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ZHAI Qiwei


Professor, Principal Investigator

Laboratory of Nutrition and Chronic Metabolic Diseases

Email: qwzhai@sibs.ac.cn

Tel: 86-21-54920903

Research Areas:

Our major research interests are to investigate the pathogenesis and the underlying molecular mechanisms of metabolic diseases related to lipid and glucose metabolism, and to identify potential drug targets or reveal nutritional intervention possibilities. Recently, we are interested in the role and underlying mechanisms of noncoding RNAs and aging related factors, such as tsRNAs, srRNAs and SIRT1, in type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases at molecular, cellular, animal and even clinical levels.


Brief Biography:

I. Education 

1995-2000    Ph.D. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry, Chinese Academy of Science, Shanghai, China 

1991-1995    B.S.   Biochemistry, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China

II. Academic Background 

2017-Present: Professor, Principal Investigator, Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health (SINH), CAS 

2004-2016    Professor, Principle Investigator, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China 

2003-2004    Associate professor, Co-PI, Institute for Nutritional Sciences, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China 

2002-2003    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Division of Neuroscience, Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 

2000-2002    Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 


Selected Publications (*Corresponding Author)

  1. Lai H#, Feng N#, Zhai Q*. Discovery of the major 15-30nt mammalian small RNAs, their biogenesis and function. Nat Commun 2023 Sep 18;14(1):5796.
  2. Cheng Y#, Zhang Z#, Gao P, Lai H, Zhong W, Feng N, Yang Y, Yu H, Zhang Y, Han Y, Dong J, He Z, Huang R, Zhai Q*. AAV induces hepatic necroptosis and carcinoma in diabetic and obese mice dependent on Pebp1 pathway. EMBO Mol Med 2023 Jun 5;e17230.
  3. Tao L, Yang G, Sun T, Jie Tao, Zhu C, Yu H, Cheng Y, Yang Z, Xu M, Jiang Y, Zhang W, Wang Z, Ma W, Wu L, Xue D, Wang D, Yang W, Zhao Y, Horsefield S, Kobe B, Zhang Z, Tang Z, Li Q, Zhai Q, Dooley S, Seki E, Liu P, Xu J, Chen H, Liu C. Capsaicin receptor TRPV1 maintains quiescence of hepatic stellate cells in the liver via recruitment of SARM1. J Hepatol 2023 Apr;78(4):805-819.
  4. Jiang Y, Sun B, Qian F, Dong F, Xu C, Zhong W, Huang R, Zhai Q, Jiang Y*, Yang S*. Expression of phenylalanine ammonia lyase as an intracellularly free and extracellularly cell surface-immobilized enzyme on a gut microbe as a live biotherapeutic for phenylketonuria. Sci China Life Sci 2023 Jan;66(1):127-136.
  5. Zhong W, Wang H, Yang Y, Zhang Y, Lai H, Cheng Y, Yu H, Feng N, Huang R, Liu S, Yang S, Hao T, Zhang B, Ying H, Zhang F, Guo F, Zhai Q*. High-protein diet prevents fat mass increase after dieting by counteracting Lactobacillus-enhanced lipid absorption. Nat Metab 2022 Dec 4(12):1713-1731.
