Qun Lu, Ph.D.

Qun Lu

Five-Year Achievement for Excellence in Research/Creative Activity Award 2009

office: Brody 7N-72A
phone: 252-744-2844

B.S., East China Normal University
M.S., Emory University
Ph.D., Emory University
Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School; Postdoctoral Fellow, Brigham and Women's Hospital


My laboratory is interested in the molecular mechanisms of cellular injuries, with the goals of preventing and suppressing neural injury during neurodegenerations as well as inducing cancer cell damages in cancer research. Currently, our projects are focused on small G-proteins of Rho family GTPase regulation. One project investigates the deregulation of Rho family small GTPases in Alzheimer’s disease while another project explores regulation of Rho GTPases signaling in the anti-cancer drug induced neurodegeneration and regeneration. An additional project employs the prostate cancer xenograft and its derived cell lines to investigate signaling through protein-protein interactions in the Rho GTPase pathway in order to understand the mechanisms of cancer progression.

For our studies in Alzheimer’s disease, please see the website of The Harriet and John Wooten Laboratory for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research at

For our studies on cancer medicine, please see the website of Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and N.C. Cancer Hospital at

Selected Publications

Lu Q., J.P. Soria, and J.G. Wood. 1993. p44mpk MAP kinase induces Alzheimer type alterations in tau function and in primary hippocampal neurons. J. Neurosci. Res. 35: 439-444.

Lu Q. and J.G. Wood. 1993. Functional studies of Alzheimer's disease tau protein. J. Neurosci. 13: 508-515.

Ferreira A., Q. Lu, L. Orecchio, and K.S. Kosik. 1997. Selective phosphorylation of adult tau isoforms in mature hippocampal neurons exposed to fibrillar Aβ. Molec. Cell Neurosci. 9: 220-234.

Lu Q., M. Paredes, M. Medina, J.H. Zhou, R. Cavallo, M. Peifer, L. Orecchio, and K.S. Kosik. 1999. δ-catenin, an adhesive junction associated protein which promotes cell scattering. J. Cell Biol. 144: 1-14.

Flaherty D., Q. Lu, J. Soria, and J.G. Wood. 1999. Regulation of tau phosphorylation in microtubule fractions by apolipoprotein E. J. Neurosci. Res. 56: 271-274.

Lu Q., N. Mukhopadhyay, J. Griffin, M. Paredes, M. Medina, and K.S. Kosik. 2002. Brain armadillo protein δ-catenin interacts with Abl tyrosine kinase and modulates cellular morphogenesis in response to growth factors. J. Neurosci. Res. 67: 618-624.

Kim K., A. Sirota A, Y.-H. Chen, S.B. Jones, R. Dudek, G.W. Lanford, C. Thakore, and Q. Lu. 2002. Dendrite-like process formation and cytoskeletal remodeling regulated by δ-catenin expression. 2002. Exp. Cell Res. 275: 171-184.

Jones S.B., A. Sirota, Y.-H. Chen, K. Kim, G.W. Lanford, M. Moribito, and Q. Lu. 2002. Glutamate-induced &delta-catenin redistribution and dissociation from postsynaptic receptor complexes. Neuroscience 115: p1009-1021.

Jones S.B., H.Y. Lu, and Q. Lu. 2004. Abl tyrosine kinase promotes dendrogenesis by inducing actin cytoskeletal rearrangements in cooperation with Rho family small GTPases in hippocampal neurons. J. Neurosci. 24:8510-8521.

Lu Q., L.J. Dobbs, W.G. Christopher, G.W. Lanford, M.P. Revelo, S. Shappell, and Y.-H. Chen. 2005. Increased expression of δ-catenin/neural plakophilin-related armadillo protein (NPRAP) is associated with the downregulation and redistribution of E-cadherin and p120ctn in human prostate cancer. Hum. Pathol. 36: 1037-1048.

