Haitao (Mark) Ji
Researcher

Haitao (Mark) Ji

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Overview

Discipline

    • Breast Oncology
    • Drug Discovery
    • Chemical Biology and Molecular Medicine Program

Education & Training

    • Second Military Medical University, PhD - Medicinal Chemistry
    • Northwestern University, Fellow - Chemistry
Research

We focus on the rational design and synthesis of drug-like inhibitors that can modulate specific cellular signaling pathways with an emphasis on protein–protein interactions and target specificity. Medicinal Chemistry and Chemical Biology are of primary importance for our studies. We initiate our individual studies based on the molecular recognition between two proteins, develop new tools and techniques for the rational design of selective protein–protein interaction inhibitors, and apply these newly established tools and techniques to tackle important and challenging therapeutic targets. Developmental pathways, including Notch, Hedgehog and Wnt, have emerged as important targets for the development of new anti-cancer drugs. Inhibitors of Notch and Hedgehog are already in clinical trials. However, Wnt has far lagged behind. The lack of progress in identifying small-molecule inhibitors specific for the Wnt signaling pathway is largely due to the fact that protein–protein interactions dominate in this pathway, which has been challenging for drug discovery. Based on new fragment-based design technique established in our laboratory, drug-like small-molecule inhibitors with novel scaffolds as novel targeted therapies are designed and synthesized.

