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Principal Investigator
Ce-Shi Chen   Ph.D.  
Title Professor
Phone +86 871 65181944
Fax +86 871 65181945
Address Kunming Institute of Zoology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences No. 32 Jiaochang Donglu, Kunming, Yunnan, 650223, P.R.China
Zip Code 650201
   Education and Appointments:

1990 - 1994, B.Sc. in Microbiology, Department of Biology, Nankai University, Tianjin, China. 

1994 - 1999, Ph.D. in Pharmacology, Shanghai Research Center of Biotechnology & Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.  

1999 –2002: Research Associate in Department of Pathology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. USA 

2002- 2004: Postdoctoral fellow, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA 

2004 –2006: Instructor, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA 

2006 –2009: Assistant Professor (Tenure Track), the Center for Cell Biology and Cancer Research, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA 

2009 –2011: Associate Professor (Tenure Track), the Center for Cell Biology and Cancer Research, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA 

2011 – present: Professor, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences 

  Professional Services
   Research Interests:

Breast cancer is most common lethal disease. To develop more effective strategies for cancer prevention and control, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment, we must obtain a more complete understanding of the causes of cancer and of the biological mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression. Many genetic, molecular, and cellular events influence the cancer process. Protein ubiquitination and transcription factors regulate an enormous range of biological processes; including transcription, cell cycle, apoptosis, and migration. Consistently, defects in these systems have already been directly implicated with human cancer. Our current projects are to study (1) E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases in cancer development, (2) the KLF5 transcription factor in breast cancer stem cells, (3) the tree shrew models for human breast cancers 4anti-cancer drug development. In summary, our research interests are the cancer genetics and biology of human cancers. In long term, we hope to identify more potential diagnostic biomarkers and drug targets for cancer targeted therapy. 

  Supported Projects:


1. National Key Research and Development Program of China, Functions, Mechanism, and Application of Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in breast (cancer) stem cell, 2020YFA0112300 28,890,000, 2020.10-2025.1

2. National Natural Science Foundation of China, KLF5 transcription factor as a therapeutic target in basal type breast cancer (U1602221), 1,970,000, 2017.1 – 2020.12 

3. National Natural Science Foundation of China, PRMT5 promotes breast cancer stem cells (31771516),620,000, 2017.1 – 2020.12

4. National Natural Science Foundation of China, RNF126 E3 ubiquitin ligase regulates DNA damage repair and breast cancer (81830087),2,970,000, 2019.1 – 2023. 12


1. American Cancer Society (ACS), Molecular Genetics and Oncogenes (MGO) “The Role of the WWP1 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase in Human Breast Cancer”, Jul 2008 - Jun, 2012 (PI: Ceshi Chen). 

2. Department of Defense (DOD), PCRP, The Oncogenic Role of WWP1 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase in Prostate Cancer Development. May 2007-Apr 2011 (PI: Ceshi Chen). 

3. Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Grant, The role of KLF5 transcription factor degradation in breast cancer. May 2005-Apr 2009. (PI: Ceshi Chen). 

4. Department of Defense (DOD), BCRP, BC075738, WWP1 targets ErbB4 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation in breast cancer. Sep 2008-Aug 2009 (PI: Ceshi Chen). 

5. National Natural Science Foundation of China, HECTD3: a novel E3 ligase promoting breast cancer cell survival, 81072162, 400,000, Jan 2011 - Dec, 2013 

6. National Natural Science Foundation of China, KLF5 transcription factor mediates the function of YAP oncoprotein in breast cancer (U1132605), 2,000,000, Jan 2012 - Dec, 2015 

7. National Natural Science Foundation of China, HECTD3 regulates breast cancer apoptosis through ubiquitinating caspase8 (81120108019), 2,400,000, Jan 2012 - Dec, 2016 

8. National Key Basic Research Program of China (2013CB910900), 2,500,000, Jan 2013 –Dec 2017 

9. National Natural Science Foundation of China, Tumor biology (81325016,3, 200,000, Jan 2014 - Dec, 2017 

  Public Services:

2002: Scholar-in-Training Award from American Association for Cancer Research, USA

