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Professional Education

  • Doctor of Philosophy, Zhejiang University (2016)

Stanford Advisors


All Publications

  • Ecto-NTPDase CD39 is a negative checkpoint that inhibits follicular helper cell generation. The Journal of clinical investigation Cao, W. n., Fang, F. n., Gould, T. n., Li, X. n., Kim, C. n., Gustafson, C. n., Lambert, S. n., Weyand, C. M., Goronzy, J. J. 2020


    Vaccination is a mainstay in preventive medicine, reducing morbidity and mortality from infection, largely by generating pathogen-specific neutralizing antibodies. However, standard immunization strategies are insufficient with increasing age due to immunological impediments, including defects in T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Here, we found that Tfh generation is inversely linked to the expression of the ecto-NTPDase CD39 that modifies purinergic signaling. The lineage-determining transcription factor BCL6 inhibited CD39 expression, while increased Tfh frequencies were found in individuals with a germline polymorphism preventing transcription of ENTPD1, encoding CD39. In in vitro human and in vivo mouse studies, Tfh generation and germinal center responses were enhanced by reducing CD39 expression through the inhibition of the cAMP/PKA/p-CREB pathway, or by blocking adenosine signaling downstream of CD39 using the selective adenosine A2a receptor antagonist istradefylline. Thus, purinergic signaling in differentiating T cells can be targeted to improve vaccine responses, in particular in older individuals who have increased CD39 expression.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI132417

    View details for PubMedID 32452837

  • CXXC finger protein 1 is critical for T-cell intrathymic development through regulating H3K4 trimethylation NATURE COMMUNICATIONS Cao, W., Guo, J., Wen, X., Miao, L., Lin, F., Xu, G., Ma, R., Yin, S., Hui, Z., Chen, T., Guo, S., Chen, W., Huang, Y., Liu, Y., Wang, J., Wei, L., Wang, L. 2016; 7: 11687


    T-cell development in the thymus is largely controlled by an epigenetic program, involving in both DNA methylation and histone modifications. Previous studies have identified Cxxc1 as a regulator of both cytosine methylation and histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3). However, it is unknown whether Cxxc1 plays a role in thymocyte development. Here we show that T-cell development in the thymus is severely impaired in Cxxc1-deficient mice. Furthermore, we identify genome-wide Cxxc1-binding sites and H3K4me3 modification sites in wild-type and Cxxc1-deficient thymocytes. Our results demonstrate that Cxxc1 directly controls the expression of key genes important for thymocyte survival such as ROR?t and for T-cell receptor signalling including Zap70 and CD8, through maintaining the appropriate H3K4me3 on their promoters. Importantly, we show that ROR?t, a direct target of Cxxc1, can rescue the survival defects in Cxxc1-deficient thymocytes. Our data strongly support a critical role of Cxxc1 in thymocyte development.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms11687

    View details for Web of Science ID 000376205000001

    View details for PubMedID 27210293

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4879243

  • FOXO1 deficiency impairs proteostasis in aged T cells SCIENCE ADVANCES Jin, J., Li, X., Hu, B., Kim, C., Cao, W., Zhang, H., Weyand, C. M., Goronzy, J. J. 2020; 6 (17)
  • Immune cell repertoires in breast cancer patients after adjuvant chemotherapy. JCI insight Gustafson, C. E., Jadhav, R., Cao, W., Qi, Q., Pegram, M., Tian, L., Weyand, C. M., Goronzy, J. J. 2020; 5 (4)


    Adjuvant chemotherapy in breast cancer patients causes immune cell depletion at an age when the regenerative capacity is compromised. Successful regeneration requires the recovery of both quantity and quality of immune cell subsets. Although immune cell numbers rebound within a year after treatment, it is unclear whether overall compositional diversity is recovered. We investigated the regeneration of immune cell complexity by comparing peripheral blood mononuclear cells from breast cancer patients ranging from 1-5 years after chemotherapy with those of age-matched healthy controls using mass cytometry and T cell receptor sequencing. These data reveal universal changes in patients' CD4+ T cells that persisted for years and consisted of expansion of Th17-like CD4 memory populations with incomplete recovery of CD4+ naive T cells. Conversely, CD8+ T cells fully recovered within a year. Mechanisms of T cell regeneration, however, were unbiased, as CD4+ and CD8+ T cell receptor diversity remained high. Likewise, terminal differentiated effector memory cells were not expanded, indicating that regeneration was not driven by recognition of latent viruses. These data suggest that, while CD8+ T cell immunity is successfully regenerated, the CD4 compartment may be irreversibly affected. Moreover, the bias of CD4 memory toward inflammatory effector cells may impact responses to vaccination and infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1172/jci.insight.134569

