Aiming Wang, Ph.D

Image Aiming Wang
Research Scientist

My research program is directed to study the viral pathogens that threaten crop production in Canada. Extensive research has been done to identify the viral pathogens that cause devastating diseases on soybean, cereals, field horticultural crops, and greenhouse vegetables, and to better understand the infection process of the identified major viruses. Much of the research has also been concentrated on the development of genetic resistance, vaccines, and other novel technologies to control them.

Current research and/or projects

  • Development of genetic resistance to plum pox virus (PPV) in Prunus
  • Development of gentic resistance to soybean mosaic virus in soybean using genome editing technology
  • Molecular characterization of viral pathogens on horticultural crops such as greenhouse vegetables, strawberries and cherry/apple trees, and development of IPM-based strategies to control them
  • Better understanding of the virus infection process and molecular virus-host interactions for the development of novle antivral technologies.

Research and/or project statements

  • Identification of novel host factors required for virus infection
  • Identification of novel functional roles of virus-encoded proteins 
  • Novel discoveries in the co-evolutionary arms race between viruses and plant hosts
  • Identification of newly emerging viruses infecting greenhouse vegetables and field crops in Canada

Professional activities / interests

  • Understanding of molecular virus-plant interactions and virus genome expression and replication mechanism
  • Molecular isolation of host factors and natural resistance genes
  • Development of novel antiviral strategies through biotechnology and beneficial uses of plant viruses
  • Training PhD students and postdoctoral scientists

Education and awards

PhD, the University of British Columbia in 1999

Gold Harvest (Innovation and Excellence), Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in 2010

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, Government of Canada in 2013

Outstanding Research Award, the Canadian Phytopathological Society in 2019

Ruth Allen Award, the American Phytopathological Society in 2019

International experience and/or work

Collaborative research being carried out with colleagues in China, the United States, Spain and France

Key publications

List of Recent publications (after 2015). For a complete list of Publications: Aiming Wang on AAFC Online

Refereed Journal Articles (*, corresponding author)

Chai M, Wu X, Liu J, Fang Y, Luan Y, Cui X, Zhou X, Wang A, Cheng X* (2020) P3N-PIPO interacts with P3 via the shared N-terminal domain to recruit viral replication vesicles for cell-to-cell movement. Journal of Virology (in press)

Shen W*, Shi Y, Dai Z, Wang A* (2020) The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase NIb of potyviruses plays multifunctional, contrasting roles during viral infection. Viruses 12: 77

Wang A*, Burch-Smith TM, Li Y (2020) MPMI focus issue overview: Focus on cell biology of virus-plant and virus-vector interactions. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 13(1): 5.

Wu G, Cui X, Dai Z, He R, Li Y, Yu K, Bernards M, Chen X, Wang A* (2019). A plant RNA virus hijacks endocytic proteins to establish its infection in plants. Plant Journal

Xiong R, Pajak A, Wang A, Yoshikawa N, Marsolais F, Todd C. (2019). Agrobacterium-mediated inoculation of asymptomatic Apple latent spherical virus as gene silencing vector in pea (Pisum sativum L.). Legume Science 1: e14.

Li F, Wang A* (2019) RNA-targeted antiviral immunity: More than just RNA silencing. Trends in Microbiology 27(9): 792-804.

Cui H, Wang A* (2019) The biological impact of the hypervariable N-terminal region of potyviral genomes. Annual Review of Virology 6: 255-274.

Bujarski JJ, Gallitelli D*, García-Arenal F, Pallás VB, Palukaitis P, Reddy MK, Wang A, ICTV Report Consortium. (2019) ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Bromoviridae. Journal of General Virology 100(8): 1206-1207.

Tran HH, Chen C, Chen H, Menassa R, Hao H, Bernards M, Hüner NPA, Wang A* (2019) Development of a cucumber green mottle mosaic virus-based expression vector for the production in cucumber of neutralizing epitopes against devastating animal virus. Journal of Virological Methods 269: 18-25.

Zhang F, Yang Z, Hong N, Wang G, Wang A and Wang L* (2019) Identification and characterization of water chestnut Soymovirus-1 (WCSV-1), a novel Soymovirus in water chestnuts (Eleocharis dulcis). BMC Plant Biology 19: 159.