Publications

  • Wisniewski JA, Yin J, Teuscher KB, Zhang M, Ji H. Structure-Based Design of 1,4-Dibenzoylpiperazines as β-Catenin/B-Cell Lymphoma 9 Protein-Protein Interaction Inhibitors. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2016 May;7(5):508-513. Pubmedid: 27190602. Pmcid: PMC4867476.
  • Teuscher KB, Zhang M, Ji H. A Versatile Method to Determine the Cellular Bioavailability of Small-Molecule Inhibitors. J Med Chem. 2016 Dec. Pubmedid: 27935314.
  • Hoggard LR, Zhang Y, Zhang M, Panic V, Wisniewski JA, Ji H. Rational design of selective small-molecule inhibitors for β-catenin/B-cell lymphoma 9 protein-protein interactions. J Am Chem Soc. 2015 Sep;137(38):12249-12260. Pubmedid: 26352795.
  • Catrow JL, Zhang Y, Zhang M, Ji H. Discovery of Selective Small-Molecule Inhibitors for the β-Catenin/T-Cell Factor Protein-Protein Interaction through the Optimization of the Acyl Hydrazone Moiety. J Med Chem. 2015 Jun;58(11):4678-4692. Pubmedid: 25985283.
  • Zhang M, Wisniewski JA, Ji H. AlphaScreen selectivity assay for β-catenin/B-cell lymphoma 9 inhibitors. Anal Biochem. 2015 Jan;469:43-53. Pubmedid: 25312469.
  • Teuscher KB, Ji H. Protocol for fragment hopping. Methods Mol Biol. 2015 Feb;1289:57-73. Pubmedid: 25709033.
  • Guo W, Wisniewski JA, Ji H. Hot spot-based design of small-molecule inhibitors for protein-protein interactions. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2014 Jun;24(11):2546-2554. Pubmedid: 24751445.
  • Huang Z, Zhang M, Burton SD, Katsakhyan LN, Ji H. Targeting the Tcf4 G13ANDE17 binding site to selectively disrupt β-catenin/T-cell factor protein-protein interactions. Acs Chem Biol. 2014 Jan;9(1):193-201. Pubmedid: 24191653.
  • Li H, Jamal J, Delker S, Plaza C, Ji H, Jing Q, Huang H, Kang S, Silverman RB, Poulos TL. The mobility of a conserved tyrosine residue controls isoform-dependent enzyme-inhibitor interactions in nitric oxide synthases. Biochemistry-Us. 2014 Aug;53(32):5272-5279. Pubmedid: 25089924. Pmcid: PMC4139154.
  • Drury PP, Davidson JO, Mathai S, van den Heuij LG, Ji H, Bennet L, Tan S, Silverman RB, Gunn AJ. nNOS inhibition during profound asphyxia reduces seizure burden and improves survival of striatal phenotypic neurons in preterm fetal sheep. Neuropharmacology. 2014 Aug;83:62-70. Pubmedid: 24726307. Pmcid: PMC4077724.
  • Yu B, Huang Z, Zhang M, Dillard DR, Ji H. Rational design of small-molecule inhibitors for β-catenin/T-cell factor protein-protein interactions by bioisostere replacement. Acs Chem Biol. 2013 Mar;8(3):524-529. Pubmedid: 23272635.
  • Li H, Xue F, Kraus JM, Ji H, Labby KJ, Mataka J, Delker SL, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Cyclopropyl- and methyl-containing inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Bioorg Med Chem. 2013 Mar;21(5):1333-1343. Pubmedid: 23352768. Pmcid: PMC3574199.
  • Zhang M, Catrow JL, Ji H. High-Throughput Selectivity Assays for Small-Molecule Inhibitors of β-Catenin/T-Cell Factor Protein-Protein Interactions. ACS Med Chem Lett. 2013 Feb;4(2):306-311. Pubmedid: 24900664. Pmcid: PMC4027448.
  • Drury PP, Davidson JO, van den Heuij LG, Tan S, Silverman RB, Ji H, Blood AB, Fraser M, Bennet L, Gunn AJ. Partial neuroprotection by nNOS inhibition during profound asphyxia in preterm fetal sheep. Exp Neurol. 2013 Dec;250:282-292. Pubmedid: 24120436. Pmcid: PMC3867605.
  • Yang Z, Misner B, Ji H, Poulos TL, Silverman RB, Meyskens FL, Yang S. Targeting nitric oxide signaling with nNOS inhibitors as a novel strategy for the therapy and prevention of human melanoma. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Aug;19(5):433-447. Pubmedid: 23199242. Pmcid: PMC3704054.
  • Drobyshevsky A, Yu L, Yang Y, Khalid S, Luo K, Jiang R, Ji H, Derrick M, Kay L, Silverman RB, Tan S. Antenatal insults modify newborn olfactory function by nitric oxide produced from neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Exp Neurol. 2012 Oct;237(2):427-434. Pubmedid: 22836143. Pmcid: PMC3443317.
  • Zhang M, Huang Z, Yu B, Ji H. New homogeneous high-throughput assays for inhibitors of β-catenin/Tcf protein-protein interactions. Anal Biochem. 2012 May;424(1):57-63. Pubmedid: 22370279.
  • Yu L, Derrick M, Ji H, Silverman RB, Whitsett J, Vásquez-Vivar J, Tan S. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibition prevents cerebral palsy following hypoxia-ischemia in fetal rabbits: comparison between JI-8 and 7-nitroindazole. Dev Neurosci-Basel. 2012 Mar;33(3-4):312-319. Pubmedid: 21659718. Pmcid: PMC3225251.
  • Rao S, Lin Z, Drobyshevsky A, Chen L, Ji X, Ji H, Yang Y, Yu L, Derrick M, Silverman RB, Tan S. Involvement of neuronal nitric oxide synthase in ongoing fetal brain injury following near-term rabbit hypoxia-ischemia. Dev Neurosci-Basel. 2012 Mar;33(3-4):288-298. Pubmedid: 21757865. Pmcid: PMC3225249.
  • Huang H, Ji H, Li H, Jing Q, Labby KJ, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Selective monocationic inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Binding mode insights from molecular dynamics simulations. J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Jul;134(28):11559-11572. Pubmedid: 22731813. Pmcid: PMC3399929.
