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Zhenming Xu, Ph.D.
Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics
School of Medicine
University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
5.016V - MED
Office: (210) 567-3964
Lab: (210) 567-3957
Fax: (210) 567-6612
Dr. Xu's career goals are to conduct biomedical research that will advance the fundamental understanding of immunology, to translate our knowledge for the development of thereapeutics that benefits patients, and to mentor graduate students and post-doctoral fellows towards a successful career path of their own.
Ph.D., Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Southern California
Keywords: B Lymphocyte activation; Cancer and Vaccination
Dr. Xu's research focuses on the mechanisms underlying differentiation and functions of B lymphocytes in antibody responses to infectious pathogens and vaccines. These mechanisms include the nature of innate and adaptive stimuli (as produced by microbes or host cells) that can activate B cells, the modality of signal transduction pathways, and interactions of protein factors, epigenetic marks and DNA cis-elements in regulating the gene expression and targeting of molecular machineries. Importantly, he has characterized the modality of NF-kB activation in B cells by these stimuli and analyzed the NF-kB-dependent induction of activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), a genome-editing enzyme that is essential for antibody class-switching and affinity improvement but can also lead to genome-wide DNA damages when dysregulated. Our recent findings have demonstrated that Rab7, a small GTPase that localizes mainly in endosomes, plays a B cell-intrinsic role in NF-kB activation and AID induction for effective antibody responses, likely through assembly of “signalosomes” on intracellular membrane structures to strengthen signals and their specificity.
He also wants to understand how B cell differentiation mechanisms are dysregulated, leading to disease conditions, and aim to explore the therapeutic potential of targeting these mechanisms. For this, his lab uses animal models of autoimmune diseases (e.g., the life-debilitating systemic lupus) and B cell malignancies (e.g., diffused large B cell lymphoma) as well as aging mice. They also use a Rab7-specific small molecule compound to prevent or reverse B cell dysregulation in the context of lupus and B cell lymphomagenesis, and are in the process to develop compound derivatives with further enhanced affinities for their targets and decreased affinity for off-targets. These studies have high clinical relevance and will facilitate the development of new therapeutics.
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Lab Rooms: 5.037V Lab Phone: (210) 567-3957