Wu X, Liu J, Chai M, Wang J, Li D, Wang A, Cheng X* (2019) The potato virus X TGBp2 protein plays dual functional roles in viral replication and movement. Journal of Virology 93 (5): e01635-18.

Yang K, Shen W, Li Y, Li Z, Miao W, Wang A, Cui H* (2019) Areca palm necrotic ringspot virus, classified within a recently proposed genus Arepavirus of the family Potyviridae, is classified with necrotic ringspot virus disease in areca palm. Phytopathology 109: 887-894.

Hu W, Luo H, Yang Y, Wang Q, Hong N, Wang G, Wang A, Wang L. (2019). Comprehensive analysis of full genome sequence and Bd-milRNA/target mRNAs to discover the mechanism of hypovirulence in Botryosphaeria dothidea strains on pear infection with BdCV1 and BdPV1. IMA Fungus 10: 3.

Li F, Zhang C, Li Y, Wu G, Hou X, Zhou X, Wang A* (2018) Beclin1 restricts RNA virus infection in plants through suppression and degradation of the viral polymerase. Nature Communications 9: 1268.

Li F, Wang A* (2018) RNA decay is an antiviral defense in plants that is counteracted by viral RNA silencing suppressors. PLoS Pathogens 14(8): e1007228.

Wu G, Cui X, Chen H, Renaud JB, Yu K, Chen X*, Wang A* (2018) Dynamin-like proteins of endocytosis in plants are co-opted by potyviruses to enhance virus infection. Journal of Virology 92 (23): e01320-18 (Spotlight paper)

Wang A* (2018) Virus and Host Plant Interactions. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester.

Wang LH, Luo H, Hu W, Yang Y, Hong N, Wang G, Wang A, Wang L* (2018) De novo transcriptomic assembly and mRNA expression patterns of Botryosphaeria dothidea infection with mycovirus chrysovirus 1 (BdCV1) and partitivirus 1 (BdPV1). Virology Journal 15: 216.

Cheng X, Xiong R, Li Y, Li F, Zhou X, Wang A* (2017) Sumoylation of the Turnip mosaic virus RNA polymerase promotes viral infection by counteracting the host NPR1-mediated immune response. Plant Cell 29(3): 508-525. DOI: http:/​/​dx.​doi.​org/​10.​1105/​tpc.​16.​00774

Park SH, Li F, Renaud J, Shen W, Li Y, Guo L, Cui H, Sumarah M, Wang A* (2017) NbEXPA1, an α-expansin, is plasmodesmata-specific and a novel host factor for potyviral infection. Plant Journal 92: 846-861.

Cui H, Wang A* (2017) An efficient viral vector for functional genomic studies of Prunus fruit trees and its induced resistance to Plum pox virus via silencing of a host factor gene. Plant Biotechnology Journal 15(3): 344-356. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12629.

Cheng X, Wang A* (2017) The potyviral silencing suppressor protein VPg mediates degradation of SGS3 via ubiquitination and autophagy pathways. Journal of Virology 91(1): e01478-16.

Chen H, Arsovski AA, Yu K, Wang A* (2017) Deep sequencing leads to the identification of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 5a as a key element in Rsv1-mediated lethal systemic hypersensitive response to Soybean mosaic virus infection in soybean. Molecular Plant Pathology 18(3): 391-404. DOI: 10.1111/mpp.12407.

Cui X, Yaghmaiean H, Wu G, Wu X, Chen X, Thorn G, Wang A* (2017) The C-terminal region of the Turnip mosaic virus P3 protein is essential for viral infection via targeting P3 to the viral replication complex. Virology 510: 147-455.

Park SH, Elhiti M, Wang H, Xu A, Brown A, Wang A* (2017). Adventitious root formation of in vitro peach shoots is regulated by auxin and ethylene. Scientia Horticulturae 226: 250–260.

Ding X, Chen D, Wang A, Zhang J, Wu Z (2017) First Report of Strawberry pallidosis-associated virus on strawberry in China. Plant Disease 100 (6): 1254.

