Associate Professor Department of Biology

Zhiyi Wei, PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Biology

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Structural Biology, and Neurobiology

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4446-6502

Personal Profile

Dr. Zhiyi Wei was attracted by the uniqueness of structural biology in understanding biology during his Ph.D. study. After his postdoctoral training at University of Washington, he joined the Hong Kong UST as a Research Assistant Professor. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at Southern University of Science and Technology. His research focus on decoding the mystery of how life is built up via dynamic interactions between proteins and between protein and other biomolecules at atomic level. We use structural biology approach, combining with biochemistry and cell biology approaches, to dissect the structures and regulatory mechanisms of key protein complexes underlying various cellular processes, especially membrane-related events in neuronal development. Since 2009, he has published more than 20 high impact research papers in international journals, including NatureScience, Cell, Molecular Cell, and PNAS.


Research Interests
◆ Molecular mechanism of neuronal development and related diseases
◆ Assembly mechanisms of membrane microdomains
◆ Intracellular trafficking of membrane compartments
◆ Transmembrane signalings
◆ Protein machines


Professional Experience
◆ 2013 – present, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, Southern University of Science and Technology of China
◆ 2009 – 2013, Research Associate Professor, Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
◆ 2007 – 2009, Research Fellow, School of Medicine, University of Washington


Educational Background
◆ 2007, Ph.D., Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Science and Technology of China
◆ 2002, B.S., Biology, University of Science and Technology of China


Honors & Awards
◆ 2019 SUSTech Presidential Early Career Award for Excellent in Research
◆ 2019 High-Level Professional in Shenzhen, National Level
◆ 2016 Special Support for Technology Top-Notch Innovative Young Talents of Guangdong Province
◆ 2016 SUSTech Excellent Research Award
◆ 2014 Shenzhen Oversea High-Caliber Personnel, Level B
◆ 2011-2013 Tin Ka Ping Fellowship, Tin Ka Ping Foundation
◆ 2007 Outstanding Graduate of University of Science and Technology of China


◆ Molecular mechanism of neuronal development and related diseases

◆ Assembly mechanisms of membrane microdomains

◆ Intracellular transport mechanisms

◆ Protein machinery

Publications Read More

1. Xie X, Luo L, Liang M, Zhang W, Zhang T, Yu C, Wei Z#. Structural basis of liprin-α-promoted LAR-RPTP clustering for modulation of phosphatase activity. Nat Commun. 11. (2020)

2. Tang K, Li Y, Yu C, Wei Z#. Structural mechanism for versatile cargo recognition by the yeast class V myosin Myo2. J Biol Chem. 294:5896-5906. (2019)

3. Liang M*, Xie X*, Pan J, Jin G, Yu C#, Wei Z#. Structural basis of the target-binding mode of the G protein-coupled receptor kinase-interacting protein in the regulation of focal adhesion dynamics. J Biol Chem. 294:5827-5839. (2019)

4. Wang L, Yao D, Deepak RNVK, Liu H, Xiao Q, Fan H, Gong W, Wei Z#, Zhang C#. Structures of the human PGD2 receptor CRTH2 reveal novel mechanisms for ligand recognition. Mol Cell. 72:48-59. (2018)

5. Pan W, Sun K, Tang K, Xiao Q, Ma C, Yu C, Wei Z#. Structural insights into ankyrin repeat-mediated recognition of the kinesin motor protein KIF21A by KANK1, a scaffold protein in focal adhesion. J Biol Chem. 293:1944-1956. (2018)

6. Li H*, Deng Y*, Sun K, Yang H, Liu J, Wang M, Zhang Z, Lin J, Wu C#, Wei Z#, Yu C#. Structural basis of kindlin-mediated integrin recognition and activation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 114:9349-9354. (2017)

Comment in Kammerer P, Aretz J, Fässler R. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 114: 9234-9236 (2017)

7. Wei Z*, Xu Z*, Liu X, Lo WS, Ye F, Lau CF, Wang F, Zhou JJ, Nangle LA, Yang XL, Zhang M, Schimmel P. Alternative splicing creates two new architectures for human tyrosyl-tRNA synthetase. Nucleic Acids Res. 44:1247-1255. (2016)

