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Wei LI, Ph. D.

The maintenance and reconstruction of male fertility

Co-workers: Chao Liu, Huafang Wei, Liying Wang, Ruidan Zhang, Xiuge Wang, Muhammad Babar Khawar, Jian Shi, Wenwen Liu, Sai Xiao,Yihong Chen, Bingbing Wu and Yanjie Ma and Tingting Han.

· LI Group website


  Major Research Interests including:

  1) Posttranslational modification regulation of gametogenesis, especially for meiosis.

  2) The functional role of histone modifications in meiosis, stem cell reprogramming, self-renew and differentiation.

  3) Molecular basis for reproductive and aging related diseases.

  4) New way/technology to the maintenance and reconstruction of male fertility.






Plain English:
The self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells, meiosis, spermatogenesis and somatic-germ cell interaction are the four key processes for male fertility. The abnormalities of the above processes may lead to male infertility and sexual dysfunction. Our goals are not only to provide new insight into the regulation of gametogenesis, but also explore new way to the diagnosis and even the therapy of human sterility and reproductive related disease.


Selected publications:

  1. Liu C#, Zhao HC#, Xiao S#, Han T, Chen Y, Wang T, Ma Y, Gao H, Xie Z, Du L, Li J, Li G*, Li W*. Slx5p-Slx8p promotes accurate chromosome segregation by mediating the degradation of synaptonemal complex components during meiosis. Adv Sci (Weinh). 2020 Jan 1;7(4):1900739. doi: 10.1002/advs.201900739.
  2. .Gao H, Khawar MB, Li W*. Essential role of autophagy in resource allocation during sexual reproduction. Autophagy. 2020 Jan;16(1):18-27. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2019.1628543.
  3. Hua R#, Wei H#, Liu C#, Zhang Y, Liu S, Guo Y, Cui Y, Zhang X, Guo X, Li W*, Liu M*. FBXO47 regulates telomere-inner nuclear envelope integration by stabilizing TRF2 during meiosis. Nucleic Acids Res. 2019, Vol. 47, No. 22 11755-11770
  4. Gu H#, Shi X#, Liu C#, Wang C, Sui N, Zhao Y, Gong J, Wang F, Zhang H, Li W*, Zhao T*. USP8 maintains embryonic stem cell stemness via deubiquitination of EPG5. Nat Commun. 2019 Apr 1;10(1):1465. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-09430-4.
  5. Zhu F#, Liu C#, Wang F#, Yang X#, Zhang J, Wu H, Zhang Z, He X, Zhang Z, Zhou P, Wei Z, Shang Y, Wang L, Zhang R, Ouyang YC, Sun QY, Cao Y*, Li W*. Mutations in PMFBP1 Cause Acephalic Spermatozoa Syndrome. Am J Hum Genet. 2018 Aug 2;103(2):188-199. 
  6. Gao F#, Li G#, Liu C#, Gao H#, Wang H, Liu W, Chen M, Shang Y, Wang L, Shi J, Xia W, Jiao J, Gao F, Li J, Chen L*, Li W*. Autophagy regulates testosterone synthesis by facilitating cholesterol uptake in the Leydig cells. J Cell Biol. 2018 Jun 4;217(6):2103-2119. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201710078.
  7. Wang L#, Tu Z#, Liu C#, Liu H, Kaldis P, Chen Z*, Li W*. Dual roles of TRF1 in tethering telomeres to the nuclear envelope and protecting them from fusion during meiosis. Cell Death Differ. 2018 Jan 8. doi: 10.1038/s41418-017-0037-8.
