• PhD, Biophysics, Fudan University, Shanghai, China, 2012
  • BS, Biomedicine, Nanchang University, Jiangxi, China, 2007

Research Interests

My research will focus on identifying the novel ion channels, neural circuits and neurotransmitters in neurons and adipocytes that are critical for glucose sensing, feeding behavior, energy expenditure and body weight. We have the expertise in both neuroscience and ion channels. Specifically, by using the Cre-loxP/Flp-frt strategy, we plan to generate unique mouse models with the genes of my interest (e.g. vGLUT2, vGAT, KCNN3, Adiponectin, ERa/ß, 5-HT2CR, AgRP, POMC, etc.) manipulated in specific populations of neurons and adipocytes at the time of choice. I will use these models, in combination of the electrophysiology, fiberphotometry and chemogenetics/optogenetics, to establish the physiological relevance of specific neural networks in the regulation of glucose balance, energy homeostasis and obesity. Ongoing projects in the laboratory include:

  1. The voltage gate calcium ion channel activity in glucose sensing neurons.
  2. Regulation of asprosin in adipocytes.
  3. The 5-HT neural circuits and depression.

Selected Publications

  1. Ding G, Li X, Hou X, Zhou W, Gong Y, Liu F, He Y, Song J, Wang J, Basil P, Li W, Qian S, Saha P, Wang J, Cui C, Yang T, Zou K, Han Y, Amos CI, Xu Y, Chen L, Sun Z. REV-ERB in GABAergic neurons controls diurnal hepatic insulin sensitivity. Nature. 2021 Mar 24. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03358-w. PMID: 33762728
  2. Wang C, Zhou W*, He Y*(Joint first author), Yang T, Xu P, Yang Y, Cai X, Wang J, Liu H, Yu M, Liang C, Yang T, Liu H, Fukuda M, Tong Q, Wu Q, Sun Z, He Yang, Xu Y. AgRP neurons trigger long-term potentiation and facilitate food seeking. Translational Psychiatry. 2021 Jan 5;11(1):11. doi: 10.1038/s41398-020-01161-1. PMID: 33414382
  3. Zhang Z, Reis FMCV, He Y, Park JW, DiVittorio JR, Sivakumar N, van Veen JE, Maesta-Pereira S, Shum M, Nichols I, Massa MG, Anderson S, Paul K, Liesa M, Ajijola OA, Xu Y, Adhikari A, Correa SM. Estrogen-sensitive medial preoptic area neurons coordinate torpor in mice. Nature Communications. 2020 Dec 11;11(1):6378. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-20050-1. PMID: 33311503
  4. Feng B, Xu P, He Y. Novel Targets in Glucose Homeostasis and Obesity-Lesson from Rare Mutations. Current Diabetes Report. 2020 Oct 31;20(11):66. doi: 10.1007/s11892-020-01351-7. PMID: 33128381
  5. Yu K, He Y*(Joint first author), Hyseni I, Pei Z, Yang Y, Xu P, Cai X, Liu H, Qu N, Liu H, He Y, Yu M, Liang C, Yang T, Wang J, Gourdy P, Arnal JF, Lenfant F, Xu Y, Wang C. 17ß-estradiol promotes acute refeeding in hungry mice via membrane-initiated ERa signaling. Molecular Metabolism. 2020 Dec;42:101053. PMID: 32712433
  6. He Y., Xu P., Wang C., Xia Y., Yu M., Yang Y., Yu K., Cai. X., Na Q., Saito K., Wang J., Hyseni I., Robertson M., Piyarathna B., Gao M., Khan S., Liu F., Coarfa C., Zhao Z., Tong Q., Sun Z., Xu Y. Estrogen-responsive neurons in the ventrolateral VMH regulate glucose balance. Nature Communications. 2020 May 1;11(1):2165. PMID: 32358493
  7. Qu N, He Y*(Joint first author), Wang C, Xu P, Yang Y, Cai X, Liu H, Yu K, Pei Z, Hyseni I, Sun Z, Fukuda M, Li Y, Tian Q, Xu Y. A POMC-originated circuit regulates stress-induced hypophagia, depression, and anhedonia. Molecular Psychiatry. 2020 May;25(5):1006-1021. doi: 10.1038/s41380-019-0506-1. PMID: 31485012
  8. Duerrschmid C, He YL* (Joint first author), Wang C, Li C, Bournat J, Romere C, Saha P,Lee M, Phillips M, Jain M, Wu Q, Milewicz D, Sutton R, Moore D, Butte N, Krashes M, Xu Y, Chopra A. Asprosin is a centrally acting orexigenic hormone. Nature Medicine. 2017 Dec;23(12):1444-1453. PMID: 29106398.