2004: American Foundation for Urologic Disease, Research scholar, USA

2005: Georgia Cancer Coalition Cancer Research Award, USA

2008: American Cancer Society, Research Scholar Award, USA

2009: New Teacher Award, Sosa Academy of Medicine, Albany Medical Center, USA

2010: High-Profile Scientist in Yunnan Province

2011: Outstanding oversea scientist of Chinese Academy of Sciences

2013: Outstanding Young Scientist of National Science Foundation of China

2016: Youth Science and Technology Innovation Leader of Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology

2018: Ten Thousand People Plan, Science and Technology Innovation Leader

2018: Yunling Scholar

  Selected Publications:

1.    Benfu Zhong#, Dewei Jiang#, Yang Hong, Lifang Li, Li Qiu, Ronghui Yang, Xiaohan Jin, Yawen Song, Ceshi Chen*, Binghui Li*, Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase neutralizes stresses by supporting reductive glutamine metabolism and AMPK activationSignal Transduction and Targeted Therapy2020, in press

2.    Lina Zhao#, Ting Qiu#, Dewei Jiang#, Haibo Xu, Li Zou, Qin Yang, Ceshi Chen*, Baowei Jiao*, SGCE promotes breast cancer stem cells by stabilizing EGFR, Advanced Science, 2020,

3.    Lingli He , Liang Yuan , Yang Sun , Pingyang Wang , Hailin Zhang , Xue Feng , Zuoyun Wang , Wenxiang Zhang , Chuanyu Yang , Yi Arial Zeng , Yun Zhao , Ceshi Chen*, Lei Zhang*, Glucocorticoid receptor signaling promotes breast cancer progression by activating TEAD4, Can Res, 2019, 79(17):4399-4411.

4.    Yingying Wu, Qunying Qin , Fubing Li , Chuanyu Yang , Zhen Li , Zhongmei Zhou , Hailin Zhang , Yunxi Li , Xinye Wang , Rong Liu , Qian Tao , Wenlin Chen*, Ceshi Chen*, USP3 promotes breast cancer cell proliferation by deubiquitinating KLF5, J. Biol. Chem. 2019, 294(47)17837-47

5.    Yanjie Kong*, Zehua Wang*, Maobo Huang, Zhongmei Zhou, Yi Li, Huilai Miao, Xing Wan, Jian Huang, Xiaoyun Mao#, Ceshi Chen#, CUL7 promotes cancer cell survival through promoting Caspase-8 ubiquitination, Int J Cancer, 2019

6.    Chuan-Huizi Chen, Nong Yang, Yongchang Zhang, Jiancheng Ding, Wenjuan Zhang, Rong Liu, Wen Liu*, Ceshi Chen*, Inhibition of super enhancer downregulates the expression of KLF5 in basal-like breast cancers, Int J Biol. Sci., 2019; 15(8): 1733-1742.

7.    Rong Liu*, Peiguo Shi, Zhongmei Zhou, Hailin Zhang, Ceshi Chen*, Krüpple-like factor 5 is Essential for Mammary Gland Development and Tumorigenesis, J Pathology, 2018, 246: 497-507

8.    Huichun Liang#, Fei Ge#, Yuhui Xu#, Ji Xiao, Zhongmei Zhou, Rong Liu, Ceshi Chen, miR-153 inhibits the migration and the tube formation of endothelial cells by blocking the paracrine of angiopoietin 1 in breast cancer cells, Angiogenesis, (2018) 21:849–860.

9.    Fubing Li#, Yang Li#, Huichun Liang#, Tao Xu#, Yanjie Kong, Chuanyu Yang, Maobo Huang, Zhongmei Zhou, Xiaomin Guo, Chunmiao Hu, Dongmei Zhou, Ceshi Chen*, Xiaopeng Qi*, HECTD3 mediates TRAF3 polyubiquitination and type I interferon induction during bacterial infection, J Clin Invest., 2018;128(9):4148-4162.

