Home CAS Center for Excellence


Members of CAS, CAE
National Outstanding Young Scientists Award
Principal Investigators
Address: 320 Yue Yang Road, Shanghai 200031, P.R. China
Tel: 86-21-54920000
Fax: 86-21-54921011
Email: sibcb@sibs.ac.cn
Website: www.sibcb.ac.cn
Principal Investigators
ZHANG Yonglian
Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Professor and Head of Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Andrology
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences
320, Yue-yang Road, Shanghai, 200031, China
Email: ylzhang@@sibcb.ac.cn

Research Areas
epididymis functional genomics; sperm maturation; androgen; antimicrobial peptide; sperm motility, sperm capacitation, in vivo gene tageting by RNAi, microRNAs in epididymis, non-coding RNA, human epididymis cDNA library, DNA methylation in epididymis

Research Interests
Epididymis is composed of a long tubule which linked testes and vas deferens, which is essential for sperm maturation, protection and storage. Sperm came from testes is not fully differentiated. By passing through the long tubule of epididymis, sperm gains its motility, capacitation and fertilization abilities by interacting with epididymal secretory proteins and undergoing a series of modification in the epididymal lumen. Searching for these epididymis-specific genes and their roles in sperm maturation will be of help not only in understanding the molecular mechanisms of sperm maturation, but also providing new insights for personalized diagnosis and treatment of infertility and male contraceptive drugs design. A large number of epididymis-specific genes were cloned in our lab in the past decades, their characterizations, functions and participations in sperm motility, capacitation and fertility have been investigated by using molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches. Recently, we are starting to study the roles of non-coding RNA sequences in sperm maturation by in vitro and in vivo approaches. Meantime, we pay much attention to translational medicine.
        Now, there are three main fields undergoing in our lab:
        1. The roles of epididymis-specific genes in sperm maturation by using molecular, cellular approaches and genetic tools, including RNAi, conditional knock out or knock in;
        2. Participations of non-coding RNAs in epididymis and infertility diseases and underlying mechanisms by using in vitro and in vivo approaches;
        Epigenetic regulation on epididymal gene expression and its potential roles in sperm maturation;

