The Liu Lab

Photo of Dr. Bei Liu

Bei Liu, M.D., MPH

Associate Professor
Microbiology and Immunology

2000-2006 Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Immunotherapy of Cancer and Infectious Diseases, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
2006-2010 Research Associate, Department of Immunology, Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
2010-2011 Research Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina
2011-2016 Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Medical University of South Carolina

Contact Info
Office Tel: 843-792-8994
Lab Tel: 843-792-8998

Research Interests
My research focus is on cancer immunotherapy, mucosal and tumor immunology, and innate immunity. I am interested in understanding chaperone biology in B cells and plasma cells in both normal and pathological conditions. We have demonstrated that grp94 is an essential chaperone for folding Wnt co-receptor LRP6 (Liu et al., PNAS 2013) and that it is required for multiple myeloma cell survival, which is mediated in part by the Wnt target survivin (Hua et al., Clin Cancer Res 2013). Also, we found that grp94 is highly expressed in malignant plasma cells in multiple myeloma. The higher levels of grp94 have a significant association with worse clinical stage in this disease (Chhabra et al., J Hematol Oncol 2015). Currently, my laboratory is studying the mechanism of grp94 in regulating myeloma initiation and progression as well as developing grp94 target therapeutics for the treatment of myeloma.

My laboratory is also interested in the function of dendritic cells in cross-presenting antigens to MHC molecules which play essential roles in both the priming and sustaining of adaptive T cell response. Through my current research, my laboratory has generated a mouse model devoid of grp94 in dendritic cells only, with the goal of understanding its clients in dendritic cell homeostasis, antigen cross-presentation, as well as in tumor surveillance against both spontaneous and inflammation-induced cancer.

Another study in my laboratory is to uncover the mechanisms of Th17 differentiation in vivo. Th17 cells are important for combating extracellular pathogens. Differentiation of Th17 cells takes place in the small intestine of mice colonized by SFB, Bifidobacterium adolescentis or other human commensal strains. However, the precise cellular and molecular events that lead to Th17 cells generation in the gut are not yet fully understood. My laboratory has generated unique mouse models to investigate molecular and cellular mechanisms of Th17 differentiation as well as identify novel microbial metabolites that promote protective Th17 immunity.

Recent Publications

Wallace CH, Wu BX, Salem M, Ansa-Addo EA, Metelli A, Sun S, Gilkeson G, Shlomchik MJ, Liu B*, Li Z*. B lymphocytes confer immune tolerance via cell surface GARP-TGF-ß complex. JCI Insight. .3(7), 2018. PMCID:PMC5928869.

Hong F, Liu B, Wu BX, Morreall J, Roth B, Davies C, Sun S, Diehl JA, Li Z. CNPY2 is a key initiator of the PERK-CHOP pathway of the unfolded protein response. Nat Struct Mol Biol., 2017.

Hua Y, Yang Y, Sun S, Iwanowycz S, Westwater C, Reizis B, Li Z, Liu B*. Gut homeostasis and regulatory T cell induction depend on molecular chaperone gp96 in CD11c+ cells. Sci Rep.7 (1):2171, 2017. PMCID: PMC5438351

Rachidi S, Metelli A, Riesenberg B, Wu BX, Nelson MH, Wallace C, Paulos CM, Rubinstein MP, Garrett-Mayer E, Hennig M, Bearden DW, Yang Y, Liu B, Li Z. Platelets subvert T cell immunity against cancer via GARP-TGFß axis. Sci Immunol. .2(11), 2017. PMCID: PMC5539882

Ansa-Addo EA, Zhang Y, Yang Y, Hussey GS, Howley BV, Salem M, Riesenberg B, Sun S, Rockey DC, Karvar S, Howe PH, Liu B, Li Z. Membrane-organizing protein moesin controls Treg differentiation and antitumor immunity via TGF-ß signaling. J Clin Invest. .127(4):1321-1337, 2017. PMCID: PMC5373867

Hong F, Mohammad Rachidi S, Lundgren D, Han D, Huang X, Zhao H, Kimura Y, Hirano H, Ohara O, Udono H, Meng S, Liu B*, Li Z*. Mapping the Interactome of a Major Mammalian Endoplasmic Reticulum Heat Shock Protein 90. PLoS One. .12(1): e0169260, 2017. PMCID: PMC5215799

Chhabra S, Jain S, Wallace C, Hong F, Liu B*. High expression of endoplasmic reticulum chaperone grp94 is a novel molecular hallmark of malignant plasma cells in multiple myeloma. J Hematol Oncol. .8:77, 2015. PMCID: PMC4483199

Zhang Y, Wu BX, Metelli A, Thaxton JE, Hong F, Rachidi S, Ansa-Addo E, Sun S, Vasu C, Yang Y, Liu B, Li Z. GP96 is a GARP chaperone and controls regulatory T cell functions. J Clin Invest. 125(2):859-69, 2015. PMCID: PMC4319419

Hua Y, White-Gilbertson S, Kellner J, Rachidi S, Usmani SZ, Chiosis G, Depinho R, Li Z, Liu B*. Molecular chaperone gp96 is a novel therapeutic target of multiple myeloma. Clin Cancer Res.19(22):6242-51, 2013. PMCID: PMC3851294

Liu B, Staron M, Hong F, Wu BX, Sun S, Morales C, Crosson CE, Tomlinson S, Kim I, Wu D, Li Z. Essential roles of grp94 in gut homeostasis via chaperoning canonical Wnt pathway. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. .110(17):6877-82, 2013. PMCID: PMC3637754

Complete List of Published Work

Research Support

1R01 CA193939 Liu (PI) 04/01/2016-03/31/2021
“Mechanism of gp96/grp94 in regulating plasma cells and myeloma”
Role: Principal Investigator

1U01AI125859 Liu (PI) 06/21/2016-05/31/2021
“Extrinsic and intrinsic factors regulating commensal-specific T helper-17 cells”
Role: Principle Investigator

1P01CA177575 Li (PI) 09/01/2015-08/31/2020
“Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperones in Cancer Biology and Therapy”
Role: Co-leader (Project 1)

R01 CA188419 Li (PI) 04/01/2015-03/31/2020
"Thrombocytes in Cancer Immunity”
Role: Co-investigator

1R01DK105033 Li (PI) 12/10/2015-11/30/2020
“Novel Mechanisms of UPR Sensing and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease”
Role: Co-investigator

R01AI077283 Li (PI) 03/01/2017-02/28/2022
“Molecular chaperones and immune tolerance”
Role: Co-investigator

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