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Kun-Liang Guan, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology 

Research Interests

The research in Dr. Guan’s laboratory focuses on the Hippo pathway, which controls cell growth, stemness, tissue homeostasis, and organ size. Dysregulation of the Hippo pathway contributes to human diseases, most notably cancer. The Hippo pathway includes a kinase module and a transcription module. Activation of the Hippo kinase cascade, which consists of MST and LATS, results in phosphorylation and inactivation of the transcription coactivator YAP and TAZ. Studies from the Guan lab have revealed key upstream signals for the Hippo pathway, basic biochemical mechanisms for YAP/TAZ regulation, and dysregulation in tumorigenesis. Current research in the Guan group aims to advance molecular understanding of the Hippo pathway regulation as well as its physiological and pathological functions.


Selected Publications

Moroishi, T., Hayashi, T., Pan, W., Fujita, Y., Holt, M.V., Qin, J., Carson, D.A., and Guan, K-L. (2016). The Hippo Pathway Kinases LATS1/2 Suppress Cancer Immunity. Cell 167, 1525-39.

Lin, K.C., Moroishi, T., Meng, Z., Jeong, H., Plouffe, S.W., Sekido, Y., Han, J., Park, H.W., Guan, K-L. (2017). Regulation of Hippo pathway transcription factor TEAD by p38 MAPK-induced cytoplasmic translocation. Nature Cell Biol. 19, 996-1002.

Meng, Z., Qiu, Y., Lin, K.C., Kumar, A., Placone, J.K., Fang, C., Wang, K-C., Lu, S., Hong, A.W., Pan, M., Moroishi, T., Luo, M., Plouffe, S.W., Diao, Y., Ye, Z., Park, H.W., Wang, X., Yu, F-X., Chien, S., Wang, C-Y., Ren, B., Engler, A.J., and Guan, K-L. (2018). RAP2 mediates mechano-responses of Hippo pathway. Nature 560, 655-660.

Chen, R., Xie, R., Meng, Z., Ma, S., Guan, K-L. (2019). STRIPAK integrates upstream signals to initiate the Hippo kinase cascade. Nature Cell Biol. 21, 1565-1577.

Luo, M., Meng, Z., Moroishi, T., Lin, K.C., Shen, G., Mo, F., Shao, B., Wei, X., Zhang, P., Wei, Y., Guan, K-L. (2020). Heat stress activates YAP/TAZ to induce the heat shock transcriptome. Nature Cell Biol. 22, 1447-59.

Ma, S., Wu, Z., Yang, F., Zhang, J., Johnson, R.L., Rosenfeld, M.G., and Guan, K-L. (2021). Hippo signaling maintains ER expression and ER+ breast cancer growth. Nature 591, E1-E10.



Cancer Biology


Signaling & Molecular Pharmacology
Biochemical, Biophysical and Structural Pharmacology
Integrative Multi-omics
Systems & Computational Biology



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