Yiping Yang

Overview:

The goal of Dr. Yang’s laboratory is to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to the generation of potent and long-lasting anti-tumor immunity, and to develop effective gene immunotherapeutic strategies for treating cancer. Furthermore, rational pre-clinical approaches will be tested in clinical trials in patients with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related malignancies. Specifically, we focus on the following areas:

1. Innate Immunity to Viruses. Recombinant vaccinia virus and adenovirus have been developed as potent vaccine vehicles for treating cancer and infectious diseases. Recent studies have shown that the unique potency of these viruses lies in their effective activation of the innate immune system. How these viruses activate the innate immune system remains largely unknown. We have been interested in the role of pattern-recognition receptors including Toll-like receptors (TLRs)in innate immune recognition of these viruses as well as their signaling pathways. In addition, we are investigating the role of innate immune cells such as natural killer (NK) cells in innate and adaptive immune responses to these viruses. A full understanding of these processes will help us design effective vaccine strategies.

2. T Cell Memory. Eliciting long-lived memory T cell response is an ultimate goal of vaccination to provide long-term immunity against cancer. However, it is not clear what controls the formation of long-lived memory T cells. The understanding of mechanisms underlying memory T cell formation will provide important insights into the design of effective vaccines for treating cancer.

3. Regulatory T Cell Biology. Accumulating evidence has shown that the immunosuppressive CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (TReg) play a critical role in the suppression of anti-tumor immunity. However, little is known about how TReg suppress T cell activation in vivo. Delineation of mechanisms underlying TReg-mediated suppression in vivo will help develop strategies to overcome TReg-mediated suppression in favor of boosting anti-tumor immunity.

4. Immunotherapy for EBV-associated Malignancies. Clinically, EBV-associated malignancies such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma offer a unique model to explore antigen-defined immunotherapy approaches because EBV-derived tumor antigens are specific for tumor cells only. Using this clinical model, we will test the utility of rational strategies identified in our preclinical models.

Positions:

Professor of Medicine

Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
School of Medicine

Professor of Immunology

Immunology
School of Medicine

Member of the Duke Cancer Institute

Duke Cancer Institute
School of Medicine

Education:

M.D. 1985

Zhejiang University (China)

Ph.D. 1993

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Residency, General Internal Medicine

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Fellowship, Medical Oncology

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Grants:

Role of hedgehog signaling in tumor-associated macrophage polarization

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

T memory stem cells in cancer

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Novel Strategies for Cancer Immunotherapy in Stem Cell Transplant

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Role of Endogenous Toll-Like Receptor Ligands in Allospecific T Cell Activation

Administered By
Surgery, Abdominal Transplant Surgery
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Mentor
Start Date
End Date

Role of inflammation in cancer progression

Administered By
Medicine, Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy
Awarded By
National Institutes of Health
Role
Principal Investigator
Start Date
End Date

Publications:

IL-21 is required for CD4 memory formation in response to viral infection.

IL-21 has been shown to play an important role in the CD8 T cell response during acute and chronic viral infections. However, the role of IL-21 signaling in the CD4 T cell response to viral infection remains incompletely defined. In a model of infection with vaccinia virus, we show that intrinsic IL-21 signaling on CD4 T cells was critical for the formation of memory CD4 T cells in vivo. We further reveal that IL-21 promoted CD4 T cell survival in a mechanism dependent on activation of the STAT1 and STAT3 signaling pathways. In addition, the activation of Akt is also required for IL-21-dependent survival of CD4 T cells in vivo. These results identify a critical role for intrinsic IL-21 signaling in CD4 T cell survival and memory formation in response to viral infection in vivo and may provide insights into the design of effective vaccine strategies.
MLA Citation
Yuan, Yuqing, et al. “IL-21 is required for CD4 memory formation in response to viral infection..” Jci Insight, vol. 2, no. 7, Apr. 2017. Pubmed, doi:10.1172/jci.insight.90652.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub1244405
PMID
28405614
Source
pubmed
Published In
Jci Insight
Volume
2
Published Date
Start Page
e90652
DOI
10.1172/jci.insight.90652

Myeloid-derived suppressor cells regulate natural killer cell response to adenovirus-mediated gene transfer.

