Ting Zhu, Ph.D.

Mirror-Image Biology Lab

CONTACT

Email: tzhu@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://zhu.lab.westlake.edu.cn

Ting Zhu, Ph.D.

Mirror-Image Biology Lab

CONTACT

Email: tzhu@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://zhu.lab.westlake.edu.cn

Biography

1999-2003    B.E. in Engineering Mechanics (early graduation with highest honor), Tsinghua University

2003-2005    M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, MIT (Advisor: Roger D. Kamm)

2005-2010    Ph.D. in Medical Engineering and Medical Physics, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology (Advisor: Jack W. Szostak)

2010-2011    Postdoctoral Associate, MIT/Massachusetts General Hospital (Advisors: Maria T. Zuber, Gary Ruvkun)

2011-2016  Assistant Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University

2016-2019    Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University

2019-2022    Professor, School of Life Sciences, Tsinghua University

2022-presentChair Professor, School of Life Sciences, Westlake University


Research

Mirror-image biology, Synthetic biology, Chemical biology

The overwhelmingly homochiral nature of life has left a puzzle as to whether mirror-image biology systems based on a chirally inverted version of molecular machinery could also exist. We initially developed a proof-of-concept mirror-image genetic replication and transcription system based on a synthetic 174-aa mirror-image African swine fever virus polymerase X (ASFV pol X) (Wang et al., 2016), followed by a more efficient and thermostable 352-aa mirror-image Sulfolobus solfataricus P2 DNA polymerase IV (Dpo4) that led to the realization of mirror-image PCR (Xu et al., 2017; Jiang et al., 2017), gene transcription, reverse transcription, as well as mirror-image DNA and RNA sequencing (Liu and Zhu, 2018; Wang et al., 2019). Toward building a mirror-image ribosome, we realized the assembly of mirror-image 5S ribonucleoprotein complexes (Ling et al., 2020), protein translation without aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, and ribozyme-catalyzed mirror-image tRNA charging (Chen et al., 2021). More recently, we chemically synthesized a 90-kDa high-fidelity mirror-image Pfu DNA polymerase, enabling the accurate assembly of a kilobase-sized mirror-image gene and biostable storage of an entire paragraph of digital text in mirror-image DNA (Fan et al., 2021). We also developed a ‘mirror-image selection’ scheme for the directed evolution and selection of biostable L-DNA aptamers from large randomized L-DNA libraries (Chen et al., 2022). Our work is a small step toward building mirror-image biology systems. It also highlights the potential to exploit mirror-image biomolecules as a unique class of therapeutic and informational tools.



Representative Publications

1. Chen J, Chen M, Zhu TF*. Directed evolution and selection of biostable L-DNA aptamers with a mirror-image DNA polymerase. Nature Biotechnology, Doi: 10.1038/s41587-022-01337-8 (2022).

2. Fan C#, Deng Q#, Zhu TF*. Bioorthogonal information storage in L-DNA with a high-fidelity mirror-image Pfu DNA polymerase. Nature Biotechnology, 39:1548-1555, (2021).

3. Chen J, Chen M, Zhu TF*. Translating protein enzymes without aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases. Chem, 7:786-798, (2021).

4. Ling JJ#, Fan C#, Qin H, Wang M, Chen J, Wittung-Stafshede P, Zhu TF*. Mirror-image 5S ribonucleoprotein complexes. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 59:3724-3731, (2020).

5. Wang M#, Jiang W#, Liu X#, Wang J#, Zhang B, Fan C, Liu L, Pena-Alcantara G, Ling JJ, Chen J, Zhu TF*. Mirror-image gene transcription and reverse transcription. Chem, 5:848-857, (2019).

6. Liu X, Zhu TF*. Sequencing mirror-image DNA chemically. Cell Chemical Biology, 25:1151-1156, (2018).

7. Jiang W#, Zhang B#, Fan C#, Wang M#, Wang J, Deng Q, Liu X, Chen J, Zheng J, Liu L*, Zhu TF*. Mirror-image polymerase chain reaction. Cell Discovery, 3:17037, (2017).

8. Xu W#, Jiang W#, Wang J#, Yu L#, Chen J, Liu X, Liu L*, Zhu TF*. Total chemical synthesis of a thermostable enzyme capable of polymerase chain reaction.Cell Discovery, 3:17008, (2017).

9. Wang Z#, Xu W#, Liu L*, Zhu TF*. A synthetic molecular system capable of mirror-image genetic replication and transcription. Nature Chemistry, 8(7):698-704, (2016).

*Corresponding author(s)
#Equal contributions

Contact 

Email: tzhu@westlake.edu.cn

Website: https://zhu.lab.westlake.edu.cn