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Xiaoyan Zheng Xiaoyan Zheng
Associate Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Office Phone: 202-994-4228
Email: Email
Department: Anatomy and Cell Biology


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The Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway organizes pattern formation in a variety of embryonic tissues and functions post-embryonically in homeostatic processes. Hh pathway dysfunction thus can lead to embryonic pattern disruptions, such as holoprosencephaly and other birth defects in humans; post-embryonic dysfunction can result in failure of adult tissue regeneration as well as proliferative disorders, such as cancer.

My primary research interest is in identifying target genes regulated by the Hh signal and thus to understand the molecular mechanisms employed by the Hh signaling pathway in regulating cell-cell interactions (I). In parallel, I am interested in developing novel reagents and experimental approaches combined with cutting-edge imaging technologies to study the biochemical and cell biological principles governing a critical yet poorly understood step of Hh signal transduction: trafficking of Hh receptors (II). These studies have broad potential significance for our understanding of the molecular basis of both development and human diseases linked to Hh pathway dysfunction, as well as for providing a basis for therapeutic modulation of pathway activity, either positively to stimulate regeneration or negatively to block malignant growth.

Centers and Institutes


Yang S, Zhang Y, Yang C, Wu X, El Oud SM, Chen R, Cai X, Wu XS, Lan G, Zheng X. Competitive coordination of the dual roles of the Hedgehog co-receptor in homophilic adhesion and signal reception. Elife. 2021 May 18;10:e65770. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65770. PMID: 34003115.

Zhang Y, Wu X, Kai Y, Lee CH, Cheng F, Li Y, Zhuang Y, Ghaemmaghami J, Chuang KH, Liu Z, Meng Y, Keswani M, Gough NR, Wu X, Zhu W, Tzatsos A, Peng W, Seto E, Sotomayor EM, Zheng X. Secretome profiling identifies neuron-derived neurotrophic factor as a tumor-suppressive factor in lung cancer. JCI Insight. 2019 Dec 19;4(24). doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.129344. PubMed PMID: 31852841; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6975268.

Treisman DM, Li Y, Pierce BR, Li C, Chervenak AP, Tomasek GJ, Lozano G, Zheng X, Kool M, Zhu Y. Sox2+ cells in Sonic Hedgehog-subtype medulloblastoma resist p53-mediated cell-cycle arrest response and drive therapy-induced recurrence. Neurooncol Adv. 2019 May-Dec;1(1):vdz027. doi: 10.1093/noajnl/vdz027. Epub 2019 Sep 23. PubMed PMID: 31763624; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6860004.

Wu X, Zhang Y, Chuang KH, Cai X, Ajaz H, Zheng X. The Drosophila Hedgehog receptor component Interference hedgehog (Ihog) mediates cell-cell interactions through trans-homophilic binding. J Biol Chem. 2019 Aug 16;294(33):12339-12348. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.008744. Epub 2019 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 31209108; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6699836.

Hsia EYC, Zhang Y, Tran HS, Lim A, Chou YH, Lan G, Beachy PA, Zheng X. Hedgehog mediated degradation of Ihog adhesion proteins modulates cell segregation in Drosophila wing imaginal discs. Nat Commun. 2017 Nov 2;8(1):1275. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01364-z. PubMed PMID: 29097673; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5668237.

Woods DM, Woan KV, Cheng F, Sodré AL, Wang D, Wu Y, Wang Z, Chen J, Powers J, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Yu Y, Zhang Y, Wu X, Zheng X, Weber J, Hancock WW, Seto E, Villagra A, Yu XZ, Sotomayor EM. T cells lacking HDAC11 have increased effector functions and mediate enhanced alloreactivity in a murine model. Blood. 2017 Jul 13;130(2):146-155. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-08-731505. Epub 2017 May 26. PubMed PMID: 28550044; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5510785.

Willsey HR, Zheng X, Carlos Pastor-Pareja J, Willsey AJ, Beachy PA, Xu T. Localized JNK signaling regulates organ size during development. Elife. 2016 Mar 14;5. doi: 10.7554/eLife.11491. PubMed PMID: 26974344; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4848088.

Kim J, Hsia EY, Brigui A, Plessis A, Beachy PA, Zheng X. The role of ciliary trafficking in Hedgehog receptor signaling. Sci Signal. 2015 Jun 2;8(379):ra55. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa5622. PubMed PMID: 26038600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4863716.

Hsia EY, Gui Y, Zheng X. Regulation of Hedgehog signaling by ubiquitination. Front Biol (Beijing). 2015 Jun;10(3):203-220. doi: 10.1007/s11515-015-1343-5. PubMed PMID: 26366162; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4564008.

Kim J, Hsia EY, Kim J, Sever N, Beachy PA, Zheng X. Simultaneous measurement of smoothened entry into and exit from the primary cilium. PLoS One. 2014;9(8):e104070. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0104070. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25119726; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4132089.

Chou YH, Zheng X, Beachy PA, Luo L. Patterning axon targeting of olfactory receptor neurons by coupled hedgehog signaling at two distinct steps. Cell. 2010 Sep 17;142(6):954-66. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.08.015. PubMed PMID: 20850015; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3028148.

Zheng X, Mann RK, Sever N, Beachy PA. Genetic and biochemical definition of the Hedgehog receptor. Genes Dev. 2010 Jan 1;24(1):57-71. doi: 10.1101/gad.1870310. PubMed PMID: 20048000; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2802192.

Jensen PA, Zheng X, Lee T, O'Connor MB. The Drosophila Activin-like ligand Dawdle signals preferentially through one isoform of the Type-I receptor Baboon. Mech Dev. 2009 Dec;126(11-12):950-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mod.2009.09.003. Epub 2009 Sep 18. PubMed PMID: 19766717; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2798586.

McLellan JS, Zheng X, Hauk G, Ghirlando R, Beachy PA, Leahy DJ. The mode of Hedgehog binding to Ihog homologues is not conserved across different phyla. Nature. 2008 Oct 16;455(7215):979-83. doi: 10.1038/nature07358. Epub 2008 Sep 14. PubMed PMID: 18794898; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2679680.

McLellan JS, Yao S, Zheng X, Geisbrecht BV, Ghirlando R, Beachy PA, Leahy DJ. Structure of a heparin-dependent complex of Hedgehog and Ihog. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Nov 14;103(46):17208-13. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0606738103. Epub 2006 Oct 31. PubMed PMID: 17077139; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1859911.

Zheng X, Zugates CT, Lu Z, Shi L, Bai JM, Lee T. Baboon/dSmad2 TGF-beta signaling is required during late larval stage for development of adult-specific neurons. EMBO J. 2006 Feb 8;25(3):615-27. doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7600962. Epub 2006 Jan 26. PubMed PMID: 16437159; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1383542.

Wang J, Ma X, Yang JS, Zheng X, Zugates CT, Lee CH, Lee T. Transmembrane/juxtamembrane domain-dependent Dscam distribution and function during mushroom body neuronal morphogenesis. Neuron. 2004 Sep 2;43(5):663-72. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.06.033. PubMed PMID: 15339648.

Zheng X, Wang J, Haerry TE, Wu AY, Martin J, O'Connor MB, Lee CH, Lee T. TGF-beta signaling activates steroid hormone receptor expression during neuronal remodeling in the Drosophila brain. Cell. 2003 Feb 7;112(3):303-15. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00072-2. PubMed PMID: 12581521.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None