Jing Liu

Jing Liu, PhD
Assistant Professor

Signaling by JNK and NF-kB in cell death, inflammation and tumorigenesis

Research Cluster: Cancer Biology


My research is to understand molecular mechanisms that govern the biological functions of the intracellular signaling network in both physiological and pathological events.  We focus on regulation of JNK, which is member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily.  JNK is activated by a MAP kinase module through sequential protein phosphorylation in response to a variety of extracellular stimuli, including proto-oncogens, growth factors, inflammatory cytokines, and physical stresses.  Once activated, JNK phosphorylates its cytoplasmic target proteins such as members of the Bcl-2 family proteins, Itch, tau, IRS-1, or its nuclear target proteins such as the transcription factors c-Jun, ATF2, Elk-1, Stat3 and p53, thereby controlling proliferation, differentiation, programmed death and transformation.  Not surprisingly, JNK is involved in the process of many human diseases including lung diseases and lung cancer.  Through its involvement in regulation of airway smooth muscle cell proliferation, cell death, myofibroblasts proliferation, cytokine synthesis and transformation, JNK is likely to play a critical role in asthma, ischemia/reperfusion damage, pulmonary fibrosis, allergic inflammation in lung and NSCLC.  However, the challenge is how to selectively modulate JNK activity in vivo. 

We have evidence that JNK functions as a protein complex, i.e., the JNK signalsome that is composed of both known JNK activators and novel stimulus-dependent modulators or regulators (SMOR).  SMORs are selectively recruited to or dissociated from the JNK signalsome in a stimulus-dependent manner, thereby specifying the activation of JNK by various extracellular stimuli.  It is possible that one can target a unique SMOR to selectively regulate JNK activation by a specific stimulus without affecting JNK activation by other stimuli or affecting activation of other singling pathways by that stimulus.  Our study on the JNK signalsome should shed light on our understanding of the molecular mechanism of pulmonary diseases including lung cancer and provide potential therapeutic targets.

Selected Publications:

Do-Umehara HC, Chen C, Urich D, Zhou L, Qiu J, Jang S, Zander A, Baker MA, Eilers M, Sporn PHS, Ridge KM, Sznajder JI, Budinger GRS, Mutlu GM, Lin A, Liu J.
Nature Immunology. 2013 May;14(5):461-469.doi:10.1038/ni.2566.
ISSN: 15292908
Yan J, Xiang J, Lin Y, Ma J, Zhang J, Zhang H, Sun J, Danial NN, Liu J, Lin A.
Cell. 2013 Jan 7;152(1-2):304-315.doi:10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.021.
ISSN: 00928674
Vadász I, Dada LA, Briva A, Helenius IT, Sharabi K, Welch LC, Kelly AM, Grzesik BA, Budinger GRS, Liu J, Seeger W, Beitel GJ, Gruenbaum Y, Sznajder JI.
PLoS ONE. 2012 Oct 8;7(10):doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0046696.
ISSN: 19326203
Liu J, Yan J, Jiang S, Wen J, Chen L, Zhao Y, Lin A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2012 Jan 3;109(1):191-196.doi:10.1073/pnas.1105176108.
PMID: 22184250   PMCID: 22184250   ISSN: 00278424 
Yang Y, Do H, Tian X, Zhang C, Liu X, Dada LA, Sznajder JI, Liu J.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2010 Jul 27;107(30):13444-13449.doi:10.1073/pnas.0913690107.
PMID: 20624960   PMCID: 20624960   ISSN: 00278424
Snyder CM, Shroff EH, Liu J, Chandel NS.
PLoS ONE. 2009 Sep 21;4(9):doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0007059.
PMID: 19768117   PMCID: 19768117   ISSN: 19326203
Soberanes S, Urich D, Baker CM, Burgess Z, Chiarella SE, Bell EL, Ghio AJ, De Vizcaya-Ruiz A, Liu J, Ridge KM, Kamp DW, Chandel NS, Schumacker PT, Mutlu GM, Budinger GRS.
Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2009 Jan 23;284(4):2176-2186.doi:10.1074/jbc.M808844200.
PMID: 19033436   PMCID: 19033436   ISSN: 00219258
Liu J, Zhao Y, Eilers M, Lin A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2009 Jan;106(43):18279-18284.doi:10.1073/pnas.0906328106.
PMID: 19815509   PMCID: 19815509   ISSN: 00278424
Liu J, Lin A.
Oncogene. 2007 May 14;26(22):3267-3278.doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1210417.
PMID: 17496921   ISSN: 09509232
Liu J, Yang D, Minemoto Y, Leitges M, Rosner MR, Lin A.
Molecular Cell. 2006 Feb 17;21(4):467-480.doi:10.1016/j.molcel.2005.12.020.
PMID: 16483929
Zhang J, Liu J, Yu C, Lin A.
Cancer Research. 2005 Sep 15;65(18):8372-8378.doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-05-0576.
PMID: 16166315
Liu J, Lin A.
Cell Research. 2005 Jan;15(1):36-42.doi:10.1038/sj.cr.7290262.
PMID: 15686625   ISSN: 10010602
Liu J, Minemoto Y, Lin A.
Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2004 Dec;24(24):10844-10856.doi:10.1128/MCB.24.24.10844-10856.2004.
PMID: 15572687   PMCID: 15572687
Yu C, Minemoto Y, Zhang J, Liu J, Tang F, Bui TN, Xiang J, Lin A.
Molecular Cell. 2004 Feb 13;13(3):329-340.doi:10.1016/S1097-2765(04)00028-0.
PMID: 14967141

Pub med

View Publications by Jing Liu listed in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).