The attendant innate and adaptive immune responses to viral vectors have posed a significant hurdle for clinical application of viral vector-mediated gene therapy. Previous studies have shown that natural killer (NK) cells play a critical role in innate immune elimination of adenoviral vectors in the liver. However, it is not clear how the NK cell response to adenoviral vectors is regulated. In this study, we identified a role for granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (G-MDSCs) in this process. We show that in vivo administration of adenoviral vectors results in rapid accumulation of G-MDSCs early during adenoviral infection. In vivo depletion of both MDSC populations, but not monocytic MDSCs (M-MDSCs) alone, resulted in accelerated clearance of adenoviral vectors in the liver. This was accompanied by enhanced NK cell proliferation and activation, suggesting a role for MDSCs, probably G-MDSCs, in suppressing NK cell activation and function in vivo. We further demonstrate in vitro that G-MDSCs, but not M-MDSCs, are responsible for the suppression of NK cell activation. In addition, we show that adenoviral infection activated G-MDSCs to produce higher levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and that G-MDSC-mediated suppression of NK cells is mediated by ROS, specifically, H(2)O(2). This study demonstrates for the first time that the NK cell response to adenoviral vectors is negatively regulated by G-MDSCs and suggests that G-MDSC-based strategies could potentially improve the outcome of viral vector-mediated gene therapy.
Authors
Zhu, J; Huang, X; Yang, Y
MLA Citation
Zhu, Jiangao, et al. “Myeloid-derived suppressor cells regulate natural killer cell response to adenovirus-mediated gene transfer..” J Virol, vol. 86, no. 24, Dec. 2012, pp. 13689–96. Pubmed, doi:10.1128/JVI.01595-12.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub756487
PMID
23055553
Source
pubmed
Published In
J Virol
Volume
86
Published Date
Start Page
13689
End Page
13696
DOI
10.1128/JVI.01595-12

Toll-like receptor 8-mediated activation of murine plasmacytoid dendritic cells by vaccinia viral DNA.

Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play a critical role in antiviral immunity through their ability to produce large amounts of type I IFNs. Activation of pDCs upon viral infection has been shown to be dependent on MyD88 and mediated by Toll-like receptors (TLR) 7 and 9, which sense viral ssRNA and CpG DNA, respectively. In this study, we showed that murine pDC recognition of vaccinia virus (VV), a dsDNA virus, was MyD88-dependent but TLR9-independent. Using HEK293 cells transfected with murine TLR7 or TLR8 and a NF-kappaB luciferase reporter, we demonstrated that stimulation of TLR8-, but not TLR7-, transfected cells with either VV or VV DNA resulted in substantial NF-kappaB activation, and that siRNA-mediated knockdown of TLR8 expression in pDCs led to a complete ablation of VV-induced type I IFN production. We further identified that the VV genome was rich in poly(A)/T sequences, and synthetic poly(A) and poly T oligodeoxynucleotides were capable of activating pDCs in a TLR8-dependent manner. In vivo, TLR8-MyD88-dependent pDC activation played a critical role in innate immune control of VV infection. Collectively, our data are unique in demonstrating that TLR8 is required for sensing poly(A)/T-rich DNA in pDCs, and that murine TLR8 is functional in the context of a viral infection.
Authors
Martinez, J; Huang, X; Yang, Y
MLA Citation
Martinez, Jennifer, et al. “Toll-like receptor 8-mediated activation of murine plasmacytoid dendritic cells by vaccinia viral DNA..” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 107, no. 14, Apr. 2010, pp. 6442–47. Pubmed, doi:10.1073/pnas.0913291107.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub777566
PMID
20308556
Source
pubmed
Published In
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
Volume
107
Published Date
Start Page
6442
End Page
6447
DOI
10.1073/pnas.0913291107

Innate immunity against vaccinia virus is mediated by TLR2 and requires TLR-independent production of IFN-beta.

Vaccinia virus (VV) has been used extensively as a vaccine vehicle in the clinical application for infectious diseases and cancer. Previous studies have suggested that the unique potency of VV-based vaccine lies in its effective activation of the innate immune system. However, how VV activates innate immune pathways remains largely unknown. In this study, we showed that VV elicited innate immune response through both Toll-like receptor (TLR)-dependent and -independent pathways. The TLR pathway was mediated by TLR2 and MyD88, leading to the production of proinflammatory cytokines, whereas activation of the TLR-independent pathway resulted in the secretion of IFN-beta. More importantly, both TLR-dependent and -independent pathways were required for activating innate and adaptive immunity to VV in vivo. These findings represent the first evidence that innate immune recognition of VV is mediated by TLR2, demonstrate that one pathogen can target both TLR and non-TLR innate immune pathways to work together in achieving efficient activation of host defense, and suggest potential new strategies for the design of effective vaccines.
Authors
Zhu, J; Martinez, J; Huang, X; Yang, Y
MLA Citation
Zhu, Jiangao, et al. “Innate immunity against vaccinia virus is mediated by TLR2 and requires TLR-independent production of IFN-beta..” Blood, vol. 109, no. 2, Jan. 2007, pp. 619–25. Pubmed, doi:10.1182/blood-2006-06-027136.
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub777578
PMID
16973959
Source
pubmed
Published In
Blood
Volume
109
Published Date
Start Page
619
End Page
625
DOI
10.1182/blood-2006-06-027136

Transient subversion of CD40 ligand function diminishes immune responses to adenovirus vectors in mouse liver and lung tissues.