    View details for PubMedID 32102986

  • FOXO1 deficiency impairs proteostasis in aged T cells. Science advances Jin, J. n., Li, X. n., Hu, B. n., Kim, C. n., Cao, W. n., Zhang, H. n., Weyand, C. M., Goronzy, J. J. 2020; 6 (17): eaba1808


    T cell differentiation involves the dynamic regulation of FOXO1 expression, which rapidly declines after activation and is subsequently restored. Reexpression is impaired in naïve CD4+ T cell responses from older individuals. Here, we show that FOXO1 promotes lysosome function through the induction of the key transcription factor for lysosomal proteins, TFEB. Subdued FOXO1 reexpression in activated CD4+ T cells impairs lysosomal activity, causing an expansion of multivesicular bodies (MVBs). Expansion of the MVB compartment induces the sequestration of glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK3?), thereby suppressing protein turnover and enhancing glycolytic activity. As a consequence, older activated CD4+ T cells develop features reminiscent of senescent cells. They acquire an increased cell mass, preferentially differentiate into short-lived effector T cells, and secrete exosomes that harm cells in the local environment through the release of granzyme B.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aba1808

    View details for PubMedID 32494657

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7176426

  • Loss-of-function of the DNA Repair Nuclease MRE11A Induces Mitochondrial Failure and Tissue Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis Li, Y., Shen, Y., Jin, K., Wen, Z., Cao, W., Wu, B., Wen, R., Tian, L., Berry, G., Goronzy, J., Weyand, C. WILEY. 2019
  • Epigenetic initiation of the T(H)17 differentiation program is promoted by Cxxc finger protein 1 SCIENCE ADVANCES Lin, F., Meng, X., Guo, Y., Cao, W., Liu, W., Xia, Q., Hui, Z., Chen, J., Hong, S., Zhang, X., Wu, C., Wang, D., Wang, J., Lu, L., Qian, W., Wei, L., Wang, L. 2019; 5 (10): eaax1608


    IL-6/STAT3 signaling is known to initiate the TH17 differentiation program, but the upstream regulatory mechanisms remain minimally explored. Here, we show that Cxxc finger protein 1 (Cxxc1) promoted the generation of TH17 cells as an epigenetic regulator and prevented their differentiation into Treg cells. Mice with a T cell-specific deletion of Cxxc1 were protected from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and were more susceptible to Citrobacter rodentium infection. Cxxc1 deficiency decreased IL-6R? expression and impeded IL-6/STAT3 signaling, whereas the overexpression of IL-6R? could partially reverse the defects in Cxxc1-deficient TH17 cells in vitro and in vivo. Genome-wide occupancy analysis revealed that Cxxc1 bound to Il6r? gene loci by maintaining the appropriate H3K4me3 modification of its promoter. Therefore, these data highlight that Cxxc1 as a key regulator governs the balance between TH17 and Treg cells by controlling the expression of IL-6R?, which affects IL-6/STAT3 signaling and has an impact on TH17-related autoimmune diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/sciadv.aax1608

    View details for Web of Science ID 000491132700033

    View details for PubMedID 31633019

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6785255

  • The DNA Repair Nuclease MRE11A Functions as a Mitochondrial Protector and Prevents T Cell Pyroptosis and Tissue Inflammation. Cell metabolism Li, Y., Shen, Y., Jin, K., Wen, Z., Cao, W., Wu, B., Wen, R., Tian, L., Berry, G. J., Goronzy, J. J., Weyand, C. M. 2019


