Leyuan Liu

Leyuan Liu

Assistant Professor

Center for Translational Cancer Research
2121 W. Holcombe Blvd.
Houston, TX   77030

Phone: 713-677-7518

Education and Training

Leyuan Liu received a Bachelor of Science at Jiangxi Agricultural University, Jiangxi, Master of Science at the Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China and Ph.D. in Genetics in 1997 at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. He was a Postdoctoral Research Associate (1998-1999) in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, Postdoctoral Research Associate (1999-2002), Assistant Research Scientist (2002-2004) and Associate Research Scientist (2004-2006) in the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, Texas A&M Health Science Center, Houston, Texas. He was promoted to Assistant Professor (Research Track) in 2006 and Assistant Professor (Tenure Track) in 2012. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center. He also serves as a Guest Professor of Nanchang University, Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China.

Research Interests

The ultimate goal of Dr. Liu’s lab is to understand the general mechanism of tumorigenesis and develop strategies to prevent cancers at their origin.  It is believed that lot of ageing-related diseases such as cancers and seemingly contradictory events like cell death in degenerative diseases and uncontrolled cell growth in cancers actually share similar etiology: autophagy defect.  Autophagy is one of the most important cellular processes for selective degradation of misfolded/aggregated proteins and dysfunctional organelles. Autophagy defect leads to genome instability that is the origin of most of cancers.  However, genome instability has to be amplified through continuous cell division in order to develop into cancers.

Currently, the lab is investigating how microtubule/mitochondria-associated protein LRPPRC, MAP1S (C19ORF5) and RASSF1 regulate autophagy, why autophagy defect leads to tumorigenesis, and whether early intervention with chemical components such as nontoxic phytochemicals can reduce the generation and terminate the amplification of genome instability so that tumor initiation is suppressed or progress of tumor development is delayed.  Hepatocellular carcinoma is specifically selected as a prototype to study the mechanisms of tumorigenesis in general.  The experimental approach will use genetically engineered mice and cultured mammalian cells as models for biochemical, cell biological and cancer biological studies.

Recent Publications

Five Most Significant Publications Prior to 2012

Liu, L., A. Vo, G. Liu, and W.L. McKeehan (2005) Distinct structural domains within C19ORF5 support association with stabilized microtubules and mitochondrial aggregation and genome destruction (MAGD). Cancer Res. 65: 4191-4201.

Liu, L, Xie, R, Yang, C and McKeehan, WL (2009) Dual function microtubule- and mitochondria-associated proteins mediate mitotic cell death. Cell. Oncol. 31: 393-405.

Xie, R, Nguyen, S., McKeehan, WL and Liu, L. (2010) Acetylated microtubules are required for fusion of autophagosomes with lysosomes.  BMC Cell Biol. 11: 89 [Epub 2010 Nov 22].

Xie, R, Nguyen, S, McKeehan, K, Wang, F, McKeehan, WL and Liu, L (2011) Microtubule-associated protein 1S (MAP1S) bridges autophagic components with microtubules and mitochondria to affect autophagosomal biogenesis and degradation.  J. Biol. Chem. 286:10367-77 [EPub 2011 Jan 24].

Xie R, Wang F, McKeehan WL, Liu L. (2011) Autophagy enhanced by microtubule and mitochondrion-associated MAP1S suppresses genome instability and hepatocarcinogenesis.  Cancer Res. 71:7537-46 [Epub 2011 Oct 28]

Publications 2012

Zhang J, Liu J, Huang Y, Chang JYF, Liu L, McKeehan WL, Martin JF, and Wang F (2012) FRS2a-mediated FGF signals suppress premature differentiation of cardiac stem cells through regulating autophagy activity. Circulation Research 110(4):e29-39. [Epub 2011 Dec 29] PMID: 22207710

Liu L, McKeehan WL, Wang F, Xie R. (2012) MAP1S enhances autophagy to suppress hepatocarcinogenesis. Autophagy 8(2): 278-280. [EPub 2012 Feb 1] PMID: 22301994.

