Dr. Robert K. Yu
Professor and Former Director of the Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics at GRU (2000-present)
Founding Director of the Institute of Neuroscience (2005-present).
Dr. Yu also holds the Chair of Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar in Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology and is a member of the GRU Cancer Center. Dr. Yu received a PhD degree in biochemistry from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana (1967) and a Doctor of Medical Sciences degree from Tokyo University, Japan (1980). His past academic positions include postdoctoral and faculty appointments at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY (1967-72); Assistant Professor to Full Professor, Yale University, New Haven, CT (1973-88); and Professor and Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA (1988-2000).
Dr. Yu’s major research interests are in neurochemistry and developmental neurobiology in health and disease. He has contributed significantly in the chemistry, metabolism, and biological functions of glycoconjugates. His laboratory is responsible for developing many novel methodologies for structural analysis, and for establishing many glycolipid structures and biosynthetic pathways. Many brain glycolipid structures and their biosynthetic pathways are characterized in his laboratory. He also elucidated the regulatory mechanisms of their biosynthesis during normal brain development and development of carcinomas. In more recent years, he has defined the role of glycoconjugates in neural stem cell fate determination and in brain development. He has continued to make new discoveries in defining glycoconjugate markers of neural stem cells at different stages of differentiation and studied their biological function. These cell surface glycoconjugates also serve as specific markers of metastatic tumor cells and have been targeted for tumor immunotherapy.
In addition to the above, Dr. Yu is a pioneer in elucidating the immunological properties of glycoconjugates and the immunopathogenic mechanisms of multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathies, and paraneoplastic disorders. His laboratory is responsible for the characterization of many of the glycolipid antigens and antibodies involved in these neurological disorders and established the first experimental models of peripheral neuropathies (Guillain-Barré Syndrome). Most significantly he has provided evidence linking these diseases to infectious agents through the mechanism of molecular mimicry. Based on his work, he has recently developed novel treatment strategies for Guillain-Barré Syndrome employing anti-idiotypic antibodies or peptide mimics for disease treatment. His work in this area is in the forefront of clinical and translational medicine.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Sphingoglycolipids of Normal and Pathological Brains” 1988-2011, PI – Yu, R.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Gycolipids and Experimental Neuropathy” 1988-2013, PI - Yu, R.
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “Neurodegenerative Diseases and Neural Repair” 2005-2011, PI – Yu, R.
Grants are updated quarterly.
Ariga T, Wakade C, Yu RK. The pathological roles of ganglioside metabolism in Alzheimer’s disease: effects of gangliosides on neurogenesis. Int J Alzheimers Dis. 2011 Jan 9;2011:193618.
Suzuki Y, Yanagisawa M, Ariga T, Yu RK. Histone acetylation-mediated glycosyltransferase gene regulation in mouse brain during development. J Neurochem. 2011 Mar;116(5):874-80.
Ariga T, Yanagisawa M, Wakade C, Ando S, Buccafusco JJ, McDonald MP, Yu RK. Ganglioside metabolism in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease: expression of Chol-1α antigens in the brain. ASN Neuro. 2010 Oct 4;2(4).
Yagi H, Yanagisawa M, Suzuki Y, Nakatani Y, Ariga T, Kato K, Yu RK. HNK-1 epitope-carrying tenascin-C spliced variant regulates the proliferation of mouse embryonic neural stem cells. J Biol Chem. 2010 Nov 26;285(48):37293-301.
Ariga T, Miyatake T, Yu RK. Role of proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders: amyloidogenesis and therapeutic strategies–a review. J Neurosci Res. 2010 Aug 15;88(11):2303-15.
Suzuki Y, Yanagisawa M, Yagi H, Nakatani Y, Yu RK. Involvement of beta1-integrin up-regulation in basic fibroblast growth factor- and epidermal growth factor-induced proliferation of mouse neuroepithelial cells. J Biol Chem. 2010 Jun 11;285(24):18443-51.
Yagi H, Yanagisawa M, Kato K, Yu RK. Lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 is a major SSEA-1-carrier protein in mouse neural stem cells. Glycobiology. 2010 Aug;20(8):976-81.
Yanagisawa M, Ariga T, Yu RK. Cytotoxic effects of G(M1) ganglioside and amyloid beta-peptide on mouse embryonic neural stem cells. ASN Neuro. 2010 Mar 15;2(1):e00029.
Usuki S, Taguchi K, Gu YH, Thompson SA, Yu RK. Development of a novel therapy for Lipo-oligosaccharide-induced experimental neuritis: use of peptide glycomimics. J Neurochem. 2010 Apr;113(2):351-62.
Usuki S, Taguchi K, Thompson SA, Chapman PB, Yu RK. Novel anti-idiotype antibody therapy for lipooligosaccharide-induced experimental autoimmune neuritis: use relevant to Guillain-Barré syndrome. J Neurosci Res. 2010 Jun;88(8):1651-63.