    In the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA), CD4+ Tcells promote pro-inflammatory effector functions by shunting glucose away from glycolysis and ATP production. Underlying mechanisms remain unknown, and here we implicate the DNA repair nuclease MRE11A in the cells' bioenergetic failure. MRE11A deficiency in RA Tcells disrupted mitochondrial oxygen consumption and suppressed ATP generation. Also, MRE11A loss of function caused leakage of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) into the cytosol, triggering inflammasome assembly, caspase-1 activation, and pyroptotic cell death. Caspase-1 activation was frequent in lymph-node-residing Tcells in RA patients. Invivo, pharmacologic and genetic inhibition of MRE11A resulted in tissuedeposition of mtDNA, caspase-1 proteolysis, andaggressive tissue inflammation. Conversely, MRE11A overexpression restored mitochondrial fitness and shielded tissue from inflammatory attack. Thus, the nuclease MRE11A regulates a mitochondrial protection program, and MRE11A deficiency leads to DNA repair defects, energy production, and failure and loss of tissue homeostasis.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cmet.2019.06.016

    View details for PubMedID 31327667

  • The transcription factor Zfp281 sustains CD4+ T lymphocyte activation through directly repressing Ctla-4 transcription. Cellular & molecular immunology Guo, J. n., Xue, Z. n., Ma, R. n., Yi, W. n., Hui, Z. n., Guo, Y. n., Yao, Y. n., Cao, W. n., Wang, J. n., Ju, Z. n., Lu, L. n., Wang, L. n. 2019


    The expression of coinhibitory receptors, such as CTLA-4, on effector T cells is a key mechanism for the negative regulation of T-cell activation. However, the transcriptional regulation of CTLA-4 is not well understood. Zfp281, a C2H2 zinc finger protein, is a negative regulator of pluripotency maintenance of embryonic stem cells. Nevertheless, the function of Zfp281 in differentiated cells has not been studied. We generated Zfp281 conditional knockout mice in which the function of the Zfp281 gene was conditionally disrupted by the Cd4Cre transgene to study its impact on T cell function. Zfp281 had no effect on T-cell development, but CD4+ T cell activation and cytokine production were impaired due to diminished T-cell receptor signaling. Furthermore, Zfp281 deficiency inhibited in vivo T cell responses to Listeria monocytogenes infection. Using genome-wide expression profiling assays, we determined that Zfp281 repressed Ctla-4 expression by directly binding to GC-rich sites in its promoter, which inhibited the negative feedback of T cell activation. In line with this result, CTLA-4 blockade and shRNA knockdown partly rescued the reduced cytokine production caused by Zfp281 deficiency. These findings indicate that Zfp281 sustains CD4+ T lymphocyte activation by directly repressing Ctla-4 transcription.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/s41423-019-0289-y

    View details for PubMedID 31511645

  • Determinants governing T cell receptor ?/?-chain pairing in repertoire formation of identical twins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Tanno, H. n., Gould, T. M., McDaniel, J. R., Cao, W. n., Tanno, Y. n., Durrett, R. E., Park, D. n., Cate, S. J., Hildebrand, W. H., Dekker, C. L., Tian, L. n., Weyand, C. M., Georgiou, G. n., Goronzy, J. J. 2019


    The T cell repertoire in each individual includes T cell receptors (TCRs) of enormous sequence diversity through the pairing of diverse TCR ?- and ?-chains, each generated by somatic recombination of paralogous gene segments. Whether the TCR repertoire contributes to susceptibility to infectious or autoimmune diseases in concert with disease-associated major histocompatibility complex (MHC) polymorphisms is unknown. Due to a lack in high-throughput technologies to sequence TCR ?-? pairs, current studies on whether the TCR repertoire is shaped by host genetics have so far relied only on single-chain analysis. Using a high-throughput single T cell sequencing technology, we obtained the largest paired TCR?? dataset so far, comprising 965,523 clonotypes from 15 healthy individuals including 6 monozygotic twin pairs. Public TCR ?- and, to a lesser extent, TCR ?-chain sequences were common in all individuals. In contrast, sharing of entirely identical TCR?? amino acid sequences was very infrequent in unrelated individuals, but highly increased in twins, in particular in CD4 memory T cells. Based on nucleotide sequence identity, a subset of these shared clonotypes appeared to be the progeny of T cells that had been generated during fetal development and had persisted for more than 50 y. Additional shared TCR?? in twins were encoded by different nucleotide sequences, implying that genetic determinants impose structural constraints on thymic selection that favor the selection of TCR ?-? pairs with entire sequence identities.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1915008117

    View details for PubMedID 31879353

  • Runt-related transcription factor 3 is involved in the altered phenotype and function in ThPok-deficient invariant natural killer T cells CELLULAR & MOLECULAR IMMUNOLOGY Liu, X., Yin, S., Cao, W., Fan, W., Yu, L., Yin, L., Wang, L., Wang, J. 2014; 11 (3): 232?44