8. Wei Z*, Li Y*, Ye F, Zhang M. Structural basis for the phosphorylation-regulated interaction between the cytoplasmic tail of cell polarity protein Crumbs and the actin binding protein Moesin. J Biol Chem. 290:11384-11392. (2015)

9. Zhao H, Sheng G, Wang J, Wang M, Bunkoczi G, Gong W, Wei Z#, Wang Y#. Crystal structure of the RNA-guided immune surveillance Cascade complex in Escherichia coli. Nature. 515:147-150. (2014)

Comment in Zhang Y, Sontheimer EJ. Science. 345: 1452-1453 (2014)

10. Li Y*, Wei Z*, Yan Y, Wan Q, Du Q, Zhang M. Structure of Crumbs tail in complex with the PALS1 PDZ-SH3-GK tandem reveals a highly specific assembly mechanism for the apical Crumbs complex. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111:17444-17449. (2014)

Comment in Reissner C, Missler M. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 111: 17350–17351 (2014)

11. Wang C*, Wei Z*, Chen K, Ye F, Yu C, Bennett V, Zhang M. Structural basis of diverse membrane target recognitions by ankyrins. eLife. 3. (2014)

12. Li Y*, Wei Z*, Zhang J, Yang Z, Zhang M. Structural basis of the binding of Merlin FERM domain to the E3 ubiquitin ligase substrate adaptor DCAF1. J Biol Chem. 289:14674-14681. (2014)

13. Wei Z#, Liu X, Yu C, Zhang M#. Structural basis of cargo recognitions for class V myosins. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 110:11314-11319. (2013)

14. Wei Z, Zhang M. Decorating proteins with “sweets” is a flexible matter. Structure. 21:1-2. (2013)

15. Wang C, Yu C, Ye F, Wei Z#, Zhang M#. Structure of the ZU5-ZU5-UPA-DD tandem of ankyrin-B reveals interaction surfaces necessary for ankyrin function. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 109:4822-4827. (2012)

16. Xu Z*, Wei Z*, Zhou JJ, Ye F, Lo WS, Wang F, Lau CF, Wu J, Nangle LA, Chiang KP, Yang XL, Zhang M, Schimmel P. Internally deleted human tRNA synthetase suggests evolutionary pressure for repurposing. Structure. 20:1470-1477. (2012)

17. Wei Z*, Zheng S*, Spangler SA, Yu C, Hoogenraad C, Zhang M. Liprin-mediated large signaling complex organization revealed by the liprin-α/CASK and liprin-α/liprin-β complex structures. Mol Cell. 43:586-598. (2011)

18. Wei Z*, Yan J*, Lu Q, Pan L, Zhang M. Cargo recognition mechanism of myosin X revealed by the structure of its tail MyTH4-FERM tandem in complex with the DCC P3 domain. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 108:3572-3577. (2011)

Recommended by Titus M in Faculty of 1000

19. Liu W, Wen W, Wei Z, Yu J, Ye F, Liu CH, Hardie RC, Zhang M. The INAD scaffold is a dynamic, redox-regulated modulator of signaling in the Drosophila eye. Cell. 145:1088-101. (2011)

20. Wu L, Pan L, Wei Z, Zhang M. Structure of MyTH4-FERM domains in myosin VIIa tail bound to cargo. Science. 331:757-60. (2011)

21. Wei Z, Zhang M. A structural approach to decipher the neurexin and neuroligin splice isoform code. Neuron. 67:1-2. (2010)

22. Wang R*, Wei Z*, Jin H, Wu H, Yu C, Wen W, Chan LN, Wen Z, Zhang M. Autoinhibition of UNC5b revealed by the cytoplasmic domain structure of the receptor. Mol Cell. 27: 692-703. (2009)

23. Yu C, Feng W, Wei Z, Miyanoiri Y, Wen W, Zhao Y, Zhang M. Myosin VI undergoes cargo-mediated dimerization. Cell. 138:537-48. (2009)

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