Zhang J, Liu J, Liu L, McKeehan WL, Wang F. (2012) The fibroblast growth factor signaling axis controls cardiac stem cells differentiation through autophagy regulation. Autophagy 8(4): 690-691.  PMID: 22302007. PMCID: PMC3405844

Klionsky DJ, …… Liu L, et al. (2012) Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy. Autophagy 8(4): 445-544. PMID: 22966490. PMCID: PMC3404883

Publications 2013

Zhao S, Ma W, Zhang M, Tang D, Shi Q, Xu S, Zhang X, Liu Y, Song Y, Liu L, Zhang Q. (2013) High expression of CD147 and MMP-9 is correlated with poor prognosis of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients. Medical Oncology 2013, 30(1): 335. PMID: 23263825. DOI 10.1007/s12032-012-0335-4.

Zou J, Yue F, Jiang X, Li W, Yi J, Liu L.  (2013) Mitochondrion-associated protein LRPPRC suppresses the initiation of basal levels of autophagy via enhancing Bcl-2 stability.  Biochem J. 2013 454(3): 447-457 [Epub 2013 Jul 3]  PMID: 23822101.

Publications 2014

Zou J, Yue F, Li W, Song K, Jiang X, Yi J and Liu L*. Autophagy Inhibitor LRPPRC Suppresses Mitophagy through Interaction with Mitophagy Initiator Parkin. PLOS ONE 2014, 9(4): e94903. PMID: 24722279.  PMCID: PMC3983268. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094903.

Jiang X, Li X, Huang H, Jiang F, Lin Z, He H, Chen Y, Yue F, Zou J, He Y, You P, Wang W, Yang W, Xu G, Li T, Zhao H, Lai Y, Wu Y, Yang M, Wang F, Zhong W and Liu L*.  Elevated levels of mitochondrion-associated autophagy inhibitor LRPPRC are associated with poor prognosis of human patients with prostate cancer.  Cancer 2014, 120 (8): 1228-1236.  PMID: 24390809. PMCID: PMC3981875. First published online 3 JAN 2014, DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28551.

Publications 2015

Jiang X, Zhong W, Huang H, He H, Jiang F, Chen Y, Yue F, Zou J, Li X, He Y, You P, Yang W, Lai Y, Wang F, Liu L*. Autophagy Defects Suggested by Low Levels of Autophagy Activator MAP1S and High Levels of Autophagy Inhibitor LRPPRC Predict Poor Prognosis of Prostate Cancer Patients. Molecular Carcinogenesis 2015, 54(10): 1194-1204. PMID: 25043940. First published online 2014 Jul 7. doi: 10.1002/mc.22193. [Epub ahead of print].

Zou J, Li W, Misra A, Yue F, Song K, Chen Q, Guo G, Yi J, Kimato J, Liu L*. Viral Restriction Factor Tetherin Prevents Leucine-rich Pentatricopeptide Repeat Containing Protein (LRPPRC) from Association with Beclin 1 and B-cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) and Enhances Autophagy and Mitophagy. Journal of Biology Chemistry 2015 Mar 13. 290 (11): 7269-7279. PMID: 25631043. PMCID: PMC4358145. doi:10.1074/jbc.M114.627679. [Epub ahead of print]

Chen Q, Yue F, Li W, Zou J, Xu T, Huang C, Zhang Y, Song K, Xu G, Huang H, Li J, Liu L* Potassium Bisperoxo (1,10-phenanthroline) Oxovanadate (bpV(phen)) Potassium Bisperoxo(1,10-phenanthroline)oxovanadate (bpV(phen)) Induces Apoptosis and Pyroptosis and Disrupts the P62-HDAC6 Protein Interaction to Suppress the Acetylated Microtubule-dependent Degradation of Autophagosomes. Journal of Biology Chemistry 2015 October 23 290 (43): 26051-26058. PMID: 26363065. Sep 11.pii: jbc.M115.653568 [Epub ahead of print].

Yue F, Li W, Zou J, Chen Q, Xu G, Xu Z, Zhang S, Gallinari P, Wang F, McKeehan WL, Liu L* Blocking the association of HDAC4 with MAP1S accelerates autophagy clearance of mutant Huntingtin. Aging 2015 Sep 28, 7(10): 839-53.

Song K, Hu W, Yue F, Zou J, Li W, Chen Q, Yao Q, Sun W, Liu L* Transforming Growth Factor TGFβ Enhances Microtubule-associated Protein MAP1S and Autophagy in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas. PLoS One 2015 Nov. 16, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0143150.

