Macrophages and Host Defense Lab

The Laboratory of Macrophages and Host Defense
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Ziyan Yang

Present Position: Graduate Student

Previous Position: Visiting Fellow, Chiba University (2004)

Undergraduate: MSc:  Shandong Medical University (2000, 2003)

Research interests: Leishmania and host defense



Roles of Heat Shock Protein 70 and Toll-Like Receptors in Toxoplasma gondii Infection.

Fumie Aosai, Hye-Seong Mun, Mei Chen, Lian-Xun Piao, Hao Fang, Ziyan Yang, Masashi Kobayashi, Kazumi Norose, Shizuo Akira, Akihiko Yano.

12th International Congress of Immunology and 4th Annual Conference of FOCIS (July 18-23, 2004, Montreal, Canada) W23.52, 2004 [Internet Access] 

Yang, Z. Zhang, X. Darrah, P.A. and Mosser, D.M. 2010. The regulation of Th1 responses by the p38 MAPK. J. Immunol. 185:6205-13.

Yang, Z. Kong, B. Mosser, D.M. and Zhang, X. 2011.  TLRs, macrophages and NK cells: Our understanding of their function in the uterous and ovary. Int. Immunopharmacol. 11:1442-50.


Research Summary:

My research interest is mainly focused on studying the interaction between Leishmania and host macrophages. Leishmania promastigotes are transmitted into a mammalian host from an infected sandfly, and then they are uptaken by macrophages where they replicate as amastigotes. I am currently studying how MAPK-ERK signaling pathways in the host macrophages are regulated while infected with Leishmania, and what changes of the subsequent immune responses occur. IL-10, an immunomodulatory cytokine that can be produced by macrophages, contributes to Leishmaniasis progression. My recent findings reveal that IgG opsonized amastigotes activate ERK through interaction with FcgR. Although ERK activation is essential, only in the presence of other proinflammatory stimuli, such as TLR ligands, infected macrophages can produce high level of IL-10.

The picture (left above) shows the ERK phosphorylation in L. amazonensis infected macrophages. The phosphorylated ERK is detected by a FITIC-labeled antibody (green), while the macrophages nuclei are marked with PI (red) and the parasites are visualized with CTB staining (blue). IgG opsonized parasites mediated FcgR-transduced ERK signaling pathway is critical for IL-10 production (right above).