Nakatani Y, Yanagisawa M, Suzuki Y, Yu RK. Characterization of GD3 ganglioside as a novel biomarker of mouse neural stem cells. Glycobiology. 2010 Jan;20(1):78-86.
Yu RK, Suzuki Y, Yanagisawa M. Membrane glycolipids in stem cells. FEBS Lett. 2010 May 3;584(9):1694-9.
Yanagisawa M, Yu RK. O-linked beta-N-acetylglucosaminylation in mouse embryonic neural precursor cells. J Neurosci Res. 2009 Dec;87(16):3535-45.
Dasgupta S, Silva J, Wang G, Yu RK. Sulfoglucuronosyl paragloboside is a ligand for T cell adhesion: regulation of sulfoglucuronosyl paragloboside expression via nuclear factor kappaB signaling. J Neurosci Res. 2009 Dec;87(16):3591-9.
Yanagisawa M, Yu RK. N-glycans modulate the activation of gp130 in mouse embryonic neural precursor cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Aug 14;386(1):101-4.
Kaida K, Ariga T, Yu RK. Antiganglioside antibodies and their pathophysiological effects on Guillain-Barré syndrome and related disorders–a review. Glycobiology. 2009 Jul;19(7):676-92. Epub 2009 Feb 24. Review.
Guo DC, Papke CL, Tran-FV, Regalado Ellen S, Avidan N, Johnson RJ, Kim Dong H, Pannu H, Willing MC, Sparks E, Pyeritz RE, Singh MN, Dalman RL, Grotta JC, Marian AJ, Boerwinkle EA, Frazier LQ, LeMaire SA, Coselli JS, Estrera AL, Safi HJ, Veeraraghavan S, Muzny DM, Wheeler DA, Willerson JT, Yu RK, Shete SS, Scherer SE, Raman CS, Buja LM, Milewicz DM. Mutations in smooth muscle alpha-actin (ACTA2) cause coronary artery disease, stroke, and Moyamoya disease, along with thoracic aortic disease. Am J Hum Genet. 2009;84(5):617-27.
Yu RK, Nakatani Y, Yanagisawa M. The role of glycosphingolipid metabolism in the developing brain. J Lipid Res. 2009 Apr;50 Suppl:S440-5. Epub 2008 Oct 9. Review.
Nakatani Y, Hotta S, Utsunomiya I, Tanaka K, Hoshi K, Ariga T, Yu RK, Miyatake T, Taguchi K. Cav2.1 voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel current is inhibited by serum from select patients with Guillain-Barré syndrome. Neurochem Res. 2009;34(1):149-57.
Yang CR, Yu RK. Intracerebral transplantation of neural stem cells combined with trehalose ingestion alleviates pathology in a mouse model of Huntington’s disease. J Neurosci Res. 2009 Jan;87(1):26-33.
Rentz AM, Yu R, Müller-Lissner S, Leyendecker P. Validation of the Bowel Function Index to detect clinically meaningful changes in opioid-induced constipation. J Med Econ. 2009;12(4):371-83.
Swartz Michael D, Yu RK, Shete S. Finding factors influencing risk: comparing Bayesian stochastic search and standard variable selection methods applied to logistic regression models of cases and controls. Stat Med. 2008;27(29):6158-74.
Usuki S, Nakatani Y, Taguchi K, Fujita T, Tanabe S, Ustunomiya I, Gu Y, Cawthraw SA, Newell DG, Pajaniappan M, Thompson SA, Ariga T, Yu RK.Topology and patch-clamp analysis of the sodium channel in relationship to the anti-lipid a antibody in campylobacteriosis. J Neurosci Res. 2008 Nov 15;86(15):3359-74.
Usuki S, Ariga T, Dasgupta S, Kasama T, Morikawa K, Nonaka S, Okuhara Y, Kise M, Yu RK. Structural analysis of novel bioactive acylated steryl glucosides in pre-germinated brown rice bran. J Lipid Res. 2008 Oct;49(10):2188-96. Erratum in: J Lipid Res. 2010 May;51(5):1244. J Lipid Res. 2009 Sep;50(9):1953.
Zeng G, Yu RK. Cloning and transcriptional regulation of genes responsible for synthesis of gangliosides. Curr Drug Targets. 2008 Apr;9(4):317-24. Review.
Gu Y, Yu RK. Identification and analysis of novel functional sites in human GD3-synthase. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 May 23;370(1):67-71.
Ariga T, McDonald MP, Yu RK. Role of ganglioside metabolism in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease–a review. J Lipid Res. 2008 Jun;49(6):1157-75. Epub 2008 Mar 11. Review.
Ariga T, Suetake K, Nakane M, Kubota M, Usuki S, Kawashima I, Yu RK. Glycosphingolipid antigens in neural tumor cell lines and anti-glycosphingolipid antibodies in sera of patients with neural tumors. Neurosignals. 2008;16(2-3):226-34.
Publications are updated quarterly. For a complete listing, see Dr. Yu’s work on PubMed.