  9. Zhou WJ, He YL* (Joint first author), Rehman A, Hong SG, Ding GL, Yalamanchili HK, Wan YW, Paul B, Wang CH, Gong YY, Wu Q, Tong QC, Liu ZD, Liu PF, Xu Y, and Sun Z. Nuclear Receptor Corepressors Regulate Cognitive Function by Modulating GABA Signaling. Nature Neuroscience. 2019 Feb;22(2):205-217. PMID: 30664766.
  10. He YL, Shu G, Yang Y, Xu P, Xia Y, Wang C, Saito K, Hinton A Jr, Yan X, Liu C, Wu Q, Tong Q, Xu Y. A Small Potassium Current in AgRP/NPY Neurons Regulates Feeding Behavior and Energy Metabolism. Cell Reports. 2016Nov8;17(7):1807-1818.PMID: 27829152.
  11. Xu P, He YL* (Joint first author), Cao X, Valencia-Torres L, Yan X, Saito K, Wang C, Yang Y, Hinton A Jr, Zhu L, Shu G, Myers MG Jr, Wu Q, Tong Q, Heisler LK, Xu Y. Activation of Serotonin 2C Receptors in Dopamine Neurons Inhibits Binge-like Eating in Mice. Biological Psychiatry. Biol Psychiatry. 2017 May 1;81(9):737-747. PMID: 27516377
  12. Wang CW, He YL* (Joint first author), Xu PW, Yang YJ, Saito K, Yan X, Yan XF, Hinton AO Jr, Yan CL, Ding HF, Yu LK, Shu G, Gupta R, Wu Q, Tong QC, Lagor W, Flores E, Xu Y. TAp63 contributes to sexual dimorphism in POMC neuron functions and energy homeostasis. Nature Communications. 2018 Apr 18;9(1):1544. PMID: 29670083
  13. Zhu C, Xu P*, He YL* (Joint first author), Yuan Y, Wang T, Cai X, Yu L, Yang L, Wu J, Wang L, Zhu X, Wang S, Gao P, Xi Q, Zhang Y, Xu Y, Jiang Q, Shu G. Heparin Increases Food Intake through AgRP Neurons. Cell Reports. 2017 Sep 5;20(10):2455-2467.PMID: 28877477.
  14. He YL# (Joint corresponding author), Wang K, Zhao QR, Mei YA#. Cyproheptadine regulates pyramidal neuron excitability in mouse medial prefrontal cortex. Neuroscience Bulletin. 2018 Apr 18. doi: 10.1007/s12264-018-0225-7. PMID: 29671217
  15. Yang YJ, Agatha A. van der Klaauw, Zhu LR, Tessa M. Cacciottolo, He YL, Lukas K.J. Stadler, Wang CM, Xu PW, Saito KJ, Antentor Hinton, Yan XF, Julia M. Keogh, Elana Henning, Matthew C. Banton, Audrey E. Hendricks, Elena G. Bochukova, Vanisha Mistry, Katherine L. Lawler, Lan Liao, Jianming Xu, Stephen O’Rahilly, Qingchun Tong, Bert W. O’Malley, I. Sadaf Farooqi, Yong Xu. Steroid Receptor Coactivator-1 Modulates the Function of Pomc Neurons and Energy Homeostasis. Nature Communications 2019 Apr 12;10 (1):1718. PMID: 30979869
  16. Yan CL*, He YL* (Joint first author), Xu YZ, Wang CM, Yang YJ, Saito K, Xu PW, Hinton AO Jr., Yan XF, Shu G, Yu LK, Wu Q, Tso P, Tong QC, Xu Y. Apolipoprotein A-IV Inhibits AgRP/NPY Neurons and Activates POMC Neurons in the Arcuate Nucleus. Neuroendocrinology. 2016 103 (5), 476-488. PMID: 26337236.
  17. Saito K*, He YL* (Joint first author), Yan X, Yang YJ, Wang CM, Xu PW, Hinton AO Jr, Su G, Yu LK, Tong QC, Xu Y. Visualizing estrogen receptor-a-expressing neurons using a new ERa-ZsGreen reporter mouse line. Metabolism 2016, 65(4):522-532. PMID: 26975544.
  18. He YL, Zhan XQ, Yang G, Sun J, Mei YA. Amoxapine inhibits the delayed rectifier outward K+ current in mouse cortical neurons via cAMP/protein kinase A pathways. J Pharmacol Exp Ther.2010 Feb; 332(2):437-45. PMID: 19915071.
  19. He YL, Zhang CL, Gao XF, Yao JJ, Hu CL, Mei YA. Cyproheptadine enhances the IK of Mouse Cortical Neurons through Sigma-1 Receptor-Mediated Intracellular Signal Pathway. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41303. PMID: 22844454.
  20. He YL, Liu DD, Yao JJ, Mei YA. Exposure to Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields Modulates Na+ Currents in Rat Cerebellar Granule Cells through Increase of AA/PGE2 and EP Receptor-Mediated cAMP/PKA Pathway. PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54376. PMID: 23349866.
  21. Sisley SR, Arble DM, Chambers AP, Gutierrez-Aguilar R, He YL, Xu Y, Gardner D, Moore DD, Seeley RJ, Sandoval DA. Hypothalamic Vitamin D Improves Glucose Homeostasis and Reduces Weight. Diabetes. 2016 Sep;65(9):2732-41.
  22. Hinton AO Jr, He YL, Xia Y, Xu PW, Yang YJ, Saito K, Wang CM, Yan X, Shu G, Henderson A, Clegg DJ, Khan SA, Reynolds C, Wu Q, Tong Q, Xu Y. Estrogen Receptor-a in the Medial Amygdala Prevents Stress-Induced Elevations in Blood Pressure in Females. Hypertension 2016 Apr 18.116.07175.
  23. Saito K, He YL, Yang YJ, Zhu LR, Wang CM, Xu PW, Hinton AO Jr, Yan XF, Zhao J, Fukuda M, Tong QC, Clegg DJ, Xu Y. PI3K in the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus mediates estrogenic actions on energy expenditure in female mice. Scientific Reports 2016 Mar 18;6:23459.
  24. Xu PW, Cao XH, He YL, Zhu LR, Yang YJ, Saito K, Wang CM, Yan X, Hinton AO Jr, Zou F, Ding HF, Yan X, Yan CL, Shu G, Wu SP, Yang B, Feng YX, Clegg DJ, DeMarchi R, Khan SA, Tsai SY, DeMayo FJ, Wu Q, Tong QC, Xu Y. (2015) Estrogen receptor-a in medial amygdala neurons regulates body weight in both genders. J Clin Invest. 2015 Jul 1;125(7):2861-76.
  25. Yu S, Cheng H, François M, Qualls-Creekmore E, Huesing C, He YL, Jiang Y, Gao H, Xu Y, Zsombok A, Derbenev AV, Nillni EA, Burk DH, Morrison CD, Berthoud HR, Münzberg H. Preoptic leptin signaling modulates energy balance independent of body temperature regulation. Elife. 2018 May 15;7. pii: e33505. doi: 10.7554/eLife.33505.
  26. Zhang P, Kuang H, He YL, Idiga SO, Li S, Chen Z, Yang Z, Cai X, Zhang K, Potthoff MJ, Xu Y, Lin JD. NRG1-Fc improves metabolic health via dual hepatic and central action. JCI Insight. 2018 Mar 8;3(5). pii: 98522. doi: 10.1172/jci.insight.98522.
  27. Saito K, Cao XH, He YL, Xu Y. (2015). Progress in the molecular understanding of central regulation of body weight by estrogens. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 May;23(5):919-26.
  28. Tsujikawa H, Yu AS, Xie J, Yue Z, Yang W, He YL, Yue L. Identification of key amino acid residues responsible for internal and external pH sensitivity of Orai1/STIM1 channels. Scientific Reports. 2015 Nov 18: 5:16747.
  29. Xu P, Zhu L, Saito K, Yang Y, Wang C, He YL, Yan X, Hyseni I, Tong Q, Xu Y. Melanocortin 4 receptor is not required for estrogenic regulations on energy homeostasis and reproduction. Metabolism. 2017 May; 70:152-159. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2016.12.004.
  30. Gao XF, Yao JJ, He YL, Hu C, Mei YA. Sigma-1 receptor agonists directly inhibit Nav1.2/1.4 channels. PLoS One. 2012;7(11): e49384.
  31. Zhan XQ, He YL, Yao JJ, Zhuang JL, Mei YA. The antidepressant citalopram inhibits delayed rectifier outward K+ current in mouse cortical neurons. J Neurosci Res. 2012 Jan;90(1):324-36.
  32. Fei XW, Pan CJ, He YL, Fang YJ, Zhuang JL, Mei YA.J Brain natriuretic peptide modulates the delayed rectifier outward K+ current and promotes the proliferation of mouse Schwann cells. J Cell Physiol. 2011 Feb;226(2):440-9.
  33. Gu H, Fang YJ, He YL, Sun J, Zhu J, Mei YA. Modulation of muscle rNa V1.4 Na+ channel isoform by arachidonic acid and its non-metabolized analog. J Cell Physiol. 2009 219(1):173-182.
  34. Man Zhang, Xiao-Wei Fei, He YL, Guang Yang, Yan-Ai Mei. Bradykinin inhibits the transient outward K+ current in mouse Schwann cells via the cAMP/PKA pathway. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):C1364-72.
  35. WAN Yin, XIE Ming-Yong, He YL. Determination of Verbascoside and Isoverbascoside in Semen plantaginis by HPLC. Nat. Prod. Res. Dev 2008, 20: 4742476