• Rui Zhao is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. Dr. Zhao received his B.S. degree from Beijing University in China (1998) and Ph.D. degree from the University of Iowa (2004). He received his postdoctoral training in Dr. George Daley’s laboratory at Children’s Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, and joined the UAB faculty in 2012.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2019 A unified mechanism for intron and exon definition and back-splicingNature.  573:375-380. 2019
    2019 RNAs in the spliceosome: Insight from cryoEM structuresWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: RNA.  10. 2019
    2019 Author Correction: ZSCAN10 expression corrects the genomic instability of iPSCs from aged donors (Nature Cell Biology, (2017), 19, 9, (1037-1048), 10.1038/ncb3598)Nature Cell Biology.  21:531-532. 2019
    2019 Characterization of iPSCs derived from low grade gliomas revealed early regional chromosomal amplifications during gliomagenesisJournal of Neuro-Oncology.  141:289-301. 2019
    2019 Smad7 promotes healing of radiotherapy-induced oral mucositis without compromising oral cancer therapy in a xenograft mouse modelClinical Cancer Research.  25:808-818. 2019
    2019 Interleukin-37 monomer is the active form for reducing innate immunityProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  116:5514-5522. 2019
    2019 Structural and functional analyses of an allosteric EyA2 phosphatase inhibitor that has on-target effects in human lung cancer cellsMolecular Cancer Therapeutics.  18:1484-1496. 2019
    2018 Erratum to: Eya3 partners with PP2A to induce c-Myc stabilization and tumor progression (Nature Communications, (2018), 9, 1, (1047), 10.1038/s41467-018-03327-4)Nature Communications.  9. 2018
    2018 Eya3 partners with PP2A to induce c-Myc stabilization and tumor progressionNature Communications.  9. 2018
    2018 De novo computational RNA modeling into cryo-EM maps of large ribonucleoprotein complexesNature methods.  15:947-954. 2018
    2018 CPP-E1A fusion peptides inhibit CtBP-mediated transcriptional repressionMolecular Oncology.  12:1358-1373. 2018
    2018 Eya3 promotes breast tumor-associated immune suppression via threonine phosphatase-mediated PD-L1 upregulationJournal of Clinical Investigation.  128:2535-2550. 2018
    2018 Erratum: Author Correction: CryoEM structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae U1 snRNP offers insight into alternative splicing (Nature communications (2017) 8 1 (1035))Nature Communications.  9:1495. 2018
    2018 The Eya phosphatase: Its unique role in cancerThe International journal of biochemistry.  96:165-170. 2018
    2017 Structure of the yeast spliceosomal postcatalytic P complexScience.  358:1278-1283. 2017
    2017 CryoEM structure of Saccharomyces cerevisiae U1 snRNP offers insight into alternative splicingNature Communications.  8. 2017
    2017 Biological Significance of the Suppression of Oxidative Phosphorylation in Induced Pluripotent Stem CellsCell Reports.  21:2058-2065. 2017
    2017 Elevated p53 Activities Restrict Differentiation Potential of MicroRNA-Deficient Pluripotent Stem CellsStem Cell Reports.  9:1604-1617. 2017
    2017 RNA Exosome Complex-Mediated Control of Redox Status in Pluripotent Stem CellsStem Cell Reports.  9:1053-1061. 2017
    2017 ZSCAN10 expression corrects the genomic instability of iPSCs from aged donorsNature Cell Biology.  19:1037-1048. 2017
    2017 Understanding pre-mRNA splicing through crystallographyMethods.  125:55-62. 2017
    2017 The role of CtBP1 in oncogenic processes & its potential as a therapeutic targetMolecular Cancer Therapeutics.  16:981-990. 2017
    2017 Small regulators making big impacts: Regulation of neural stem cells by small non-coding RNAsNeural Regeneration Research.  12:397-398. 2017
    2017 Canonical microRNAs Enable Differentiation, Protect Against DNA Damage, and Promote Cholesterol Biosynthesis in Neural Stem CellsJournal of Hematotherapy.  26:177-188. 2017
    2016 Generation of HEXA-deficient hiPSCs from fibroblasts of a Tay-Sachs disease patientStem Cell Research.  17:289-291. 2016
    2016 The regulation of rRNA gene transcription during directed differentiation of human embryonic stem cellsPLoS ONE.  11. 2016
    2015 Canonical MicroRNA Activity Facilitates but May Be Dispensable for Transcription Factor-Mediated ReprogrammingStem Cell Reports.  5:1119-1127. 2015
    2015 Brr2 plays a role in spliceosomal activation in addition to U4/U6 unwindingNucleic Acids Research.  43:3286-3297. 2015
