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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Xue-Zhong Yu, MD & MS

Dr. Yu PictureProfessor

Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Department of Medicine
Distinguished Endowed Chair
SmartState Cancer Stem Cell Biology & Therapy Program
Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Yu received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medicine (an MD equivalent) and then a Master of Science in Immunology from Peking University Health Sciences Center in Beijing China.  After his residency in Nanchang China, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.

Contact Info
Phone: (843) 792-4756
Office: HCC HO350
Lab: HCC HO356

Research Interests

The research in Dr. Yu’s Lab focuses on the biology of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT).  The ultimate goal of these studies is to prevent or treat GVHD while preserving GVL effect, which could greatly enhance the therapeutic potential of HSCT.  Because T cells play central role to induce GVHD and mediated GVL effect, understanding T-cell response to normal tissue versus tumor cells is critical for achieving the ultimate goal.  The major lines of current work in Dr. Yu’s Lab include: 1) T-cell differentiation and GVHD development; 2) Biology of regulatory T cells and their potential application in the control of GVHD; 3) Understanding how micro-RNAs regulate T- and B-cell responses after allogeneic HSCT; 4) Evaluation of metabolic pathways or intermediates as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in GVHD and leukemia relapse. 

Recent Publications

Liang Y, Liu C, Djeu JY, Zhong B, Peters T, Scharffetter-Kochanek K, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2008) Beta2 integrins separate graft-versus-host disease and graft-versus-leukemia effects.  Blood 111(2):954-62. PMID: 17928532

Wang H., Peters T, Sindrilaru A, Kess D, Oreshkova T, Yu XZ, Seier AM, Schreiber H, Wlaschek M, Blakytny R, Rohrbein J, Schulz G, Weiss J, and Scharffetter-Kochanek K. (2008) TGF-beta-dependent suppressive function of Tregs requires wild-type levles of CD18 in a mouse model of psoriasis. J Clin Invest 118(7):2629-39.

Guo F, Iclozan C, Suh WK, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2008) CD28 controls differentiation of regulatory T cells from naive CD4 T cells.  J Immunol 181(4):2285-9. PMID: 18684917

Yu Y, Iclozan C, Yamazaki T, Yang X, Anasetti C, Dong C, and Yu XZ. (2009) Abundant c-Fas-associated death domain-like interleukin-1-converting enzyme inhibitory protein expression determines resistance of T helper 17 cells to activation-induced cell death.  Blood 114(5):1026-8. PMID: 19429865

Valenzuela JO, Iclozan C, Hossain MS, Prlic M, Hopewell E, Bronk CC, Wang J, Celis E, Engelman RW, Blazar BR, Bevan MJ, Waller EK, Yu XZ, and Beg AA. (2009) PKCtheta is required for alloreactivity and GVHD but not for immune responses toward leukemia and infection in mice.  J Clin Invest 119(12):3774-86. PMID: 19907075

Iclozan C, Yu Y, Liu C, Liang Y, Yi T, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2010) T helper17 cells are sufficient but not necessary to induce acute graft-versus-host disease.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 16(2):170-8. PMID: 19804837

Semple K, Yu Y, Wang D, and Yu XZ. (2011) Efficient and selective prevention of graft-versus-host disease by antigen-specific induced regulatory T cells in miceBiol Bone Marrow Transplant 17(3):309.

Semple K, Nguyen A, Yu Y, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2011) Strong CD28 costimulation suppresses generation of induced regulatory T cells from naïve precursors through Lck signaling. Blood 117(11):3096. 

Li J, Semple K, Liu C, Chen F, Blazar BR, and Yu XZ. (2011) Role of CD28, CTLA4 and ICOS in acute graft versus-host disease mediated by CD4 T cells in mice. Biol Bone Marrow Transplant 17(7):962. 