Kim J., S.K. Bareiss, K.K.Kim, R. Tatum, J. Han, Y.H. Jin, H. Kim, Q. Lu*, and K. Kim. 2006. Presenilin-1 inhibits δ-catenin-induced cellular branching and promotes δ-catenin processing and its turnover. 2006. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 351:903-908. (*co-correspondence).

Kim H., J.R. Han, J. Park, M. Oh, S.E. James, S. Chang, Q. Lu, K.Y. Lee, H. Ki, W.J. Song, and K. Kim. 2008. Delta-catenin-induced dendritic morphogenesis: an essential role of p190RhoGEF interaction through Akt1-mediated phosphorylation. J. Biol. Chem. 283:977-987.

Kim H., M. Oh, Q. Lu, and K. Kim. 2008. E-Cadherin negatively modulates δ-catenin-induced morphological changes and RhoA activity reduction by competing with p190RhoGEF for δ-catenin. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 377:636-641.

James S.E., H. Burden, R. Burgess, Y. Xie, T. Yang, S.M. Massa, F.M. Longo, and Q. Lu. 2008. Anti-cancer drug induced neurotoxicity and identification of Rho pathway signaling modulators as potential neuronprotectants. Neurotoxicology 29:605-612.

Yang T., J. Knowles, Q. Lu, J. Rajadas, G. Fuller, Q. Wang, K. Andreasson, L. Moore, T. Chang, S.M. Massa, and F.M. Longo. 2008. Small molecule, non-peptide p75NTR ligands inhibit Aβ-induced neurodegeneration. PLoS ONE 3: e3604.

Lu Q., F.M. Longo, H.C. Zhou, S.M. Massa, and Y.-H. Chen. 2009. Signaling through Rho GTPase pathway as viable drug target. Curr. Med. Chem. 16:1355-1365.

Lu Q., J. Zhang, R. Allison, H. Gay, W.X. Yang, N. Bhowmick, G. Frelix, S. Shappell, and Y.-H. Chen. 2009. Identification of extracellular δ-catenin accumulation for prostate cancer detection. The Prostate 69:411-418.

Baulac S., H. Lu, J. Strahle, T. Yang, M.S. Goldberg, J. Shen, M.G. Schlossmacher, C.A. Lemere, Q. Lu, and W. Xia. 2009. Increased DJ-1 expression under oxidative stress and in Alzheimer's disease brains. Molec. Neurodegen. 4:12.

Zeng Y., A. Abdallah, J.P. Lu, T. Wang, Y.-H. Chen, D.M. Terrian, K. Kim, and Q. Lu. 2009. δ-Catenin promotes prostate cancer cell growth and progression by altering cell cycle and survival gene profiles. Molec. Cancer. 8:19.

Wang T., Y.-H. Chen, H. Hong, S. Bareiss, B. Jeansonne, and Q. Lu. 2009. Increased nucleotide polymorphic changes in the 5’-untranslated region of δ-catenin (CTNND2) gene in prostate cancer. Oncogene 28: 555-564.

Oh M., H. Kim, I. Yang, S. Bareiss, H. Ki, Q. Lu, J. No, I. Kwon, and K. Kim. 2009. GSK-3 phosphorylates δ-catenin and negatively regulates its stability via ubiquitination/proteosome-mediated proteolysis. J. Biol. Chem. 284: 28579-28589.

Dunham M.W., S.E. James, T.E. Lever, Q. Lu, and M.J. Carrion-Jones. 2009. Methodology to obtain a sensory component of the sciatic nerve in mice. Am. J. Phys. Med. Rehab. 88:542-546.

Yang I., O. Chang, Q. Lu, and K. Kim. 2010. δ-Catenin affects the localization and stability of p120-catenin by competitively interacting with E-cadherin. Mol. Cells 29: 1-10.