  6. Yang Y, Zhong W, Zhang Y, Cheng Y, Lai H, Yu H, Feng N, Han Y, Huang R, Zhai Q*. Sustained Inflammation Induced by LPS Leads to Tolerable Anorexia and Fat Loss via Tlr4 in Mice. J Inflamm Res 2022 Oct 1;15:5635-5648.
  7. Zhang C, Li W, Lei X, Xie Z, Qi L, Wang H, Xiao X, Xiao J, Zhen Y, Dong C, Zheng X, Chen S, Chen S, Sun B, Qin J, Zhai Q, Li J, Wei B, Wang J, Wang H*. Targeting lysophospholipid acid receptor 1 and ROCK kinases promotes antiviral innate immunity. Sci Adv 2021 Sep 17;7(38):eabb5933.
  8. Han L, Lai H, Yang Y, Hu J, Li Z, Ma B, Xu W, Liu W, Wei W, Li D, Wang Y*, Zhai Q*, Ji Q*, Liao T*. A 5'-tRNA halve, tiRNA-Gly promotes cell proliferation and migration via binding to RBM17 and inducing alternative splicing in papillary thyroid cancer. J Exp Clin Cancer Res 2021 Jul 5;40(1):222.
  9. Yuan F, Jiang H, Yin H, Jiang X, Jiao F, Chen S, Ying Hao, Chen Y, Zhai Q, Guo F*. Activation of GCN2/ATF4 signals in amygdalar PKC-δ neurons promotes WAT browning under leucine deprivation. Nat Commun 2020 Jun 5;11(1):2847.
  10. Shi J, Zhang Y, Tan D, Zhang X, Yan M, Zhang Y, Reuben Franklin, Marta Shahbazi, Kirsty Mackinlay, Liu S, Bernhard Kuhle, Emma R. James, Zhang L, Qu Y, Zhai Q, Zhang W, Zhao L, Zhou C, Gu W, Jernej Murn, Guo J, Douglas T. Carrell, Wang Y, Chen X, Bradley R. Cairns, Yang X, Paul Schimmel, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, Sihem Cheloufi, Zhang Y, Zhou T, Chen Q. PANDORA-seq expands the repertoire of regulatory small RNAs by overcoming RNA modifications. Nat Cell Biol 2021 Apr;23(4):424-436.
  11. Yuan F, Yin H, Deng Y, Jiao F, Jiang H, Niu Y, Chen S, Ying H, Zhai Q, Guo F*. Overexpression of Smad7 in hypothalamic POMC neurons disrupts glucose balance by attenuating central insulin signaling. Mol Metab 2020 Dec; 42: 101084.
  12. Zhu X*, Liu Y, Cao X, Liu H, Sun A, Shen H, Zhao J, Li R, Wu L, Fang Z, Wang H, Zhai Q. Moderate static magnetic fields enhance antitumor CD8+ T cell function by promoting mitochondrial respiration. Sci Rep 2020 Sep 3;10(1):14519.
  13. Deng J, Guo Y, Yuan F, Chen S, Yin H, Jiang X, Jiao F, Wang F, Ji H, Hu G, Ying H, Chen Y, Zhai Q, Xiao F*, Guo F*. Autophagy inhibition prevents glucocorticoid-increased adiposity via suppressing BAT whitening. Autophagy 2020 Mar;16(3):451-465.
  14. Xiao J, Li W, Zheng X, Qi L, Wang H, Zhang C, Wan X, Zheng Y, Zhong R, Zhou X, Lu Y, Li Z, Qiu Y, Liu C, Zhang F, Zhang Y, Xu X, Yang Z, Chen H, Zhai Q, Wei B*, Wang H*. Targeting 7-Dehydrocholesterol Reductase Integrates Cholesterol Metabolism and IRF3 Activation to Eliminate Infection. Immunity 2020 Jan 14;52(1):109-122.
  15. Cheng Y, Liu J, Luan Y, Liu Z, Lai H, Zhong W, Yang Y, Yu H, Feng N, Wang H, Huang R, He Z, Yan M, Zhang F, Sun YG, Yin H, Guo F, Zhai Q*. Sarm1 Gene Deficiency Attenuates Diabetic Peripheral Neuropathy in Mice. Diabetes 2019 Nov;68(11):2120-2130.
  16. Hu X, Deng J, Yu T, Chen S, Ge Y, Zhou Z, Guo Y, Ying H, Zhai Q, Chen Yan, Yuan F, Niu Y, Shu W, Chen H, Ma C, Liu Z*, Guo F*. ATF4 Deficiency Promotes Intestinal Inflammation in Mice by Reducing Uptake of Glutamine and Expression of Antimicrobial Peptides. Gastroenterology 2019 Mar;156(4):1098-1111.