  • Ji H, Jing Q, Huang J, Silverman RB. Acid-Facilitated Debenzylation of N-Boc, N-Benzyl Double Protected 2-Aminopyridinomethylpyrrolidine Derivatives. Tetrahedron. 2012 Feb;68(5):1359-1366. Pubmedid: 22639474. Pmcid: PMC3358821.
  • Labby KJ, Xue F, Kraus JM, Ji H, Mataka J, Li H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Intramolecular hydrogen bonding: a potential strategy for more bioavailable inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Apr;20(7):2435-2443. Pubmedid: 22370337. Pmcid: PMC3303928.
  • Xue F, Kraus JM, Labby KJ, Ji H, Mataka J, Xia G, Li H, Delker SL, Roman LJ, Martásek P, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Improved synthesis of chiral pyrrolidine inhibitors and their binding properties to neuronal nitric oxide synthase. J Med Chem. 2011 Sep;54(18):6399-6403. Pubmedid: 21809851. Pmcid: PMC3174355.
  • Sheng C, Xu H, Wang W, Cao Y, Dong G, Wang S, Che X, Ji H, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang W. Design, synthesis and antifungal activity of isosteric analogues of benzoheterocyclic N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors. Eur J Med Chem. 2010 Sep;45(9):3531-3540. Pubmedid: 20615585.
  • Xue F, Huang J, Ji H, Fang J, Li H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Structure-based design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of lipophilic-tailed monocationic inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Bioorg Med Chem. 2010 Sep;18(17):6526-6537. Pubmedid: 20673724. Pmcid: PMC2925225.
  • Ji H, Delker SL, Li H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Exploration of the active site of neuronal nitric oxide synthase by the design and synthesis of pyrrolidinomethyl 2-aminopyridine derivatives. J Med Chem. 2010 Nov;53(21):7804-7824. Pubmedid: 20958055. Pmcid: PMC2978073.
  • Lawton GR, Ji H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Silverman RB. Synthesis and enzymatic evaluation of 2- and 4-aminothiazole-based inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Beilstein J Org Chem. 2010 May;5:28. Pubmedid: 19590740. Pmcid: PMC2707017.
  • Xu Y, Sheng C, Wang W, Che X, Cao Y, Dong G, Wang S, Ji H, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang W. Structure-based rational design, synthesis and antifungal activity of oxime-containing azole derivatives. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2010 May;20(9):2942-2945. Pubmedid: 20362444.
  • Sheng C, Wang W, Che X, Dong G, Wang S, Ji H, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang W. Improved model of lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase by ligand-supported homology modeling: validation by virtual screening and azole optimization. Chemmedchem. 2010 Mar;5(3):390-397. Pubmedid: 20157915.
  • Sheng C, Chen S, Ji H, Dong G, Che X, Wang W, Miao Z, Yao J, Lü J, Guo W, Zhang W. Evolutionary trace analysis of CYP51 family: implication for site-directed mutagenesis and novel antifungal drug design. J Mol Model. 2010 Feb;16(2):279-284. Pubmedid: 19593597.
  • Delker SL, Ji H, Li H, Jamal J, Fang J, Xue F, Silverman RB, Poulos TL. Unexpected binding modes of nitric oxide synthase inhibitors effective in the prevention of a cerebral palsy phenotype in an animal model. J Am Chem Soc. 2010 Apr;132(15):5437-5442. Pubmedid: 20337441. Pmcid: PMC3202968.
  • Derrick M, Drobyshevsky A, Ji X, Chen L, Yang Y, Ji H, Silverman RB, Tan S. Hypoxia-ischemia causes persistent movement deficits in a perinatal rabbit model of cerebral palsy: assessed by a new swim test. Int J Dev Neurosci. 2009 Oct;27(6):549-557. Pubmedid: 19573586. Pmcid: PMC2728796.
  • Wang W, Sheng C, Che X, Ji H, Cao Y, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang W. Discovery of highly potent novel antifungal azoles by structure-based rational design. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2009 Oct;19(20):5965-5969. Pubmedid: 19748782.
  • Che X, Sheng C, Wang W, Cao Y, Xu Y, Ji H, Dong G, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang W. New azoles with potent antifungal activity: design, synthesis and molecular docking. Eur J Med Chem. 2009 Oct;44(10):4218-4226. Pubmedid: 19539408.
  • Lawton GR, Ralay Ranaivo H, Chico LK, Ji H, Xue F, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Watterson DM, Silverman RB. Analogues of 2-aminopyridine-based selective inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase with increased bioavailability. Bioorg Med Chem. 2009 Mar;17(6):2371-2380. Pubmedid: 19268602. Pmcid: PMC2775099.
  • Sheng C, Ji H, Miao Z, Che X, Yao J, Wang W, Dong G, Guo W, Lü J, Zhang W. Homology modeling and molecular dynamics simulation of N-myristoyltransferase from protozoan parasites: active site characterization and insights into rational inhibitor design. J Comput Aided Mol Des. 2009 Jun;23(6):375-389. Pubmedid: 19370313.
  • Fang J, Ji H, Lawton GR, Xue F, Roman LJ, Silverman RB. L337H mutant of rat neuronal nitric oxide synthase resembles human neuronal nitric oxide synthase toward inhibitors. J Med Chem. 2009 Jul;52(14):4533-4537. Pubmedid: 19537690. Pmcid: PMC2758698.
  • Ji H, Li H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Discovery of highly potent and selective inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase by fragment hopping. J Med Chem. 2009 Feb;52(3):779-797. Pubmedid: 19125620. Pmcid: PMC2664101.
