The skeletal system develops from mesenchymal cells and is the major reservoir of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in adult life. MSCs play pivotal roles in skeletal tissue growth, homeostasis and repair, while dysregulations in MSC renewal, linage specification, and pool maintenance are common causes of skeletal disorders. Our long-term interest is to investigate the signals and cellular processes orchestrating the activities of MSCs and MSC-derived cells during skeletal development and homeostasis, and how they are involved in skeletal aging and disorders.
1. Sumoylation pathway in skeletal development and diseases
2. LRP1 signaling in skeletal development and diseases
As part of these projects, we have established in vivo and in vitro genetic models to study the molecular mechanisms underlying osteoarthritis and osteoporosis.
News & Featured PublicationsLearn More
Meet the scientist behind the science: Dr. Tao Yang
Breaking down osteoarthritis: A discussion with bone expert Dr. Tao Yang
Lu D et al. 2018. LRP1 suppresses bone resorption in mice by inhibiting the RANKL-stimulated NFκB and p38 pathways during osteoclastogenesis.
J Bone Miner Res.
Li J et al. 2018. Desumoylase SENP6 maintains osteochondroprogenitor homeostasis by suppressing the p53 pathway. Nat Commun.
Li J, Lu D, Liu H, Williams BO, Overbeek P, Lee B, Zheng L, Yang T. 2017. Deficiency of SCLT1 causes cystic kidney by activating ERK and STAT3 signaling. Hum Mol Genet.
Yang T et al. E-selectin ligand 1 regulates bone remodeling by limiting bioactive TGF-β in the bone microenvironment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
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- 88 studies published from Jan. 1, 2022 to Sept. 21, 2022
- 44 studies in high-impact journals from Jan. 1, 2022 to Sept. 21, 2022
- 42 clinical trials launched
Tao Yang, Ph.D.
Interim Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology
Areas of Expertise
Skeletal development and aging, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, skeletal stem cells, sumoylation, signaling pathways
Dr. Yang received his B.S. in biochemistry from Wuhan University, and his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (SIBCB, CAS). He then joined Baylor College of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow working with Drs. Paul Overbeek and Brendan Lee. In 2009, he began serving as an instructor in the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor. Dr. Yang joined VAI as an assistant professor in February 2013.
Yang CH*, Fagnocchi L*, Apostle S, Wegert V, Casani-Galdón S, Landgraf K, Panzeri I, Dror E, Heyne S, Wörpel T, Chandler DP, Lu D, Yang T, Gibbons E, Guerreiro R, Brás J, Thomasen M, Grunnert LG, Vaag AA, Gillberg L, Grundberg, E, Conesa A, Körner A, PERMUTE, Pospisilik JA. 2022. Independent phenotypic plasticity axes define distinct obesity subtypes. Nat Metab.
**Highlighted in News & Views
Liu Y, Molchanov V, Yang T. 2021. Enzymatic machinery of ubiquitin and ubiquitin-like modification systems in chondrocyte homeostasis and osteoarthritis. Curr Rheumatol Rep 23:62.
Wang W, Wang M, Ruan Y, Tan J, Wang H, Yang T, Li J, Zhou Q. 2019. Ginkgolic acids impair mitochondrial function by decreasing mitochondrial biogenesis and promoting FUNDC1-dependent mitophagy. J Agric Food Chem 67(36):10097–10106.
He Y, Shi J, Nguyen QT, You E, Liu H, Ren X, Wu Z, Li J, Qiu W, Khoo SK, Yang T, Yi W, Sun F, Xi Z, Huang X, Melcher K, Min B, Xu HE. 2019. Development of highly potent glucocorticoids for steroid-resistant severe asthma. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 116(14):6932–6937.
Lu D, Li J, Liu H, Foxa GE, Weaver K, Li J, Williams BO, Yang T. 2018. LRP1 suppresses bone resorption in mice by inhibiting the RANKL-stimulated NFκB and p38 pathways during osteoclastogenesis. J Bone Miner Res.
