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Xiaoping Zhong, MD, PhD

Professor of Pediatrics
Professor of Immunology
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail: Box 2644 Med Ctr, Div. Pediatric Allergy & Immunology, Durham, NC 27710
Phone: (919) 681-9450
Email address: xiaoping.zhong@duke.edu

The immune system protects the host from microbial infection but can cause diseases if not properly controlled. My lab is interested in the receptor signaling mediated regulation of immune cell development and function as well as the pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune diseases and allergies.

We are currently investigating the roles diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs) and TSC1/2-mTOR play in the immune system. DGKs are a family of ten enzymes that catalyze the conversion of diacylglycerol (DAG) to phosphatidic acid (PA), Both DAG and PA are important second messengers involved signaling from numerous receptors. While we expect DGKs to perform important roles in development and cellular function by modulating DAG and PA levels, the physiologic functions of DGKs have been poorly understood. Using cell line models and genetically manipulated mice, we have demonstrated that DGKα and ζ isoforms play critical roles in: T cell development, activation, and anergy by regulating T cell receptor signaling; FcεRI signaling and mast cell function; and Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immune responses.

Research areas that we are actively pursuing include:
1. The mechanisms that control T cell maturation, activation
and self-tolerance.
2. NKT cell development and function.
3. Thymic epithelial cells and thymic development, function, and involution.
4. Regulation of Toll-like receptor signaling and innate immunity. 
5. The pathogenesis and treatment of autoimmune hepatitis. 
6. Mast cell development and function.
7. The pathogenesis and immunotherapy for peanut allergy.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University, 1997
  • M.D., First Medical College in Guangzhou (China), 1985

Publications

Deng, W, Yang, J, Lin, X, Shin, J, Gao, J, and Zhong, X-P. "Essential Role of mTORC1 in Self-Renewal of Murine Alveolar Macrophages." Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 198, no. 1 (January 2017): 492-504.

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Xie, D-L, Zheng, M-M, Zheng, Y, Gao, H, Zhang, J, Zhang, T, Guo, J-C, Yang, XF, Zhong, X-P, and Lou, Y-L. "Vibrio vulnificus induces mTOR activation and inflammatory responses in macrophages." PloS one 12, no. 7 (January 2017): e0181454-.

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Lin, X, Yang, J, Wang, J, Huang, H, Wang, H-X, Chen, P, Wang, S, Pan, Y, Qiu, Y-R, Taylor, GA, Vallance, BA, Gao, J, and Zhong, X-P. "mTOR is critical for intestinal T-cell homeostasis and resistance to Citrobacter rodentium." Scientific reports 6 (October 12, 2016): 34939-.

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Yang, J, Lin, X, Pan, Y, Wang, J, Chen, P, Huang, H, Xue, H-H, Gao, J, and Zhong, X-P. "Critical roles of mTOR Complex 1 and 2 for T follicular helper cell differentiation and germinal center responses." eLife 5 (September 30, 2016).

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Pan, H, Zhong, X-P, and Lee, S. "Sustained activation of mTORC1 in macrophages increases AMPKα-dependent autophagy to maintain cellular homeostasis." BMC biochemistry 17, no. 1 (July 7, 2016): 14-.

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Petrovski, S, Parrott, RE, Roberts, JL, Huang, H, Yang, J, Gorentla, B, Mousallem, T, Wang, E, Armstrong, M, McHale, D, MacIver, NJ, Goldstein, DB, Zhong, X-P, and Buckley, RH. "Dominant Splice Site Mutations in PIK3R1 Cause Hyper IgM Syndrome, Lymphadenopathy and Short Stature." Journal of clinical immunology 36, no. 5 (July 2016): 462-471.

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Wang, H-X, Cheng, JS, Chu, S, Qiu, Y-R, and Zhong, X-P. "mTORC2 in Thymic Epithelial Cells Controls Thymopoiesis and T Cell Development." Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 197, no. 1 (July 2016): 141-150.

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Yang, J, Zhang, P, Krishna, S, Wang, J, Lin, X, Huang, H, Xie, D, Gorentla, B, Huang, R, Gao, J, Li, Q-J, and Zhong, X-P. "Unexpected positive control of NFκB and miR-155 by DGKα and ζ ensures effector and memory CD8+ T cell differentiation." Oncotarget 7, no. 23 (June 2016): 33744-33764.

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Wang, H-X, Shin, J, Wang, S, Gorentla, B, Lin, X, Gao, J, Qiu, Y-R, and Zhong, X-P. "mTORC1 in Thymic Epithelial Cells Is Critical for Thymopoiesis, T-Cell Generation, and Temporal Control of γδT17 Development and TCRγ/δ Recombination." PLoS biology 14, no. 2 (February 18, 2016): e1002370-.

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Chen, SS, Hu, Z, and Zhong, X-P. "Diacylglycerol Kinases in T Cell Tolerance and Effector Function." Frontiers in cell and developmental biology 4 (January 2016): 130-. (Review)

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