Selected Publications

  1. P. Li, H. C. Chan, B. He, S. C. So, Y. W. Chung, Q. Shang, Y. D. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2001. An antimicrobial peptide gene found in the male reproductive system of rats. Science. 291(5509): 1783-1785.
  2. Q. Liu, K. G. Hamil, P. Sivashanmugam, G. Grossman, R. Soundararajan, A. J. Rao, R. T. Richardson, Y. L. Zhang, M. G. O¨Rand, P. Petrusz, F. S. French, and S. H. Hall. 2001. Primate epididymis-specific proteins: characterization of ESC42, a novel protein containing a trefoil-like motif in monkey and human. Endocrinology. 142(10): 4529-4539.
  3. Y. X. Hu, J. Y. Guo, L. Shen, Y. Chen, Z. C. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2002. Get effective polyclonal antisera in one month. Cell Res. 12(2): 157-160.
  4. K. G. Hamil, Q. Liu, P. Sivashanmugam, S. Yenugu, R. Soundararajan, G. Grossman, R. T. Richardson, Y. L. Zhang, M. G. O¨Rand, P. Petrusz, F. S. French, and S. H. Hall. 2002. Cystatin 11: a new member of the cystatin type 2 family. Endocrinology. 143(7): 2787-2796.
  5. Y. Hu, Z. Zhou, C. Xu, Q. Shang, Y. D. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2003. Androgen down-regulated and region-specific expression of germ cell nuclear factor in mouse epididymis. Endocrinology. 144(4): 1612-1619.
  6. C. X. Zhou, Y. L. Zhang, L. Xiao, M. Zheng, K. M. Leung, M. Y. Chan, P. S. Lo, L. L. Tsang, H. Y. Wong, L. S. Ho, Y. W. Chung, and H. C. Chan. 2004. An epididymis-specific beta-defensin is important for the initiation of sperm maturation. Nat Cell Biol. 6(5): 458-464.
  7. J. S. Zhang, Q. Liu, Y. M. Li, S. H. Hall, F. S. French, and Y. L. Zhang. 2006. Genome-wide profiling of segmental-regulated transcriptomes in human epididymis using oligo microarray. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 250(1-2): 169-177.
  8. H. X. Yuan, A. H. Liu, L. Zhang, H. Zhou, Y. Wang, H. Zhang, G. Wang, R. Zeng, Y. L. Zhang, and Z. J. Chen. 2006. Proteomic profiling of regionalized proteins in rat epididymis indicates consistency between specialized distribution and protein functions. J Proteome Res. 5(2): 299-307.
  9. H. Diao, C. Y. Guo, D. H. Lin, and Y. L. Zhang. 2007. Intein-mediated expression is an effective approach in the study of beta-defensins. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 357(4): 840-846.
  10. C. F. Zhu, Q. Liu, L. Zhang, H. X. Yuan, W. Zhen, J. S. Zhang, Z. J. Chen, S. H. Hall, F. S. French, and Y. L. Zhang. 2007. RNase9, an androgen-dependent member of the RNase A family, is specifically expressed in the rat epididymis. Biol Reprod. 76(1): 63-73.
  11. J. Y. Li, H. Y. Wang, J. Liu, Q. Liu, J. S. Zhang, F. C. Wan, F. J. Liu, S. H. Jin, and Y. L. Zhang. 2008. Transcriptome analysis of a cDNA library from adult human epididymis. DNA Res. 15(3): 115-122.
  12. Y. C. Zhou, M. Zheng, Q. X. Shi, L. Zhang, W. Zhen, W. Y. Chen, and Y. L. Zhang. 2008. An epididymis-specific secretory protein HongrES1 critically regulates sperm capacitation and male fertility. PLoS One. 3(12): e4106.
  13. W. Zhen, P. Li, B. He, J. Y. Guo, and Y. L. Zhang. 2009. The novel epididymis-specific beta-galactosidase-like gene Glb1l4 is essential in epididymal development and sperm maturation in rats. Biol Reprod. 80(4): 696-706.
  14. D. M. Cao, Y. Li, R. Yang, Y. Wang, Y. C. Zhou, H. Diao, Y. Zhao, Y. L. Zhang, and J. Lu. 2010. Lipopolysaccharide-induced epididymitis disrupts epididymal beta-defensin expression and inhibits sperm motility in rats. Biol Reprod. 83(6): 1064-1070.
  15. S. G. Hu, G. X. Yao, X. J. Guan, Z. M. Ni, W. B. Ma, E. M. Wilson, F. S. French, Q. Liu, and Y. L. Zhang. 2010. Research resource: Genome-wide mapping of in vivo androgen receptor binding sites in mouse epididymis. Mol Endocrinol. 24(12): 2392-2405.
  16. Y. Zhao, H. Diao, Z. M. Ni, S. G. Hu, H. G. Yu, and Y. L. Zhang. 2011. The epididymis-specific antimicrobial peptide beta-defensin 15 is required for sperm motility and male fertility in the rat (Rattus norvegicus). Cell Mol Life Sci. 68(4): 697-708.
  17. C. M. Wang, C. Y. Huang, Y. H. Gu, Y. C. Zhou, Z. M. Zhu, and Y. L. Zhang. 2011. Biosynthesis and distribution of Lewis X- and Lewis Y-containing glycoproteins in the murine male reproductive system. Glycobiology. 21(2): 225-234.
  18. Y. Chen, C. Chu, Y. C. Zhou, Y. F. Ru, H. R. Chen, F. Chen, Q. J. He, Y. L. Zhang, L. L. Zhang and J. L. Shi. 2011. Reversible pore-structure evolution in hollow silica nanocapsules: large pores for siRNA delivery and nanoparticle collecting. Small. 7(20): p. 2935-44.
  19. M. J. Ni, Z. H. Hu, Q. Liu, M. F. Liu, M. H. Lu, J. S. Zhang, L. Zhang and Y. L. Zhang. 2011. Identification and characterization of a novel non-coding RNA involved in sperm maturation. PLoS One. 6(10): e26053.
  20. Y. L. Zhang, J. S. Zhang, Y. C. Zhou, Y. Zhao and M. J. Ni. 2011. Identification of microRNAs and application of RNA interference for gene targeting in vivo in the rat epididymis. J Androl. 32(6): 587-91.
  21. W. B. Ma, S. S. Xie, M. J. Ni, X. X. Huang, S. G. Hu, Q. Liu, A. H. Liu, J. S. Zhang and Y. L. Zhang. 2012. MicroRNA-29a inhibited epididymal epithelial cell proliferation by targeting nuclear autoantigenic sperm protein(NASP). J Biol Chem. 287: 10189-10199.
  22. X. Q. Li, M. J. Ni and Y. L. Zhang. 2012. Detecting miRNAs by liquid hybridization and color development. Methods. 58(2): 151-5.
  23. S. S. Xie, J. Xu, W. B. Ma, Q. Liu, J. X. Han, G. X. Yao, X. X. Huang and Y. L. Zhang. 2013. Lcn5 promoter directs the region-specific expression of cre recombinase in caput epididymidis of transgenic mice. Biology of Reproduction. 88(3): 71.
  24. Y. C. Zhou, Y. F. Ru, C. M. Wang, S. L. Wang, Z. M. Zhou and Y. L. Zhang. 2013. Tripeptidyl peptidase II regulates sperm function by modulating intracellular Ca(2+) stores via the ryanodine receptor. PLoS One. 8(6): e66634.
  25. J. S. Zhang, S. S. Xie, W. B. Ma, Y. Teng, Y. Tian, X. X. Huang and Y. L. Zhang. 2013. A newly identified microRNA, mmu-miR-7578, functions as a negative regulator on inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 via targeting Egr1 in vivo. J Biol Chem. 288(6): 4310-20.
  26. L. Ma, H. G. Yu, Z. M, Ni, S. G. Hu, W. B. Ma, C. Chu, Q. Liu and Y. L. Zhang. 2013. Spink13, an epididymis-specific gene of the Kazal-type serine protease inhibitor (SPINK) family, is essential for the acrosomal integrity and male fertility. J Biol Chem. 288(14): 10154-65.
  27. H. G. Yu, J. Dong, Y. H. Gu, H. Y. Liu, A. J. Xin, H. J. Shi, F. Sun, Y. L. Zhang, D. H. Lin and H. Diao. 2013. The novel human beta-defensin 114 regulates lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-mediated inflammation and protects sperm from motility loss. J Biol Chem. 288(17): 12270-82.
  28. W. B. Ma, S. G. Hu, G. X. Yao, S. S. Xie, M. J. Ni, Q. Liu, X. X. Gao, J. S. Zhang, X. X. Huang and Y. L. Zhang. 2013. An Androgen Receptor-MicroRNA-29a Regulatory Circuitry in Mouse Epididymis. J Biol Chem. 288(41): 29369-81.