10. Huichun Liang, Ji Xiao, Zhongmei Zhou, Hailin Zhang, Zongcheng Li, Jian Sun, Fubing Li, Rong Liu*, and Ceshi Chen*, Hypoxia induces miR-153 through the IRE1α-XBP1 pathway to fine tune the HIF-1α/VEGFA axis in breast cancer angiogenesis, Oncogene, 2018, 37:1961-1975

11. Zekun Chen#, Qiuju Wu#, Ye Ding, Wenhui Zhou, Rong Liu, Haiying Chen, Jia Zhou*, Jing Feng*, Ceshi Chen*, YD277 Suppresses Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Partially Through Activating the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Pathway, Theranostics 2017; 7(8):2339-2349

12. Peiguo Shi, Wenjing Liu, Tala, Haixia Wang, Fubing Li, Hailin Zhang, Yingying Wu, Yanjie Kong, Zhongmei Zhou, Chunyan Wang, Wenlin Chen, Rong Liu, Ceshi Chen*, Metformin suppresses triple-negative breast cancer stem cells by targeting KLF5 for degradation, Cell Discovery, 2017, 3(17010)

13. Jing Wu, Ye Ding, Chuan-Hui zhi Chen, Zhongmei Zhou, Chunyong Ding, Haiying Chen, Jia Zhou*, Ceshi Chen*, A New Oridonin Analog Suppresses Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells and Tumor Growth via the Induction of Death Receptor 5. Cancer Letters, 2016, 380(2),393-402

14. Kong Y?, Li F?, Nian Y?, Zhou Z, Yang R*, Qiu MH*, Chen C*. KHF16 is a Leading Structure from Cimicifuga foetida that Suppresses Breast Cancer Partially by Inhibiting the NF-κB Signaling Pathway. Theranostics 2016; 6(6):875-886.

15. Rong Liu*, Peiguo Shi, Zhi Nie, Huichun Liang, Zhongmei Zhou, Wenlin Chen, Haijun Chen, Chao Dong, Runxiang Yang, Suling Liu, Ceshi Chen*Mifepristone Suppresses Basal Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Stem Cells by Down-regulating KLF5 ExpressionTheranostics 2016; 6(4): 533-544

16. Guang-Zhe Ge?, Hou-Jun Xia?, Bao-Li He, Hai-Lin Zhang, Wen-Jing Liu, Ming Shao, Chun-Yan Wang, Ji Xiao, Fei Ge, Fu-Bing Li, Yi Li, Ceshi Chen*, Generation and Characterization of a Breast Carcinoma Tree Shrew Model by PyMT Overexpression in Mammary Epithelial Cells, Int J Cancer, 20161383),642-651

17. Junying Qin, Zhongmei Zhou, Wenlin Chen, Chunyan Wang, Hailin Zhang, Guangzhe Ge, Ming Shao, Dingyun You, Zhixiang Fan, Houjun Xia, Rong Liu, Ceshi Chen* BAP1 promotes breast cancer cell proliferation and metastasis by deubiquitinating KLF5, Nature Communications, 2015, 6: 8471, doi:10.1038/ncomms9471

18. Lin Jia, Zhongmei Zhou, Huichun Liang, Jing Wu, Peiguo Shi, Fubing Li, Zehua Wang, Chunyan Wang, Wenlin Chen, Hailin Zhang, Yang Wang, Rong Liu, Jing Feng*, Ceshi Chen* KLF5 promotes breast cancer proliferation, migration and invasion in part by upregulating the transcription of TNFAIP2, Oncogene, 2015 Jul 20. doi: 10.1038/onc.2015.263.

19. Hou-Jun Xia, Bao-Li He, Chun-Yan Wang, Hai-Lin Zhang, Guang-Zhe Ge,  Yuan-Xu Zhang, Long-Bao Lv, Jian-Lin Jiao, Ceshi Chen*, PTEN/PIK3CA genes are frequently mutated in spontaneous and MPA-accelerated DMBA induced mammary tumours of tree shrews, Eur J Cancer, 2014, 50(18):3230-3242

20. Yi Li?, Yanjie Kong?, Zhongmei Zhou, Hui Chen, Zehua Wang, Yi-Ching Hsieh, Dong Zhao, Xu Zhi, Jian Huang, Jing Zhang, Hongmin Li, Ceshi Chen* The HECTD3 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Facilitates Cancer Cell Survival by Promoting K63-linked Polyubiquitination of Caspase-8, Cell Death and Disease, 2013, 4, e935 

21. Xia H, Wang C, Chen W, Zhang H, Chaudhury L, Zhou Z, Liu R, Chen C*. Kruppel-Like Factor 5 Transcription Factor Promotes Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase 1 Gene Transcription in Breast Cancer. J Biol Chem. 2013 288(37):26731-40 

