Adjunct Professor


Adjunct Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, NUS.
Principal Investigator, Institute of Molecular & Cell Biology, A*STAR.
Supervisors, NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering (NGS), NUS.


Degree and Institution Year(s)
PhD, Institute of Molecular & Cell Biology, A*STAR 1993

Research Interest

PRL-1 (Phosphatase induced in Regenerating Liver) was identified in 1994 as a gene up-regulated during liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy. We identified PRL-2 & PRL-3 and demonstrated that PRL-1, PRL-2 and PRL-3 are membrane-associated through lipid modification termed prenylation. Among all the human protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs), only PRL-1, PRL-2 and PRL-3 are prenylated and represent an oncogenic PRL-family associated with multiple human cancers. Genomic studies have revealed that PRL-3 is a metastasis-associated phosphatase because it is consistently over-expressed in metastatic colorectal cancer cells (CRC). We have been focusing on the role of PRL-3 and its underlying molecular mechanism in cancer development, progression, and metastasis. We generated specific mouse monoclonal antibodies against PRL-3 and PRL-1, which allowed us to examine their expression in various human cancers. PRL-3 is clearly overexpressed in a variety of cancers. PRL-3 promotes cell migration, invasion and metastasis, partly through its role in promoting Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition. PRL-3 may initiate tumor angiogenesis as PRL-3 expressing cells are able to recruit endothelial cells. Recent work on PRL-3 phosphatase will also be discussed.

Selected Publications

  1. Wang, H., Vardy, L., Tan, C.P., Loo, J.M., Guo, K., Li, J., Lim, S.G., Zhou, J., Chng, W.J., Ng, S.B., Li, H.X., and Zeng, Q. (2010) PCBP1 Suppresses the Translation of Metastasis-Associated PRL-3 Phosphatase. Cancer Cell 18, 52-62, July 13.

  2. Tang, J.P., Tan, C.P., Li, J., Siddique, M.M., Guo, K., Chan, S.W., Park, J.E., Tay, W.N., Huang, Z.Y., Li, W.C., Chen, J., and Zeng, Q. (2010) VHZ is a novel centrosomal phosphatase associated with cell growth and human primary cancers. Molecular Cancer 9:128.

  3. Zeng Q. and W. Hong (2008) The emerging role of the Hippo pathway in cell contact inhibition, organ size control and cancer development in mammals (mini-review). Cancer Cell 13; 188-192.

  4. Guo, K., Li, J., Tang, J.P., Tan, C.P., Wang, H., and Zeng Q. (2008) Monoclonal antibodies target intracellular PRL phosphatases to inhibit cancer metastases in mice. Cancer Biology & Therapy 7:752-759.

  5. Basak, S., Jacobs, S.B., Krieg, A.J., Pathak, N., Zeng Q., Kaldis, P., Giaccia, A.J., Attardi, L.D. (2008) The metastasis-associated gene Prl-3 is a p53 target involved in cell cycle regulation. Molecular Cell 30:303-314.