Weikai Li , Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program

  • 3143628687

  • 3143624821

  • 251 McDonnell Science

  • weikai@wustl.edu

  • https://weikailab.wustl.edu/

  • structure biology, enzymology, membrane proteins, molecular medicine, mass spectrometry, cardiovascular biology, immunology, hematology

  • Membrane protein structure and function

Research Abstract:

My laboratory studies the structure and function of integral membrane proteins, with a focus on ones that are important for hematologic and cardiovascular systems. We use a variety of structural biology, biochemistry, and mass spectrometry techniques to understand the structural mechanism of these membrane proteins. Structural insights give us a novel angle to elucidate the actions of these proteins in cellular settings. Deep understanding of protein structure and function often has implications significant for human disease. In addition, these proteins provide challenges that motivate us to develop new structural and biochemical methods broadly applicable to membrane biology.

Mentorship and Commitment to Diversity Statement:
The lab culture encourages free exploration, and students are welcome to gradually develop their own thinking and strategies. High degrees of motivation and independence are greatly appreciated. On the other hand, the PI is always available for advice or open discussion.

This is an international lab that has students and postdocs from several different countries. Women and minorities are a large component of the lab and have contributed to a major part of our achievements in the past.

Selected Publications:

S. Liu, S. Li, G. Shen, N. Sukumar, A. M. Krezel, W. Li, Structural basis of antagonizing the vitamin K catalytic cycle for anticoagulation. Science 371(6524):eabc5667. (2021).

S. Liu, S. Li, A. M. Krezel, W. Li. Stabilization and structure determination of integral membrane proteins by termini restraining. Nature Protocols (2021)

J. Sun, X. Liu, S. Li, P. He, W. Li* and M. L. Gross*. Nanoparticles and Photochemistry for Native-like Transmembrane Protein Footprinting. Nature Communications (2021).

S. Liu, S. Li, Y. Yang, W. Li, Termini restraining of small membrane proteins enables structure determination at near-atomic resolution. Science Advances. 6(51):eabe3717. (2020).

Y. Yang, X. R. Liu, Z. J. Greenberg, F. Zhou, P. He, L. Fan, S. Liu, G. Shen, T. Egawa, M. L. Gross, L. G. Schuettpelz, W. Li, Open conformation of tetraspanins shapes interaction partner networks on cell membranes. EMBO Journal 39, e105246 (2020).

Shen G, Li S, Cui W, Liu S, Yang Y, Gross ML, Li W. (2018) Stabilization of warfarin-binding pocket of VKORC1 and VKORL1 by a peripheral region determines their different sensitivity to warfarin inhibition. Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 16(6):1164-1175. Cover story.

Shen G, Li S, Cui W, Liu S, Yang Y, Gross ML, Li W. (2018) Membrane protein structure in live cells: methodology for studying drug interaction by mass spectrometry-based footprinting. Biochemistry, 57(3):286-294. Special issue: Future of biochemistry.

Shen G, Cui W*, Zhang H, Zhou F, Huang W, Liu Q, Yang Y, Bowman GR, Sadler JE, Gross ML, Li W. (2017) Warfarin traps human vitamin K epoxide reductase in an intermediate state during electron transfer. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 24, 69–76. Featured in News and Views, Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 24, 5–6.

Li, W. (2016) Bringing bioactive compounds into membranes: The UbiA superfamily of intramembrane aromatic prenyltransferases. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 41(4):356-370.

Cheng W, Li W. (2014) Structural insights into ubiquinone biosynthesis in membranes. Science, 343(6173):878-81. Featured in NECAT newsletter.

Liu S, Cheng W*, Fowle Grider R, Shen GM, Li W. (2014) Structures of an intramembrane vitamin K epoxide reductase homolog reveal control mechanisms for electron transfer. Nature Communications, 5:3110.

Park E, Ménétret JF, Gumbart JC, Ludtke SJ, Li W, Whynot A, Rapoport TA, Akey CW. (2014) Structure of the SecY channel during initiation of protein translocation. Nature, 506(7486):102-6.

Li W, Li F. (2011) Cross-crystal averaging with search models to improve molecular replacement phases. Structure, 19(2):155-61.

Li W, Schulman S*, Boyd D, Erlandson K, Beckwith J, Rapoport TA. (2007) The plug domain of the SecY protein stabilizes the closed state of the translocation channel and maintains a membrane seal. Molecular Cell, 26(4):511-21. Cover story. Featured in Preview, Molecular Cell, 26(4): 459.

Li W, Kamtekar S, Xiong Y, Sarkis GJ, Grindley ND, Steitz TA. (2005) Structure of a synaptic gamma delta resolvase tetramer covalently linked to two cleaved DNAs. Science, 309(5738):1210-5.

Last Updated: 11/15/2021 3:30:25 PM

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