Zhiyong Cheng, PhD

Assistant Professor

Graduate Program Faculty

Molecular and Cellular Science

Molecular Metabolism Laboratory

Environmental cues can lead to epigenetic and genetic changes that are relevant to obesity and diabetes development.

We are interested in the mechanism of how energy surplus dysregulates hormonal and nutritional signaling pathways during the development of obesity and diabetes

Liu L, Tao Z, Zheng LD, Brooke JP, Smith CM, Liu D, Long YC, Cheng Z. FoxO1 interacts with transcription factor EB and differentially regulates mitochondrial uncoupling proteins via autophagy in adipocytes. Cell Death & Discovery. 2016 Oct 3; 2: 16066. PMID: 27777789.

Zou P, Liu L, Zheng LD, Payne KK, Manjili MH, Idowu MO, Zhang J, Schmelz EM, Cheng Z. Coordinated Upregulation of Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Autophagy in Breast Cancer Cells: The Role of Dynamin Related Protein-1 and Implication for Breast Cancer Treatment. Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity  2016; 2016: 4085727. PMID: 27746856.

Wang A, Luo J, Moore W, Alkhalidy H, Wu L, Zhang J, Zhen W, Wang Y, Clegg DJ, Bin Xu, Cheng Z, McMillan RP, Hulver MW, Liu D. GPR30 regulates diet-induced adiposity in female mice and adipogenesis in vitro. Scientific Report 2016 Oct 4; 6: 34302. PMID: 27698362.

Zheng LD, Linarelli LE, Brooke J, Smith C, Wall SS, Greenawald MH, Seidel RW, Estabrooks PA, Almeida FA, Cheng Z. Mitochondrial Epigenetic Changes Link to Increased Diabetes Risk and Early-Stage Prediabetes Indicator. Oxidative Medicine & Cellular Longevity 2016; 2016: 5290638. PMID: 27298712

Liu L, Zheng LD, Zou P, Brooke J, Smith C, Long YC, Almeida FA, Liu D, Cheng Z. FoxO1 antagonist suppresses autophagy and lipid droplet growth in adipocytes. Cell Cycle 2016, 15(15): 2033-41. PMID: 27260854.

Cheng Z. FoxO1: mute for a tuned metabolism? Trends Endocrinol Metab 2015 Aug;26(8):402-403. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2015.06.006. Epub 2015 Jul 11. PMID: 26170190

Zheng LD, Linarelli LE, Liu L, Wall SS, Greenawald MH, Seidel RW, Estabrooks PA, Almeida FA, Cheng Z. Insulin resistance is associated with epigenetic and genetic regulation of mitochondrial DNA in obese humans. Clin Epigenetics 2015 Jun 10;7(1):60. doi: 10.1186/s13148-015-0093-1. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26110043; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4479353.

Alkhalidy H, Moore W, Zhang Y, McMillan R, Wang A, Ali M, Suh KS, Zhen W, Cheng Z, Jia Z, Hulver M, Liu D. Small Molecule Kaempferol Promotes Insulin Sensitivity and Preserved Pancreatic β -Cell Mass in Middle-Aged Obese Diabetic Mice. J Diabetes Res. 2015;2015:532984. doi: 10.1155/2015/532984. Epub 2015 May 7. PubMed PMID: 26064984; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4439495.

Liu L, Zou P, Zheng L, Linarelli LE, Amarell S, Passaro A, Liu D, Cheng Z. Tamoxifen reduces fat mass by boosting reactive oxygen species. Cell Death Dis. 2015 Jan 8;6:e1586. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2014.553.

Zou P, Liu L, Zheng L, Liu L, Stoneman RE, Cho A, Emery A, Gilbert ER, Cheng Z. Targeting FoxO1 with AS1842856 Suppresses Adipogenesis. Cell Cycle. 2014 Dec 1;13(23):3759-67. doi: 10.4161/15384101.2014.965977.

Cheng Z, Schmelz EM, Liu D, Hulver MW. Targeting mitochondrial alterations to prevent type 2 diabetes-Evidence from studies of dietary redox-active compounds. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2014 Aug;58(8):1739-49. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300747. Epub 2014 Feb 12.

Cheng Z, Almeida FA. Mitochondrial alteration in type 2 diabetes and obesity: An epigenetic link. Cell Cycle. 2014 Mar 15;13(6):890-7.

Cheng Z, White MF. kNOXing on the door of selective insulin resistance. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 May;32(5):1063-5. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.112.246868.

Cheng Z, Ristow M. Mitochondria and metabolic homeostasis. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Jul 20;19(3):240-2. doi: 10.1089/ars.2013.5255. Epub 2013 Mar 28.

Wang Z, Cheng Z, Cristofaro V, Li J, Xiao X, Gomez P, Ge R, Gong E, Strle K, Sullivan MP, Adam RM, White MF, Olumi AF. Inhibition of TNF-α improves the bladder dysfunction that is associated with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes. 2012 Aug;61(8):2134-45. doi: 10.2337/db11-1763. Epub 2012 Jun 11.

Cheng Z, White MF. The AKTion in non-canonical insulin signaling. Nat Med. 2012 Mar 6;18(3):351-3. doi: 10.1038/nm.2694. 

Sadagurski M, Cheng Z, Rozzo A, Palazzolo I, Kelley GR, Dong X, Krainc D, White MF. IRS2 increases mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress in a mouse model of Huntington disease. J Clin Invest. 2011 Oct;121(10):4070-81. doi: 10.1172/JCI46305.

Cheng Z, Zhang J, Ballou DP, Williams CH Jr. Reactivity of thioredoxin as a protein thiol-disulfide oxidoreductase. Chem Rev. 2011 Sep 14;111(9):5768-83. doi: 10.1021/cr100006x.

Long YC, Cheng Z, Copps KD, White MF. Insulin receptor substrates Irs1 and Irs2 coordinate skeletal muscle growth and metabolism via the Akt and AMPK pathways. Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Feb;31(3):430-41. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00983-10.

Cheng Z, White MF. Targeting Forkhead box O1 from the concept to metabolic diseases: lessons from mouse models. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2011 Feb 15;14(4):649-61. doi: 10.1089/ars.2010.3370.

HNFE 4004: Seminar Writing & Discourse
ALS 5115: Nutrition

2006 - 2012, Postdoctoral, Biochemistry/Metabolism, Harvard University Medical School
2004 - 2006, Postdoctoral, Biochemistry/Enzymology,University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
2003, Ph.D., Analytical Chemistry, Peking University

Zhiyong Cheng

1981 Kraft Drive
1008 ILSB
Blacksburg, VA 24060

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