Academic Appointments

  • Basic Life Science Research Associate, Biology

Honors & Awards

  • Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation (January 1, 2017-December 31, 2020)
  • Excellent doctoral dissertation of Tsinghua University, Tsinghua University (2016)
  • Excellent graduate of Beijing municipality, Beijing municipality (2016)
  • Ray Wu Prize for excellence in life science research, Ray Wu Memorial Fund (2015)
  • The iBiology Young Scientist Seminars winner, (2015)
  • First class scholarship of Tsinghua University, Tsinghua University (2015)
  • Excellent graduate student scholarship of National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS), National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS) (2015)
  • Excellent graduate student scholarship of National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS), National Institute of Biological Sciences, Beijing (NIBS) (2014)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations

  • Member, Society for Neuroscience (2016 - Present)

All Publications

  • Genetic functions of the NAIP family of inflammasome receptors for bacterial ligands in mice. journal of experimental medicine Zhao, Y., Shi, J., Shi, X., Wang, Y., Wang, F., Shao, F. 2016; 213 (5): 647-656


    Biochemical studies suggest that the NAIP family of NLR proteins are cytosolic innate receptors that directly recognize bacterial ligands and trigger NLRC4 inflammasome activation. In this study, we generated Naip5(-/-), Naip1(-/-), and Naip2(-/-) mice and showed that bone marrow macrophages derived from these knockout mice are specifically deficient in detecting bacterial flagellin, the type III secretion system needle, and the rod protein, respectively. Naip1(-/-), Naip2(-/-), and Naip5(-/-) mice also resist lethal inflammasome activation by the corresponding ligand. Furthermore, infections performed in the Naip-deficient macrophages have helped to define the major signal in Legionella pneumophila, Salmonella Typhimurium and Shigella flexneri that is detected by the NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasome. Using an engineered S. Typhimurium infection model, we demonstrate the critical role of NAIPs in clearing bacterial infection and protecting mice from bacterial virulence-induced lethality. These results provide definitive genetic evidence for the important physiological function of NAIPs in antibacterial defense and inflammatory damage-induced lethality in mice.

    View details for DOI 10.1084/jem.20160006

    View details for PubMedID 27114610

  • Cleavage of GSDMD by inflammatory caspases determines pyroptotic cell death NATURE Shi, J., Zhao, Y., Wang, K., Shi, X., Wang, Y., Huang, H., Zhuang, Y., Cai, T., Wang, F., Shao, F. 2015; 526 (7575): 660-665


    Inflammatory caspases (caspase-1, -4, -5 and -11) are critical for innate defences. Caspase-1 is activated by ligands of various canonical inflammasomes, and caspase-4, -5 and -11 directly recognize bacterial lipopolysaccharide, both of which trigger pyroptosis. Despite the crucial role in immunity and endotoxic shock, the mechanism for pyroptosis induction by inflammatory caspases is unknown. Here we identify gasdermin D (Gsdmd) by genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas9 nuclease screens of caspase-11- and caspase-1-mediated pyroptosis in mouse bone marrow macrophages. GSDMD-deficient cells resisted the induction of pyroptosis by cytosolic lipopolysaccharide and known canonical inflammasome ligands. Interleukin-1β release was also diminished in Gsdmd(-/-) cells, despite intact processing by caspase-1. Caspase-1 and caspase-4/5/11 specifically cleaved the linker between the amino-terminal gasdermin-N and carboxy-terminal gasdermin-C domains in GSDMD, which was required and sufficient for pyroptosis. The cleavage released the intramolecular inhibition on the gasdermin-N domain that showed intrinsic pyroptosis-inducing activity. Other gasdermin family members were not cleaved by inflammatory caspases but shared the autoinhibition; gain-of-function mutations in Gsdma3 that cause alopecia and skin defects disrupted the autoinhibition, allowing its gasdermin-N domain to trigger pyroptosis. These findings offer insight into inflammasome-mediated immunity/diseases and also change our understanding of pyroptosis and programmed necrosis.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature15514

    View details for Web of Science ID 000363832100040

    View details for PubMedID 26375003

  • Inflammatory caspases are innate immune receptors for intracellular LPS NATURE Shi, J., Zhao, Y., Wang, Y., Gao, W., Ding, J., Li, P., Hu, L., Shao, F. 2014; 514 (7521): 187-?


