The Yu Lab

Xuezhong Yu

Xue-Zhong Yu, M.D., MS, MBA
Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Department of Medicine
Distinguished Endowed Chair
SmartState Cancer Stem Cell Biology & Therapy Program
Medical University of South Carolina

Education and Training
Dr. Yu received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medicine (an MD equivalent) and then a Master of Science in Immunology from Peking University Medical School in Beijing China. After his residency in China, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. He also earned a MBA in the Citadel graduate school at the Military College of South Carolina.

Contact Info
Phone: 843-792-4756
Office: HCC HO350
Lab: HCC HO356

Research Interests

The research in Dr. Yu’s Lab focuses on the biology of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). The ultimate goal of these studies is to prevent or treat GVHD while preserving GVL effect, which could greatly enhance the therapeutic potential of HSCT. Because T cells play central role to induce GVHD and mediated GVL effect, understanding T-cell response to normal tissue versus tumor cells is critical for achieving the ultimate goal. The major lines of research in Dr. Yu’s Lab include: 1) T-cell differentiation and GVHD development; 2) Biology of regulatory T cells and their potential application in the control of GVHD; 3) Understanding how micro-RNAs regulate T- and B-cell responses after allogeneic HSCT; 4) Evaluation of metabolic pathways or intermediates as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in GVHD and leukemia relapse. Aligning with HCT for hematopoietic malignances, Dr. Yu’s Lab also studies adoptive T-cell therapy for solid tumors aiming at promoting T-cell survival, activity, and persistence against cancer.

Recent Publications |
Additional Publications
Nguyen H, Kuril S, Bastian D, Kim J, Zhang M, Vaena SG, Dany M, Dai M, Heinrichs JL, Daenthanasanmak A, Iamsawat S, Schutt S, Fu J, Wu Y, Fairlie DP, Atkinson C, Ogretmen B, Tomlinson S, Yu XZ. Complement C3a and C5a receptors promote GVHD by suppressing mitophagy in recipient dendritic cells. JCI Insight. 2018 Dec 20;3(24). pii: 121697. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.121697. PMID: 30568037

Daenthanasanmak A, Iamsawat S, Chakraborty P, Nguyen HD, Bastian D, Liu C, Mehrotra S, Yu XZ. Targeting Sirt-1 controls GVHD by inhibiting T-cell allo-response and promoting Treg stability in mice. Blood. 2019 Jan 17;133(3):266-279. doi: 10.1182/blood-2018-07-863233. Epub 2018 Dec 4. PMID:30514750

Wu Y, Schutt S, Paz K, Zhang M, Flynn RP, Bastian D, Sofi MH, Nguyen H, Dai M, Liu C, Chang YJ, Blazar BR, Yu XZ. MicroRNA-17-92 is required for T-cell and B-cell pathogenicity in chronic graft-versus-host disease in mice. Blood. 2018 Mar 12. pii: blood-2017-06-789321. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-06-789321. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:29530952

Schutt SD, Wu Y, Tang CH, Bastian D, Nguyen H, Sofi MH, Zhang M, Liu C, Helke K, Wilson C, Schnapp LM, Del Valle JR, Hu CC, Yu XZ. Inhibition of the IRE-1α/XBP-1 pathway prevents chronic GVHD and preserves the GVL effect in mice. Blood Adv. 2018 Feb 27;2(4):414-427. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017009068. PMID:29483082

Nguyen HD, Kuril S, Bastian D, Yu XZ. T-Cell Metabolism in Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation. Front Immunol. 2018 Feb 9;9:176. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00176. eCollection 2018. Review.

Betts BC, Bastian D, Iamsawat S, Nguyen H, Heinrichs JL, Wu Y, Daenthanasanmak A, Veerapathran A, O'Mahony A, Walton K, Reff J, Horna P, Sagatys EM, Lee MC, Singer J, Chang YJ, Liu C, Pidala J, Anasetti C, Yu XZ. Targeting JAK2 reduces GVHD and xenograft rejection through regulation of T cell differentiation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Feb 13;115(7):1582-1587. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1712452115. Epub 2018 Jan 30. PMID:29382747

Iamsawat S, Daenthanasanmak A, Voss JH, Nguyen H, Bastian D, Liu C, Yu XZ. Stabilization of Foxp3 by Targeting JAK2 Enhances Efficacy of CD8 Induced Regulatory T Cells in the Prevention of Graft-versus-Host Disease. J Immunol. 2018 Nov 1;201(9):2812-2823. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1800793. Epub 2018 Sep 21. PMID:30242073

Chatterjee S, Daenthanasanmak A, Chakraborty P, Wyatt MW, Dhar P, Selvam SP, Fu J, Zhang J, Nguyen H, Kang I, Toth K, Al-Homrani M, Husain M, Beeson G, Ball L, Helke K, Husain S, Garrett-Mayer E, Hardiman G, Mehrotra M, Nishimura MI, Beeson CC, Bupp MG, Wu J, Ogretmen B, Paulos CM, Rathmell J, Yu XZ, Mehrotra S. CD38-NAD+Axis Regulates Immunotherapeutic Anti-Tumor T Cell Response. Cell Metab. 2018 Jan 9;27(1):85-100.e8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2017.10.006. Epub 2017 Nov 9. PMID:29129787

