School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Chunying Li







Chunying Li, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
540 E. Canfield Avenue
5312 Scott Hall
Detroit, MI 48201
Office: 313-577-4182
Lab: 313-577-1293

Research Interests:

  • PDZ-mediated macromolecular signaling complexes in health and diseases;
  • CXCR2 macromolecular signaling complex in vascular diseases (ischemia, angiogenesis), inflammation (neutrophil transmigration), and cancer biology (tumor metastasis and angiogenesis)

    Research Description:

    Our research is focused on understanding the structural and functional aspects of membrane proteins and their interactions with other proteins in compartmentalized microdomains of cells and their roles in health and diseases. Specifically, we are trying to understand the macromolecular signaling complex of the chemokine receptor CXCR2 (IL-8RB) in various disease conditions, and to identify new therapeutic targets (in CXCR2 signaling) so as to eventually develop novel intervention strategies for disease prevention and treatment.

    Although we have several interrelated projects, the main projects that are currently being pursued in my lab include:

  • To investigate the role of CXCR2 macromolecular signaling complex in neutrophil recruitment and infiltration into tissue or organs in various inflammatory diseases (such as atherosclerosis, cystic fibrosis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc).
  • To understand the role of CXC chemokines/CXCR2 axis in endothelial progenitor cell (EPC)-mediated physiological and pathological angiogenesis (such as EPC angiogenesis in ischemia and arterial injury, EPC tumor angiogenesis in cancer).
  • To characterize the CXCR2 macromolecular complex in cancer cell tumorigenesis and metastasis (such as in pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer).

    Our studies usean interdisciplinary, systems biology-based approach, as well as cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and molecular imaging techniques.

    Selected Publications:

    Bao J, Wang S, Gunther LK, Kitajiri SI, Li C, Sakamoto T. The actin-bundling protein TRIOBP-4 and -5 promotes the motility of pancreatic cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 2014:3835:00433-9.

    Holcomb J, Jiang Y, Guan X, Trescott L, Lu G, Hou Y, Wang S, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Li C, Yang Z. Crystal structure of the NHERF1 PDZ2 domain in complex with the chemokine receptor CXCR2 reveals probable modes of PDZ2 dimerization. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014;448:169-74.

    Farooq SM, Boppana NB, Asokan D, Sekaran SD, Shankar EM, Li C, Gopal K, Bakar SA, Karthik HS, Ebrahim AS. C-phycocyanin confers protection against oxalate-mediated oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunctions in MDCK cells. PLoS One. 2014;9:e93056.

    Jiang Y, Wang S, Holcomb J, Trescott L, Guan X, Hou Y, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Li C, Yang Z. Crystallographic analysis of NHERF1-PLCβ3 interaction provides structural basis for CXCR2 signaling in pancreatic cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014;446:638-43.

    Lu G, Wu Y, Jiang Y, Wang S, Hou Y, Guan X, Brunzelle J, Sirinupong N, Sheng S, Li C, Yang Z. Structural Insights into Neutrophilic Migration Revealed by the Crystal Structure of the Chemokine Receptor CXCR2 in Complex with the First PDZ Domain of NHERF1. PLoS One. 2013;8:e76219.

    Wang S, Wu Y, Hou Y, Guan X, Castelvetere MP, Oblak JJ, Banerjee S, Filtz TM, Sarkar FH, Chen X, Jena BP, Li C. CXCR2 macromolecular complex in pancreatic cancer: a potential therapeutic target in tumor growth. Transl Oncol. 2013;6:216-25

    Wu Y, Wang S, Li C. In vitro analysis of PDZ-dependent CFTR macromolecular signaling complexes. J Vis Exp.(in press).

    Wu Y, Wang S, Farooq SM, Castelvetere MP, Hou Y, Gao J-L, Navarro JV, Oupicky D, Sun F, Li C. A chemokine receptor CXCR2 macromolecular complex regulates neutrophil functions in inflammatory diseases. J Biol Chem. 2012;287:5744-55.

    Ray R, Li C, Bhattacharya S, Naren AP, Johnson LR. Spermine, a molecular switch regulating EGFR, Integrin β3, Src, and FAK scaffolding. Cell Signal. 2012;24:931-42.

    Education and Training

    PhD in Physiology (2001-2005): University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee
    Post-Doc (2005-2008): University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee