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Lanying Zeng

Zeng, Lanying
Lanying Zeng
Assistant Professor
BioBio / Room 419A
Graduate Education
Ph.D University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007)
Postdoc University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2007-2011)
Joined Texas A&M in 2012

Cellular Decision Making in Bacteria

Living systems make decisions by integrating information from their environments in order to optimize their own fitness. This decision-making process has many intricacies, with a dual nature characterized by stochasticity and determinism, and considerable effort has been dedicated to characterizing the factors contributing to cell-fate heterogeneity. Our primary goal is to determine how multiple environmental and genetic factors, some deterministic and some stochastic, impact developmental outcomes. We choose to study paradigms of cellular decision-making such as bacteriophage lambda lytic-lysogenic development to simplify the complicated nature of cell-fate selection. By distilling the study of a ubiquitous and vital process into basic questions, we hope to generate new insights into how decision-making affects cellular development and differentiation in higher organisms.

We utilize high-resolution live-cell fluorescence microscopy, single-molecule fluorescence microscopy, quantitative data analysis, and simple mathematical modeling to mechanistically dissect the decision-making processes at single-cell/molecule levels. Our favorite biological models are the lysis-lysogeny systems of bacteria and their viruses, like E. coli being infected by paradigm phages lambda and P1. By revisiting established systems with a new, technologically advanced perspective, we are able to reveal previously hidden complexities to better understand the nature of living cells.

To put it simply, we ask this: How do cells make decisions?

Our simple answer: Well, they do it quite beautifully!

Recent Publications

  1. Zheng, C, Yang, F, Zeng, L, Vargo, EL, Xu, Y. Genetic diversity and colony structure of Tapinoma melanocephalum on the islands and mainland of South China. Ecol Evol. 2018;8 (11):5427-5440.
    doi: 10.1002/ece3.4065. PubMed PMID:29938063. PubMed Central PMC6010919.

  2. Wang, X, Park, S, Zeng, L, Jain, A, Ha, T. Toward Single-Cell Single-Molecule Pull-Down. Biophys. J. 2018;115 (2):283-288.
    doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2018.05.013. PubMed PMID:29804751. .

  3. Zhang, P, Xiao, Z, Wang, S, Zhang, M, Wei, Y, Hang, Q et al.. ZRANB1 Is an EZH2 Deubiquitinase and a Potential Therapeutic Target in Breast Cancer. Cell Rep. 2018;23 (3):823-837.
    doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.03.078. PubMed PMID:29669287. PubMed Central PMC5933875.

  4. Trinh, JT, Alkahtani, MH, Rampersaud, I, Rampersaud, A, Scully, M, Young, RF et al.. Fluorescent nanodiamond-bacteriophage conjugates maintain host specificity. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2018;115 (6):1427-1436.
    doi: 10.1002/bit.26573. PubMed PMID:29460442. PubMed Central PMC5912989.

  5. Guan, J, Shi, X, Burgos, R, Zeng, L. Visualization of phage DNA degradation by a type I CRISPR-Cas system at the single-cell level. Quant Biol. 2017;5 (1):67-75.
    doi: 10.1007/s40484-017-0099-0. PubMed PMID:29119038. PubMed Central PMC5673134.

  6. Cortes, MG, Trinh, JT, Zeng, L, Balázsi, G. Late-Arriving Signals Contribute Less to Cell-Fate Decisions. Biophys. J. 2017;113 (9):2110-2120.
    doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2017.09.012. PubMed PMID:29117533. PubMed Central PMC5685783.

  7. Banu, SK, Stanley, JA, Taylor, RJ, Sivakumar, KK, Arosh, JA, Zeng, L et al.. Sexually Dimorphic Impact of Chromium Accumulation on Human Placental Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis. Toxicol. Sci. 2018;161 (2):375-387.
    doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfx224. PubMed PMID:29069462. PubMed Central PMC5837378.

  8. Trinh, JT, Zeng, L. Virus interactions: cooperation or competition? Future Microbiol. 2017;12 :561-564.
    doi: 10.2217/fmb-2017-0048. PubMed PMID:28604103. .

  9. Trinh, JT, Székely, T, Shao, Q, Balázsi, G, Zeng, L. Cell fate decisions emerge as phages cooperate or compete inside their host. Nat Commun. 2017;8 :14341.
    doi: 10.1038/ncomms14341. PubMed PMID:28165024. PubMed Central PMC5303824.

  10. Wang, G, Zhang, R, Gomez, ME, Yang, L, Levy Zamora, M, Hu, M et al.. Persistent sulfate formation from London Fog to Chinese haze. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016;113 (48):13630-13635.
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.1616540113. PubMed PMID:27849598. PubMed Central PMC5137769.

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