Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Louisiana State Univ Medical Center (2014)
  • Master of Science, Wuhan University (2008)
  • Bachelor of Science, Wuhan University (2006)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • CD147 Promotes Entry of Pentamer-Expressing Human Cytomegalovirus into Epithelial and Endothelial Cells. mBio Vanarsdall, A. L., Pritchard, S. R., Wisner, T. W., Liu, J., Jardetzky, T. S., Johnson, D. C. 2018; 9 (3)


    Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) replicates in many diverse cell types in vivo, and entry into different cells involves distinct entry mechanisms and different envelope glycoproteins. HCMV glycoprotein gB is thought to act as the virus fusogen, apparently after being triggered by different gH/gL proteins that bind distinct cellular receptors or entry mediators. A trimer of gH/gL/gO is required for entry into all cell types, and entry into fibroblasts involves trimer binding to platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFR?). HCMV entry into biologically relevant epithelial and endothelial cells and monocyte-macrophages also requires a pentamer, gH/gL complexed with UL128, UL130, and UL131, and there is evidence that the pentamer binds unidentified receptors. We screened an epithelial cell cDNA library and identified the cell surface protein CD147, which increased entry of pentamer-expressing HCMV into HeLa cells but not entry of HCMV that lacked the pentamer. A panel of CD147-specific monoclonal antibodies inhibited HCMV entry into epithelial and endothelial cells, but not entry into fibroblasts. shRNA silencing of CD147 in endothelial cells inhibited HCMV entry but not entry into fibroblasts. CD147 colocalized with HCMV particles on cell surfaces and in endosomes. CD147 also promoted cell-cell fusion induced by expression of pentamer and gB in epithelial cells. However, soluble CD147 did not block HCMV entry and trimer and pentamer did not bind directly to CD147, supporting the hypothesis that CD147 acts indirectly through other proteins. CD147 represents the first HCMV entry mediator that specifically functions to promote entry of pentamer-expressing HCMV into epithelial and endothelial cells.IMPORTANCE Human cytomegalovirus infects nearly 80% of the world's population and causes significant morbidity and mortality. The current method of treatment involves the use of antiviral agents that are prone to resistance and can be highly toxic to patients; currently, there is no vaccine against HCMV available. HCMV infections involve virus dissemination throughout the body, infecting a wide variety of tissues; however, the mechanism of spread is not well understood, particularly with regard to which cellular proteins are utilized by HCMV to establish infection. This report describes the characterization of a newly identified cellular molecule that affects HCMV entry into epithelial and endothelial cells. These results will lead to a better understanding of HCMV pathogenesis and have implications for the development of future therapeutics.

    View details for DOI 10.1128/mBio.00781-18

    View details for PubMedID 29739904

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5941078

  • The IQGAP1 N-Terminus Forms Dimers, and the Dimer Interface Is Required for Binding F-Actin and Calcium-Bound Calmodulin BIOCHEMISTRY Liu, J., Kurella, V. B., LeCour, L., Vanagunas, T., Worthylake, D. K. 2016; 55 (46): 6433?44


    IQGAP1 is a multidomain scaffold protein involved in many cellular processes. We have determined the crystal structure of an N-terminal fragment spanning residues 1-191 (CHDF hereafter) that contains the entire calponin homology domain. The structure of the CHDF is very similar to those of other type 3 calponin homology domains like those from calponin, Vav, and the yeast IQGAP1 ortholog Rng2. However, in the crystal, two CHDF molecules form a "head-to-head" or parallel dimer through mostly hydrophobic interactions. Binding experiments indicate that the CHDF binds to both F-actin and Ca2+/calmodulin, but binding is mutually exclusive. On the basis of the structure, two dimer interface substitutions were introduced. While CHDFL157D disrupts the dimer in gel filtration experiments, oxidized CHDFK161C stabilizes the dimer. These results imply that the CHDF forms the same dimer in solution that is seen in the crystal structure. The disulfide-stabilized dimer displays a reduced level of F-actin binding in sedimentation assays and shows no binding to Ca2+/calmodulin in isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments, indicating that interface residues are utilized for both binding events. The Calmodulin Target Database predicts that residues 93KK94 are important for CaM binding, and indeed, the 93EE94 double mutation displays a reduced level of binding to Ca2+/calmodulin in ITC experiments. Our results indicate that the CHDF dimer interface is used for both F-actin and Ca2+/calmodulin binding, and the 93KK94 pair, near the interface, is also used for Ca2+/calmodulin binding. These results are also consistent with full-length IQGAP1 forming a parallel homodimer.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/acs.biochem.6b00745

    View details for Web of Science ID 000388913700009

    View details for PubMedID 27798963

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5543714

  • The Structural Basis for Cdc42-Induced Dimerization of IQGAPs. Structure LeCour, L., Boyapati, V. K., Liu, J., Li, Z., Sacks, D. B., Worthylake, D. K. 2016; 24 (9): 1499-1508


