Jing Crystal Zhao, Ph.D.

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Jing Crystal Zhao, Ph.D.


Fax: (858)795-5387

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Jing Crystal Zhao's Research Focus

Cancer, Childhood Diseases, Birth Defects, Stem Cell Biology, Brain Cancer

Genes encode proteins and proteins dictate cell fate. Messenger RNAs (mRNA) act as templates for protein synthesis. Therefore, appropriate regulation of mRNA is central to the function of eukaryotic cells. One potential regulatory mechanism of mRNA is through mRNA modification. Recent studies showed that tens of thousands mRNA and noncoding RNA molecules in mammalian cells are tagged with a specific type of chemical modification, named N6-methyladenosine or m6A. Excess m6A in mouse leads to infertility. However, how m6A exerts these functions is unknown.

Recently, my lab identified a protein complex that governs m6A formation. Depleting such complex in mouse embryonic stem cells leads to cellular differentiation. Significantly, we discovered that m6A shortens the half-life of a subset of mRNAs, including mRNAs encoding pro-differentiation genes. These findings suggested that the major function of m6A in mammalian cells is to destabilize RNA and demonstrated an essential role of m6A in keeping pluripotent cells undifferentiated.

Currently, we are digging deeper into the molecular mechanisms through which m6A regulates RNA stability. We are also investigating how m6A regulates mESC ground state and whether m6A plays a role in mESC differentiation. We welcome applications from students and postdoctoral fellows interested in these research areas.

Jing Crystal Zhao's Bio

Jing Crystal Zhao received her Ph.D. in Endocrinology from the Biology Department at Boston University. She was trained as a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School in neuroendocrinology, RNA biology, and epigenetics. She was recruited to the SBP as an Assistant Professor in 2011.


TIM Accessory

Publications

Identification of a Xist silencing domain by Tiling CRISPR.

Wang Y, Zhong Y, Zhou Y, Tanaseichuk O, Li Z, Zhao JC

Sci Rep 2019 Feb 20 ;9(1):2408

Publisher Correction: N<sup>6</sup>-methyladenosine RNA modification regulates embryonic neural stem cell self-renewal through histone modifications.

Wang Y, Li Y, Yue M, Wang J, Kumar S, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Zhang Z, Ogawa Y, Kellis M, Duester G, Zhao JC

Nat Neurosci 2018 Aug ;21(8):1139

N<sup>6</sup>-methyladenosine RNA modification regulates embryonic neural stem cell self-renewal through histone modifications.

Wang Y, Li Y, Yue M, Wang J, Kumar S, Wechsler-Reya RJ, Zhang Z, Ogawa Y, Kellis M, Duester G, Zhao JC

Nat Neurosci 2018 Feb ;21(2):195-206

Messenger RNA Methylation Regulates Glioblastoma Tumorigenesis.

Dixit D, Xie Q, Rich JN, Zhao JC

Cancer Cell 2017 Apr 10 ;31(4):474-475

SMARCAD1 Contributes to the Regulation of Naive Pluripotency by Interacting with Histone Citrullination.

Xiao S, Lu J, Sridhar B, Cao X, Yu P, Zhao T, Chen CC, McDee D, Sloofman L, Wang Y, Rivas-Astroza M, Telugu BPVL, Levasseur D, Zhang K, Liang H, Zhao JC, Tanaka TS, Stormo G, Zhong S

Cell Rep 2017 Mar 28 ;18(13):3117-3128

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