Maupin K, Weaver K, Bergsma A, Christie C, Zhong Z, Yang T, Williams BO. 2018. Enhanced cortical bone expansion in Lgals3-deficient mice during aging. Bone Res 6(7).
Liu H, Li J Lu D, Li J, Liu M, Williams BO, Li J, Yang T. 2018. Ginkgolic acid, a sumoylation inhibitor, promotes adipocyte commitment but suppresses adipocyte terminal differentiation of mouse bone marrow stromal cells. Sci Rep 8:2545.
Li J, Lu D, Dou H, Liu H, Weaver K, Wang W, Li J, Yeh ETH, Williams BO, Zheng L, Yang T. 2018. Desumoylase SENP6 maintains osteochondroprogenitor homeostasis by suppressing the p53 pathway. Nat Commun. 9:143.
Yang T, Williams BO. 2017. Low-density lipoprotein receptor-related proteins in skeletal development and disease. Physiol Rev 97(3):1211-1228.
Li J, Lu D, Liu H, Williams BO, Overbeek P, Lee B, Zheng L, Yang T. 2017. Deficiency of SCLT1 causes cystic kidney by activating ERK and STAT3 signaling. Hum Mol Genet 26(15):2949–2960.
Grafe I, Alexander S, Yang T, Lietman C, Homan EP, Munivez E, Chen Y, Jiang MM, Bertin T, Dawson B, Asuncion F, Ke HZ, Ominsky MS, Lee B. 2016. Sclerostin antibody treatment improves the bone phenotype of Crtap-/- mice, a model of recessive Osteogenesis Imperfecta. J Bone Miner Res 31(5):1030–1040.
He Y, Shi J, Yi W, Ren X, Gao X, Li J, Wu N, Weaver K, Xie Q, Khoo SK, Yang T, Huang X, Melcher K, Xu HE. 2016. Discovery of a highly potent glucocorticoid for asthma treatment. Cell Disc doi:10.1038/celldisc.2015.35.
Lu L, Harutyunyan K, Jin W, Wu J, Yang T, Chen Y, Joeng KS, Bae Y, Tao J, Dawson BC, Jiang MM, Lee B, Wang LL. 2015. RECQL4 regulates p53 function in vivo during skeletogenesis. J Bone Miner Res 30(6):1077–1089
Chen S, Grover M, Sibai T, Black J, Rianon N, Rajagopal A, Munivez E, Bertin T, Dawson B, Chen Y, Jiang MM, Lee B, Yang T, Bae Y. 2015. Losartan increases bone mass and accelerates chondrocyte hypertrophy in developing skeleton. Mol Genet Metab 115(1):53–60.
Grafe I, Yang T, Alexander S, Homan EP, Lietman C, Jiang MM, Bertin T, Munivez E, Chen Y, Dawson B, Ishikawa Y, Weis MA, Sampath TK, Ambrose C, Eyre D, Bächinger HP, Lee B. 2014. Excessive transforming growth factor-β signaling is a common mechanism in osteogenesis imperfecta. Nat Med 20(6):670–675.
Yang T, Grafe I, Bae Y, Chen S, Chen Y, Bertin TK, Jiang M-M, Ambrose CG, Lee B. 2013. E-selectin ligand 1 regulates bone remodeling by limiting bioactive TGF-β in the bone microenvironment. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 110(18):7336–7341.
Chen S, Tao J, Bae Y, Jiang MM, Bertin TK, Chen Y, Yang T, Lee B. 2012. Notch gain of function inhibits chondrocyte differentiation via Rbpj-dependent suppression of Sox9. J Bone Miner Res 28(3):649–659.
Bae Y, Yang T*, Zheng HC*, Campeau P, Chen Y, Bertin T, Dawson B, Munivez E, Tao J, Lee B. 2012. miRNA-34c regulates Notch signaling during bone developent. Hum Mol Genet 21(13):2991–3000.