    In signaling, Rho-family GTPases bind effector proteins and alter their behavior. Here we present the crystal structure of Cdc42·GTP bound to the GTPase-activating protein (GAP)-related domain (GRD) of IQGAP2. Four molecules of Cdc42 are bound to two GRD molecules, which bind each other in a parallel dimer. Two Cdc42s bind very similarly to the Ras/RasGAP interaction, while the other two bind primarily to "extra domain" sequences from both GRDs, tying the GRDs together. Calorimetry confirms two-site binding of Cdc42·GTP for the GRDs of both IQGAP2 and IQGAP1. Mutation of important extra domain residues reduces binding to single-site and abrogates Cdc42 binding to a much larger IQGAP1 fragment. Importantly, Rac1·GTP displays only single-site binding to the GRDs, indicating that only Cdc42 promotes IQGAP dimerization. The structure identifies an unexpected role for Cdc42 in protein dimerization, thus expanding the repertoire of interactions of Ras family proteins with their targets.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.str.2016.06.016

    View details for PubMedID 27524202

  • Conserved sequence repeats of IQGAP1 mediate binding to Ezrin. Journal of proteome research Liu, J., Guidry, J. J., Worthylake, D. K. 2014; 13 (2): 1156-1166


    Mammalian IQGAP proteins all feature multiple ?50 amino acid sequence repeats near their N-termini, and little is known about the function of these "Repeats". We have expressed and purified the Repeats from human IQGAP1 to identify binding partners. We used mass spectrometry to identify 42 mouse kidney proteins that associate with the IQGAP1 Repeats including the ERM proteins ezrin, radixin, and moesin. ERM proteins have an N-terminal FERM domain (4.1, ezrin, radixin, moesin) through which they bind to protein targets and phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) and a C-terminal actin-binding domain and function to link the actin cytoskeleton to distinct locations on the cell cortex. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) reveals that the IQGAP1 Repeats directly bind to the ezrin FERM domain, while no binding is seen for full-length "autoinhibited" ezrin or a version of full-length ezrin intended to mimic the activated protein. ITC also indicates that the ezrin FERM domain binds to the Repeats from IQGAP2 but not the Repeats from IQGAP3. We conclude that IQGAP1 and IQGAP2 are positioned at the cell cortex by ERM proteins. We propose that the IQGAP3 Repeats may likewise bind to FERM domains for signaling purposes.

    View details for DOI 10.1021/pr400787p

    View details for PubMedID 24294828

  • Loop 5-directed Compounds Inhibit Chimeric Kinesin-5 Motors IMPLICATIONS FOR CONSERVED ALLOSTERIC MECHANISMS JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Liu, L., Parameswaran, S., Liu, J., Kim, S., Wojcik, E. J. 2011; 286 (8): 6201-6210


    The human Eg5 (HsEg5) protein is unique in its sensitivity to allosteric agents even among phylogenetic kin. For example, S-trityl-l-cysteine (STC) and monastrol are HsEg5 inhibitors that bind to a surface pocket created by the L5 loop, but neither compound inhibits the Drosophila Kinesin-5 homologue (Klp61F). Herein we ask whether or not drug sensitivity can be designed into Klp61F. Two chimeric Klp61F motor domains were engineered, bacterially expressed, and purified to test this idea. We report that effector binding can elicit a robust allosteric response comparable with HsEg5 in both motor domain chimeras. Furthermore, isothermal titration calorimetry confirms that the Klp61F chimeras have de novo binding affinities for both STC and monastrol. These data show that the mechanism of intramolecular communication between the three ligand binding sites is conserved in the Kinesin-5 family, and reconstitution of a drug binding cassette within the L5 pocket is sufficient to restore allosteric inhibition. However, the two compounds were not equivalent in their allosteric inhibition. This surprising disparity in the response between the chimeras to monastrol and STC suggests that there is more than one allosteric communication network for these effectors.

    View details for DOI 10.1074/jbc.M110.154989

    View details for Web of Science ID 000287476400029

    View details for PubMedID 21127071

  • pH induces thermal unfolding of UTI: An implication of reversible and irreversible mechanism based on the analysis of thermal stability, thermodynamic, conformational characterization JOURNAL OF FLUORESCENCE Fan, H., Liu, J., Ren, W., Zheng, Z., Zhang, Y., Yang, X., Li, H., Wang, X., Zou, G. 2008; 18 (2): 305-317


    The thermal unfolding of Urinary Trypsin Inhibitor (UTI) was studied by several methods: Circular Dichroism (CD), Fluorescence and UV-Vis spectra. Thermal melting of UTI, dissolved in the neutral and basic buffers, was proved to be irreversible and two domains of UTI unfolded simultaneously, but the melting was reversible and the intermediate was observed when pH is lower than 4.2. The result suggested that heat and changes in pH, which had a more important impact on the stabilization of the domain I and the interaction between two domains, might cause different unfolding transitions. A reasonable explanation was deduced for the mechanism of reversible and irreversible thermal unfolding based on the effect of pH on the protein structure, the analysis of thermal transitions and the result of Electron Microscopy: In neutral and basic buffers, the Reactive Central Loop (RCL) in domain II can interact with or insert into the partial expanding domain I and UTI become self-polymerization, however, no aggregation can be observed in acid buffer since low pH and heat destabilized the structure of the domain I and the native conformation can restructure. The interaction between the special structural element RCL and domain I play an important role in the formation of polymer which was different from other two reasons given by other authors--the cleavage of disulfide and the formation of irregular polymer mainly based on hydrophobic interaction.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10895-007-0270-5

    View details for Web of Science ID 000253896400009

    View details for PubMedID 17992566

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