    2015 Small molecule, NSC95397, inhibits the CTBP1-protein partner interaction and CTBP1-mediated transcriptional repressionJournal of Biomolecular Screening.  20:663-672. 2015
    2015 The SIX1-EYA transcriptional complex as a therapeutic target in cancerExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets.  19:213-225. 2015
    2014 A nontranscriptional role for Oct4 in the regulation of mitotic entryProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  111:15768-15773. 2014
    2014 Allosteric inhibitors of the Eya2 phosphatase are selective and inhibit Eya2-mediated cell migrationJournal of Biological Chemistry.  289:16349-16361. 2014
    2014 A homolog of lariat-debranching enzyme modulates turnover of branched RNARNA.  20:1337-1348. 2014
    2014 The epithelial-mesenchymal transition factor SNAIL paradoxically enhances reprogrammingStem Cell Reports.  3:691-698. 2014
    2014 The structural basis of urea-induced protein unfolding in β-cateninActa Crystallographica Section D: Biological Crystallography.  70:2840-2847. 2014
    2013 Structural analyses of the pre-mRNA splicing machineryProtein Science.  22:677-692. 2013
    2013 Structure-function analyses of the human SIX1-EYA2 complex reveal insights into metastasis and BOR syndromeNature Structural Biology.  20:447-453. 2013
    2013 Comprehensive in vivo RNA-binding site analyses reveal a role of Prp8 in spliceosomal assemblyNucleic Acids Research.  41:3805-3818. 2013
    2013 Preventive and therapeutic effects of Smad7 on radiation-induced oral mucositisNature Medicine.  19:421-428. 2013
    2013 Identification of a selective small-molecule inhibitor series targeting the eyes absent 2 (Eya2) phosphatase activityJournal of Biomolecular Screening.  18:85-96. 2013
    2012 Transcriptional down-regulation of Brca1 and E-cadherin by CtBP1 in breast cancerMolecular Carcinogenesis.  51:500-507. 2012
    2012 Eya2 is required to mediate the pro-metastatic functions of Six1 via the induction of TGF-Β signaling, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, and cancer stem cell propertiesOncogene.  31:552-562. 2012
    2012 Erratum: Donor cell type can influence the epigenome and differentiation potential of human induced pluripotent stem cells (Nature Biotechnology (2011) 29 (1117-1119))Nature Biotechnology.  30:112. 2012
    2011 Donor cell type can influence the epigenome and differentiation potential of human induced pluripotent stem cellsNature Biotechnology.  29:1117-1119. 2011
    2011 Cell cycle adaptations of embryonic stem cellsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  108:19252-19257. 2011
    2011 Gene bookmarking accelerates the kinetics of post-mitotic transcriptional re-activationNature Cell Biology.  13:1295-1304. 2011
    2011 Structural basis for nematode eIF4E binding an m 2,2,7G-Cap and its implications for translation initiationNucleic Acids Research.  39:8820-8832. 2011
    2011 A high-throughput TNP-ATP displacement assay for screening inhibitors of ATP-binding in bacterial histidine kinasesASSAY and Drug Development Technologies.  9:174-183. 2011
    2010 Interaction of JMJD6 with single-stranded RNAProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  107:14568-14572. 2010
    2010 Identical phosphatase mechanisms achieved through distinct modes of binding phosphoprotein substrateProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  107:1924-1929. 2010
    2010 Epigenetic memory in induced pluripotent stem cellsNature.  467:285-290. 2010
    2009 Structural insights into parasite eIF4E binding specificity for m7G and m2,2,7G mRNA capsJournal of Biological Chemistry.  284:31336-31349. 2009
    2009 Biochemical and functional characterization of six SIX1 Branchio-oto-renal syndrome mutationsJournal of Biological Chemistry.  284:20781-20790. 2009
    2009 Structural evidence for consecutive Hel308-like modules in the spliceosomal ATPase Brr2Nature Structural Biology.  16:731-739. 2009
    2009 Nuclear neighborhoods and gene expressionCurrent Opinion in Genetics and Development.  19:172-179. 2009
    2008 Crystal structure of the β-finger domain of Prp8 reveals analogy to ribosomal proteinsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  105:13817-13822. 2008
    2008 Generation of human-induced pluripotent stem cellsNature Protocols.  3:1180-1186. 2008
    2008 Histone H3K4me3 Binding Is Required for the DNA Repair and Apoptotic Activities of ING1 Tumor SuppressorJournal of Molecular Biology.  380:303-312. 2008
