Biochemistry and Structural Biology  Back to Main

Faculty Detail    
Campus Address SHEL 703 Zip 2182
Phone  (205) 975-5016
Other websites

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Associate Professor
Primary  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics  Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics Associate Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Biochemistry and Structural Biology 
Cell, Molecular, & Developmental Biology 

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Xinyang Zhao graduated from Fudan University in Shanghai, China with a B.S. degree in Microbiology in 1990. He then gained M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology from SUNY at Buffalo in 1996. After a shot postdoctoral training at University of Toronto, he moved to Howard Hughes Medical School in Cold Spring Harbor Lab to study transcriptional regulation in Dr. Nouria Hernandezís lab. In 2003, Dr. Zhao joined the research group of Dr. Stephen Nimer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York where he was promoted to senior research scientist position. Dr. Zhao studied protein arginine methyltransferases for their roles in epigenetic and transcriptional regulation using leukemia as disease model. He joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and Stem Cell Institute at UAB in August, 2011.

Research/Clinical Interest
The roles of protein arginine methyltransferases in abnormal hematopoiesis
My research interest is to study the mechanisms of transcriptional and epigenetic regulations using hematopoiesis as a model system. Hematopoiesis is a tightly programmed epigenetic process through interplay between extracellular signaling and transcriptional regulation. Abnormal hematopoiesis i.e. leukemogenesis is caused by mutation or translocations of tyrosine kinases or transcription factors, which result in blockage of terminal differentiation and unchecked proliferation. As the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) is differentiated into different lineage cells, chromatin structures of lineage specific genes are altered accordingly through the recruitment of chromatin remodeling proteins by transcription factors. Among different histone modifications, histone is arginine methylated. Arginine methyl transferases (PRMT1, PRMT4 and 5) has been shown to be critical for normal hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis. The goals in my lab to investigate the mechanisms on how PRMTs regulate blood development and how to target PRMTs for therapeutic purposes.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
1. Abdel-Wahab O, Adli M, LaFave LM, Gao J, Hricik T, Shih, AH, Pandey S, Patel JP, Chung YR, Koche R, Perna F, Zhao X, Taylor JE, Park CY, Carroll M, Melnick A, Nimer S, Jaffe JD, Aifantis I, Berstein BE and Levine RL. ASXL1 mutations promote myeloid transformation through loss of PRC2-mediated gene repression. Cancer Cell, 22, August 14, 2012.
2. Shia W, Okumura AJ, Yan M, Sarkeshik A, Lo M, Matsuura S, Komeno Y, Zhao X, Nimer S, Yates JR, Zhang D. PRMT1 interacts with AML1-ETO to promote its transcriptional activation and progenitor cell proliferative potential. Blood. 119:4817-4818. 2012.
3. Huang G, Zhao X, Wang L, Elf S, Xu H, Zhao X, Sashida G, Zhang Y, Liu Y, Lee J, Menendez S, Yang Y, Yan X, Zhang P, Tenen DG, Osato M, Hsieh JJ, Nimer SD. The ability of MLL to bind RUNX1 and methylate H3K4 at PU.1 regulatory regions is impaired by MDS/AML-associated RUNX1/AML1 mutations. Blood. 119:6544-6552. 2011.
