Wanjin HONG


Honorary Joint Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Executive Director, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMCB), A*STAR.
Supervisors, NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS).
Editor-in-Chief, Bioscience Reports (BsR).
Member, American Society of Cell Biology (ASCB).
Member, American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).
Member, American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).
Member, The International Molecular Biology Network (IMBN).
Member, Tan Kah Kee International Society and the Chinese Biological Investigators Society (CBIS).

Research Interest

Our early work identified several Golgi targeting signals for Golgi-localized integral membrane proteins. Our studies on the molecular mechanisms governing membrane trafficking enabled us to identify and characterize numerous proteins participating in various membrane trafficking events in mammalian cells. For example, half of the 38 known mammalian SNAREs were independently identified and functionally studied by us. Our recent works using gene knockout mice have established a physiological role for endobrevin/VAMP8 in the regulated secretion by acinar cells of several exocrine organs and other secretory cells. We have also shown that the phox (PX) domain represents a new motif for interacting with phosphoinositides and that Arl1 GTPase functions to recruit GRIP-domain Golgin-97 and Golgin-245 on the trans-Golgi network to regulate endosomal traffic back to the Golgi apparatus. We have recently found that TAZ, which is a transcriptional co-activator inhibited by Hippo tumor suppressor pathway, is a candidate oncogene for invasive breast cancer.

Our future studies will focus on the physiological role of two SNAREs (VAMP8 and VAMP5), three PX-domain sorting nexins (SNX3, SNX12 and SNX27) and Rab34 GTPase by analyzing the knockout mice. The mechanism governing the role of TAZ in promoting invasiveness of breast cancer will be studied by focusing on its downstream target genes and interacting proteins. The functional and mechanistic aspects of these target genes and partners will be defined. In addition, we are also developing a functional secretomics program by systematically analyzing about 500 secreted proteins for their roles in various cellular, physiological and pathological processes with initial focus on identifying those promoting oncogenesis.

Selected Publications

  1. Singh, P., Coe, J. and Hong, W. A role for retinoblastoma protein in potentiating transcriptional activation by the glucocorticoid receptor. Nature (1995) 374, 562-565.

  2. Subramaniam, V.N., Peter, F., Phil, R., and Hong, W. GS28, a 28 kDa Golgi SNARE that participates in ER-Golgi transport. Science (1996) 272, 1161-1163

  3. Xu, Y., Hortsman, H., Seet, L.F., Wong, S.H., and Hong, W. SNX3 regulates endosomal function via its PX domain-mediated interaction with PtdIns(3)P. Nature Cell Biology (2001) 3, 658-666.

  4. Wu, M., Lu, L., Hong, W., and Song, H. Structural Basis of Recruitment of GRIP Domain Golgin-245 by Small GTPase Arl1. Nature Struct. Mol. Biol. (2004) 11, 86-94.

  5. Wang, C.C., Ng, C.P., Lu, L., Atlashkin, V., Zhang, W., Seet, L.F., and Hong, W. A role of endorevin/VAMP8 in regulated exocytosis of pancreatic acinar cells. Dev. Cell (2004) 7, 359-371.

  6. Chan, S.W., Lim, C.J., Guo, K., Ng, C.P., Lee, I., Hunziker, W., Zeng, Q., and Hong, W. A role for TAZ in migration, invasion and tumorigenesis of breast cancer cells. Cancer Res. (2008) 68, 2592-2598.