Keller B, Yang T, Chen Y, Munivez E, Bertin TK, Zabel B, Lee B. 2011. Interaction of TGF- β and BMP signaling pathways during chondrogenesis. PLoS One 6(1):e16421.
Yang T, Mendoza RL, Lu H, Li K, Tao J, Shah R, Keller B, Jiang M-M, Chen Y, Bertin TK, Dabovic B, Engin F, Rifkin DB, Hicks J, Jamrich M, Beaudet AL, Lee B. 2010. E-Selectin Ligand 1 regulates growth plate homeostasis by inhibiting the intracellular processing and secretion of mature transforming growth factor β. J Clin Invest 120(7):2474–2485.
Tao J, Chen S, Yang T, Dawson B, Munivez E, Bertin T, Lee B. 2010. Osteosclerosis due to Notch gain of function is solely Rbpj-dependent. J Bone Miner Res 25(10):2175–2183.
Mao J, Yang T, Gu Z, Heird WC, Finegold MJ, Lee B, Wakil SJ. 2009. aP2-Cre-mediated inactivation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 causes growth retardation and reduced lipid accumulation in adipose tissues under lipogenic conditions. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106(41):17576–17581.
Jiang M, Gao Y, Yang T, Zhu X, Chen J. 2009. Cyclin Y, a novel membrane-associated cyclin, interacts with PFTK1. FEBS Lett 583(13):2171–2178.
Engin F, Yao Z*, Yang T*, Zhou G, Bertin TK, Jiang MM, Chen Y, Wang L, Zheng H, Sutton RE, Boyce BF, Lee B. 2008. Dimorphic effects of Notch signaling in bone homeostasis. Nat Med 14(3):299–205.
Gao Y, Jiang M, Yang T, Ni J, Chen J. 2006. A Cdc2-related protein kinase hPFTAIRE1 from human brain interacting with 14-3-3 proteins. Cell Res 16(6):539–547.
Chen Q, Liang D, Yang T, Leone G, Overbeek PA. 2004. Distinct roles of individual E2Fs in induction of cell cycle entry in postmitotic lens fiber cells of transgenic mice. Dev Neurosci 26(506):435–445.
Yang T*, Liang D, Koch PJ, Hohl D, Kheradmand F, Overbeek PA*. 2004. Epidermal detachment, desmosomal dissociation and destabilization of corneodesmosin in Spink5-/- mice. Genes Dev 18(19):2354–2358.
Yang T, Gao Y-K, Chen J-Y. 2002. KIAA0202, a human septin family member, interacting with hPFTAIRE1. Acta Biochem Biophys Sin 34(4):520–525.
Yang T, Chen J-Y. 2001. Identification and cellular localization of human PFTAIRE1. Gene 267(2):165–172.
Yang T, Gover M, Joeng K, Lee B. 2017. Fetal and neonatal bone development. Primer on the metabolic bone diseases and disorders of mineral metabolism. 9th ed. American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
Yang T, Gover M, Joeng K, Lee B. 2013. Fetal and neonatal bone development. Primer on the Metabolic Bone Diseases and Disorders of Mineral Metabolism, 8th ed. Wiley-Blackwell.
Temilola Abdul, M.D.
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Cell Biology
Primary Appointment: Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital
Joe Floramo, M.S.
Van Andel Institute Graduate School Student
Thesis: Polysumoylation’s role in skeletal development and homeostasis
Administrative Assistant II, Department of Cell Biology
Huadie Liu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Yang Laboratory
Sumoylation and epigenetic silencing in the skeleton
Ye Liu, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Yang Laboratory
Desumoylation pathways in joint aging and osteoarthritis pathogenesis
Di Lu, M.S.
Research Associate, Department of Cell Biology
Van Andel Institute Graduate School Student
Thesis: Engineering stem cells to treat osteoarthritis