Education Background & Academic Experience
1953-1957, BS, Fu-Dan University, Department of Chemistry, CAS;
1978-1982, PhD (equivalent), Institute of Biochemistry, CAS;

1957-1978, Division of Radiobiology, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry;
1978-1982, PhD (equivalent), Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry;
1985-1986, Assistant Professor, Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry;
1986-1991, Associate Professor, Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry;
1991-Present, Professor, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology;
2007-Presnet, Director of Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Andrology;

1983-1985, 1988 (July-November), 1989 (June-October) 1993 (September-November) Visiting Scholar, Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK. Characterization and transcriptional regulation of rat prostatic steroid binding protein(PSBP) gene expression.
1990 July-1991 February & 1991 June-1992 January Visiting Scholar, Department of Human Oncology, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Androgen responsive elements searching.
1995, 1997 (January-April) Visiting Scholar, The Laboratory for Reproductive Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill. NC. USA The roles of the nuclear orphan receptor GCNF/RTR in spermatogenesis.
1999 (September-October) Visiting Prof., Dept. of Endocrinology, Division of Andrology, Sydney University, Sydney, Austrilia. Hormone regulation of RTR gene expression in hpg mice and testing a potential diagnosis marker for prostate cancer.

1977    A group merit awarded by the Ministry of the Chinese Defence
1977    A group merit awarded by the Science Congress of Shanghai
1978    The whole group won a grand achievement in scientific research from CAS
1978    A group merit awarded by the Chinese National Sciences Congress
1993    Merit Award in Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, first-class
1994    The Model Worker of the Shanghai City
1995    The Top Ten Woman of the Shanghai City
1997    The Top Ten Female scientists of the Shanghai City.
1997    National the third-class Merit in Natural Sciences.
1997    The second-class Merit award in sciences and technology of Shanghai.
2001    The best scientific paper awarded by the National Society of the Biochem. & mol. Biol.
2001    Elected as Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences
2002    The Life Science Merit awarded by He-Liang He-Li Foundation
2003    The Model Worker of China 2004 The Advanced Individual in National State Key Laboratory of China
2004    The Advanced Individual in National Basic Research Program "973" of China
2004    The Meritorious worker in Science and Technology of the Shanghai City
2005    The top ten female scientists in the Chinese Academy of Sciences
2007    The Nature Science Award of shanghai, first-class
2008    The National Nature Science Award of China, second-class


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