Dr. Hu received his Bachelor degree in pharmaceutical science and Master degree in medicinal chemistry from the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University. Then he studied in the School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University and received his Doctoral degree in biology in 2014. In 2015, he joined Prof. Kevan Shokat’s lab in the University of California, San Francisco for postdoctoral training. He received Damon Runyon Fellowship Award in 2015. His PhD research focused on the molecular mechanism for activation of caspase-9 by the Apaf-1 apoptosome. His postdoctoral work is to develop small molecule inhibitors of cancer-associated mutant Gαs. He has published several research papers on journals such as Cell, Nature, PNAS and Cell Research.
The study in the Hu lab will focus on protein palmitoylation. As a type of protein lipidation, protein palmitoylation is the attachment of a palmitoyl group to a cysteine residue via a thioester bond. Because of its high reversibility, protein palmitoylation participates in the rapid regulation of many cell signaling pathways. Protein palmitoylation is catalyzed by palmitoyltransferases, also known as DHHC enzymes. A total of 23 human DHHC enzymes have been identified to catalyze the palmitoylation of nearly 1000 human proteins. It’s not clear how the activities of these enzymes are regulated. The lack of effective and selective DHHC inhibitors impedes the study of protein palmitoylation. The Hu lab will combine biological and chemical tools to understand the molecular mechanism underlying the function of DHHC enzymes and will develop small molecules to regulate DHHC-related signaling pathways.
1. Hu, Q., Shokat, K. (2018). Disease-causing mutations in the G protein Gαs subvert the roles of GDP and GTP. Cell 173, 1254–1264.
2. Li, Y.#, Zhou, M.#, Hu, Q.#, Bai, X.-C., Huang, W., Scheres, S.H.W., and Shi, Y. (2017). Mechanistic insights into caspase-9 activation by the structure of the apoptosome holoenzyme. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114, 1542–1547. (# co-first author)
3. Zhou, M., Li, Y., Hu, Q., Bai, X.-C., Huang, W., Yan, C., Scheres, S.H.W., and Shi, Y. (2015). Atomic structure of the apoptosome: mechanism of cytochrome c- and dATP-mediated activation of Apaf-1. Genes Dev 29, 2349–2361
4. Wang, J., Yan, C., Li, Y., Hirata, K., Yamamoto, M., Yan, N.*, and Hu, Q.* (2014). Crystal structure of a bacterial homologue of SWEET transporters. Cell Res 24, 1486-1489. (* co-corresponding author)
5. Hu, Q.#, Wu, D.#, Chen, W., Yan, Z., Yan, C., He, T., Liang, Q., and Shi, Y. (2014). Molecular determinants of caspase-9 activation by the Apaf-1 apoptosome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111, 16254-16261. (# co-first author)
6. Hu, Q.#, Wu, D.#, Chen, W., Yan, Z., and Shi, Y. (2013). Proteolytic processing of the caspase-9 zymogen is required for apoptosome-mediated activation of caspase-9. J Biol Chem 288, 15142-15147. (# co-first author)
7. Wu, D.#, Hu, Q..#, Yan, Z.#, Chen, W., Yan, C., Huang, X., Zhang, J., Yang, P., Deng, H., and Wang, J., et al. (2012). Structural basis of ultraviolet-B perception by UVR8. Nature 484, 214-219. (# co-first author)
8. Hu, Q., Nie, A., Welsh, K., Pinacho, C.F., Zhu, X., Li, Z., An, J., Reed, J.C., Zhang, L., and Huang, Z. (2011). Novel X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein inhibitors as probes of apoptosis in biology and medicine. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 236, 247-251.
9. Wang, F., Mei, Z., Qi, Y., Yan, C., Hu, Q., Wang, J., and Shi, Y. (2011). Structure and mechanism of the hexameric MecA-ClpC molecular machine. Nature 471, 331-335.
10. Qi, S., Pang, Y., Hu, Q., Liu, Q., Li, H., Zhou, Y., He, T., Liang, Q., Liu, Y., and Yuan, X., et al. (2010). Crystal structure of the Caenorhabditis elegans apoptosome reveals an octameric assembly of CED-4. Cell 141, 446-457.