    2008 Distinct activities of the DExD/H-box splicing factor hUAP56 facilitate stepwise assembly of the spliceosomeGenes and Development.  22:1796-1803. 2008
    2008 The Hsp90 Inhibitor Radicicol Interacts with the ATP-Binding Pocket of Bacterial Sensor Kinase PhoQJournal of Molecular Biology.  379:82-93. 2008
    2008 From fibroblasts to iPS cells: Induced pluripotency by defined factorsJournal of Cellular Biochemistry.  105:949-955. 2008
    2008 Reprogramming of human somatic cells to pluripotency with defined factorsNature.  451:141-146. 2008
    2007 Crystal structures of four types of human papillomavirus L1 capsid proteins: Understanding the specificity of neutralizing monoclonal antibodiesJournal of Biological Chemistry.  282:31803-31811. 2007
    2007 Biochemical characterization of the ATPase and helicase activity of UAP56, an essential pre-mRNA splicing and mRNA export factorJournal of Biological Chemistry.  282:22544-22550. 2007
    2007 Crystal structure of the C-terminal domain of splicing factor Prp8 carrying retinitis pigmentosa mutantsProtein Science.  16:1024-1031. 2007
    2006 Molecular mechanism of histone H3K4me3 recognition by plant homeodomain of ING2Nature.  442:100-103. 2006
    2005 Phenotypic Switching in Candida glabrata Accompanied by Changes in Expression of Genes with Deduced Functions in Copper Detoxification and StressEukaryotic Cell.  4:1434-1445. 2005
    2005 Unique Aspects of Gene Expression during Candida albicans Mating and Possible G1 DependencyEukaryotic Cell.  4:1175-1190. 2005
    2005 Increased Virulence and Competitive Advantage of a/  Over a/a or  /  Offspring Conserves the Mating System of Candida albicansGenetics.  169:1883-1890. 2005
    2004 Mechanisms of conformational change for a replicative hexameric helicase of SV40 large tumor antigenCell.  119:47-60. 2004
    2004 Crystal structure of UAP56, a DExD/H-Box protein involved in pre-mRNA splicing and mRNA exportStructure.  12:1373-1381. 2004
    2004 EVI1 induces myelodysplastic syndrome in miceJournal of Clinical Investigation.  114:713-719. 2004
    2003 -Pheromone-Induced "Shmooing" and Gene Regulation Require White-Opaque Switching during Candida albicans MatingEukaryotic Cell.  2:847-855. 2003
    2003 Erratum: Structure of the replicative helicase of the oncoprotein SV40 large tumour antigen (Nature (2003) 423 (512-518))Nature.  425:102. 2003
    2003 Structure of a specific alcohol-binding site defined by the odorant binding protein LUSH from Drosophila melanogasterNature Structural Biology.  10:694-700. 2003
    2003 Relationship between Switching and Mating in Candida albicansEukaryotic Cell.  2:390-397. 2003
    2003 Structure of the replicative helicase of the oncoprotein SV40 large tumour antigenNature.  423:512-518. 2003
    2003 Mating and virulence of Candida albicansMycologist.  17:64-69. 2003
    2003 CheZ-mediated dephosphorylation of the Escherichia coli chemotaxis response regulator CheY: Role for CheY glutamate 89Journal of Bacteriology.  185:1495-1502. 2003
    2003 Cell Biology of Mating in Candida albicansEukaryotic Cell.  2:49-61. 2003
    2002 Erratum: Structure and catalytic mechanism of the E. coli chemotaxis phosphatase CheZ (Nature Structural Biology (2002) 9 (570-575))Nature Structural Biology.  9:711. 2002
    2002 Roles of TUP1 in Switching, Phase Maintenance, and Phase-Specific Gene Expression in Candida albicansEukaryotic Cell.  1:353-365. 2002
    2002 The leukemia-associated transcription repressor aml1/mds1/evi1 requires ctbp to induce abnormal growth and differentiation of murine hematopoietic cellsOncogene.  21:3232-3240. 2002
    2002 Structure and catalytic mechanism of the e. coli chemotaxis phosphatase chezNature Structural Biology.  9:570-575. 2002
    2001 T Cell Activity Correlates with Oligomeric Peptide-Major Histocompatibility Complex Binding on T Cell SurfaceJournal of Biological Chemistry.  276:47320-47328. 2001
    2001 Enhancing cytotoxic T cell responses with altered-peptide ligandsArchivum Immunologiae et Therapiae Experimentalis.  49:271-277. 2001
    2000 Class I MHC is stabilized against thermal denaturation by physiological concentrations of NaClBiochemistry.  39:9030-9038. 2000
    2000 Correlated switch binding and signaling in bacterial chemotaxisJournal of Biological Chemistry.  275:19752-19758. 2000
    1999 Structural evidence of T cell xeno-reactivity in the absence of molecular mimicryJournal of Experimental Medicine.  189:359-370. 1999

