Shao Jun Tang, PhD Professor, Cecil H. and Ida M. Green Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience and Cell Biology

TangShaoJunDepartment of Neuroscience, Cell Biology, & Anatomy
2.104D Medical Research Building (MRB)
: 1069  |  Tel: (409) 772-1190 |

Education and Training

PhD in Molecular and Developmental Biology, University of Toronto Post-Doctoral in Synaptic Plasticity, California Institute of Technology Pasadena, CA MS in Molecular Biology, University of Toronto

Research Interests

HIV-associated neurological disorders (NeuroAIDS): HIV-1 infection causes a spectrum of neurological/cognitive complications (NeuroAIDS), but the pathogenic mechanisms are poorly understood and effective therapies are not available. NeuroAIDS presents a huge opportunity for both basic and translational research. We are interested in the pathogenic processes that contribute to the development of NeuroAIDS. A focal point of our NIH-funded current research is on the HIV-associated pathological pain, a neurological complication suffered by many millions of HIV-1/AIDS patients. In collaboration with other investigators (including Dr. Ben Gelman and Sue Carlton at UTMB), we are working to elucidate the molecular, synaptic and glial mechanisms by which HIV-1 infection and the co-morbid factors (e.g. drugs of abuse and antiretroviral treatments) cause the pathological pain. In particular, we focus on the potential role of Wnt signaling in the pathogenesis. With the new knowledge generated, we aim to develop innovative therapeutics to treat the pain syndrome. We use interdisciplinary methodologies, including molecular biology, neuron imaging, gene knockout, electrophysiology and behavioral testing, in our studies on animal models, postmortem patient specimens and primary cultures of neurons and glia. Students/postdocs and other research scientists who are interested in joining the exciting projects are welcome to contact Dr. Tang.

Selected Publications

Tang, S. J., Meulemans, D., Vazquez, L., Colaco, N., Schuman., E.  A role for a rat homolog of staufen in the transport of RNA to neuronal dendrites. Neuron. 32:463-75, 2001

Tang, S. J., Hoodless, P. A., Lu, Z., Breitman, M. L., McInnes, R. R., Wrana, J. L., Buchwald, M. The Tlx-2 homeobox gene is a downstream target of BMP signaling and is required for mouse mesoderm development. Development. 125:1877-87, 1998

Tang, S.J., Reis, G., Kang, H., Gingras, A. C. Sonenberg, N. and Schuman, E. M. A Rapamycin-Sensitive Signaling Pathway contributes to long-term synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 99:467-472, 2002.

Park, C. S., Gong, R., Stuart, J. and Tang, S.J. Molecular network and chromosomal clustering of genes involved in synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. J. Biol. Chem. 281:30195-30211, 2006.

Gong, R., Park, C. S., Abbassi, N. R. and Tang, S.J. Roles of glutamate receptors and the mTOR signaling pathway in activity-dependent dendritic protein synthesis in hippocampal neurons. J. Biol. Chem. 281:18802-18815, 2006.

Chen, J., Park, C. S. and Tang, S.J. Activity-dependent synaptic WNT release regulates hippocampal long-term potentiation. J. Biol. Chem. 281:11910-11916, 2006.

Li, B., Zhong, L., Yang, X., Andersson, T., Huang, M. and Tang, S.J. WNT5A signaling contributes to A-beta-induced neuroinflammation and neurotoxicity. PLoS One. 6:e22920, 2011.

Wan, X.Z., Li, B., Li, Y.C., Yang, X.L., Zhang, W., Zhong, L. and Tang, S.J. Activation of NMDA receptors upregulates a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 10 via a Wnt/MAPK signaling pathway. J Neurosci. 32:3910-3916, 2012.

Shi, Y., Gelman, B.B., Lisinicchia, J.G. and Tang, S.J. Chronic-pain-associated astrocytic reaction in the spinal cord dorsal horn of human immunodeficiency virus-infected patients. J Neurosci. 32:10833-10840, 2012.

Shi, Y., Shu, J., Gelman, B.B., Lisinicchia, J.G.and Tang, S.J. Wnt Signaling in the Pathogenesis of Human HIV-Associated Pain Syndromes. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 8:956-964, 2013.

Li, B., Shi, Y., Shu, J., Gao, J., Wu, P. and Tang, S.J. Wingless-type mammary tumor virus integration site family, member 5A (Wnt5a) regulates human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) envelope glycoprotein 120 (gp120)-induced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines via the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathways. J Biol. Chem. 288:13610-13619, 2013.

Yuan, S., Shi, Y., Chen, J., Zhou, X., Li, G., Gelman, B.B., Lisinicchia, J.G., Carlton, S.M., Ferguson, M.R., Tan, A., Sarna, S.K. and Tang, S.J. Gp120 in the pathogenesis of human HIV-associated pain. Ann Neurology. 75:837-850, 2014.

Link to PubMed Publications