  17. Zhang F, Hao G, Shao M, Gedaa Hassan, An Y, Wang Q, Zhu Y, Christine M. Kusminski, Kien Nham, Rana K. Gupta, Zhai Q, Sun X, Philipp E. Scherer*, Orhan K. Oz*. An Adipose Tissue Atlas: An Image-Guided Identification of Human-like BAT and Beige Depots in Rodents. Cell Metab 2018 Jan 9;27:252-262.
  18. Cao H, Zhang S, Shan S, Sun C, Li Y, Wang H, Yu S, Liu Y, Guo F, Zhai Q, Wang YC, Jiang J, Wang H, Yan J, Liu W, Ying H. Ligand-dependent corepressor (LCoR) represses the transcription factor C/EBPβ during early adipocyte differentiation. J Biol Chem 2017;292(46):18973-18987.
  19. Shan P, Fan G, Sun L, Liu J, Wang W, Hu C, Zhang X, Zhai Q, Song X, Cao L, Cui Y, Zhang S, Wang C. SIRT1 Functions as a Negative Regulator of Eukaryotic Poly(A)RNA Transport. Curr Biol 2017 Aug;27(15):2271-2284.
  20. Luan Y, Zhang F, Cheng Y, Liu J, Huang R, Yan M, Wang Y, He Z, Lai H, Wang H, Ying H, Guo F, Zhai Q*. Hemin Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Lipid Metabolism in Cultured Hepatocytes and Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Nutrients 2017 Jul;9(8):805.
  21. Xiao Y, Deng Y, Yuan F, Xia T, Liu H, Li Z, Liu Z, Ying H, Liu Y, Zhai Q, Chen S, Guo F*. An ATF4/ATG5 signaling in hypothalamic POMC neurons regulates fat mass via affecting energy expenditure. Diabetes 2017;66(5):1146-1158.
  22. Xiao Y, Deng Y, Yuan F, Xia T, Liu H, Li Z, Chen S, Liu Z, Ying H, Liu Y, Zhai Q, Guo F*. An ATF4-ATG5 signaling in hypothalamic POMC neurons regulates obesity. Autophagy 2017;13(6):1088-1089.
  23. Zhang D, Li Y, Liu S, Wang YC, Guo F, Zhai Q, Jiang J, Ying H*. microRNA and thyroid hormone signaling in cardiac and skeletal muscle. Cell Biosci 2017;7:14.
  24. Yan M, Zhai Q*. Sperm tsRNAs and acquired metabolic disorders. J Endocrinol 2016;230(3):F13-F18.
  25. Wang Y, Hu Y, Sun C, Zhuo S, He Z, Wang H, Yan M, Liu J, Luan Y, Dai C, Yang Y, Huang R, Zhou B, Zhang F, Zhai Q*. Down-regulation of Risa improves insulin sensitivity by enhancing autophagy. FASEB J 2016;30(9):3133-3145.
  26. Liu J, Zhou B, Yan M, Huang R, Wang Y, He Z, Yang Y, Dai C, Zhang F, Zhai Q*. CLOCK and BMAL1 regulate muscle insulin sensitivity via SIRT1 in male mice. Endocrinology 2016;157(6):2259-2269.
  27. Chen Q*, Yan M, Cao Z, Li X, Zhang Y, Shi J, Feng G-h, Peng H, Zhang X, Zhang Y, Qian J, Duan E*, Zhai Q*, Zhou Q*. Sperm tsRNAs contribute to intergenerational inheritance of an acquired metabolic disorder. Science 2016;351(6271):397-400.
    Highligted by
    ① Leslie M. Sperm RNA fragments modify offspring metabolism. Science 2016;351(6268):13.
    ② Waldron D. Non-coding RNA: Inheritance of diet-induced metabolic changes via tsRNAs. Nat Rev Genet 2016;17(3):128.
    ③ Watson ED. Transferring Fragments of Paternal Metabolism to the Offspring. Cell Metab 2016;23(3):401-402.
    ④ Gapp K, Miska EA. tRNA fragments: novel players in intergenerational inheritance. Cell Res 2016;26(4):395-396.