    Research Overview

  • The overall goal of the Zhao laboratory is to model and treat human genetic diseases using stem cells. Stem cells have the capacity to generate identical daughter stem cells (self-renewal) and to differentiate into terminally differentiated cell types (pluripotency or multipotency), therefore serving as a powerful in vitro tool to study normal and diseased human embryo development and a potential donor tissue sourcefor cell therapy. The current research of the Zhao Laboratory is focusing on the following areas:

    1.The basic biology of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs)
    We are interested in understanding the underlying mechanisms that regulate self-renewal and differentiation of human and mouse and PSCs.These knowledge are critical to design novel methods to generate disease-relevant cell types for disease modeling and stem cell therapy. We are interested in the roles of microRNAs, the small non-coding RNAs critical for post-transcriptional regulation, inself-renewal, lineage differentiation, and somatic cell reprogramming of human and mouse PSCs.

    2. Model human congenital diseases using pluripotent stem cells
    The defects of congenital diseases usually occur during human embryo development, which is inaccessible for experimentation. Although animal models have played indispensable roles in understanding human diseases, they often fail to mimic features unique to human. Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) generated from patient cells (e.g., skinfibroblasts, peripheralblood), which carry all genetic abnormalities of the disease, serve as a novel in vitro model to recapitulate the diseased embryo development. Currently, we are modeling monogenic congenital diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and Tay-Sachs disease (TSD) and diseases with chromosomal fragment deletions such as DiGeorge Syndrome (DGS). We also evaluate the efficacy of potential gene therapy methods using the hiPSC disease models.

    3. Model human cancer using pluripotent stem cells
    Brain tumors (gliomas) are incurable and are among the most fatal tumors in adult. We have established hiPSCs from primary glioma cells. We are in the process of establishing an in vitro model of gliomagenesis using the glioma cell-derived hiPSCs. We expect that this model will facilitate identification of novel drug targets and development of new therapies to treat gliomas.
  • Teaching Overview

  • (2018) GBS-708 Genetics (Course co-director)
    (2018) GBS-723 Model Systems for Genetic Analyses
    (2018) GBSC-710 Advanced Chromatin Biology
    (2018) GBSC-718 Epigenetics
    (2018) GBSC-735 Discoveries in Molecular Biology

    (2017) GBS-708 Genetics
    (2017) GBS-723 Model Systems for Genetic Analyses
    (2017) GBSC-710 Advanced Chromatin Biology
    (2017) GBSC-718 Epigenetics

    (2016) GBS-708 Genetics
    (2016) GBSC-710 Advanced Chromatin Biology
    (2016) GBSC-718 Epigenetics

    (2015) GBSC-710 Advanced Chromatin Biology
    (2015) GBSC-718 Epigenetics

    (2014) GBS-780 BSB Lab Methods
    (2014) GBSC-710 Advanced Chromatin Biology

    (2013) GBS-780 BSB Lab Methods
  • Education And Training

  • Children's Hospital Boston/Harvard Medical School/Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Developmental Biology and Embryology, University of Iowa 2004
  • Bachelor of Science or Mathematics in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Peking University 1998
  • Full Name

  • Rui Zhao