Li F, Zhao N, Li Z, Xu X, Wang Y, Yang X, Liu SS, Wang A, Zhou X* (2017) A calmodulin-like protein suppresses RNA silencing and promotes geminivirus infection by degrading SGS3 via the autophagy pathway in Nicotiana benthamiana. PLoS Pathogens 13(2): e1006213.

Wylie SJ*, Adams M, Chalam C, Kreuze J, López-Moya JJ, Ohshima K, Praveen S, Rabenstein F, Stenger D, Wang A, Zerbini FM (2017) ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: Potyviridae. Journal of General Virology 98: 352-354. DOI: 10.1099/jgv.0.000740

Cheng X, Wang A* (2017) Multifaceted defense and counter-defense in co-evolutionary arms race between plants and viruses. Communicative & Integrative Biology 10(4): e1341025.

Cui H, Wang A.* 2016. The Plum pox virus 6K1 protein is required for viral replication and targets the viral replication complex at the early infection stage. Journal of Virology 90: 5119-5131.

Arias Gaguancela OP, Zúñiga LP, Arias AV, Halterman D, Flores FJ, Johansen IE, Wang A, Yamaji Y, Verchot-Lubicz J* 2016. The IRE1/bZIP60 pathway and Bax inhibitor 1 suppress systemic accumulation of potyviruses and potexviruses in Arabidopsis and N. benthamiana plants. Molecular Plant Microbe Interaction 29: 750-766. DOI: 10.1094/MPMI-07-16-0147-R

Li Y, Cui H, Cui X, Wang A* 2016. The altered photosynthetic machinery during compatible virus infection. Current Opinion in Virology 17: 19-24.

Li Y, Xiong R, Bernards MA, Wang A* 2016. Recruitment of Arabidopsis RNA helicase AtRH9 to the viral replication complex by viral replicase to promote Turnip mosaic virus replication. Scientific Reports 6: 30297. doi: 10.1038/srep30297

Zhang L, Zhang C, Wang A* 2016. Divergence and conservation of the major UPR branch IRE1-bZIP signaling pathway across eukaryotes. Scientific Reports 6: 27362. doi: 10.1038/srep27362

Chen H, Arsovski AA, Yu K, Wang A* 2016. Genome-wide investigation using sRNA-seq, degradome-seq and transcriptome-seq reveals regulatory networks of microRNAs and their target genes in soybean during Soybean mosaic virus infection. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0150582

Bhagwat B, Dickison V, Ding X, Walker MC, Bernardy MG, Bouthillier MJ, Creelman A, DeYoung RM, Li Y, Nie X*, Wang A*, Xiang Y*, Sanfaçon H* 2016. Genome sequence analysis of five Canadian isolates of Strawberry mottle virus reveals extensive intra-species diversity and a longer RNA2 with increased coding capacity compared to a previously characterized European isolate. Archives of Virology 161: 1657-1663.

Ding X, Li Y, Hernández-Sebastià C, Abbasi PA, Fisher P, Celletti M, Wang A* 2016. First Report of Strawberry crinivirus 4 on strawberry in Canada. Plant Disease 100: 1254.

Elhiti M, Wang HY, Austin RS, Chen B, Brown DCW, Wang A* 2016. Generation of chemically induced mutations using in vitro propagated shoot tip tissues for genetic improvement of fruit trees. Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture: Journal of Plant Biotechnology 124(2): 447-452. doi : 10.1007/s11240-015-0894-0

Liu J, Zhang X, Yang Y, Hong N, Wang G, Wang A, Wang L* 2016. Characterization of virus-derived small interfering RNAs in Apple stem grooving virus-infected in vitro-cultured Pyrus pyrifolia shoot tips in response to high temperature treatment. Virology Journal 13: 166. DOI: 10.1186/s12985-016-0625-0.

Wang, A* 2015. Dissecting the molecular network of virus-plant interactions: the complex roles of host factors. Annual Review of Phytopathology 53: 45-66.

Zhang, L., Chen, C., Brandizzi, F., Verchot, J., Wang, A* 2015. The UPR branch IRE1-bZIP60 in plants is complementary to the only UPR pathway in yeast and essential for viral infection. PLoS Genetics 11(4): e1005164. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005164

Cheng, X., Deng, P., Cui, H., Wang, A* 2015. Visualizing double-stranded RNA distribution and dynamics in living cells by dsRNA binding-dependent fluorescence complementation. Virology 485: 439-451.