    The interplay between the CD4-lineage transcription factor ThPok and the CD8-lineage transcription factor, runt-related transcription factor 3 (Runx3), in T-cell development has been extensively documented. However, little is known about the roles of these transcription factors in invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell development. CD1d-restricted iNKT cells are committed to the CD4(+)CD8(-) and CD4(-)CD8(-) sublineages, which respond to antigen stimulation with rapid and potent release of T helper (Th) 1 and Th2 cytokines. However, previous reports have demonstrated a new population of CD8(+) NKT cells in ThPok-deficient mice. In the current study, we sought to determine whether Runx3 was involved in the re-expression of CD8 and function of iNKT cells in the absence of ThPok. We used mice lacking Runx3, ThPok or both and verified that Runx3 was partially responsible for the appearance of CD8(+) iNKT cells in ThPok knockout mice. Additionally, Runx3 participated in the immune response mediated by iNKT cells in a model of ?-galactosylceramide-induced acute hepatitis. These results indicate that Runx3 is crucial for the phenotypic and functional changes observed in ThPok-deficient iNKT cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/cmi.2014.3

    View details for Web of Science ID 000335374000005

    View details for PubMedID 24561456

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4085493

  • Klf10 inhibits IL-12p40 production in macrophage colony-stimulating factor-induced mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY Zhang, W., Wang, X., Xia, X., Liu, X., Suo, S., Guo, J., Li, M., Cao, W., Cai, Z., Hui, Z., Subramaniam, M., Spelsberg, T. C., Wang, J., Wang, L. 2013; 43 (1): 258?69


    Bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMMs) treated with granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF), differentiate into GM-CSF-induced mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (GM-BMMs) or M-CSF-induced mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (M-BMMs), which have an M1 or M2 profile, respectively. GM-BMMs produce large amounts of proinflammatory cytokines and mediate resistance to pathogens, whereas M-BMMs produce antiinflammatory cytokines that contribute to tissue repair and remodeling. M-BMMs stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) are in an antiinflammatory state, with an IL-12(low) IL-10(high) phenotype. However, the regulation of this process remains unclear. Klf10 belongs to the family of Krüppel-like transcription factors and was initially described as a TGF-? inducible early gene 1. IL-12p40 is upregulated in LPS-stimulated M-BMMs from Klf10-deficient mice, but downregulated during Klf10 overexpression. Klf11, another member of the Krüppel-like factor family, can also repress the production of IL-12p40. Furthermore, Klf10 binds to the CACCC element of the IL-12p40 promoter and inhibits its transcription. We have therefore identified Klf10 as a transcription factor that regulates the expression of IL-12p40 in M-BMMs.

    View details for DOI 10.1002/eji.201242697

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313883200033

    View details for PubMedID 23065757

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3842096

  • MCPIP1 Down-Regulates IL-2 Expression through an ARE-Independent Pathway PLOS ONE Li, M., Cao, W., Liu, H., Zhang, W., Liu, X., Cai, Z., Guo, J., Wang, X., Hui, Z., Zhang, H., Wang, J., Wang, L. 2012; 7 (11): e49841


    IL-2 plays a key role in the survival and proliferation of immune cells, especially T lymphocytes. Its expression is precisely regulated at transcriptional and posttranscriptional level. IL-2 is known to be regulated by RNA binding proteins, such as tristetraprolin (TTP), via an AU-rich element (ARE) in the 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR) to influence the stability of mRNA. MCPIP1, identified as a novel RNase, can degrade IL-6, IL-12 and TNF-? mRNA by an ARE-independent pathway in the activation of macrophages. Here, we reported that MCPIP1 was induced in the activation of T lymphocytes and negatively regulated IL-2 gene expression in both mouse and human primary T lymphocytes through destabilizing its mRNA. A set of Luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that a non-ARE conserved element in IL-2 3'UTR, which formed a stem-loop structure, responded to MCPIP1 activity.RNA immunoprecipitation and Biotin pulldown experiments further suggested that MCPIP1 could modestly bind to IL-2 mRNA. Taken together, these data demonstrate that MCPIP1 down-regulates IL-2 via an ARE-independent pathway.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0049841

    View details for Web of Science ID 000311821000120

    View details for PubMedID 23185455

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3504106

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