First-generation adenovirus vectors will have limited application in gene therapy for chronic diseases because of destructive host immune responses. Important immune effectors include CD8+ T cells, which mediate target cell destruction and ablate transgene expression, and B cells, which produce neutralizing antibodies that block effective readministration of vector. Previous studies indicated that activation of CD4+ T cells by virus capsid proteins is necessary for full realization of effector function of CD8+ T cells and B cells. In this paper, we present a strategy for preventing CD4+ T-cell activation by an adenovirus vector delivered to mouse liver and lung tissues which is based on interfering with T-cell priming via CD40 ligand-CD40 interactions. Adenovirus transgene expression was stabilized in mice genetically deficient in CD40 ligand (CD40L), and neutralizing antibody to adenovirus did not develop, allowing efficient readministration of vector. A transient blockade of T-cell activation with an antibody to CD40L infused into the animal at the time of adenovirus vector-mediated gene transfer led to stabilization of transgene expression and diminished production of neutralizing antibody, allowing readministration of vector. In vitro T-cell assays suggested that a block in the primary activation of CD4+ T cells was responsible for the lack of B-cell- and cytotoxic-T-cell-dependent responses. This suggests a strategy for improving the potential of adenovirus vectors based on administration of an antibody to CD40L at the time of vector administration.
Authors
Yang, Y; Su, Q; Grewal, IS; Schilz, R; Flavell, RA; Wilson, JM
MLA Citation
URI
https://scholars.duke.edu/individual/pub807239
PMID
8709265
Source
pubmed
Published In
Journal of Virology
Volume
70
Published Date
Start Page
6370
End Page
6377

Research Areas:

Acute Disease
Adaptive Immunity
Adenoviridae
Adenoviridae Infections
Adenovirus E1A Proteins
Adenovirus E1B Proteins
Adenoviruses, Human
Adjuvants, Immunologic
Adoptive Transfer
Aged
Alternative Splicing
Antibody Formation
Antigen Presentation
Antigens, CD4
Antigens, CD8
Antigens, Neoplasm
Antigens, Viral
Antineoplastic Agents
Autoantigens
Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmunity
Blotting, Western
CD4 Antigens
CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes
Cell Proliferation
Chaperonins
Chloride Channels
Coculture Techniques
Combined Modality Therapy
Cyclic AMP
Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator
Cytokines
Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
DNA, Viral
Dendritic Cells
Dependovirus
Disease Models, Animal
Electric Conductivity
Endoplasmic Reticulum
Endosomes
Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
Female
Flow Cytometry
Gene Deletion
Gene Knock-In Techniques
Gene Transfer Techniques
Gene therapy
Genes, Bacterial
Genes, Viral
Genetic Therapy
Germinal Center
Glucose
Graft vs Host Disease
Growth Inhibitors
HLA Antigens
HLA-C Antigens
Heat-Shock Proteins
Hemagglutinins
Hematologic Neoplasms
Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Heparitin Sulfate
Histocompatibility
Histocompatibility Testing
Humans
Immune System
Immune Tolerance
Immunity, Cellular
Immunity, Innate
Immunologic Memory
Immunosuppressive Agents
Immunotherapy
Influenza A virus
Interferon Type I
Interferon-beta
Interleukin-10
Interleukin-12
Interleukin-13
Interleukin-2
Interleukin-6
Killer Cells, Natural
Luciferases
Lung Neoplasms
Lymphocyte Activation
Lymphocyte Depletion
Lymphocyte Transfusion
Lymphocytes
Lymphoma
Lymphopenia
Macrophages
Male
Membrane Glycoproteins
Mice
Mice, Inbred BALB C
Mice, Inbred C57BL
Mice, Inbred CBA
Mice, Knockout
Mice, Mutant Strains
Mice, Nude
Mice, Transgenic
Microsomes
Middle Aged
Mitosis
Molecular Sequence Data
Myelodysplastic Syndromes
Myeloid Cells
Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88
NK Cell Lectin-Like Receptor Subfamily K
Neoplasms
North Carolina
Oocytes
Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation
Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
RNA, Messenger
Receptors, Cell Surface
Receptors, Interleukin-1
Receptors, KIR
Recombinant Proteins
Retrospective Studies
Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
Risk Factors
STAT1 Transcription Factor
Sequence Deletion
Stem Cell Transplantation
Survival Rate
T-Cell Antigen Receptor Specificity
T-Lymphocytes
T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic
T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory
Toll-Like Receptor 2
Toll-Like Receptor 4
Toll-Like Receptor 8
Toll-Like Receptor 9
Toll-Like Receptors
Transfection
Transgenes
Transplantation Conditioning
Transplantation, Homologous
Tumor Escape
Vaccines
Vaccinia
Vaccinia virus
Virus Diseases
Viruses
Xenopus
beta-Galactosidase