Yu Y, Wang D, Liu C, Kaosaard K, Semple K, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2011) Prevention of GVHD while sparing GVL effect by targeting Th1 and Th17 transcription factor T-bet and RORγt in mice.  Blood 118(18):5011-20. PMID: 21856864

Veerapathran A, Pidala J, Beato F, Yu XZ, and Anasetti C. (2011) Ex vivo expansion of human Tregs specific for alloantigens presented directly or indirectly. Blood 118(20):5671-80. PMID: 21948174

Yu Y, Yu J, Liu C, Iclozan C, Kaosaard K, Anasetti C,and Yu XZ. (2012) Bim is required for T-cell allogeneic responses and graft-versus-host disease in vivo. Am J Blood Res 2(1):77.

Wang D, Iclozan C, Liu C, Xia C, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2012) LBH589 enhances T cell activation in vivo and accelerates graft-versus-host disease in mice. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant (8):1182-1190. PMID: 22698484

Yu Y, Cho HI, Wang D, Kaosaard K, Anasetti C, Celis E, and Yu XZ. (2013) Adoptive transfer of Tc1 or Tc17 cells elicits antitumor immunity against established melanoma through distinct mechanisms.  J Immunol 190(4):1873-81. PMID: 23315072

Wang D, Yu Y, Haarberg K, Fu J, Kaosaard K, Nagaraj S, Anasetti C, Gabrilovich D, and Yu XZ. (2013) Dynamic change and impact of myeloid-derived suppressor cells in allogeneic bone marrow transplantation in mice.  Biol Blood Marrow Transplant (5):692-702.  PMID: 23376089

Li J, Heinrichs J, Leconte J, Haarberg K, Semple K, Liu C, Gigoux M, Kornete M, Piccirillo CA, Suh WK, and Yu XZ. (2013) Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase-Independent Signaling Pathways Contribute to ICOS-Mediated T Cell Costimulation in Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease in Mice.  J Immunol 191(1)200.  PMID: 23729441

Yu Y, Wang D, Kaosaard K, Liu C, Fu J, Haarberg K, Anasetti C, Beg AA, and Yu XZ. (2013) C-Rel is an essential transcription factor for the development of acute graft-versus-host disease in mice.  Eur J Immunol 43(9):2327. PMID: 23716202

Veerapathran A, Pidala J, Beato F, Betts B, Kim J, Turner JG, Hellerstein MK, Yu XZ, Janssen W, and Anasetti C. (2013) Human regulatory T cells against minor histocompatibility antigens: ex vivo expansion for prevention of graft-versus-host diseaseBlood 122(13):2251. 

Haarberg MK, Li J, Jeinrichs J, Wang D, Liu C, Bronk CC, Kaosaard K, Owyang AM, Holland S, Masuda E, Tso K, Blazar BR, Anasetti C, Beg AA, and Yu XZ. (2013)  Pharmacologic inhibition of PKCα and PKCθ prevents GVHD while preserving GVL activity in mice. Blood 122(14):2500.  Featured Article in that Issue.  

Betts BC, Veerapatharan A, Pidala J, Yu XZ, and Anasetti C. (2014) STAT5 polarization promotes iTregs and suppresses human T-cell alloresponses while preserving CTL capacity. J Leukoc Biol 95(2):205.

Chatterjee S, Thyagarajan K, Kesarwani P, Song JH, Soloshchenko M, Fu J, Bailey SR, Vasu C, Kraft AS, Paulos CM, and Yu XZ and Mehrotra S. (2014) Reducing CD73 expression by IL1β-programmed Th17 cells improves immunotherapeutic control of tumors. Cancer Res 74(21):6048.

Bronk CC, Yoder S, Hopewell EL, Yang S, Celis E, Yu XZ, and Beg AA. (2014) NF-κB is crucial in proximal T-cell signaling for calcium influx and NFAT activationEur J Immunol 44(12):3741.

Fu J, Wang, Yu Y, Heinrichs J, Wu Y, Schutt S, Kaosaard K, Liu C, Haarberg K, Bastian D, McDonald DG, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2015) T-bet is critical for the development of acute graft-versus-host disease through controlling T-cell differentiation and function. J Immunol 194(1):388. 

