Zeng-Quan Yang

Zeng-Quan Yang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
4100 John R.
Detroit, MI 48201

Mentoring: Morenci Manning ( Year 4)

Research Interests:
Understand the genetic and epigenetic basis for the development and progression of human breast and prostate cancer.
Elucidate the fundamental mechanism by which dysregulations of histone lysine methyltransferases and demethylases contribute to tumorigenesis.
Study the role of endoplasmic reticulum factors in promoting breast cancer progression and drug-resistance.

Research Description:
Our research efforts have been focusing on understanding how genetic and epigenetic aberrations cause cancers, and identifying novel therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. In particular, we are focusing on genetic aberrations of histone lysine methyltransferases (KMTs) and demethylases (KDMs) in breast and prostate cancers. Recently my laboratory conducted a metagenomic analysis of KMTs and KDMs in breast cancer and identified associations among recurrent copy number alterations, gene expression, breast cancer subtypes, and clinical outcome. We identified seven KMT/KDMs have the highest frequency of genetic amplification and overexpression in aggressive basal breast cancer. One of them is the amplified in squamous cell carcinoma 1 (GASC1, also known as KDM4C) that was originally identified from the 9p24 amplified region of esophageal cancer cell lines. Our more recent experiments demonstrate that GASC1/KDM4C induces transformed phenotypes in vitro, and regulates a subset of genes involved in breast tumorigenesis. We are currently studying the fundamental mechanism of these KMT/KDMs in driving breast and prostate cancer growth, so that they can be developed as potential novel therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. Another project in our laboratory is aimed at studying the role of endoplasmic reticulum factors in malignancy maintenance and therapeutic resistance of breast cancer.

Selected Publications:

Huimei Yu, Yuanyuan Jiang, Lanxin Liu, Wenqi Shan, Xiaofang Chu, Zhe Yang and Yang Z-Q. Integrative genomic and transcriptomic analysis for pinpointing recurrent alterations of plant homeodomain genes and their clinical significance in breast cancer. Oncotarget (Epub ahead of print), 2016.

Jiemei Wang, Yining Qiu, Li li, Yang Z-Q, Zhang, Kezhong, Inositol Requiring Enzyme 1α Facilitates Diabetic Wound Healing through Modulating microRNAs.  Diabetes. 2017;66:177-92.

Zhang K, Wang G, Zhang X, Hüttemann PP, Qiu Y, Liu J, Mitchell A, Lee I, Zhang C, Lee JS, Pecina P, Wu G, Yang Z-Q, Hüttemann M, Grossman LI. COX7AR is a Stress-inducible Mitochondrial COX Subunit that Promotes Breast Cancer Malignancy. Sci Rep. 2016;6:31742.

Movassaghian S, Xie Y, Hildebrandt C, Rosati R, Li Y, Kim NH, Conti DS, da Rocha SR, Yang Z-Q, Merkel OM. Post-Transcriptional Regulation of the GASC1 Oncogene with Active Tumor-Targeted siRNA-Nanoparticles. Mol Pharm. 2016;13:2605-21. 

Jiang Y, Liu L, Shan W and Yang Z-Q.  An integrated genomic analysis of Tudor domain–containing proteins identifies PHD finger protein 20-like 1 (PHF20L1) as a candidate oncogene in breast cancer. Molecular Oncology. 2016;10:292-302.

Liu H, Liu L, Holowatyj A, Jiang Y, Yang Z-Q. Integrated genomic and functional analyses of histone demethylases identify oncogenic KDM2A isoform in breast cancer. Mol Carcinog. 2016;55:977-90. 

Xuebao Zhang, Juan Cai, Ze Zheng, Lisa Polin, Zhenghong Lin, Aditya Dandekar, Li Li, Fei Sun, Russell L Finley Jr, Deyu Fang, Yang Z-Q & Kezhong Zhang.  A novel ER–microtubule-binding protein, ERLIN2, stabilizes Cyclin B1 and regulates cell cycle progression. Cell Discovery.  2015;1:15024.

Ye Q, Holowatyj A, Wu J, Liu H, Zhang L, Suzuki T, Yang Z-Q. Genetic alterations of KDM4 subfamily and therapeutic effect of novel demethylase inhibitor in breast cancer. Am J Cancer Res. 2015;5:1519-30. 

Liu L, Kimball S, Liu H, Holowatyj A and Yang Z-Q . Genetic alterations of histone lysine methyltransferases and their significance in breast cancer, Oncotarget. 2015;10:2466-82. 

Education and Training
BS in Medicine (1985): Taishan Medical College, Shandong, China
MS in Basic Medical Science (1990): Peking Union Medical College (Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences) Beijing, China
PhD (2001): Tokyo Medical & Dental University
Post-Doc (2001-2004): University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Cancer Biology Courses Taught:
CB7210 Fundamentals of Cancer Biology