Wange Lu


Associate Professor
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
Keck School of Medicine

Wange  Lu

Research Overview

Human nervous system consists of billions of neurons and their supporting cells. These cells originally come from neural stem cells. During brain development, neural stem cells respond to the surrounding environment by either proliferative self-renewal or differentiation. Mishap of this process may cause developmental neurological diseases. The molecular mechanisms underlying neural stem cell self-renewal and differentiation are far from clear. Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms of neural stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. Particularly, we are interested in Wnt signaling in neural stem cells.

We focus our efforts on an atypical receptor tyrosine kinase named Ryk. We and others identified Ryk as a new receptor for Wnt, a secreted glycoprotein that play important roles in stem cell renewal and differentiation. Using Ryk siRNA transgenic mice and Ryk knockout mice, we have found that Ryk was required for axon guidance, neurite outgrowth and neural stem cell differentiation. Our current research focuses on Ryk’s role in the control of balance of symmetric and asymmetric cell division in neural stem cells, using Ryk knockout mice as well as neural stem cell culture. Using molecular genetic and biochemical approaches, we will define the Ryk-mediated Wnt signal transduction pathway by identifying the components in this pathway.

Human ES cells are pluripotent and can differentiate into all cell types in our body. They have great potential for cell replacement therapy for degenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington disease, etc.. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells are ES cell-like cells derived through somatic cell reprogramming. Another line of research in the lab is to study human and mouse somatic cell reprogramming. We study how neural stem cells and other somatic cells can be induced to iPS cells. We are particularly interested in 3D nuclear structure was re-established to pluripotency state. We also establish patient- and disease-specific iPS cells to study human neurological diseases and use them for drug discovery.

Contact Information

Mailing Address Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research
1501 San Pablo Street, ZNI 523
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Office Location BCC 413
Office Phone (323) 442-1618
Lab Location BCC 409 B
Lab Phone (323)442-2497
Office Location BCC 413



  • B.S., Nankai University, 1990
  • M.S., Beijing University, 1993
  • Ph.D., Harvard University, 1998
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology, 2005

Selected Publications

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  • Wei Z, Gao F, Kim S, Yang H, Lyu J, An W, Wang, Kand Lu W (2013), Klf4 organizes long-range chromosomal interactions withthe Oct4 locus in reprogramming and pluripotency, Cell Stem Cell, 288(31):22369-77.

  • GaoF, Wei Z, An W, Wang K and Lu W(2013), Higher-order chromosomal structure of human embryonic stem cellsrevealed by interactomes of OCT4 and SOX2 enhancers, Scientific Reports, Apr 3;3:1588. doi: 10.1038/srep01588.

  • Wei Z, Huang D, Gao F, Chang W, An W, Coetze G,Wang, K and Lu W (2013), The Biological Implications and RegulatoryMechanisms of Long-Range Chromosomal Interactions, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 288(31):22369-77.

  • Lyu,J., Jho, E. and Lu, W (2011), Smekpromotes histone deacetylation to suppress transcription of Wnt target genebrachyury in pluripotent embryonic stem cells, Cell Research, 21:911-921.

  • Zhong,J., Kim, H., Lyu, J., Yoshikawa, K Nakafuku, M. and Lu, W (2011), Wnt receptor Ryk controlsspecification of GABAergic neurons versus oligodendrocytes during telencephalondevelopment. Development, 138(3):409-19.

  • Zhang, P., Adrianakos, R., Yang, Y. and Lu, W (2010), Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) prevents embryonic stem (ES) celldifferentiation by regulating Nanog gene expression, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(12): 9180-9. PubMed
  • Wei,Z., Yang, Y., Zhang, P., Andrianakos, R., Hasegawa, K., Lyu, J., Chen, X., Bai,G., Liu, C., Pera, M., and Lu, W.(2009) Klf4 directly interacts with Oct4 and Sox2 to promote reprogramming, Stem Cells, 27(12):2969-78.

  • Lyu,J., Wesselschmidt,RL and Lu, W (2009). Cdc37regulates Ryk signaling by stabilizing the cleaved Ryk intracellular domain, Journal ofBiological Chemistry, 284(19):12940-8.

  • Lyu, J, Yamamoto, V, and Lu W. (2008) Cleavage of Wnt receptor Ryk regulates neuronal differentiation during cortical neurogenesis. DevelopmentalCell. 15(5):773-80.

  • Lu, W., Yamamoto, V., Ortega, B. and Baltimore, D. (2004).Mammalian Ryk is a Wnt coreceptor required for stimulation of neuriteoutgrowth. Cell. 119, 97-108.