    The murine caspase-11 non-canonical inflammasome responds to various bacterial infections. Caspase-11 activation-induced pyroptosis, in response to cytoplasmic lipopolysaccharide (LPS), is critical for endotoxic shock in mice. The mechanism underlying cytosolic LPS sensing and the responsible pattern recognition receptor are unknown. Here we show that human monocytes, epithelial cells and keratinocytes undergo necrosis upon cytoplasmic delivery of LPS. LPS-induced cytotoxicity was mediated by human caspase-4 that could functionally complement murine caspase-11. Human caspase-4 and the mouse homologue caspase-11 (hereafter referred to as caspase-4/11) and also human caspase-5, directly bound to LPS and lipid A with high specificity and affinity. LPS associated with endogenous caspase-11 in pyroptotic cells. Insect-cell purified caspase-4/11 underwent oligomerization upon LPS binding, resulting in activation of the caspases. Underacylated lipid IVa and lipopolysaccharide from Rhodobacter sphaeroides (LPS-RS) could bind to caspase-4/11 but failed to induce their oligomerization and activation. LPS binding was mediated by the CARD domain of the caspase. Binding-deficient CARD-domain point mutants did not respond to LPS with oligomerization or activation and failed to induce pyroptosis upon LPS electroporation or bacterial infections. The function of caspase-4/5/11 represents a new mode of pattern recognition in immunity and also an unprecedented means of caspase activation.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature13683

    View details for Web of Science ID 000342663100033

    View details for PubMedID 25119034

  • Pore-forming activity and structural autoinhibition of the gasdermin family NATURE Ding, J., Wang, K., Liu, W., She, Y., Sun, Q., Shi, J., Sun, H., Wang, D., Shao, F. 2016; 535 (7610): 111-?


    Inflammatory caspases cleave the gasdermin D (GSDMD) protein to trigger pyroptosis, a lytic form of cell death that is crucial for immune defences and diseases. GSDMD contains a functionally important gasdermin-N domain that is shared in the gasdermin family. The functional mechanism of action of gasdermin proteins is unknown. Here we show that the gasdermin-N domains of the gasdermin proteins GSDMD, GSDMA3 and GSDMA can bind membrane lipids, phosphoinositides and cardiolipin, and exhibit membrane-disrupting cytotoxicity in mammalian cells and artificially transformed bacteria. Gasdermin-N moved to the plasma membrane during pyroptosis. Purified gasdermin-N efficiently lysed phosphoinositide/cardiolipin-containing liposomes and formed pores on membranes made of artificial or natural phospholipid mixtures. Most gasdermin pores had an inner diameter of 10–14 nm and contained 16 symmetric protomers. The crystal structure of GSDMA3 showed an autoinhibited two-domain architecture that is conserved in the gasdermin family. Structure-guided mutagenesis demonstrated that the liposome-leakage and pore-forming activities of the gasdermin-N domain are required for pyroptosis. These findings reveal the mechanism for pyroptosis and provide insights into the roles of the gasdermin family in necrosis, immunity and diseases.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature18590

    View details for Web of Science ID 000379015600034

    View details for PubMedID 27281216

  • An endogenous caspase-11 ligand elicits interleukin-1 release from living dendritic cells SCIENCE Zanoni, I., Tan, Y., Di Gioia, M., Broggi, A., Ruan, J., Shi, J., Donado, C. A., Shao, F., Wu, H., Springstead, J. R., Kagan, J. C. 2016; 352 (6290): 1232-1236