  8. Shang Y, Zhu F, Wang L, Ouyang YC, Dong MZ, Liu C, Zhao H, Cui X, Ma D, Zhang Z, Yang X, Guo Y, Liu F, Yuan L, Gao F*, Guo X*, Sun QY*, Cao Y*, Li W*. Essential role for SUN5 in anchoring sperm head to the tail. Elife. 2017 Sep 25;6. pii: e28199. doi: 10.7554/eLife.28199.
  9. Liu C, Liu W, Ye Y, Li W*. Ufd2p synthesizes branched ubiquitin chains to promote the degradation of proteins modified with atypical ubiquitin chains. Nat Commun. 2017 Feb 6;8:14274. doi: 10.1038/ncomms14274.
  10. Yang Y, Zhou C, Wang Y, Liu W, Liu C, Wang L, Liu Y, Shang Y, Li M, Zhou S, Wang Y, Zeng W, Zhou J, Huo R*, Li W*. The E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF114 and TAB1 degradation are required for maternal-to-zygotic transition. EMBO Rep. 2017 Feb;18(2):205-216. 
  11. Liu C, Song Z, Wang L, Yu H, Liu W, Shang Y, Xu Z, Zhao H, Gao F, Wen J, Zhao L, Gui Y, Jiao J, Gao F, Li W*. Sirt1 regulates acrosome biogenesis by modulating autophagic flux during spermiogenesis in mice. Development. 2017 Feb 1;144(3):441-451. 
  12. Xu Z, Song Z, Li G, Tu H, Liu W, Liu Y, Wang P, Wang Y, Cui X, Liu C, Shang Y, de Rooij DG, Gao F, Li W*. H2B ubiquitination regulates meiotic recombination by promoting chromatin relaxation. Nucleic Acids Res.  2016 Nov 16;44(20):9681-9697.
  13. Shang YL, Wang HN, Jia PF, Zhao HC, Liu C, Liu WX, Song ZH, Xu ZL,Yang L, Wang YF, Li W*. Autophagy regulates spermatid differentiation via degradation of PDLIM1. Autophagy. 2016 Sep;12(9):1575-92. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2016.1192750.
  14. Wen FP, Guo YS, Hu Y, Wang YT, Wang Q, Yu HY, Tang CM, Yang J, Zhou T, Sha JH, Guo XJ*, Li W*. Distinct temporal requirements for autophagy and proteasome in yeast meiosis. Autophagy. 2016 Apr 2;12(4):671-88.
  15. Liu C,Wang HN, Shang YL, Liu WX, Song ZH, Zhao HC, Wang LN, Jia PF, Gao FY, Xu ZL, Yang L, Gao F, Li W*. Autophagy is required for ectoplasmic specialization assembly in Sertoli cells. Autophagy. 2016 May 3;12(5):814-32.
  16. Wang HN, Wan HF, Li XX, Liu WX, Chen Q, Wang YQ, Yang L, Duan EK, Tang HM, Zhang XJ, Zhao XY, Gao F*, Li W*. Atg7 is required for acrosome biogenesis during spermatogenesis in mice. Cell Res. 2014 Jul;24(7):852-69.
  17. Li Y, Wu H, Wu W, Zhuo W, Liu W, Zhang Y, Cheng M, Chen YG, Gao N, Yu H, Wang L*, Li W*, Yang M*. Structural insights into the TRIM family of ubiquitin E3 ligases. Cell Res. 2014 Jun; 24(6):762-5.
  18. Liu WX, Shang YL, Zeng Y, Liu C, Li YC, Zhai LH, Wang P, Lou JZ, Xu P, Ye Y*, Li W*. Dimeric Ube2g2 simultaneously engages donor and acceptor ubiquitins to form Lys48-linked ubiquitin chains. EMBO J. 2014 Jan 1;33(1):46-61.
  19. Li W*, Tu D*, Li LY, Wollert T, Ghirlando R, Brunger AT, Ye Y. Mechanism of ubiquitin chain assembly on the active site cysteine of the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme Ube2g2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 10; 106(10):3722-7.
  20. Li W, Tu D, Brunger A, Ye Y. (2007) An ubiquitin ligase transfers preformed polyqubiquitin chains from a conjugating enzyme to substrate. Nature 446(7133):333-7.