Chen, H., Zhang, L., Yu, K., Wang, A* 2015. Pathogenesis of Soybean mosaic virus in soybean carrying Rsv1 gene is associated with miRNA and siRNA pathways, and breakdown of AGO1 homeostasis. Virology 476: 395-404.

Deng, P., Wu, Z., Wang, A* 2015. The multifunctional protein CI of potyviruses plays interlinked and distinct roles in viral genome replication and intercellular movement. Virology Journal 12: 141. doi:10.1186/s12985-015-0369-2.

Liu J, Zhang X, Zhang F, Hong N, Wang G, Wang A, Wang L* 2015. Identification and characterization of microRNAs from in vitro-grown pear shoots infected with Apple stem grooving virus in response to high temperature using small RNA sequencing. BMC Genomics 16: 945. doi : 10.1186/s12864-015-2126-8

Ma, X., Cui, H., Bernardy, M.G., Tian, L.-N., Abbasi, P.A., Wang, A* 2015. Molecular characterization of a Strawberry mild yellow edge virus isolate from Canada. Canadian J Plant Pathology 37: 369-375.

Chen, B., Bernards, M., Wang, A* 2015. Complete genome sequence of a bell pepper endornavirus isolate from Canada. Genome Announcements 3(4): e00905-15.

Zhang, L., Khabbaz, S.E., Wang, A., Li, H., Abbasi, P.A.* 2015. Detection and characterization of broad-spectrum anti-pathogen activity of novel rhizobacterial isolates and suppression of Fusarium crown and root rot disease of tomato. Journal of Applied Microbiology 118(3): 685-703.

Khabbaz, S.E., Zhang, L., Cáceres, L.A., Sumarah, M., Wang, A., and Abbasi, P.A.* 2015. Characterization of antagonistic Bacillus and Pseudomonas strains for biocontrol potential and suppression of damping-off and root rot diseases. Annals of Applied Biology 166(3): 456-471.

Wang, A*, Tian, L., Brown, D.C.W., Svircev, A.M., Stobbs, L.W., and Sanfaçon, H. 2015. Generation of efficient resistance to Plum pox virus (PPV) in Nicotiana benthamiana and Prunus domestica expressing triple intron-spanned double-hairpin RNAs. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1063: 77-84.


Edited Books/Special Issues

Wang A*, Burch-Smith TM, Li Y (2020) MPMI focus issue: Focus on cell biology of virus-plant and virus-vector interactions.

Wang A*, Zhou X. (2016) Current Research Topics in Plant Virology (335 pages) Springer.


Book Chapters

Simkovich A, Kohalmi S, Wang A* (2020) Illaviruses. Encyclopedia of Virology 4th edition, Elsevier. (In press)

Cui H*, Li Y, Wang A* (2020) A Prunus necrotic ringspot virus (PNRSV)-based Viral Vector for Characterization of Gene Functions in Prunus Fruit Trees. In: Courdavault V, Besseau S (eds.) - Gene Silencing in Prunus (a book of the book serials Methods in Plant Biology), Springer (in press).

Zhang L, Wang A*. 2016. ER stress, UPR and virus infections in plants. In Wang A, Zhou X (eds.) - Current Research Topics in Plant Virology, Springer, pp. 173-196.

Wang A*, Zhou X. 2016. Preface. In Wang A, Zhou X (eds.) - Current Research Topics in Plant Virology, Springer, pp. v-vi.


  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario
  • Senior Editor, Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions (MPMI)
  • Associate Editor, PLoS Pathogenes
  • Editorial Board Member of Journal of Virology, Scientific Reports, Molecular Plant Pathology, Virology, and Soybean Science
  • Lifetime Member, American Society for Virology
  • Full Member, International Society for Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Member of International Plum Pox Virus Scientific Committee
  • Memebr of Potyviridae Study Group, International Committee on Taxonomy on Viruses
  • Member of Bromoviridae Study Group, International Committee on Taxonomy on Viruses