R.Holland Cheng

image of R.Holland Cheng



Molecular & Cellular Biology

Offices and Labs

007 Briggs Hall, Davis campus
(530) 9888 659
(530) 7525 659
(530)752 2693


1992 PhD Structural Biology Purdue University

Research Interests

Proteome imaging of macromolecular systems - PIOMS

Our research aims to understand the structure and function of macromolecular interactions by selected model macromolecular systems. Viral structural proteins have the capacity to function both in assembly and in disassembly, which is made possible through a built-in flexibility triggered by cellular events. We observe conformational changes of viral particles at various states of their life cycle to analyze their assembly intermediates as well as the mature forms. Similarly, infectious virions can be treated with numerous conditions, e.g. receptor-mediated genome release or acid-activated membrane fusion, to observe the key steps of viral re-entry into host cells. Using electron microscopy, we apply a rapid-frozen and low-dose imaging procedure to best preserve the biological specimen in its native form. Computer image processing is developed to retrieve most of the useful signal from the low-contrast micrographs. Technical implementation of cryo-EM, cellular tomography, and computational modeling schemes also enables us to address interactions involved in complex biological molecules and/or nanoscale machines.

Editor-in-Chief: Developmental Microbiology and Molecular Biology

Department and Center Affiliations

UC Biotechnology Program
NIH Roadmap Center for Nanomedicine
NSF Center for Biophotonics
PIOMS Institutional Program
UC Davis Cancer Center


American Academy of Nanomedicine

CBS Grad Group Affiliations


Specialties / Focus

Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics

Graduate Groups not Housed in CBS

Computer Sciences; Biophotonics DE; Medical Microbiology and Immunology


056 Briggs Hall / Advanced Microscopy & Proteomics (amp) website

Teaching Interests

Macromolecular Assembly / Cryo Electron Microscopy / 3D Image Reconstruction / Conformational Proteomics


MCB 193 Advanced Research (Fall,Winter,Spring,Summer 1,Summer 2)
MCB 200A Current Technology in Cell Biology (Fall)
BIS 102 Structure and Function of Biomolecules (Winter,Spring)
MCB 220L Adv Biochem Lab (Fall)
MCB 200C Modern Techniques in Biophysics (Winter)
EMS 23x Electron Microscopy (Winter,Spring)
MCB 194H Honors Thesis (Fall,Winter,Spring)
BPH 290 Biophysics and Biophotonics (Fall,Spring)
MCB 298 TEM Case Studies (Fall)
MMI 208 Emerging Challenges in Microbiology and Immunology (Fall)


5/21/2010 9:26:34 AM
  • http://pioms.ucdavis.edu/publications.htm
  • Cheng, RH and Miyamura, T (2007). Structure-based study of Virus Replication (pp560, ed), World Scientific Pub Co, ISBN 981-270-405-1
  • Wu SR, Haag L, Hammar L, Wu B, Garoff H, Xing L, Murata K, Cheng RH. (2007). The dynamic envelope of a fusion Class II virus: Prefusion stages of Semliki forest virus revealed by electron cryomicroscopy. J Biol Chem, 282, 6752-6762,
  • Noda, T, Sagara, H, Yen, A, Takada, A, Kida, H, Cheng, RH and Kawaoka, Y (2006). Architecture of ribonucleoprotein complexes in influenza A virus particles. Nature, 439, 490-2.
  • Nilsson, J, N Miyazaki, L Xing, B Wu, L Hammar, TC Li, N Takeda, T Miyamura, and RH Cheng (2005). Structure and assembly of a T=1 polyoma BK virus-like particle. J Virol, 79, 5337-45.
  • Cheng, R H, and L Hammar (2004). Conformational Proteomics of Macromolecular Architectures. 420pp. World Scientific Publishing Co. ISBN 981-238-614-9
  • Xing, L, Huhtala, M, Pietainen, V, Kapyla, J, Vuorinen, K, Heino, J, Joh nson, MS, Hyypia, T, and Cheng RH (2004). Structural and functional analysis of integrin alpha2I domain interaction with echovirus 1. J Biol Chem, 279, 11632-11638.
  • Hammar, L, S Markarian, L Haag, H Lankinen, A Salmi, and R. H. Cheng (2003). Prefusion rearrangements resulting in fusion peptide exposure in Semliki Forest virus. J Biol Chem, 277, 7189-7198.
  • Haag L, Garoff H, Xing L, Hammar L, Kan ST, Cheng RH (2002). Acid-induced movements in the glycoprotein shell of an alphavirus turn the spikes into membrane fusion-mode. EMBO J. 21, 4402-4410.
  • Garoff H, Cheng RH (2001). The missing link between envelope formation and fusion in alphaviruses. Trend Microbiol 9, 408-410.
  • Xing L, Tjarnlund K, Lindqvist B, Kaplan GG, Feigelstock D, Cheng RH, Casasnovas JM (2000). Distinct cellular receptor interactions in poliovirus and rhinoviruses. EMBO J. 19, 1207-16.