Our laboratory studies genetics, molecular pathogenesis, and experimental therapy of cancer and autoimmune diseases. Our interest in immunology focuses on how the host response to tissue injury is kept at a level that allows tissue repair without pathological consequences. A critical role of CD24-Siglec G/10 interaction was identified and is being explored for therapy of autoimmune diseases. This concept has been explored for the treatment of graft vs host diseases and autoimmune diseases, through investigator-initiated clinical trials. Led by Yang Liu, PhD, our team's cancer genetics research focuses on X-linked FOXP3, which we have identified as the X-linked tumor suppressor gene for breast and prostate cancer. Ongoing research projects include the role of FOXP3 in cancer molecular pathogenesis, particularly molecular mechanism of FOXP3-mediated epigenetic regulation of target genes. Our other active research area in cancer is therapeutic targeting of cancer stem cells. We have reported a critical role for hypoxic-inducing factor in the maintenance of stems of hematologic cancers, and are working on testing the concept in human pediatric cancer patients, in collaboration with the Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health.

Representative publications:

Tao Zuo, Lizhong Wang, Carl Morrison, Xing Chang, Huiming Zhang, Michael Chan, Xingluo Liu, Yan Liu, Yin Wang, Richard Love, Chang-gong Liu, Virginia Godfrey, Rulong Shen, Tim M Huang, Tianyu Yang, Bae Keun Park, Cun-Yu Wang, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu. The X-linked gene Foxp3 is an important suppressor gene for breast cancer and repressor of Her-2/neu/ErbB2. Cell 2007;129:1275.

Guo-Yun Chen, Jie Tang, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu, CD24 and Siglec-10 selectively repress tissue damage-induced immune responses. Science 2009 Mar 27;323(5922):1722-5.

Guo-Yun Chen, Xi Chen, Karen A. Cavassani, Jiansong Cheng, Xincheng Zheng, Hongzhi Cao, Hai Yu, Jingyao Qu, Dexing Fang, Wei Wu, Xue-Feng Bai, Jin-Qing Liu, Chong Chen, Lei Sun, Cory M. Hogaboam, Steven L. Kunkel, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu Amelioration of sepsis by inhibiting sialidase-mediated disruption of the CD24-SiglecG interaction (Article). Nat Biotechnol 2011;29(5):428-35.

Yin Wang, Yan Liu, Sami Malek, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu. Targeting HIF1α eliminates cancer stem cells in hematological malignancies. Cell Stem Cell 2011;8:399-411.

Hiroto Katoh, Zhaohui S. Qin, Runhua Liu, Lizhong Wang, Weiquan Li, Xiangzhi Li, Lipeng Wu, Robert Lyons, Chang-Gong Liu, Xiuping Liu, Yali Dou, Pan Zheng, and Yang Liu. FOXP3 Orchestrates H4K16 Acetylation and H3K4 Tri-Methylation for Gene Activation through Recruiting MOF and Causing Displacement of PLU-1. Mol Cell 2011 Dec 9;44(5):770-84.

Lizhong Wang, Runhua Liu, Peiying Ye, Chunshu Wong, Guo-Yun Chen, Penghui Zhou, Kaoru Sakabe, Xincheng Zheng, Wei Wu, Peng Zhang, Taijiao Jiang, Michael F. Bassetti, Sandro Jube, Yi Sun, Yanping Zhang, Pan Zheng and Yang Liu. Intracellular CD24 disrupts the ARF-NPM Interaction and enables mutational and viral oncogene-mediated p53 inactivation. Nat Communications 2015 Jan 20;6:5909. doi: 10.1038/ncomms6909.

Peiying Ye, Yu Liu, Chong Chen, Fei Tang, Qi Wu, Xiang Wang, Chang-Gong Liu, Xiuping Liu, Runhua Liu, Yang Liu and Pan Zheng. An mTORC1-Mdm2-Drosha Axis for miRNA Biogenesis in Response to Glucose- and Amino Acid-deprivation. Mol Cell. 2015 Feb 19;57(4):708-20. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.12.034. Epub 2015 Jan 29. PMID: 25639470.