Xiao G, Wang X, Sheng J, Lu S, Yu XZ, and Wu JD. (2015) Soluble NKG2D ligand promotes MDSC expansion and skews macrophage to the alternatively activated phenotype. J Hematology & Oncology 8:13.

Wu Y, D Bastian, S Schutt, HD Nguyen, J Fu, J Heinrichs, C Xia, and Yu XZ. (2015) Essential role of interleukin-12/23p40 in the development of graft-verse-host disease in mice. Biol Bone Marrow Transplant 21(7):1195.

Li J, Heinrichs J, Haarberg K, Semple K, Veerapathran A, Liu C, Anasetti C, and Yu XZ. (2015) HY-specific induced regulatory T cells display high specificity and efficacy in the prevention of acute graft-versus-host disease. J Immunol 195(2):717.

Zhang L, Ke F, Liu Z, Bai J, Liu J, Yan S, Xu Z, Lou F, Wang H, Zhu H, Sun Y, Cai W, Gao Y, Li Q, Yu XZ, Qian Y, Hua Z, Deng J, Li QJ, and Wang H. (2015) MicroRNA-31 negatively regulates peripherally derived regulatory T-cell generation by repressing retinoic acid-inducible protein 3. Nat Commun 6:7639.

Yan S, Xu Z, Lou F, Zhang L, Ke F, Bai J, Liu Z, Liu J, Wang H, Zhu H, Sun Y, Cai W, Gao Y, Su B, Li Q, Yang X, Yu J, Lai Y, Yu XZ, Zheng Y, Shen N, Chin YE, and Wang H. (2015) NF-κB-induced microRNA-31 promotes epidermal hyperplasia by repressing protein phosphatase 6 in psoriasis. Nat Commun 6:7652.

Wu Y, D Bastian, J Heinrichs, HD Nguyen, J Fu, C Liu, J Jin, QJ Li, C Xia, and Yu XZ. (2015) MicroRNA-17-92 controls T-cell responses in graft-versus-host disease and leukemia relapse in mice. Blood 126 (11):1314.

Schutt S, J Fu, H Nguyen, D. Bastian, J Heinrichs, Y Wu, C Liu, J Pidala, and Yu XZ. (2015) Inhibition of BTK and ITK with Ibrutinib is effective in the prevention of chronic graft-versus-host disease in mice. PLoS One 10 (9): e0137641.

Fu J, Y Wu, H Nguyen, J Heinrichs, S Schutt, C Liu, and Yu XZ. (2015) T-bet promotes acute graft-versus-host disease through hematopoietic antigen presenting cells in mice. J Immunol, in revision.

Nguyen HD, KM Haarberg, Y Wu, J Fu, J. Heinrichs, D. Bastian, S Schutt, S Chatterjee, S Shrestha, C Liu, S Mehrotra, H Chi, and Yu XZ. (2015) Distinct metabolic reprograming of T cells in response to alloantigen after hematopoietic cell transplantation. J Clin Invest, in revision.

Current Research Support

Alloreactive Regulatory T cells Control GVHD and Maintain GVL (PI)
NIH/NCI  R01 CA118116
08/01/2006 – 06/30/2016

Elucidating the Function of PKC-theta in Alloreactivity and GVHD (Co-PI)
NIH/NIAID  R01 AI082685
06/01/2010 – 05/31/2016

Targeting IL-12/23 p40 Pathways for the Control of GVHD (PI)
NIH/NCI  R01 CA169116
03/01/2013 – 02/28/2018

JAK2/STAT3 as a Therapeutic Target and Marker of GVHD (Co-Mentor)
NIH/NHLBI  K08 HL116547
7/01/2013 – 6/30/2018

Identification and Validation of T-cell Metabolic Targets for Controlling GVHD and Leukemia Relapse (PI)
NIH/NCI  R21 CA192202
2/01/2015 – 1/31/2017

MicroRNA Regulates Graft-versus-Host Disease  (PI)
NIH/NIAID  R01 AI118305
08/01/2015 – 02/28/2020

South Carolina Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Program (PI) 
State of South Carolina
05/2013 -

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