On October 12, 2015, Prof. Kunliang Guan visited Institute of Biophysics, CAS and gave a lecture entitled The Hippo-YAP Pathway in Cell Growth, Organ Size, and Tumorigenesis. The lecture, which was part of the special lecture series named “Shizhang Bei Lecture” of Institute of Biophysics, was hosted by Prof. Hong Zhang. Prof. Kunliang Guan is a distinguished professor in the Department of Pharmacology at UCSD. He received his B.S. Degree from Hangzhou University in Zhejiang Province, China, and subsequently completed his Ph. D at Purdue University under the supervison of Henry Weiner. His postdoctoral work in Dr. Jack Dixion`s lab contributes to multiple discoveries, including dual specific phosphatases. He has made seminal discoveries in biomedical sciences that stretch across a wide range of disciplines, including, but not limited to, bacterial and viral pathogenesis, cancer biology, and metabolism. Currently, his laboratory studies signaling mechanisms that control organ size and tumorigenesis, with particular emphasis on the mTOR and Hippo-YAP pathway.
Prof. Kunliang Guan introduced their recent progress on the study of Hippo-YAP pathway. The Hippo pathway is crucial in development, tissue homeostasis, and organ size control, and its dysregulation contributes to tumorigenesis. The previous studies from Prof. Guan`s lab have established the biochemical mechanism of the YAP oncoprotein inhibition by the Hippo pathway kinase Lats, which induces YAP cytoplasmic retention and degradation via phosphorylation. Prof. Kunliang Guan showed that the Hippo pathway is regulated by cell density and G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Recently, they found that the Hippo pathway is also potently regulated by cellular energy stress using a mechanism that AMPK inhibits YAP via both LATS dependent and independent manner. Prof. Kunliang Guan pointed out that they have also identified new kinases that can directly phosphorylate and activate LATS, thereby expanding the Hippo pathway core components.
Prof. Kunliang Guan gave the lecture with vivid words, rigorous logic and great passion, which can be a lively lesson for the audience. Investigators from Institute of Biophysics attending the lecture included Dr. Ming Sun, Ruiming Xu, Xiyun Yan, Bing Zhuand Long Miao. After the lecture, Prof. Kunliang Guan and the audience shared their views on the issues of common interest.