  28. Li F, Han X, Li F, Wang R, Wang H, Gao Y, Wang X, Fang Z, Zhang W, Yao S, Tong X, Wang Y, Feng Y, Sun Y, Li Y, Wong KK, Zhai Q, Chen H, Ji H. LKB1 Inactivation Elicits a Redox Imbalance to Modulate Non-small Cell Lung Cancer Plasticity and Therapeutic Response. Cancer Cell 2015;27(5):698-711.
  29. Zhou B, Zhang Y, Zhang F*, Xia Y, Liu J, Huang R, Wang Y, Hu Y, Wu J, Dai C, Wang H, Tu Y, Peng X, Wang Y, Zhai Q*. CLOCK/BMAL1 regulates circadian change of mouse hepatic insulin sensitivity by SIRT1. Hepatology 2014;59(6):2196-2206.
  30. Ma C*, Yao M, Zhai Q, Jiao J, Yuan X, Poo M*. SIRT1 suppresses self-renewal of adult hippocampal neural stem cells. Development 2014;141(24):4697-4709.
  31. Dong S, Jia C, Zhang S, Fan G, Li Y, Shan P, Sun L, Xiao W, Li L, Zheng Y, Liu J, Wei H, Hu C, Zhang W, Chin YE, Zhai Q, Li Q, Liu J, Jia F, Mo Q, Edwards DP, Huang S, Chan L, O'Malley BW, Li X*, Wang C*. The REGγ proteasome regulates hepatic lipid metabolism through inhibition of autophagy. Cell Metab 2013;18(3):380-391.
  32. Yan M, Wang Y, Hu Y, Feng Y, Dai C, Wu J, Wu D, Zhang F, Zhai Q*. A high-throughput quantitative approach reveals more small RNA modifications in mouse liver and their correlation with diabetes. Anal Chem 2013;85(24):12173-12181.
  33. Zhang Y, Zhou B, Deng B, Zhang F, Wu J, Wang Y, Le Y*, Zhai Q*. Amyloid-β Induces Hepatic Insulin Resistance in vivo via JAK2. Diabetes 2013;62(4):1159-1166.
    Highlighted by Commentary: Sato N, Morishita R. Plasma Aβ: A Possible Missing Link Between Alzheimer Disease and Diabetes. Diabetes 2013;62(4):1005-1006.
    Highlighted by In this Issue of Diabetes: Resnick H. Blocking A Improves Insulin Sensitivity in AD Mouse Model. Diabetes 2013;62(4):1004.
  34. Zhang F, Xu X, Zhang Y, Zhou B, He Z, Zhai Q*. Gene expression profile analysis of type 2 diabetic mouse liver. Plos One 2013;8(3):e57766.
  35. Wei H, Zhou B, Zhang F, Tu Y, Hu Y, Zhang B, Zhai Q*. Profiling and Identification of Small rDNA-Derived RNAs and Their Potential Biological Functions. Plos One 2013;8(2):e56842.
  36. Liu A, Guo J, Liu W, Su F, Zhai Q, Mehta J, Wang W*, Su D*. Involvement of arterial baroreflex in the protective effect of dietary restriction against stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2013;33(6):906-913.
  37. Zhang Y, Zhou B, Zhang F, Wu J, Hu Y, Liu Y, Zhai Q*. Amyloid-β induces hepatic insulin resistance by activating JAK2/STAT3/SOCS-1 signaling pathway. Diabetes 2012;61(6):1434-1443.
  38. Zhou B, Li C, Qi W, Zhang Y, Zhang F, Wu J, Hu Y, Wu D, Liu Y, Yan T, Jing Q, Liu M, Zhai Q*. Down regulation of miR-181a upregulates sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) and improves hepatic insulin sensitivity. Diabetologia 2012;55(7):2032-2043.
  39. Feng Y, Wang Y, Wang Z, Fang Z, Li F, Gao Y, Liu H, Xiao T, Li F, Zhou Y, Zhai Q, Liu X, Sun Y, Bardeesy N, Wong KK, Chen H, Xiong ZQ, Ji H*. The CRTC1-NEDD9 Signaling Axis Mediates Lung Cancer Progression Caused by LKB1 Loss. Cancer Res 2012;72(24):6502-6511.
