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Faculty Detail    
Campus Address VH G019 Zip 0019
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Undergraduate  Fudan University, Shanghai, China    1987  Bachelor of Science  
Graduate  University of Vermont, Burlington, VT    1994  Ph.D. in Zoology/Molecular Biology 
Fellowship  Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO    1999  Bone Biology 

Faculty Appointment(s)
Appointment Type Department Division Rank
Center  Biomedical Engineering  Biomatrix Eng Regen Med (BERM) Ctr Professor
Center  Pathology   Cell Adhesion & Matrix Research Center Professor
Center  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering  Center for Biophysical Sciences/Engineering Professor
Center  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr  Comp Arthritis, MSK, Bone & Autoimmunity Ctr Professor
Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center  Comprehensive Cancer Center Professor
Center  Integrative Center for Aging Research  Integrative Center for Aging Research Professor
Primary  Pathology   Molecular & Cellular Pathology Professor

Graduate Biomedical Sciences Affiliations
Cancer Biology 
Medical Scientist Training Program 
Molecular and Cellular Pathology Program 
Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine 

Biographical Sketch 
Dr. Feng received his B.S. degree in 1987 from Fudan University in China and his Ph.D. in Zoology/Molecular Biology from the University of Vermont in 1994 (Advisor, Dr. George Happ). He then pursued his postdoctoral research training in the laboratory of Dr Steven Teitelbaum in Department of Pathology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. In 2000, Dr. Feng joined Department of Pathology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received National Research Service Award from National Institutes of Health (1997-1999) and was also a recipient of John Haddad Young Investigator Award from Advances in Mineral Metabolism (AIMM) and the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) in 2000.

Society Memberships
Organization Name Position Held Org Link
American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) 
American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 

Research/Clinical Interest
The RANKL/RANK/OPG System in Health and Disease
Our laboratory uses molecular and cell biology techniques as well as mouse models (knockout and knockin) to delineate the signaling mechanisms by which the RANKL/RANK/OPG system regulates cell differentiation and function. Currently, we have the following research focuses: (1) RANK signaling mechanism in osteoclast differentiation and function. RANKL is a key factor regulating the formation and function of osteoclasts, our body’s sole bone-resorbing cells, which play a pivotal role in skeletal development and adult skeletal maintenance (bone remodeling). Moreover, the RANKL/RANK/OPG system is also implicated in the pathogenesis of various diseases including postmenopausal osteoporosis, bone erosion in rheumatoid arthritis, periodontal bone loss, and tumor (breast and prostate) skeletal metastasis. Our long-term goals are a) to elucidate the signaling mechanism by which the RANKL/RANK/OPG system regulates osteoclast formation and function and b) to delineate the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the role of the RANKL/RANK/OPG system in the various bone diseases. (2) The molecular mechanism by which the RANKL/RANK/OPG system regulates mammary gland development and promotes breast cancer development and metastasis. While the crucial role of the RANKL/RANK/OPG system in mammary gland development has been well established, the signaling mechanism controlling RANKL-mediated mammary gland development has not been fully understood. The objectives of this research focus are a) to delineate novel RANK signaling pathways involved in mammary gland development and b) to better understand the molecular mechanism by which the RANKL/RANK/OPG system promotes breast cancer initiation and progression. (3) Drug discovery/translational research. Our work on RANK signaling mechanism in osteoclast biology has led to identification of several RANK cytoplasmic motifs/signaling pathways that play important functional roles in osteoclast formation and function. The potency and selectivity of these RANK motif-mediated signaling pathways in osteoclast biology have convinced us to expand our research program into the translational research. We have developed cell-based assay systems for identifying compounds targeting these RANK motif-mediated signaling pathways through high throughput screening (HTS). The goal of this translational research is to develop new antiresorptive drugs targeting the RANKL/RANK/OPG system.