  • Ji H, Tan S, Igarashi J, Li H, Derrick M, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Vásquez-Vivar J, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Selective neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors and the prevention of cerebral palsy. Ann Neurol. 2009 Feb;65(2):209-217. Pubmedid: 19235180. Pmcid: PMC2658647.
  • Wang W, Sheng C, Che X, Ji H, Miao Z, Yao J, Zhang WN. Design, synthesis, and antifungal activity of novel conformationally restricted triazole derivatives. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2009 Dec;342(12):732-739. Pubmedid: 19899102.
  • Sheng C, Miao Z, Ji H, Yao J, Wang W, Che X, Dong G, Lü J, Guo W, Zhang W. Three-dimensional model of lanosterol 14 alpha-demethylase from Cryptococcus neoformans: active-site characterization and insights into azole binding. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Aug;53(8):3487-3495. Pubmedid: 19470512. Pmcid: PMC2715644.
  • Igarashi J, Li H, Jamal J, Ji H, Fang J, Lawton GR, Silverman RB, Poulos TL. Crystal structures of constitutive nitric oxide synthases in complex with de novo designed inhibitors. J Med Chem. 2009 Apr;52(7):2060-2066. Pubmedid: 19296678. Pmcid: PMC3103786.
  • Ji H, Stanton BZ, Igarashi J, Li H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Minimal pharmacophoric elements and fragment hopping, an approach directed at molecular diversity and isozyme selectivity. Design of selective neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors. J Am Chem Soc. 2008 Mar;130(12):3900-3914. Pubmedid: 18321097. Pmcid: PMC2929563.
  • Miao Z, Sheng C, Zhang W, Ji H, Zhang J, Shao L, You L, Zhang M, Yao J, Che X. New homocamptothecins: synthesis, antitumor activity, and molecular modeling. Bioorg Med Chem. 2008 Feb;16(3):1493-1510. Pubmedid: 18207748.
  • Zheng CH, Zhou YJ, Zhu J, Ji HT, Chen J, Li YW, Sheng CQ, Lu JG, Jiang JH, Tang H, Song YL. Construction of a three-dimensional pharmacophore for Bcl-2 inhibitors by flexible docking and the multiple copy simultaneous search method. Bioorg Med Chem. 2007 Oct;15(19):6407-6417. Pubmedid: 17629704.
  • Yao B, Ji H, Cao Y, Zhou Y, Zhu J, Lü J, Li Y, Chen J, Zheng C, Jiang Y, Liang R, Tang H. Synthesis and antifungal activities of novel 2-aminotetralin derivatives. J Med Chem. 2007 Nov;50(22):5293-5300. Pubmedid: 17900179.
  • Clift MD, Ji H, Deniau GP, O'Hagan D, Silverman RB. Enantiomers of 4-amino-3-fluorobutanoic acid as substrates for gamma-aminobutyric acid aminotransferase. Conformational probes for GABA binding. Biochemistry-Us. 2007 Dec;46(48):13819-13828. Pubmedid: 17988152. Pmcid: PMC2570590.
  • Sheng C, Zhu J, Zhang W, Zhang M, Ji H, Song Y, Xu H, Yao J, Miao Z, Zhou Y, Zhu J, Lü J. 3D-QSAR and molecular docking studies on benzothiazole derivatives as Candida albicans N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors. Eur J Med Chem. 2007 Apr;42(4):477-486. Pubmedid: 17349719.
  • Ji H, Gómez-Vidal JA, Martasek P, Roman LJ, Silverman RB. Conformationally restricted dipeptide amides as potent and selective neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors. J Med Chem. 2006 Oct;49(21):6254-6263. Pubmedid: 17034131. Pmcid: PMC2517862.
  • Mbadugha BN, Seo J, Ji H, Martásek P, Roman LJ, Shea TM, Li H, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Hydroxyl-terminated peptidomimetic inhibitors of neuronal nitric oxide synthase. Bioorg Med Chem. 2006 Jun;14(11):3681-3690. Pubmedid: 16480878.
  • Sheng C, Zhang W, Ji H, Zhang M, Song Y, Xu H, Zhu J, Miao Z, Jiang Q, Yao J, Zhou Y, Zhu J, Lü J. Structure-based optimization of azole antifungal agents by CoMFA, CoMSIA, and molecular docking. J Med Chem. 2006 Apr;49(8):2512-2525. Pubmedid: 16610794.
  • Erdal EP, Litzinger EA, Seo J, Zhu Y, Ji H, Silverman RB. Selective neuronal nitric oxide synthase inhibitors. Curr Top Med Chem. 2005;5(7):603-624. Pubmedid: 16101423.
  • Sheng C, Zhang W, Zhang M, Song Y, Ji H, Zhu J, Yao J, Yu J, Yang S, Zhou Y, Zhu J, Lu J. Homology modeling of lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase of Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus and insights into the enzyme-substrate Interactions. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2004 Aug;22(1):91-99. Pubmedid: 15214809.
  • Ji H, Zhang W, Zhang M, Kudo M, Aoyama Y, Yoshida Y, Sheng C, Song Y, Yang S, Zhou Y, Lü J, Zhu J. Structure-based de novo design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of non-azole inhibitors specific for lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase of fungi. J Med Chem. 2003 Feb;46(4):474-485. Pubmedid: 12570370.
  • Ji H, Li H, Flinspach M, Poulos TL, Silverman RB. Computer modeling of selective regions in the active site of nitric oxide synthases: implication for the design of isoform-selective inhibitors. J Med Chem. 2003 Dec;46(26):5700-5711. Pubmedid: 14667223.
  • Ji H, Zhang W, Zhou Y, Zhang M, Zhu J, Song Y, Lü J. A three-dimensional model of lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase of Candida albicans and its interaction with azole antifungals. J Med Chem. 2000 Jun;43(13):2493-2505. Pubmedid: 10891108.