Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Professor and Head of Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Andrology
State Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology
Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Shanghai Institute for Biological Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
320, Yue-yang Road, Shanghai, 200031, China
Epididymis is composed of a long tubule which linked testes and vas deferen, which is essential for sperm
maturation, protection and storage. Sperm came from testes is not fully differentiated. By passing through the
long tubule of epididymis, sperm gains its motility, capacitation and fertilization abilities by interacting with
epididymal secretory proteins and undergoing a series of modification in the epididymal lumen. Searching for
these epididymis-specific genes and their roles in sperm maturation will be of help not only in understanding
the molecular mechanisms of sperm maturation, but also providing new insights for personalized diagnosis and
treatment of infertility and male contraceptive drugs design. A large number of epididymis-specific genes were
cloned in our lab in the past decades, their characterizations, functions and participations in sperm motility,
capacitation and fertility have been investigated by using molecular, biochemical and genetic approaches.
Recently, we are starting to study the roles of non-coding RNA sequences in sperm maturation by in vitro and
in vivo approaches. Meantime, we pay much attention to translational medicine.
Now, there are three main fields undergoing in our lab:
The roles of epididymis-specific genes in sperm maturation by using molecular, cellular approaches and
genetic tools, including RNAi, conditional knock out or knock in;
Participations of non-coding RNAs in epididymis and infertility diseases and underlying mechanisms by
using in vitro and in vivo approaches;
Epigenetic regulation on epididymal gene expression and its potential roles in sperm maturation;
1953-1957, BS, Fu-Dan University, Department of Chemistry, CAS;
1978-1982, PhD (equivalent), Institute of Biochemistry, CAS;
1957-1978, Division of Radiobiology, Shanghai Institute of Biochemistry;
1978-1982, PhD (equivalent), Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of
1985-1986, Assistant Professor, Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of
1986-1991, Associate Professor, Division of Steroid Hormones Biochemistry, Shanghai Institute of
1991-Present, Professor, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology;
2007-Presnet, Director of Shanghai Key Laboratory for Molecular Andrology;
1983-1985, 1988 (July-November), 1989 (June-October) 1993 (September-November) Visiting Scholar,
Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory, Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK. Characterization
and transcriptional regulation of rat prostatic steroid binding protein(PSBP) gene expression.
1990 July-1991 February & 1991 June-1992 January Visiting Scholar, Department of Human Oncology,
University of Wisconsin, Madison. Androgen responsive elements searching.
1995, 1997 (January-April) Visiting Scholar, The Laboratory for Reproductive Biology, University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill. NC. USA The roles of the nuclear orphan receptor GCNF/RTR in
1999 (September-October) Visiting Prof., Dept. of Endocrinology, Division of Andrology, Sydney University,
Sydney, Austrilia. Hormone regulation of RTR gene expression in hpg mice and testing a potential
diagnosis marker for prostate cancer.
ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL HONORS
1977 A group merit awarded by the Ministry of the Chinese Defence
1977 A group merit awarded by the Science Congress of Shanghai
1978 The whole group won a grand achievement in scientific research from CAS
1978 A group merit awarded by the Chinese National Sciences Congress
1993 Merit Award in Natural Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, first-class
1994 The Model Worker of the Shanghai City
1995 The Top Ten Woman of the Shanghai City
1997 The Top Ten Female scientists of the Shanghai City.
1997 National the third-class Merit in Natural Sciences.
1997 The second-class Merit award in sciences and technology of Shanghai.
2001 The best scientific paper awarded by the National Society of the Biochem. & mol. Biol.
2001 Elected as Academician of Chinese Academy of Sciences
2002 The Life Science Merit awarded by He-Liang He-Li Foundation
2003 The Model Worker of China
2004 The Advanced Individual in National State Key Laboratory of China
2004 The Advanced Individual in National Basic Research Program “973” of China
2004 The Meritorious worker in Science and Technology of the Shanghai City
2005 The top ten female scientists in the Chinese Academy of Sciences
2007 The Nature Science Award of shanghai, first-class
2008 The National Nature Science Award of China, second-class
1. P. Li, H. C. Chan, B. He, S. C. So, Y. W. Chung, Q. Shang, Y. D. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2001. An
antimicrobial peptide gene found in the male reproductive system of rats. Science. 291(5509):
2. Q. Liu, K. G. Hamil, P. Sivashanmugam, G. Grossman, R. Soundararajan, A. J. Rao, R. T. Richardson, Y.
L. Zhang, M. G. O'Rand, P. Petrusz, F. S. French, and S. H. Hall. 2001. Primate epididymis-specific
proteins: characterization of ESC42, a novel protein containing a trefoil-like motif in monkey and
human. Endocrinology. 142(10): 4529-4539.