Selected Publications 
Publication PUBMEDID
Feng X (2005) Regulatory roles and molecular signaling of TNF family members in osteoclasts. Gene. 350(1):1-13. Review.   15777737 
Shi Z, Silveira A, Patel P, Feng X (2004) YY1 is involved in RANKL-induced transcription of the tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase gene in osteoclast differentiation. Gene. 343(1):117-26.   15563837 
Shi Z, Silveira A, Patel P, Feng X (2004) YY1 is involved in RANKL-induced transcription of the tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase gene in osteoclast differentiation. Gene. 343(1):117-26.   15563837 
Liu W, Xu D, Yang H, Xu H, Shi Z, Cao X, Takeshita S, Liu J, Teale M, Feng X (2004) Functional identification of three receptor activator of NF-kappa B cytoplasmic motifs mediating osteoclast differentiation and function. J Biol Chem. 279(52):54759-69.   15485878 
Xu D, Shi Z, McDonald J, Pan G, Cao X, Yu X, Feng X (2004) Development of a chimaeric receptor approach to study signalling by tumour necrosis factor receptor family members. Biochem J. 383(Pt 2):219-25.   15250821 
Pan G, Wu X, McKenna MA, Feng X, Nagy TR, McDonald JM (2004) AZT enhances osteoclastogenesis and bone loss. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 20(6):608-20.   15242537 
Wang S, Skorczewski J, Feng X, Mei L, Murphy-Ullrich JE (2004) Glucose up-regulates thrombospondin 1 gene transcription and transforming growth factor-beta activity through antagonism of cGMP-dependent protein kinase repression via upstream stimulatory factor 2. J Biol Chem. 279(33):34311-22.   15184388 
Wu X, McKenna MA, Feng X, Nagy TR, McDonald JM (2003) Osteoclast apoptosis: the role of Fas in vivo and in vitro. Endocrinology. 144(12):5545-55.   12960091 
Zhang L, Feng X, McDonald JM (2003) The role of calmodulin in the regulation of osteoclastogenesis. Endocrinology. 144(10):4536-43.   12960067 
Xiong WC, Feng X (2003) PYK2 and FAK in osteoclasts. Front Biosci. 8:d1219-26.   12957821 
Liu Y, Shi Z, Silveira A, Liu J, Sawadogo M, Yang H, Feng X (2003) Involvement of upstream stimulatory factors 1 and 2 in RANKL-induced transcription of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase gene during osteoclast differentiation. J Biol Chem. 278(23):20603-11.   12663664 
Wang Q, Xie Y, Du QS, Wu XJ, Feng X, Mei L, McDonald JM, Xiong WC (2003) Regulation of the formation of osteoclastic actin rings by proline-rich tyrosine kinase 2 interacting with gelsolin. J Cell Biol. 160(4):565-75.   12578912 
Kintscher U, Lyon C, Wakino S, Bruemmer D, Feng X, Goetze S, Graf K, Moustakas A, Staels B, Fleck E, Hsueh WA, Law RE (2002) PPARalpha inhibits TGF-beta-induced beta5 integrin transcription in vascular smooth muscle cells by interacting with Smad4. Circ Res. 91(11):e35-44.   12456495 
Feng X, Takeshita S, Namba N, Wei S, Teitelbaum SL, Ross FP (2002) Tyrosines 559 and 807 in the cytoplasmic tail of the macrophage colony-stimulating factor receptor play distinct roles in osteoclast differentiation and function. Endocrinology. 143(12):4868-74.   12446614 
Gupta A, Tenenhouse HS, Hoag HM, Wang D, Khadeer MA, Namba N, Feng X, Hruska KA (2001) Identification of the type II Na(+)-Pi cotransporter (Npt2) in the osteoclast and the skeletal phenotype of Npt2-/- mice. Bone. 29(5):467-76.   11704500 
Feng X, Novack DV, Faccio R, Ory DS, Aya K, Boyer MI, McHugh KP, Ross FP, Teitelbaum SL (2001) A Glanzmann's mutation in beta 3 integrin specifically impairs osteoclast function. J Clin Invest. 107(9):1137-44.  11342577 
Wan M, Shi X, Feng X, Cao X (2001) Transcriptional mechanisms of bone morphogenetic protein-induced osteoprotegrin gene expression. J Biol Chem. 276(13):10119-25. Epub 2001 Jan 3.   11139569 
Lai CF, Feng X, Nishimura R, Teitelbaum SL, Avioli LV, Ross FP, Cheng SL (2000) Transforming growth factor-beta up-regulates the beta 5 integrin subunit expression via Sp1 and Smad signaling. J Biol Chem. 275(46):36400-6.   10964912 
Cheng SL, Lai CF, Fausto A, Chellaiah M, Feng X, McHugh KP, Teitelbaum SL, Civitelli R, Hruska KA, Ross FP, Avioli LV (2000) Regulation of alphaVbeta3 and alphaVbeta5 integrins by dexamethasone in normal human osteoblastic cells. J Cell Biochem. 77(2):265-76.   10723092 
Feng X, Teitelbaum SL, Quiroz ME, Cheng SL, Lai CF, Avioli LV, Ross FP (2000) Sp1/Sp3 and PU.1 differentially regulate beta(5) integrin gene expression in macrophages and osteoblasts. J Biol Chem. 275(12):8331-40.  10722663 
McHugh KP, Hodivala-Dilke K, Zheng MH, Namba N, Lam J, Novack D, Feng X, Ross FP, Hynes RO, Teitelbaum SL (2000) Mice lacking beta3 integrins are osteosclerotic because of dysfunctional osteoclasts. J Clin Invest. 105(4):433-40.   10683372 
Feng X, Teitelbaum SL, Quiroz ME, Towler DA, Ross FP (1999) Cloning of the murine beta5 integrin subunit promoter. Identification of a novel sequence mediating granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor-dependent repression of beta5 integrin gene transcription. J Biol Chem. 274(3):1366-74.  9880508 
Feng X, Happ GM (1996) Isolation and sequencing of the gene encoding Sp23, a structural protein of spermatophore of the mealworm beetle, Tenebrio molitor. Gene. 179(2):257-62.  8972909 
Cao X, Teitelbaum SL, Zhu HJ, Zhang L, Feng X, Ross FP (1996) Competition for a unique response element mediates retinoic acid inhibition of vitamin D3-stimulated transcription. J Biol Chem. 271(34):20650-4.  8702813 
Paesen GC, Feng X, Happ GM (1996) Structure of a D-protein gene and amino-acid sequences of the highly repetitive D-proteins secreted by the accessory glands of the mealworm beetle. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1293(2):171-6.  8620026 

RANKL, RANK, OPG, Cell Differentiation, Cell Signaling, Osteoclast, Mammary Gland, Breast Cancer