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Xiaoping Zhong

Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Clinical Sciences
(919) 681-9450
Research Interest: 
Signal transduction
Research Summary: 
Signal transduction in the immune system and control of immune cell development and function.
Research Description: 

The immune system protects the host from microbial infection but can cause diseases if not properly controlled. My lab is interested in the receptor signaling mediated regulation of immune cell development and function as well as the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

We are currently investigating the roles diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs) and TSC1/2-mTOR play in the immune system. DGKs are a family of ten enzymes that catalyze the conversion of diacylglycerol (DAG) to phosphatidic acid (PA), Both DAG and PA are important second messengers involved signaling from numerous receptors. While we expect DGKs to perform important roles in development and cellular function by modulating DAG and PA levels, the physiologic functions of DGKs have been poorly understood. Using cell line models and genetically manipulated mice, we have demonstrated that DGKα and ζ isoforms play critical roles in: T cell development, activation, and anergy by regulating T cell receptor signaling; FcεRI signaling and mast cell function; and Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immune responses.

Research areas that we are actively pursuing include:
1. The mechanisms that control T cell maturation, activation
and self-tolerance.
2. Regulation of Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immunity.
3. The pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis.
4. The pathogenesis and immunotherapy for peanut allergy.

Negative regulation of mTOR activation by diacylglycerol kinases.
Gorentla BK, Wan CK, Zhong XP.
Blood. 2011. 117:4022-31.

Regulation of T-cell survival and mitochondrial homeostasis by TSC1.
O'Brien TF, Gorentla BK, Xie D, Srivatsan S, McLeod IX, He YW, Zhong XP.
Eur J Immunol. 2011. 41:3361-70.

Synergistic control of T cell development and tumor suppression by diacylglycerol kinase alpha and zeta.
Guo R, Wan CK, Carpenter JH, Mousallem T, Boustany RM, Kuan CT, Burks AW, Zhong XP.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2008. 105:11909-14.

Disruption of diacylglycerol metabolism impairs the induction of T cell anergy.
Olenchock BA, Guo R, Carpenter JH, Jordan M, Topham MK, Koretzky GA, Zhong XP.
Nat Immunol. 2006. 7:1174-81.

Enhanced T cell responses due to diacylglycerol kinase zeta deficiency.
Zhong XP, Hainey EA, Olenchock BA, Jordan MS, Maltzman JS, Nichols KE, Shen H, Koretzky GA.
Nat Immunol. 2003. 4:882-90.