  40. Liu Y, Zhou D, Zhang F, Tu Y, Xia Y, Wang H, Zhou B, Zhang Y, Wu J, Gao X, He Z, Zhai Q*. Liver Patt1 deficiency protects male mice from Age-associated but not high-fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis. J Lipid Res 2012;53(3):358-367.
  41. Wang P, Guan Y, Du H, Zhai Q, Su D*, Miao C*. Induction of autophagy contributes to the neuroprotection of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase in cerebral ischemia. Autophagy 2012;8(1):77-87.
  42. Zhang F, Xu X, Zhou B, He Z, Zhai Q*. Gene Expression Profile Change and Associated Physiological and Pathological Effects in Mouse Liver Induced by Fasting and Refeeding. Plos One 2011;6(11):e27553.
  43. Wu J, Zhang F, Yan M, Wu D, Yu Q, Zhang Y, Zhou B, McBurney MW, Zhai Q*. WldS Enhances Insulin Transcription and Secretion via a SIRT1-Dependent Pathway and Improves Glucose Homeostasis. Diabetes 2011;60(12):3197-3207.
  44. Yu Q, Wang T, Zhou X, Wu J, Chen X, Liu Y, Wu D, Zhai Q*. Wld Reduces Paraquat-Induced Cytotoxicity via SIRT1 in Non-Neuronal Cells by Attenuating the Depletion of NAD. PLoS One 2011;6(7):e21770.
  45. Wu D, Qiu Y, Gao X, Yuan XB, Zhai Q*. Overexpression of SIRT1 in Mouse Forebrain Impairs Lipid/Glucose Metabolism and Motor Function. PLoS One 2011;6(6):e21759.
  46. Wang P, Xu T, Guan Y, Tian W, Viollet B, Rui Y, Zhai Q, Su D*, Miao C*. Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase protects against ischemic stroke through SIRT1-dependent adenosine monophosphate-activated kinase pathway. Ann Neurol 2011;69(2):360-374.
  47. Hong Y, Chen Z, Zhang B, Zhai Q*. Isolation of Photobacterium sp. LuB-1 and its application in rapid assays for chemical toxicants in water. Lett Appl Microbiol 2010;51(3):308-312.
  48. Feng Y, Yan T, Zheng J, Ge X, Mu Yu, Zhang Y, Wu D, Du J, Zhai Q*. Overexpression of WldS or Nmnat2 in Mauthner cell by single-cell electroporation delays axon degeneration in live zebrafish. J Neurosci Res 2010;88(15):3319-3327.
  49. Yan T, Feng Y, Zhai Q*. Axon degeneration: Mechanisms and implications of a distinct program from cell death. Neurochem Int 2010;56(4):529-534. (Invited review)
  50. Feng Y, Yan T, He Z, Zhai Q*. WldS, Nmnats and Axon degeneration -progress in the past two decades. Protein & Cell 2010;1(3):237-245. (Invited review)
  51. Zheng J, Yan T, Feng Y, Zhai Q*. Involvement of lysosomes in the early stages of axon degeneration. Neurochem Int 2010;56(3):516-521.
  52. Jin Q*, Zhang F*, Yan T, Liu Z, Wang C, Ge X, Zhai Q*. C/EBPα Regulates SIRT1 Expression during Adipogenesis. Cell Res 2010;20(4):470-479.
  53. Yan T, Feng Y, Zheng J, Ge X, Zhang Y, Wu D, Zhao J, Zhai Q*. Nmnat2 delays axon degeneration in superior cervical ganglia dependent on its NAD synthesis activity. Neurochem Int 2010 Jan;56(1):101-106.
  54. Xia YL, Zhai Q*. IL-1β enhances the antibacterial activity of astrocytes by activation of NF-κB. Glia 2010;58(2):244-252.
  55. Wang F, Gao Y, Zhang L, Bai B, Hu Y, Dong Z, Zhai Q, Zhu H, Liu J. A pair of windmill-shaped enantiomers from Lindera aggregata with activity toward improvement of insulin sensitivity. Org Lett 2010;12(14):3196-3199.