Publications 2016

Li Q, Lai Y, Wang C, Xu G, He Z, Shang X, Sun Y, Zhang F, Liu L*, Huang H. Matrine inhibits the proliferation, invasion and migration of castration-resistant prostate cancer cells through the NF‑κB signaling pathway. Oncology Reports 2016 Jan. 35:375-381. PMID: 26497618. PMCID: PMC4735691. 2015 October 7,DOI: 10.3892/or.2015.4341.

Shi M, Zhang Y, Liu L, Zhang T, Han F, Cleveland J, Wang F, McKeehan WL, Li Y, Zhang D. MAP1S controls bacterial phagocytosis through TLR signaling. Journal of Biology Chemistry 2016 Jan 15. 291(3): 1243-1250. PMID: 26565030. PMCID: PMC4714212. First Published on November 12, 2015, doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.687376.

Klionsky DJ, …… Liu L, et al. Guidelines for the Use and Interpretation of Assays for Monitoring Autophagy (3rd edition). Autophagy 2016 Jan 2. 12(1):1-222. PMID: 26799652.

Xu G, Jiang Y, Liu X, Yue F, Xiao Y, Jiang X, Li W, Huang H, Li X, He Y, Chen Q, Jonasch E, Liu L*. The MAP1S-activated autophagy degradation of lipid droplets impedes the development of clear cell renal cell carcinomas and improves patient prognosis. Oncotarget 2016 Feb 2. 7(5): 6255-6265. PMID: 26701856. 2015 Dec 18. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.6669. [Epub ahead of print].

Li W, Zou J, Yue F, Song K, Chen Q, McKeehan WL, Wang F, Xu G, Huang H, Yi J, and Liu L* Defects in MAP1S-mediated autophagy cause reduction of mouse lifespans especially when fibronectin is overexpressed. Aging Cell 2016 Apr. 15(2):370-379. Jan 10. PMID: 26750654. PMCID: PMC4783353. doi: 10.1111/acel.12441. [Epub ahead of print].

Xu G, Yue F, Huang H, He Y, Li X, Zhao H, Su Z, Jiang X, Zou J, Li W, Chen Q, Liu L.* Defects in MAP1S-mediated Autophagy Turnover of Fibronectin Cause Human Renal Fibrosis. Aging 2016 May; 8(5):977-985. PMID: 27236336. PMCID: PMC4931848.

Publications 2017

Guo Z, Chen X, Du T, Zhu D, Lai Y, Dong W, Wu W, Lin C, Liu L*, Huang H. Elevated Levels of Epithelial Cell Transforming Sequence 2 Predicts Poor Prognosis for Prostate Cancer. Medical Oncology 2017, 34(1):13. PMID: 28012134. DOI: 10.1007/s12032-016-0872-3.

Huang H, Du T, Xu G, Lai Y, Fan X, Chen X, Li W, Yue F, Li Q, Liu L*, Li K. Matrine Suppresses Invasion of Castration-resistant Prostate Cancer Cells by Down-regulating MMP-2 and MMP-9 via NF-κB Signaling Pathway. International Journal of Oncology 2017 Feb; 50(2):640-648. PMID: 28000853. 2016 Dec 14. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2016.3805. [Epub ahead of print]

Huang H, Du T, Zhang Y, Lai Y, Li K, Fan X, Zhu D, Lin T, Xu K, Huang J, Liu L*, Guo Z. Accumulation of Sharpin in Prostate Adenocarcinomas Promotes Metastasis by Upregulation of MMP-9 and Activates Pyroptosis to Impair Patient Survivals. The Prostate 2017 Feb 23. doi: 10.1002/pros.23302. [Epub ahead of print]

Bai S, Chen T, Du T, Chen X, Lai Y, Ma X, Wu W, Lin C, Liu L*, Huang H. High Levels of DEPDC1B Predict Shorter Biochemical Recurrence-free Survivals of Prostate Cancer Patients. Oncology Letters in press.

Yue F, Li W, Zou J, Jiang X, Xu G, Huang H Liu L*. Spermidine Prolongs Lifespan and Prevents Liver Fibrosis and Hepatocellular Carcinomas by Activating MAP1S-mediated Autophagy. Cancer Research, 2017 Apr 6. pii: canres.3462.2016. PMID: 28386016. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-16-3462. [Epub ahead of print].

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    For a complete list of publications, please visit: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/collections/bibliography/44616519/