Lu Q., C. Boykin, D. Kai, M.P. Frosch, S. Jones, M. Wolfe, and G.W. Lanford.2010. Alzheimer disease-linked presenilin mutation (PS1M146L) induces filamin expression and γ-secretase independent redistribution. J. Alzheimer Dis. 22: 235-245.

Zhang J., Y.-H. Chen, and Q. Lu. 2010. Pro-oncogenic and anti-oncogenic pathways: opportunities and challenges of cancer therapy. Future Oncol. 6: 587-603.

Bareiss S.K., K. Kim, and Q. Lu. 2010. δ-Catenin/NPRAP: a new member of the glycogen synthase kinase-3β signaling complex that promotes β-catenin turnover in neurons. J. Neurosci. Res. 88:2350-2363.

Lu Q. 2010. δ-Catenin dysregulation in cancer: interactions with E-cadherin and beyond. J. Pathol. 222:119-123.

James S.E., M. Dunham, M. Carrion-Jones, A. Murashov A, and Q. Lu. 2010. Rho kinase inhibitor Y-27632 facilitates recovery from experimental peripheral neuropathy induced by anti-cancer drug cisplatin. Neurotoxicology 31: 188-194.

Lu J., J. Zhang, K. Kim, T. Case, R. Matusik, M. Caudy, M. Wolfe, Y.-H. Chen, J. Nopparat, and Q. Lu. 2010. Human homolog of Drosophila Hairy and enhancer of split 1, Hes1, negatively regulates delta-catenin (CTNND2) expression in cooperation with E2F1 in prostate cancer. Molec. Cancer 9:304.

Boykin C., G. Zhang, Y.-H. Chen, R.W. Zhang, X.E. Fan, W.M. Yang, and Q. Lu. 2011. Cucurbitacin IIa: a novel class of anti-cancer drug inducing non-reversible actin aggregation and inhibiting survivin independent of JAK2/STAT3 phosphorylation. Br. J. Cancer 104:781-789.

Lu Z., L. Ding, H. Hong, J. Hoggard, Q. Lu, and Y.-H. Chen. 2011. Claudin-7 inhibits human lung cancer cell migration and invasion through ERK/MAPK signaling pathway. Exp. Cell Res. 317:1935-1946.

Zhang G., L. Ding, R. Renegar, X. Wang, Q. Lu, S. Huo, and H.-Y. Chen. 2011. Hydroxycamptothecin-loaded Fe3O4 nanoparticles induce human lung cancer cell apoptosis through caspase-8 pathway activation and disrupt tight junctions. Cancer Sci. 102:1216-1222.

Friesland A., Y. Zhao, Y.-H. Chen, L. Wang, H. Zhou, and Q. Lu. 2013. Small molecule targeting Cdc42-intersectin interaction disrupts Golgi organization and suppresses cell motility. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U S A. 110:1261-1266.

View PubMed Publications for further listings

Staff and Students

Location 7N-72

Name Title Phone Email
Byron Aguilar Postdoctoral Fellow 252-744-2839
Christi Boykin Research Technician 252-744-2839
Colin Daw Undergraduate Student 252-744-2839
Mingchuan Li Visiting Scholar 252-744-2839
Yi (Neo) Zhu Graduate Student 252-744-2839

Former Students and Post-Doctoral Fellows

Name Title Location
Sonja Bareiss, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Physical Therapy, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Amy Friesland, Ph.D. Lecturer Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Sarah James, Ph.D., M.D. Radiation Oncology Resident Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Shiloh Jones, Ph.D. Instructor Australian National University Medical School, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Kwonseop Kim, Ph.D. Professor College of Pharmacy, Chonnam National University, Gwangju, Republic of Korea
Jian Ping Lu, Ph.D. Associate Professor College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
Tao Wang, Ph.D., M.D. Professor Department of General Surgery, Nanjing Medial University, Nanjing, China
Zhiying (Jean) Weng, Ph.D, M.D. Associate Professor School of Pharmacy, Kunming Medical University, Kunming City, China