The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, China
Title: Mechanistic study of human proteins that regulate cell proliferation and differentiation
Guang Zhu is a Professor of Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He obtained his BSc and MSc in Physics. He studied for his PhD degree at University of Maryland and National Institutes of Health, USA, specialized in biomolecular NMR spectroscopy. Currently his research focuses on structure-functional study of human proteins in DNA replication. Studies on the molecular mechanisms of proteins involved in DNA replication provide basis for structure-based drug design against cancer. He has published more than 75 peer-reviewed reports. He has served on the editorial boards of International Journal of Spectroscopy and Chinese Journal of Magnetic Resonance.
Proper organ development requires the precise regulation of both the total number of cells (cell proliferation) and the types of cells (cell diff erentiation). During cell proliferation, Cdt1 mediated loading of DNA helicase (Mcm2-7) to replication origins is required for DNA replication. And Hox gene activation is necessary for embryonic cell diff erentiation. It has been shown that these two processes are linked through the cell cycle-regulator Geminin and the homeodomain-containing transcription factors Hox. To understand the molecular mechanism involved, we determined the solution structures of Geminin-Hox and Cdt1-Mcm6 complexes by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and conducted biochemical study to delineate the structural basis of this mutual regulation. In addition, we found that histone H4-K20 methyltransferase SET8 is a new cellcycle regulator and plays an important role in the developmental program of metazoans.