, J. J., Bosler, E. M., and Luft, B. J. (1999) "Genetic diversity of ospC in a local population of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto." Genetics 151: 15-30. 
  • Seinost, G. Dykhuizen, D. E., Dattwyler, R. J., Golde, W. T., Dunn, J. J., Wang, I. -N., Wormser, G. P., Schriefer, M. E. and Luft, B. J. (1999) "Four clones of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto cause invasive infection in humans." Infection and Immunity 67: 3518-3524. 
  • Golde, W., Robinson-Dunn, B., Stobierski, M. G., Dykhuizen, D. E., Wang, I. -N., Carlson, V., Stiefel, H., Campbell, G. L. (1998) "Culture-confirmed reinfection of a person by different strains of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto." J. Clin. Microbiol. 36: 1015-1019.
  • Hasson, E., Wang, I. -N., Zeng, L. -W., Kreitman, M. and Eanes, W. F. (1998) "Nucleotide variation in the triosephosphate isomerase (Tpi) locus of Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila simulans."Mol. Biol. Evol. 15: 756-769.
  • Qiu, W., Bosler, E. M., Campbell, J. R., Ugine, G. D., Wang, I. -N., Luft, B. J., and Dykhuizen, D. E. (1997) "A population genetic study of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto from Eastern Long Island, New York, suggested frequency-dependent selection, gene flow and host adaptation." Hereditas127: 203-216.
  • Wang, I. -N., Dykhuizen, D. E., and Slobodkin, L. B. (1996) "The evolution of phage lysis timing." Evol. Ecol. 10: 545-558
  • Guttman, D. S., Wang, P. W., Wang, I. -N., Bosler, E. M., Luft, B. J., and Dykhuizen, D. E. (1996)"Multiple infection of Ixodes scapularis ticks by Borrelia burgdorferi as revealed by single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis." J. Clin. Microbiol. 34: 652-656. 
  • Eanes, W. F., Kirchner, M., Yoon, J., Biermann, C. H., Wang, I. -N., McCartney, M., and Verrelli, B. C. (1996) "Historical selection, amino acid polymorphism and lineage-specific divergence at the G6pd locus in Drosophila melanogaster and D. simulans." Genetics 144: 1027-1041 
  • Gurevitch, J., Taub., D. R., Morton, T. C., Gomez, P. L., and Wang, I. -N. (1996) "Competition and genetic background in a rapid-cycling cultivar of Brassica rapa (Brassicaeace)." Am. J. Botany 83: 932-938. 
  • Que, Q., Li, Y., Wang, I. -N., Lane, L. C., Chaney, W. G., and Van Etten, J. L. (1994) "Protein glycosylation and myristylation in Chlorella virus PBCV-1 and its antigenic variants." Virology 203: 320-327. 
  • Wang, I. -N., Li, Y., Que, Q., Bhattacharya, M., Lane, L. C., Chaney, W. G., and Van Etten, J. L. (1993) "Evidence for virus-encoded glycosylation specificity." Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90: 3840-3844.