Jun (Jay) Zhu, Ph.D.

faculty photo
Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
211A Johnson Pavilion
3610 Hamilton Walk
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Office: 215-573-4104
Fax: 215-898-9557
BS (Department of Microbiology)
Wuhan University, China, 1991.
PhD (Department of Microbiology)
Cornell University, 1999.
Permanent link
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
Bacterial pathogenesis, Quorum Sensing, Biofilms, Vibrio cholerae, Clostridium difficile

Research Details
My laboratory is interested in how pathogenic bacteria sense and respond to their surroundings. We study Vibrio cholerae, which causes the acute diarrheal illness cholera, to determine the various chemical signals that bacteria receive when infecting the human intestinal tract, and how these signals are converted into changes in gene expression. We have identified multiple small molecules produced by the host that V. cholerae interprets as a signal that it has entered the human intestines, and to activate its virulence program. We have also identified the role of quorum sensing, the use of small molecules by bacteria as a marker of population growth, in regulating virulence and biofilm production by V. cholerae. We are currently also focused on how V. cholerae senses and responds to oxidative and nitrosative stresses during infection. We employ a variety of innovative genetic screens, biochemical techniques, animal models, and deep sequencing to probe these hypotheses. Last, we have begun applying our expertise with V. cholerae to the study of Clostridium difficile, an increasingly important cause of hospital-associated and community-acquired diarrhea. We believe that our work will shed light on importance of bacterial pathogen’s genetic controls in the "hide-and-seek" game of host-pathogen interactions, with the goal of better understanding V. cholerae and C. difficile pathogenesis and, potentially, discovering novel treatment options for the diarrheal diseases.

Selected Publications

Jiandong Chen, Hyuntae Byun, Rui Liu, I-Ji Jung, Qinqin Pu, Clara Y. Zhu, Ethan Tanchoco, Salma Alavi, Patrick H. Degnan, Amy T. Ma, Manuela Roggiani, Joris Beld, Mark Goulian, Ansel Hsiao, and Jun Zhu: A commensal-encoded genotoxin drives restriction of Vibrio cholerae colonization and host gut microbiome remodeling. PNAS 119: e2121180119, 2022.

Yitian Zhou, Qinqin Pu, Jiandong Chen, Guijuan Hao, Rong Gao, Afsar Ali, Ansel Hsiao, Ann M Stock, Mark Goulian, Jun Zhu: Thiol-based functional mimicry of phosphorylation of the two-component system response regulator ArcA promotes pathogenesis in enteric pathogens. Cell Reports 37(12): 110147, 2021.

Wang H., X. Xing, J Wang, B Pang, M. Liu, J. Larios-Valencia, T. Liu, G. Liu, S. Xie, G. Hao, Z. Liu, B. Kan, and J. Zhu: Hypermutation-induced in vivo oxidative stress resistance enhances Vibrio cholerae host adaptation. PLoS Pathogens 14(10): e1007413, 2018.

Bartlett TM, Bratton BP, Duvshani A, Miguel A, Sheng Y, Martin NR, Nguyen JP, Persat A, Desmarais SM, VanNieuwenhze MS, Huang KC, Zhu J, Shaevitz JW, Gitai Z. : A Periplasmic Polymer Curves Vibrio cholerae and Promotes Pathogenesis. Cell 168: 172-185, 2017.

Liu, Z., H Wang, Z Zhou, N Naseer, F Xiang, B Kan, M Goulian, and J. Zhu. : Differential thiol-based switches jump-start Vibrio cholerae pathogenesis. Cell Reports 14: 347-354, 2016.

Hay, A.J. and Zhu, J. : Microbiota Talks Cholera out of the Gut. Cell Host Microb. 16: 549-550, 2014.

Yang M, Liu Z, Hughes C, Stern AM, Wang H, Zhong Z, Kan B, Fenical W, Zhu J: Bile salt-induced intermolecular disulfide bond formation activates Vibrio cholerae virulence. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(6): 2348-2353, 2013.

Liu, Z., M. Yang, G. Peterfreund, A. M. Tsou, N. Selamoglu, F. Daldal, Z. Zhong, B. Kan, and J. Zhu.: Vibrio cholerae anaerobic induction of virulence gene expression is controlled by thiol-based redox sensing of virulence regulator AphB. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 108: 810-815, 2011.

Liu, Z., T. Miyashiro, A. Tsou, A. Hsiao, M. Goulian, and J. Zhu: Mucosal penetration primes Vibrio cholerae for host colonization by repressing quorum sensing. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 105: 9769 - 9774, 2008 Notes: Commented in PNAS 2008 105:9449-9450; Sci. Signal.(Science STKE) 2008 1, ec260

Hsiao, A., Z. Liu, A. Joelsson, and J. Zhu: Vibrio cholerae virulence regulator-coordinated evasion of host immunity. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci 103: 14542 - 14547, 2006.

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Last updated: 04/08/2024
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