22. Zehua Wang, Zhi Nie, Wenlin Chen, Zhongmei Zhou, Qinghua Kong, Arun Seth, Rong Liu*, Ceshi Chen*RNF115/BCA2 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Promotes Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation through Targeting p21 for Ubiquitin-mediated DegradationNeoplasia, 2013 15(9):1028-35 

23. Yi Li, Xi Chen, Zehua Wang, Dong Zhao, Hui Chen, Wenlin Chen, Zhongmei Zhou, Junran Zhang, Jing Zhang, Hongmin Li, Ceshi Chen*The HECTD3 E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Suppresses Cisplatin-induced Apoptosis via Stabilizing MALT1Neoplasia, 2013, 15(1)39-48 

24. Xu Zhi, Dong Zhao, Zehua Wang, Zhongmei Zhou, Chunyan Wang, Wenlin Chen, Rong Liu*, Ceshi Chen*, E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF126 promotes cancer cell proliferation by targeting the tumor suppressor p21 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation, Cancer Res. 2013;73(1):385-94 

25. Xu Zhi, Dong Zhao, Zhongmei Zhou, Rong Liu, Ceshi Chen*, YAP promotes breast cell proliferation and survival partially through stabilizing the KLF5 transcription factor, Am J Pathology, 2012, 180(6): 2452-61 

26. Dong Zhao, Xu Zhi, Zhongmei Zhou, Ceshi Chen*, TAZ antagonizes theWWP1-mediated KLF5 degradation and promotes breast cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, Carcinogenesis, 2012, 33(1): 59-67  

27. Rong Liu, Zhongmei Zhou, Dong ZhaoCeshi Chen*, The induction of KLF5 transcription factor by progesterone contributes to progesterone-induced breast cancer cell proliferation and de-differentiation, Mol. Endocrinology, 2011, 25(7): 1137-1144 (Cover)  

28. Rong Liu, Zhongmei Zhou, Jian Huang, Ceshi Chen*, PMEPA1 promotes androgen receptor negative prostate cell proliferation through suppressing the Smad3/4-c-Myc-p21Cip1 signaling pathway, Journal of Pathology, 2011, 223(5): 683-94 

29. Dong Zhao, Hanqiu Zheng, Zhongmei Zhou, Ceshi Chen*, The Fbw7 tumor suppressor targets KLF5 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation and suppresses breast cell proliferation, Cancer Research, 2010, 70: 4728-38  

30. Hanqiu Zheng, Zhongmei Zhou, Leena Chaudhury, Jin-Tang Dong, Ceshi Chen*, Krüpple-like factor 5 (KLF5) promotes breast cell proliferation partially through upregulating the transcription of fibroblast growth factor-binding protein 1 (FGF-BP) in breast cancer, Oncogene, 2009; 28: 3702-13. 

31. Rong Liu, Hanqiu Zheng, Zhongmei Zhou, Jin-Tang Dong, Ceshi Chen*, KLF5 promotes breast cell survival partially through FGF-BP-pERK-mediated MKP-1 protein phosphorylation and stabilization, J Biol Chem., 2009 19; 284: 16791-8 

32. Yi Li, Zhongmei Zhou, Maurizio Alimandi, Ceshi Chen*, WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 targets the full length ErbB4 for ubiquitin-mediated degradation in breast cancer, Oncogene, 2009 20; 28: 2948-58 

33. Yi Li, Zhongmei Zhou, Ceshi Chen*, WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 targets p63 transcription factor for ubiquitin-mediated proteasomal degradation and regulates apoptosis, Cell Death and Differentiation, 2008, 15: 1941-51 

  Research Team:

Laboratory Staff:

Dewei Jiang, Associate Professor,

Zhong-Mei Zhou, Lab manager,

Chuanyu Yang, Technician,

Graduate Students:

Xinye Wang, Maobo Huang, Haixia Wang, Wenjing Liu, Guangshi Du, Jian Sun, Ting Qiu, Zhuo Cheng, Wenlong Ren, Hongyan Zhang, Qiuyun Jiang, Li Zeng, Yao Luo, Jinhuan Song, Luzhen Wang, Min Zhen, Wei Li, Wenqiang Gan, Qiyan Yin, Wenmin Chen, Chengang Zhou, Tiantian Wang

Postdoc Fellows

Yanjie Kong,

Fubing Li,

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