3. Y. X. Hu, J. Y. Guo, L. Shen, Y. Chen, Z. C. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2002. Get effective polyclonal
antisera in one month. Cell Res. 12(2): 157-160.
4. K. G. Hamil, Q. Liu, P. Sivashanmugam, S. Yenugu, R. Soundararajan, G. Grossman, R. T. Richardson,
Y. L. Zhang, M. G. O'Rand, P. Petrusz, F. S. French, and S. H. Hall. 2002. Cystatin 11: a new member
of the cystatin type 2 family. Endocrinology. 143(7): 2787-2796.
5. Y. Hu, Z. Zhou, C. Xu, Q. Shang, Y. D. Zhang, and Y. L. Zhang. 2003. Androgen down-regulated and
region-specific expression of germ cell nuclear factor in mouse epididymis. Endocrinology. 144(4):
6. C. X. Zhou, Y. L. Zhang, L. Xiao, M. Zheng, K. M. Leung, M. Y. Chan, P. S. Lo, L. L. Tsang, H. Y.
Wong, L. S. Ho, Y. W. Chung, and H. C. Chan. 2004. An epididymis-specific beta-defensin is important
for the initiation of sperm maturation. Nat Cell Biol. 6(5): 458-464.
7. J. S. Zhang, Q. Liu, Y. M. Li, S. H. Hall, F. S. French, and Y. L. Zhang. 2006. Genome-wide profiling
of segmental-regulated transcriptomes in human epididymis using oligo microarray. Mol Cell
Endocrinol. 250(1-2): 169-177.
8. H. X. Yuan, A. H. Liu, L. Zhang, H. Zhou, Y. Wang, H. Zhang, G. Wang, R. Zeng, Y. L. Zhang, and Z. J.
Chen. 2006. Proteomic profiling of regionalized proteins in rat epididymis indicates consistency
between specialized distribution and protein functions. J Proteome Res. 5(2): 299-307.
9. H. Diao, C. Y. Guo, D. H. Lin, and Y. L. Zhang. 2007. Intein-mediated expression is an effective
approach in the study of beta-defensins. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 357(4): 840-846.
10. C. F. Zhu, Q. Liu, L. Zhang, H. X. Yuan, W. Zhen, J. S. Zhang, Z. J. Chen, S. H. Hall, F. S. French, and
Y. L. Zhang. 2007. RNase9, an androgen-dependent member of the RNase A family, is specifically
expressed in the rat epididymis. Biol Reprod. 76(1): 63-73.
11. J. Y. Li, H. Y. Wang, J. Liu, Q. Liu, J. S. Zhang, F. C. Wan, F. J. Liu, S. H. Jin, and Y. L. Zhang. 2008.
Transcriptome analysis of a cDNA library from adult human epididymis. DNA Res. 15(3): 115-122.
12. Y. C. Zhou, M. Zheng, Q. X. Shi, L. Zhang, W. Zhen, W. Y. Chen, and Y. L. Zhang. 2008. An
epididymis-specific secretory protein HongrES1 critically regulates sperm capacitation and male
fertility. PLoS One. 3(12): e4106.
13. W. Zhen, P. Li, B. He, J. Y. Guo, and Y. L. Zhang. 2009. The novel epididymis-specific
beta-galactosidase-like gene Glb1l4 is essential in epididymal development and sperm maturation in rats.
Biol Reprod. 80(4): 696-706.
14. D. M. Cao, Y. Li, R. Yang, Y. Wang, Y. C. Zhou, H. Diao, Y. Zhao, Y. L. Zhang, and J. Lu. 2010.
Lipopolysaccharide-induced epididymitis disrupts epididymal beta-defensin expression and inhibits
sperm motility in rats. Biol Reprod. 83(6): 1064-1070.
15. S. G. Hu, G. X. Yao, X. J. Guan, Z. M. Ni, W. B. Ma, E. M. Wilson, F. S. French, Q. Liu, and Y. L.
Zhang. 2010. Research resource: Genome-wide mapping of in vivo androgen receptor binding sites in
mouse epididymis. Mol Endocrinol. 24(12): 2392-2405.
16. Y. Zhao, H. Diao, Z. M. Ni, S. G. Hu, H. G. Yu, and Y. L. Zhang. 2011. The epididymis-specific
antimicrobial peptide beta-defensin 15 is required for sperm motility and male fertility in the rat (Rattus
norvegicus). Cell Mol Life Sci. 68(4): 697-708.
17. C. M. Wang, C. Y. Huang, Y. H. Gu, Y. C. Zhou, Z. M. Zhu, and Y. L. Zhang. 2011. Biosynthesis and
distribution of Lewis X- and Lewis Y-containing glycoproteins in the murine male reproductive system.
Glycobiology. 21(2): 225-234.