The research in Yue Lab mainly focuses on the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the fate choice and behavior of muscle stem cells and adipocytes in physiological and disease conditions, including muscular dystrophy, aging, and obesity. Utilizing versatile genetic mice and large domestic animals as models, we bring together cutting-edge single-cell omics, state-of-the-art imaging, and stem cell technologies in combining a variety of biochemical and biophysical approaches to address significant and fundamental questions in the field of skeletal muscle biology and adipose metabolism. The goal of our research is to provide knowledge for developing strategies to improve human health and agricultural animal production.
Molecular control of muscle stem cell fate and function
Muscle stem cell, also called satellite cell, is responsible for skeletal muscle growth, maintenance and repair. Satellite cell undergoes fate transitions between quiescence, activation, self-renewal and differentiation during maintenance and regeneration. Disruptions of this homeostasis compromise stem cell function and cause muscle wasting or regenerative failure. The main research interest of the lab is the mechanisms underlying the sophisticated fate decision-making processes. A major focus of our ongoing studies is to understand how cellular metabolism coordinates with epigenetic landscape and stem cell niche to regulate their behavior. We are also exploring novel signaling molecules that regulate the maintenance and function of muscle stem cell.
Nutritional/metabolic regulation of muscle development and growth
Skeletal muscle, which accounts for 40 percent of our body mass, is a highly heterogeneous tissue playing critical roles in maintaining body motility and systemic energy homeostasis. We are interested in the molecular and cellular basis that determines muscle formation and maturation, in particular the regulation of nutritional signaling and metabolic pathways on muscle growth. Current studies focus on understanding how nutrient and exercise remodel mitochondrial integrity and function to affect muscle growth and function in physiological and pathological conditions.
Molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying adipogenesis
Adipose tissue is a central metabolic organ in regulating whole-body energy homeostasis. White adipose tissue functions as a major energy reservoir and brown adipose tissue stores lipids for adaptive thermogenesis. Adipocytes resided in different anatomical adipose depots execute divergent origins and physiological functions throughout animal’s lifespan. In response to changes of nutritional conditions, adipose tissue undergoes dynamic remodeling for metabolic requirement which governed by complicated molecular and cellular regulatory signaling. One of our research interests is the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying adipogenesis, particularly the formation of intramuscular adipocyte.
Pathogenesis and therapy of neuromuscular diseases
Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive muscle degeneration and weakness and loss of muscle mass with or without the damage of nerve tissue. Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is the most common type, caused by inherited mutations in the X-linked dystrophin gene. We are studying the primary pathogenesis of DMD with a preclinical mdx mouse model that recapitulates human pathophysiology. We focus on developing new strategies to boost the regrowth of damaged muscle and increase muscle strength in DMD, with the ultimate goal to improve the life quality and survival of patient.