    Dendritic cells (DCs) use pattern recognition receptors to detect microorganisms and activate protective immunity. These cells and receptors are thought to operate in an all-or-nothing manner, existing in an immunologically active or inactive state. Here, we report that encounters with microbial products and self-encoded oxidized phospholipids (oxPAPC) induce an enhanced DC activation state, which we call "hyperactive." Hyperactive DCs induce potent adaptive immune responses and are elicited by caspase-11, an enzyme that binds oxPAPC and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). oxPAPC and LPS bind caspase-11 via distinct domains and elicit different inflammasome-dependent activities. Both lipids induce caspase-11-dependent interleukin-1 release, but only LPS induces pyroptosis. The cells and receptors of the innate immune system can therefore achieve different activation states, which may permit context-dependent responses to infection.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aaf3036

    View details for Web of Science ID 000377045700046

    View details for PubMedID 27103670

  • Human NAIP and mouse NAIP1 recognize bacterial type III secretion needle protein for inflammasome activation PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Yang, J., Zhao, Y., Shi, J., Shao, F. 2013; 110 (35): 14408-14413


    Inflammasome mediated by central nucleotide-binding and oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor (NLR) protein is critical for defense against bacterial infection. Here we show that type III secretion system (T3SS) needle proteins from several bacterial pathogens, including Salmonella typhimurium, enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli, Shigella flexneri, and Burkholderia spp., can induce robust inflammasome activation in both human monocyte-derived and mouse bone marrow macrophages. Needle protein activation of human NRL family CARD domain containing 4 (NLRC4) inflammasome requires the sole human neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein (hNAIP). Among the seven mouse NAIPs, NAIP1 functions as the mouse counterpart of hNAIP. We found that NAIP1 recognition of T3SS needle proteins was more robust in mouse dendritic cells than in bone marrow macrophages. Needle proteins, as well as flagellin and rod proteins from five different bacteria, exhibited differential and cell type-dependent inflammasome-stimulating activity. Comprehensive profiling of the three types of NAIP ligands revealed that NAIP1 sensing of the needle protein dominated S. flexneri-induced inflammasome activation, particularly in dendritic cells. hNAIP/NAIP1 and NAIP2/5 formed a large oligomeric complex with NLRC4 in the presence of corresponding bacterial ligands, and could support reconstitution of the NLRC4 inflammasome in a ligand-specific manner.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1306376110

    View details for Web of Science ID 000323564600068

    View details for PubMedID 23940371

  • The NLRC4 inflammasome receptors for bacterial flagellin and type III secretion apparatus NATURE Zhao, Y., Yang, J., Shi, J., Gong, Y., Lu, Q., Xu, H., Liu, L., Shao, F. 2011; 477 (7366): 596-U257


    Inflammasomes are large cytoplasmic complexes that sense microbial infections/danger molecules and induce caspase-1 activation-dependent cytokine production and macrophage inflammatory death. The inflammasome assembled by the NOD-like receptor (NLR) protein NLRC4 responds to bacterial flagellin and a conserved type III secretion system (TTSS) rod component. How the NLRC4 inflammasome detects the two bacterial products and the molecular mechanism of NLRC4 inflammasome activation are not understood. Here we show that NAIP5, a BIR-domain NLR protein required for Legionella pneumophila replication in mouse macrophages, is a universal component of the flagellin-NLRC4 pathway. NAIP5 directly and specifically interacted with flagellin, which determined the inflammasome-stimulation activities of different bacterial flagellins. NAIP5 engagement by flagellin promoted a physical NAIP5-NLRC4 association, rendering full reconstitution of a flagellin-responsive NLRC4 inflammasome in non-macrophage cells. The related NAIP2 functioned analogously to NAIP5, serving as a specific inflammasome receptor for TTSS rod proteins such as Salmonella PrgJ and Burkholderia BsaK. Genetic analysis of Chromobacterium violaceum infection revealed that the TTSS needle protein CprI can stimulate NLRC4 inflammasome activation in human macrophages. Similarly, CprI is specifically recognized by human NAIP, the sole NAIP family member in human. The finding that NAIP proteins are inflammasome receptors for bacterial flagellin and TTSS apparatus components further predicts that the remaining NAIP family members may recognize other unidentified microbial products to activate NLRC4 inflammasome-mediated innate immunity.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature10510

    View details for Web of Science ID 000295320900041

    View details for PubMedID 21918512