Woods DM, Woan KV, Cheng F, Sodré AL, Wang D, Wu Y, Wang Z, Chen J, Powers J, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Yu Y, Zhang Y, Wu X, Zheng X, Weber J, Hancock WW, Seto E, Villagra A, Yu XZ, Sotomayor EM. T cells lacking HDAC11 have increased effector functions and mediate enhanced alloreactivity in a murine model. Blood. 2017 Jul 13;130(2):146-155. doi: 10.1182/blood-2016-08-731505. Epub 2017 May 26. PMID:28550044

Bartee E, Bartee MY, Bogen B, Yu XZ. Systemic therapy with oncolytic myxoma virus cures established residual multiple myeloma in mice. Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2016 Dec 7;3:16032. eCollection 2016. PMID:27933316

Heinrichs J, Bastian D, Veerapathran A, Anasetti C, Betts B, Yu XZ. Regulatory T-Cell Therapy for Graft-versus-host Disease. J Immunol Res Ther. 2016;1(1):1-14. Epub 2016 Apr 28. PMID:27722210

Heinrichs J, Li J, Nguyen H, Wu Y, Bastian D, Daethanasanmak A, Sofi MH, Schutt S, Liu C, Jin J, Betts B, Anasetti C, Yu XZ. CD8(+) Tregs promote GVHD prevention and overcome the impaired GVL effect mediated by CD4(+) Tregs in mice. Oncoimmunology. 2016 Mar 28;5(6):e1146842. doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2016.1146842. eCollection 2016 Jun. PMID:27471614

Fu J, Wu Y, Nguyen H, Heinrichs J, Schutt S, Liu Y, Liu C, Jin J, Anasetti C, Yu XZ. T-bet Promotes Acute Graft-versus-Host Disease by Regulating Recipient Hematopoietic Cells in Mice. J Immunol. 2016 Apr 1;196(7):3168-79. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1501020. Epub 2016 Feb 22. PMID:26903480

Majchrzak K, Nelson MH, Bailey SR, Bowers JS, Yu XZ, Rubinstein MP, Himes RA, Paulos CM. Exploiting IL-17-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells to improve cancer immunotherapy in the clinic. Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2016 Mar;65(3):247-59. doi: 10.1007/s00262-016-1797-6. Epub 2016 Jan 29. Review. PMID:26825102

Zhu P, Jin J, Liao Y, Li J, Yu XZ, Liao W, He S. A novel prognostic biomarker SPC24 up-regulated in hepatocellular carcinoma. Oncotarget. 2015 Dec 1;6(38):41383-97. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.5510. PMID:26515591

Schutt SD, Fu J, Nguyen H, Bastian D, Heinrichs J, Wu Y, Liu C, McDonald DG, Pidala J, Yu XZ. Inhibition of BTK and ITK with Ibrutinib Is Effective in the Prevention of Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease in Mice. PLoS One. 2015 Sep 8;10(9):e0137641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0137641. eCollection 2015. PMID:26348529

Zhang L, Ke F, Liu Z, Bai J, Liu J, Yan S, Xu Z, Lou F, Wang H, Zhu H, Sun Y, Cai W, Gao Y, Li Q, Yu XZ, Qian Y, Hua Z, Deng J, Li QJ, Wang H. MicroRNA-31 negatively regulates peripherally derived regulatory T-cell generation by repressing retinoic acid-inducible protein 3. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 13;6:7639. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8639. PMID:26165721

Wu Y, Heinrichs J, Bastian D, Fu J, Nguyen H, Schutt S, Liu Y, Jin J, Liu C, Li QJ, Xia C, Yu XZ. MicroRNA-17-92 controls T-cell responses in graft-versus-host disease and leukemia relapse in mice. Blood. 2015 Sep 10;126(11):1314-23. doi: 10.1182/blood-2015-02-627356. Epub 2015 Jul 2. PMID:26138686

Yan S, Xu Z, Lou F, Zhang L, Ke F, Bai J, Liu Z, Liu J, Wang H, Zhu H, Sun Y, Cai W, Gao Y, Su B, Li Q, Yang X, Yu J, Lai Y, Yu XZ, Zheng Y, Shen N, Chin YE, Wang H. NF-κB-induced microRNA-31 promotes epidermal hyperplasia by repressing protein phosphatase 6 in psoriasis. Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 3;6:7652. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8652. PMID:26138368

Current Research Support
R21 AI 136531 Yu (PI) 02/01/18-01/31/20
Ceramide Synthesis as a Potential Target for Chronic GVHD
The major goal of this project is to validate Ceramide Synthesis 6 as therapeutic target for the prevention and treatment of chronic GVHD.

R01 AI118305 Yu (PI) 08/01/15-02/28/20
MicroRNA Regulates Graft-versus-Host Disease
The major goal of this project is to validate miR-17-92 as therapeutic targets for the control of acute and chronic GVHD while preserving GVL activity.

R01 HL137373 Yu (PI) 05/01/17-01/31/21
Separation of GVH and GVL Responses Using Alloreactive CD8 iTregs
This project is to study alloreactive CD8 iTregs on GVH and GVL responses in allogeneic BMT.

R01 HL137373 Yu (PI) 08/01/18-06/30/22
Targeting IRE-1a/XBP-1 Axis for Control of Chronic GVHD and Leukemia Relapse
The current research is designed to further understand cellular stress response of immune cells under HCT, and to identify potential therapeutic target(s) for controlling GVHD as well as leukemia recurrence.

South Carolina Center of Economic Excellence Endowed Program 5/1/13 - present
State of South Carolina
Role: PI

Top of Page