Zhijun Luo, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Boston University School of Medicine
Dept of Biochemistry

MD, Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine
PhD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
MSc, Sun Yat-sen University

Research Interests: Regulation of tumor cell growth and metabolism by protein phosphorylation

The overall research interest in my laboratory is to understand how protein phosphorylation regulates cell growth and metabolism, and how its alteration causes diseases such as cancer and metabolic disorders. Our ongoing research focuses on characterization of AMP-activated protein kinase and Raf kinase, both of which have been implicated in cancer and other disorders.

AMPK serves as a fuel-sensing enzyme that is activated by binding of 5’ AMP to the? gamma subunit and phosphorylation of the catalytic subunit at Thr 172 by upstream kinases such as LKB1 and CaMKK. The activation of AMPK has been shown to improve metabolic syndrome and to be implicated in control of cancer cell growth. One of our research interests is to test the hypothesis that AMPK functions as a metabolic tumor suppressor. Using microarray and proteomic approaches, we have identified several target molecules regulated by AMPK and are currently evaluating their functional relationship with AMPK and biological relevance.

Raf kinases, consisting of three isoforms, Raf-1, B-Raf and A-Raf, act as immediate downstream effectors of Ras. They are implicated in tumorigenesis, inasmuch as activating mutations of the ras genes have been found in 20-30% of overall human cancers and activated mutants of B-Raf frequently reported in human cancers. Although the linear relationship of the Ras/Raf/MEK/Erk signaling pathway has been delineated, the mechanism of Raf activation still remains elusive. We have a long standing interest in characterizing phosphorylation of Raf for its activation, and identifying kinases responsible for these phosphorylation events and downstream targets in addition to MEK1/2.

Graduate Faculty (Primary Mentor of Grad Students)
Boston University School of Medicine, Division of Graduate Medical Sciences

Boston Medical Center

AMPK regulates angiogenesis by inhibition of the ALKI pathway
04/01/2014 - 03/31/2017 (PI)
NIH/National Eye Institute

Mechanism of RAF-1 Activation
09/01/1998 - 01/31/2010 (PI)
NIH/National Institute of General Medical Sciences
5 R01 GM57959 10

Mechanism of RAF-1 Activation
03/01/2005 - 01/31/2009 (PI)
5 R01 GM057959-07

Mechanism Of Raf-1-Activation
09/01/1998 - 08/31/2004 (PI)
5 R01 GM57959-05 (A)

Regulation Of Irs-1
01/01/1999 - 06/30/2002 (PI)
Amer Diabetes Asso

Role Of Mapk Family In Insulin
05/01/1998 - 04/30/2000 (PI)

Yr Title Project-Sub Proj Pubs
2015 AMPK regulates angiogenesis by inhibition of the ALK1 signaling pathway 5R21EY024388-02 2
2014 AMPK regulates angiogenesis by inhibition of the ALK1 signaling pathway 1R21EY024388-01 2
2010 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 5R01CA118918-05 6
2010 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 3R01CA118918-04S1 6
2009 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 5R01CA118918-04 6
2008 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 5R01CA118918-03 6
2007 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 5R01CA118918-02 6
2006 The fuel sensing enzyme AMPK in the pathogenesis of prostate cancer 1R01CA118918-01A1 6
Showing 10 of 21 results. Show All Results
Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.

  1. Lin H, Ying Y, Wang YY, Wang G, Jiang SS, Huang D, Luo L, Chen YG, Gerstenfeld LC, Luo Z. AMPK downregulates ALK2 via increasing the interaction between Smurf1 and Smad6, leading to inhibition of osteogenic differentiation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2017 12; 1864(12):2369-2377.View Related Profiles. PMID: 28847510.
  2. Li J, Liu J, Liang Z, He F, Yang L, Li P, Jiang Y, Wang B, Zhou C, Wang Y, Ren Y, Yang J, Zhang J, Luo Z, Vaziri C, Liu P. Simvastatin and Atorvastatin inhibit DNA replication licensing factor MCM7 and effectively suppress RB-deficient tumors growth. Cell Death Dis. 2017 Mar 16; 8(3):e2673. PMID: 28300827.
  3. Liang Z, Li W, Liu J, Li J, He F, Jiang Y, Yang L, Li P, Wang B, Wang Y, Ren Y, Yang J, Luo Z, Vaziri C, Liu P. Simvastatin suppresses the DNA replication licensing factor MCM7 and inhibits the growth of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells. Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 02; 7:41776. PMID: 28150753.
  4. He C, Yang Z, Cheng D, Xie C, Zhu Y, Ge Z, Luo Z, Lu N. Helicobacter pylori Infection Aggravates Diet-induced Insulin Resistance in Association With Gut Microbiota of Mice. EBioMedicine. 2016 Oct; 12:247-254. PMID: 27743904.
  5. He H, Liu D, Lin H, Jiang S, Ying Y, Chun S, Deng H, Zaia J, Wen R, Luo Z. Phosphatidylethanolamine binding protein 4 (PEBP4) is a secreted protein and has multiple functions. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jul; 1863(7 Pt A):1682-9.View Related Profiles. PMID: 27033522; DOI: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2016.03.022;.
  6. Huang D, He X, Zou J, Guo P, Jiang S, Lv N, Alekseyev Y, Luo L, Luo Z. Negative regulation of Bmi-1 by AMPK and implication in cancer progression. Oncotarget. 2016 Feb 02; 7(5):6188-200.View Related Profiles. PMID: 26717043; PMCID: PMC4868749; DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.6748;.
  7. Li NS, Zou JR, Lin H, Ke R, He XL, Xiao L, Huang D, Luo L, Lv N, Luo Z. LKB1/AMPK inhibits TGF-ß1 production and the TGF-ß signaling pathway in breast cancer cells. Tumour Biol. 2016 Jun; 37(6):8249-58. PMID: 26718214; PMCID: PMC4875963; DOI: 10.1007/s13277-015-4639-9;.
  8. Yang Z, Xie C, Xu W, Liu G, Cao X, Li W, Chen J, Zhu Y, Luo S, Luo Z, Lu N. Phosphorylation and inactivation of PTEN at residues Ser380/Thr382/383 induced by Helicobacter pylori promotes gastric epithelial cell survival through PI3K/Akt pathway. Oncotarget. 2015 Oct 13; 6(31):31916-26. PMID: 26376616; PMCID: PMC4741650; DOI: 10.18632/oncotarget.5577;.
  9. Lin H, Li N, He H, Ying Y, Sunkara S, Luo L, Lv N, Huang D, Luo Z. AMPK Inhibits the Stimulatory Effects of TGF-ß on Smad2/3 Activity, Cell Migration, and Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition. Mol Pharmacol. 2015 Dec; 88(6):1062-71. PMID: 26424816; PMCID: PMC4658597; DOI: 10.1124/mol.115.099549;.
  10. Luo L, Jiang S, Huang D, Lu N, Luo Z. MLK3 phophorylates AMPK independently of LKB1. PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0123927. PMID: 25874865; PMCID: PMC4395454; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0123927;.
Showing 10 of 72 results. Show More

This graph shows the total number of publications by year, by first, middle/unknown, or last author.

Bar chart showing 72 publications over 27 distinct years, with a maximum of 7 publications in 2011

Contact for Mentoring:

75 E. Newton St Evans Building
Boston MA 02118
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