Biography

Dr. Xuelian ‘Sue’ Luo received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Peking University.  She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Tufts University School of Medicine.  Her graduate work was mostly focused on biochemical and structural studies of the DNA-binding domain of the SV40 T-antigen and characterization of its interactions with the SV40 origin.

During her postdoctoral work with Gerhard Wagner at Harvard Medical School, Dr. Luo determined the atomic structure of the key spindle checkpoint protein Mad2 by NMR.  Due to family reason, she later moved to UT Southwestern and continued her postdoctoral work with Jose Rizo-Rey.  Using both NMR and X-ray crystallography, Dr. Luo determined the atomic structures of the multiple conformers of Mad2 and Mad2 in complex with its inhibitor p31comet and showed that a regulated conformational switch of Mad2 is crucial for spindle checkpoint activation.  These studies have contributed significantly to our understanding of the mechanisms of chromosome segregation.

Dr. Luo joined the faculty of UT Southwestern in the fall of 2006.  Her laboratory is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of intracellular signal transduction pathways using a combination of biochemical, structural, and cellular approaches.  Her current research efforts focus on the regulation of the Hippo pathway, which controls organ size and maintains tissue homeostasis.  Dysregulation of this pathway drives tumor formation in flies, mice, and humans.  Dr. Luo’s research has provided critical insights into the activation mechanisms of the core MST-LATS kinase cascade and TEAD-YAP regulation.  Her work defines the mechanisms by which MOB1 mediates MST-dependent LATS activation, a central event during Hippo signaling.  Her lab recently shows that SAV1 promotes MST kinase activation through antagonizing the STRIPAK PP2A phosphatase.  Her research also establishes that TEAD transcription factors undergo functionally important auto-palmitoylation.  The discovery that TEAD has enzyme-like activity indicates that TEAD-YAP, which has previously been thought to be undruggable, is in fact an attractive molecular target for cancer therapy.  Dr. Luo’s research is aimed to advance our fundamental understanding of the regulation of the Hippo signaling network, and may also uncover novel ways of exploiting defects in the Hippo pathway to treat human diseases.

Education

Undergraduate
Peking University (1990), Chemistry
Graduate School
Tufts University (1997), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Biochemistry
  • Mechanism of Signaling Pathways
  • NMR and X-ray Crystallography
  • Signal Transduction
  • Structural Biology

Publications

Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Snapshots of a hybrid transcription factor in the Hippo pathway.
Luo X Protein Cell 2010 Sep 1 9 811-9
Insights into mad2 regulation in the spindle checkpoint revealed by the crystal structure of the symmetric mad2 dimer.
Yang M, Li B, Liu CJ, Tomchick DR, Machius M, Rizo J, Yu H, Luo X PLoS Biol. 2008 Mar 6 3 e50
Conformation-specific binding of p31(comet) antagonizes the function of Mad2 in the spindle checkpoint.
Xia G, Luo X, Habu T, Rizo J, Matsumoto T, Yu H EMBO J. 2004 Aug 23 15 3133-43
The Mad2 spindle checkpoint protein undergoes similar major conformational changes upon binding to either Mad1 or Cdc20.
Luo X, Tang Z, Rizo J, Yu H Mol. Cell 2002 Jan 9 1 59-71
Structure of the Mad2 spindle assembly checkpoint protein and its interaction with Cdc20.
Luo X, Fang G, Coldiron M, Lin Y, Yu H, Kirschner MW, Wagner G Nat. Struct. Biol. 2000 Mar 7 3 224-9
Solution structure of the origin DNA-binding domain of SV40 T-antigen.
Luo X, Sanford DG, Bullock PA, Bachovchin WW Nat. Struct. Biol. 1996 Dec 3 12 1034-9

Honors & Awards

  • CPRIT Individual Investigator Research Awards
    (2013)
  • National Cancer Institute Howard Temin Award
    (2003-2008)
  • American Cancer Society ACS-IRG award
    (2002)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellowship
    (1998-2001)
  • Giovanni Armenise-Harvard Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow
    Harvard Medical School (1997)

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2015-2019)
  • Chinese Biological Investigators Society (2005-2018)