Ren Xu, Ph.D.

Bio / Education: 

Associate professor; Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology Department, University of Kentucky, 7/2016
Assistant professor; Molecular and Biomedical Pharmacology Department, University of Kentucky, 4/2010---6/2016
PI; Markey Cancer Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 4/2010---present
Project scientist; Life Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory, Berkeley, California, 9/2008 --- 4/2010
Postdoctoral fellow; Life Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National laboratory, Berkeley, California, 9/2002 --- 9/2008

Ph.D in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, 9/1997---7/2002
B.S. in Biology; Department of Biological Science and Technology, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China,
9/1993---7/1997. Graduated with honors.

Research Description: 

My long-term goal is to determine the mechanisms by which microenvironmental signals modulate breast cancer progression, and to identify novel strategies to inhibit breast cancer metastasis by targeting microenvironmental cues. Currently, research in my group focuses on the biological function and regulation of ECM microenvironment during breast cancer progression. By utilizing contemporary in vitro and in vivo models, we are continuing to reveal the important mechanism and biology underlying breast cancer progression and metastasis. We believe that our study will lead to the discovery of a novel strategy for inhibiting breast cancer progression by targeting the ECM microenvironment.
Dr. Binhua P. Zhou, Associate Professor, School of Medicine, University of Kentucky
Dr. Mina J Bissell, Distinguished Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab
Dr. Christine Trinkle, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, University of Kentucky
Dr. Jian-Hua Mao, Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab.
Dr. Kazuhiro Nagata, Profesor, Kyoto Sangyo University

Selected Publications: 

