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College of Veterinary Medicine

Jianzhong Yu


Assistant Professor

PhD, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany
Postdoc, Florida State University
           Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

207 Coles Hall
Phone: (785)532-4507
Email: Jianzhongyu@ksu.edu

The Laboratory of Cancer Biology 

The Yu lab focuses on cancer biology, trying to understand organ size control and tumorigenesis with specific emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of the Hippo pathway and mTOR pathway. Using a combination of genetic and biochemical approaches, Dr. Yu was the first to identify Kibra as a novel tumor suppressor and demonstrated that Kibra forms a protein complex with Merlin at the plasma membrane where it functions as a regulator of the Hippo signaling pathway. Dr. Yu’s recent work focused on the Insulin/mTOR signaling pathway, the key pathway that plays a critical role in regulating tissue growth, cell proliferation and metabolism in response to diverse extracellular stimuli. In the long run, the Yu lab aims to address three major questions: 1) What is the molecular mechanism underlying Kibra-Merlin tumor suppressor complex function? 2) What are the physiological roles of novel regulators of Insulin/mTOR signaling pathway? 3) How are different growth control signaling pathways coordinated in determining the final organ size? Our research will point out potential therapeutic targets for human cancers and ultimately holds the promise for the treatment. 

Motivated undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoc candidates are welcome to contact Dr. Yu for open positions. 

Selected Publications:

  1. Naren Li, Qinfang Liu, Yulan Xiong*, Jianzhong Yu* (2019). Headcase and Unkempt regulate tissue growth and cell cycle progression in response to nutrient restriction. Cell Reports(in press; *corresponding author).
  2. Yu J, Pan D (2018). Validating upstream regulators of Yorkie activity in Hippo signaling through scalloped-based genetic epistasis. Development 145(4): dev157545.
  3. Ge M, Hong Liu H, Zhang Y, Li N, Zhao S, Zhao W, Zhen Y, Yu J, He H, Shao R (2017). The anti-hepatic fibrosis effects of dihydrotanshinone I are mediated by disrupting the yes-associated protein and transcriptional enhancer factor D2 complexand stimulating autophagy. British Journal of Pharmacology 174(10):1147-1160.
  4. Chan P, Han X, Zheng B, DeRan M, Yu J, Jarugumilli GK, Deng H, Pan D, Luo X, Wu X (2016). Autopalmitoylation of TEAD proteins regulates transcriptional output of the Hippo pathway. Nat Chem Biol. 12(4):282-9 
  5. Liu B, Zheng Y, Yin F, Yu J, Silverman N, Pan D (2016). Toll Receptor-Mediated Hippo Signaling Controls Innate Immunity in Drosophila. Cell 164(3):406-19.
  6. Deng H, Wang W, Yu J, Zheng Y, Qing Y, Pan D (2015). Spectrin regulates Hippo signaling by modulating cortical actomyosin activity. Elife 31: 4. doi: 10.7554/eLife.06567.
  7. Yin F, Yu J, Zheng Y, Chen Q, Zhang N, Pan D (2013). Spatial organization of Hippo signaling at the plasma membrane mediated by the tumor suppressor Merlin/NF2. Cell 154(6):1342-55.
  8. Ni L, Li S, Yu J, Min J, Brautigam CA, Tomchick DR, Pan D, Luo X (2013). Structural basis for autoactivation of human Mst2 kinase and its regulation by RASSF5. Structure 21(10):1757-68.
  9. Koontz LM, Liu-Chittenden Y, Yin F, Zheng Y, Yu J, Huang B, Chen Q, Wu S, Pan D (2013). The Hippo effector Yorkie controls normal tissue growth by antagonizing scalloped-mediated default repression. Developmental Cell 25(4):388-401.
  10. Ling C, Zheng Y, Yin F, Yu J, Huang J, Hong Y, Wu S, Pan D (2010). The apical transmembrane protein Crumbs functions as a tumor suppressor that regulates Hippo signaling by binding to Expanded. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 107(23):10532-7
  11. Tian W, Yu J, Tomchick D, Pan D, Luo X(2010). Structural and Functional Analysis of the YAP-binding Domain of Human TEAD2.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 107(16):7293-8
  12. Yu J, Zheng Y, Dong J, Klusza S, Deng WM, Pan D (2010). Kibra functions as a tumor suppressor protein that regulates hippo signaling in conjunction with Merlin and expanded. Developmental Cell 18(2):288-99.
  13. Alarcón C, Zaromytidou AI, Xi Q, Gao S, Yu J, Fujisawa S, Barlas A, Miller AN, Manova-Todorova K, Macias MJ, Sapkota G, Pan D, Massagué J (2009).  Nuclear CDKs drive Smad transcriptional activation and turnover in BMP and TGF-beta pathways. Cell 139(4):757-69.
  14. Yu J, Poulton J, Huang YC, Deng WM (2008). The Hippo Pathway Promotes Notch Signaling in Regulation of Cell Differentiation, Proliferation, and Oocyte Polarity. PLoS ONE. 3(3): e1761.