4. Moulick K, Ahn JH, Zong H, Rodina A, Cerchietti L, Gomes Dagama EM, Caldas-Lopes E, Beebe K, Perna F, Hatzi K, Vu LP, Zhao X, Zatorska D, Taldone T, Smith-Jones P, Alpaugh M, Gross SS, Pillarsetty N, Ku T, Lewis JS, Larson SM, Levine R, Erdjument-Bromage H, Guzman ML, Nimer SD, Melnick A, Neckers L, Chiosis G. Affinity -based proteomics reveal cancer-specific networks coordinated by Hsp90. Nat Chem Biol. 7(11):818-26. 2011
5. Moran-Crusio K, Reavie L, Shih A, Abdel-Wahab O, Ndiaye-Lobry D, Lobry C, Figueroa ME, Vasanthakumar A, Patel J, Zhao X, Perna F, Pandey S, Madzo J, Song C, Dai Q, He C, Ibrahim S, Beran M, Zavadil J, Nimer SD, Melnick A, Godley LA, Aifantis I, Levine RL. Tet2 loss leads to increased hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and myeloid transformation. Cancer Cell. 2011 Jul 12;20(1):11-24.
6. Sashida G, Bae N, Di Giandomenico S, Asai T, Gurvich N, Bazzoli E, Liu Y, Huang G, Zhao X, Menendez S, Nimer SD. The mef/elf4 transcription factor fine tunes the DNA damage response. Cancer Res. 2011 Jul 15;71(14):4857-65.
7. Lan Wang, Alexander Gural, Xiao-Jian Sun, Xinyang Zhao, Fabiana Perna, Gang Huang, Megan A. Hatlen, Ly Vu, Fan Liu, Haiming Xu, Takashi Asai, Hao Xu, Tony Deblasio, Silvia Menendez, Francesca Voza, Yanwen Jiang, Philip A. Cole, Jinsong Zhang, Ari Melnick, Robert G. Roeder, and Stephen D. Nimer. The Leukemogenicity of AML1-ETO Is Dependent on Site-Specific Lysine Acetylation. Science 14 July 2011: 1201662Published online 14 July 2011
8. Fan Liu1,3, Xinyang Zhao1,3, Fabiana Perna1, Lan Wang1, Priya Koppikar2, Omar Abdel-Wahab2, Ross L. Levine2, Hao Xu1, Megan Hatlen1, Silvia Menendez 1, Stephen D. Nimer. JAK2V617F-mediated phosphorylation of PRMT5 down-regulates its methyltransferase activity. Cancer Cell Feb 15;19(2):283-94. 2010 Equal contribution with F. Liu.
9. Fabiana Perna, Nadia Gurvich, Ruben Hoya-Arias, Takashi Asai, Francesca Voza, Silvia Menendez, Lan Wang, Fan Liu, Xinyang Zhao, and Stephen D Nimer. Depletion of L3MBTL1 promotes the erythroid differentiation of human hematopoietic progenitor cells: possible role in 20q- polycythemia vera. Blood, 2010 116 (15):2812-21
10. Wang L, Huang G, Zhao X, Hatlen MA, Vu L, Liu F, Nimer SD. Post-translational modifications of Runx1 regulate its activity in the cell. Blood Cells Mol Dis. Review. 43(1):30-4. 2009.
11. Nagesh Kalakonda, Wolfgang Fischle, Piernicola Boccuni, Nadia Gurvich, Xinyang Zhao, Yasuhiko Miyata, Jennifer Sims, Judd C Rice, C David Allis, Stephen Nimer. Histone H4 lysine 20 monomethylation promotes transcriptional repression by L3MBTL1. Oncogene 27:4293-304, 2008.
12. Xinyang Zhao,Vladamir Jankovich, Alexander Gural, Gang Huang, AnimeshPardanani, Silvia Menendez, Jin Zhang, Richard Dunne, Andrew Xiao,C. David Allis, Hediye Erdjument-Bromage, Paul Tempst, Stephen Nimer. Methylation of RUNX1 by PRMT1 potentiates its transcriptional activity by abrogating mSIN3a binding. Gene & Development 22:640-653, 2008.
13. Chih-Chi Yuan, Xinyang Zhao, Laurence Florens, Selene K. Swanson, Michael P. Washburn, and Nouria Hernandez. CHD8 associates with human Staf and contributes to efficient U6 RNA polymerase III transcription. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 27(24):8729-38, 2007.
14. Xinyang Zhao, P. Shannon Pendergrast, Nouria Hernandez. A positioned nucleosome on the human U6 promoter allows recruitment of SNAPc by the Oct-1 POU domain. Molecular Cell, 7:539-549. 2000.
15. Zhao, X. and John Hay: The epidemiology of Hantavirus infections. Clinical Microbiology Newsletter, 19(7): 49-51, 1997.
16. Zhao, X. and John Hay: The evolution of Hantaviruses. Immunological Investigations. 26(1&2): 191-197, 1997.
17. Chen, W., X. Zhao, S. Yu: Isolation and classification of Freesia chlorotic stripe mosaic virus. Virologica Sinica, 7:85-92, 1992.

Zhao X AND Birmingham 

Arginine methylation, epigenetics, leukemia, stem cell, transcription