Selected research articles
1. Xu R, Du P, Fan JJ, Zhang Q, Li TP and Gan RB. High-level expression and secretion of recombinant mouse endostatin by Escherichia coli. Protein Expression Purif. 2002 Apr; 24(3): 453-9.
2. Xu R, Yao ZY, Xin L, Zhang Q, Li TP and Gan RB. NC1 domain of human type VIII collagen (alpha 1) inhibits bovine aortic endothelial cell proliferation and causes cell apoptosis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2001 Nov; 289(1): 264-8.
3. Xu R* (co-first author), Le Beyec L, Lee SY, Nelson CM, Rizki A, Alcaraz J and Bissell MJ. Cell shape regulates global histone acetylation in human mammary epithelial cells. Exp Cell Res. 2007 Aug; 313(14): 3066-75. (Highlighted by the editor)
4. Xu R, Spencer VA, Bissell MJ. Extracellular matrix-regulated gene expression requires cooperation of SWI/SNF and transcription factors. J Biol Chem. 2007 May; 282(20): 14992-9.
5. Alcaraz J, Xu R, Mori H, Nelson CM, Mroue R, Spencer VA, Brownfield D, Radisky DC, Bustamante C and Bissell MJ. Laminin and biomimetic extracellular elasticity enhance functional differentiation in mammary epithelia. EMBO J. 2008. Nov; 27(21): 2829-38.
6. Xu R* (co-corresponding author), Boudreau A, Bissell MJ. Tissue architecture and function: Dynamic reciprocity via extra- and intra-cellular matrices (review). Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2009 Jun; 28(1-2): 167-76.
Selected commentary on this manuscript. Faculty of 1000 evaluations:
7. Xu R*(co-corresponding author), Nelson CM, Muschler JL, Veiseh M, Vonderhaar BK and Bissell MJ. Sustained activation of STAT5 is essential for chromatin remodeling and maintenance of mammary-specific function. J Cell Biol. 2009 Jan; 184(1): 57-66. (Highlighted by the editor)
Selected commentary on this manuscript. Faculty of 1000 evaluations:; Sedwick C, It takes two to party with chromatin. J Cell Biol. 184 (1); Commentary on NCI website: /vonehaar.asp.
8. Spencer VA, Xu R, Bissell MJ. Gene expression in the third dimension: The ECM-nucleus connection. J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2010 Mar;15(1):65-71.
9. Xu R* (co-corresponding author), Spencer VA, Levy D, Bissell MJ. Laminin regulates PI3K basal localization and activation to sustain STAT5 activation. Cell Cycle. 2010 Nov;9(21):4315-22.
10. Spencer VA, Costes S, Inman JL, Xu R, Chen J, Hendzel MJ, Bissell MJ. Depletion of nuclear actin is a key mediator of quiescence in epithelial cells. J Cell Sci. 2011 Jan; 124(Pt 1):123-32.
11. Xu R* (corresponding author). Mao J-H. Gene transcriptional networks integrate microenvironmental signals in human breast cancer. Integr Biol. 2011 Apr; 3(4):368-74.
12. Pontiggia O, Sampayo R, Raffo D, Motter A, Xu R, Bissell, MJ et al. The tumor microenvironment modulates tamoxifen resistance in breast cancer: a role for soluble stromal factors and fibronectin through β1 integrin. Breast cancer Res Treat. 2011 Sep; 133(2):459-71.
13. Yu T, Chen X, Zhang W, Li J, Xu R, Wang TC, Ai W, Liu C. Krüppel-like Factor 4 Regulates Intestinal Epithelial Cell Morphology and Polarity. PLoS One 2012; 7(2):e32492.
14. Xiong G, Wang C, Evers BM, Zhou BP, Xu R. RORα suppresses breast tumor invasion through inducing SEMA3F expression. Cancer Research. 2012 Apr; 72(7):1728-39.
News and Views: This week in therapeutics. SciBX 5(11).
15. Liu H, Radisky DC, Yang D, Xu R, Radisky ES, Bissell MJ, Bishop JM. Myc suppresses cancer metastasis by direct transcriptional silencing of αv and β3 integrin subunits. Nature Cell Biology 2012 May; 14(6): 567-74.
16. Lee SE, Sasaki DY, Park Y, Xu R, Brennan JS, Bissell MJ, Lee LP. Photonic Gene Circuits by Optically Addressable siRNA-Au Nanoantennas. ACS Nano. 2012 Jul; 6(9):7770-80.
17. Lee S, Meier R, Furuta S, Lenburg ME, Kenny PA, Xu R, Bissell MJ. FAM83A confers EGFR-TKI resistance in breast cancer cells and in mice. J Clinical Investigation. 2012 Sep; 122(9):3211-20
18. Becker-Weimann S, Xiong G, Furuta S, Han J, Kuhn I, Akavia U, Pe’er D, Bissell MJ, Xu R. (corresponding author). NFkB disrupts cellular polarity by preventing integration of microenvironmental signals. Oncotarget 2013, (11), 2010-20.
19. Xiong G, Deng L, Rychahou PG, Zhu J, Xu R. Prolyl-4-hydroxylase alpha subunit 2 promotes breast cancer progression and metastasis by regulating collagen deposition. BMC Cancer 2014, 14(1), 1.
20. Xiong G, Xu R. RORα binds to E2F1 to inhibit cell proliferation and regulate mammary gland branching morphogenesis. Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Aug;34(16):3066-75.
21. Zhu J, Xiong G, Fu H, Evers BM, Zhou BP, Xu R. Chaperone Hsp47 Drives Malignant Growth and Invasion by Modulating an ECM Gene Network. Cancer Res. 2015 Apr 15;75(8):1580-91.
22. Shu D, Li H, Shu Y, Xiong X, Haque F, Xu R and Guo P. Systemic Delivery of Anti-miRNA for Suppression of Triple Negative Breast Cancer Utilizing RNA Nanotechnology. ACS Nano. 2015.
23. Xiong G, Flynn TJ, Trinkle C, and Xu R*. Development of an ex vivo breast cancer lung colonization model utilizing decellularized lung matrix. Integrative Biology. 2015, featured on cover.
24. Li L, Chen J, Xiong G, St Clair DK, Xu W and Xu R*. Increased ROS production in non-polarized mammary epithelial cells induces monocyte infiltration in 3D culture. J Cell Sci. In Press, 2016.
25. Xiong F, Xu R*. Function of cancer cell-derived extracellular matrix in tumor progression (review). JCMT, 2016.

Book chapters:
1. Spencer VA., Xu R., Bissell MJ. Extracellular Matrix, Nuclear and Chromatin Structure and Gene Expression in Normal Tissues and Malignant Tumors: A Work in Progress (Review). Advances in Cancer research, 2007;97:275-94.
2. Xu R, Gan RB., Restin, A Potent Angiogenesis Inhibitor Derived from Type XV Collagen. Trends in Angiogenesis Research (Chapter V) NOVA publisher 2005.