Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Faculty and Staff Directory

Yiyong (Ben) Liu, Ph.D.

Assistant Research Professor

Education and Training

Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, East Tennessee State University
Postdoctoral Training, HHMI, Duke University Medical Center


Our research focuses on two areas.

  1. Neural regulation of innate immunity. Innate immune responses to microbial infection must be tightly regulated because insufficient or excessive responses have deleterious consequences. Increasing evidence indicates that the nervous system regulates innate immunity. However, the precise mechanism of this regulation remain largely unknown. We employ genomics and proteomics approaches to understand the molecular basis of such neural control system in Caenorhabditis elegans. At the cellular level, we identify specific neurons and neural circuits that regulate innate immune responses. These components are then integrated together to elucidate neural-immune regulatory pathways.
  2. Use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) to dissect DNA damage and repair mechanisms. The genomic integrity of living organisms is constantly challenged by endogenous insults and environmental agents. Failure to correctly repair DNA damage may cause accumulation of mutations that promote turmorigenesis. NGS-based approaches directly reveal imprint of mutagenesis at the DNA sequence level, linking genotoxicity to DNA damage and repair processes in vivo. Our current work addresses why inactivation of DNA mismatch repair causes resistance of cancer cells to chemotherapeutic SN1-type DNA methylating agents.

Selected Publications

  1. Liu Y, Sellegounder D and Sun J. (2016) Neuronal GPCR OCTR-1 regulates innate immunity by controlling protein synthesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Scientific Reports, 6, 36832-36845.
  2. Sun J, Liu Y and Aballay A. (2012) Organismal regulation of XBP-1-mediated unfolded protein response during development and immune activation. EMBO Reports, 13, 855-860.
  3. Liu Y, Kadyrov FA and Modrich P. (2011) PARP-1 enhances mismatch dependence of 5’-directed excision in human mismatch repair. DNA Repair, 10, 1145-1153.
  4. van Oers JM, Rao S, Werling U, Liu Y, Genschel J, Hou H Jr, Sellers RS, Modrich P, Scharff MD and Edelmann W. (2010) PMS2 endonuclease activity has distinct biological functions and is essential for genome maintenance. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 107, 13384-13389.
  5. Liu Y, Fang Y, Shao H, Lindsey-Boltz L, Sancar A and Modrich P. (2010) Interactions of human mismatch repair proteins MutSα and MutLα with proteins of the ATR-Chk1 checkpoint pathway. J Biol Chem, 285, 5974-5982.
  6. Liu Y, Wang Y, Rusinol A, Sinensky M, Liu J, Shell SM and Zou Y. (2008) Involvement of xeroderma pigmentosum group A (XPA) in progeria arising from defective maturation of prelamin A. FASEB J, 22, 603-611.
  7. Liu Y and Zou Y. (2007) New insights into the roles of XPA and RPA in DNA repair and DNA damage responses. Current Chemical Biology, 1, 151-160.
  8. Wu X, Shell SM, Liu Y and Zou Y. (2007) ATR-dependent checkpoint modulates XPA nuclear import in response to UV irradiation. Oncogene, 26, 757-764.
  9. Liu Y, Rusinol A, Sinensky M, Wang Y and Zou Y. (2006) DNA damage responses in progeroid syndromes arising from defective maturation of prelamin A. J Cell Sci, 119, 4644-4649.
  10. Zou Y, Liu Y, Wu X and Shell S.M. (2006) Functions of human replication protein A (RPA): From DNA replication to DNA damage and stress responses. J Cell Physiol, 208, 267-273.
  11. Liu Y, Kvaratskhelia M, Hess S, Qu Y and Zou Y. (2005) Modulation of replication protein A function by its hyperphosphorylation-induced conformational change involving DNA binding domain B. J Biol Chem, 280, 32775-32783.
  12. Liu Y, Yang Z, Utzat CD, Liu Y, Geacintov NE, Basu AK and Zou Y. (2005) Interactions of human replication protein A with single-stranded DNA adducts. Biochem J, 385, 519-526.
  13. Liu Y, Liu Y, Yang Z, Utzat C, Wang G, Basu AK and Zou Y. (2005) Cooperative interaction of human XPA stabilizes and enhances specific binding of XPA to DNA damage. Biochemistry, 44, 7361-7368.

Ben Yiyong
Yiyong (Ben) Liu, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Director of Genomics Core