Pengxiang Huang, Ph.D.
Pengxiang Huang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor & CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
- Assistant Professor & CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, Texas US
- PhD from University of Virginia
- 12/2009 - Charlottesville, Virginia United States
- BS from Tsinghua University
- 07/2002 - Beijing, China
Honors & Awards
- CPRIT Scholar in Cancer Research
- Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) (08/2020 - 08/2025)
- Hedgehog signaling, Wnt signaling, Lipids, Biochemistry, Cell biology, Chemical biology, Structural biology
Professional StatementMy research is focused on elucidating the mechanisms of signal transduction in the Hedgehog and Wnt pathways, which are fundamental for embryonic development, adult stem cell maintenance and in many human cancers. I have been broadly trained in cell signaling, biochemistry, chemical and structural biology, including both X-ray crystallography and Cryo-EM. By combining these multidisciplinary approaches, I identified cholesterol as the endogenous activator for Smoothened (SMO), the key signal transducer and oncoprotein in the Hedgehog pathway (Cell. 166:1176-87). I also determined the crystal structures of sterol-bound SMO, demonstrating for the first time the active conformation of a class F GPCR (Cell. 174:312-24). This work together builds the foundation for our current studies aimed at dissecting Hedgehog signaling through SMO, and to expand the scope of our research to study signal transduction in the related Wnt pathway by employing similar strategies. Our long-term goal to leverage this information to devise novel and better therapeutics for cancers associated with these two pathways.
- Huang P, Zheng S, Wierbowski BM, Kim Y, Nedelcu D, Aravena L, Liu J, Kruse AC, Salic A. "Structural Basis of Smoothened Activation in Hedgehog Signaling." Cell. 2018 July 12; 174 (2): 312-324. Pubmed PMID: 29804838
- Huang P, Nedelcu D, Watanabe M, Jao C, Kim Y, Liu J, Salic A. "Cellular Cholesterol Directly Activates Smoothened in Hedgehog Signaling." Cell. 2016 August 25; 166 (5): 1176-1187. Pubmed PMID: 27545348
- Santori FR, Huang P, van de Pavert SA, Douglass EF Jr., Leaver DJ, Haubrich BA, Keber R, Lorbek G, Konijn T, Rosales BN, Rozman D, Horvat S, Rahier A, Mebius RE, Rastinejad F, Nes WD, Littman DR. "Identification of natural RORγ ligands that regulate the development of lymphoid cells." Cell Metab. 2015 February 3; 21 (2): 286-298. Pubmed PMID: 25651181
- Chandra V, Huang P, Potluri N, Wu D, Kim Y, Rastinejad F. "Multidomain integration in the structure of the HNF-4α nuclear receptor complex." Nature. 2013 March 21; 495 (7441): 394-398. Pubmed PMID: 23485969
- Huh JR, Leung MW#, Huang P#, Ryan DA, Krout MR, Malapaka RR, Chow J, Manel N, Ciofani M, Kim SV, Cuesta A, Santori FR, Lafaille JJ, Xu HE, Gin DY, Rastinejad F, Littman DR. "Digoxin and its derivatives suppress TH17 cell differentiation by antagonizing RORγt activity." Nature. 2011 April 28; 472 (7344): 486-490. Pubmed PMID: 21441909
- Chandra V#, Huang P#, Hamuro Y, Raghuram S, Wang Y, Burris TP, Rastinejad F. "Structure of the intact PPAR-γ-RXR-α nuclear receptor complex on DNA." Nature. 2008 November 20; 456 (7220): 350-356. Pubmed PMID: 19043829
- Raghuram S, Stayrook KR, Huang P, Rogers PM, Nosie AK, McClure DB, Burris LL, Khorasanizdeh S, Burris TP, Rastinejad F. "Identification of heme as the ligand for the orphan nuclear receptors REV-ERBα and REV-ERBβ." Nat Struc Mol Biol. 2007 December ; 14 (12): 1207-1213. Pubmed PMID: 18037887
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