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Hongxiang Liu

Assistant Professor
  • Animal & Dairy Science
Mailing Address:
Athens, CAES Campus
Shipping Address:
Athens, CAES Campus

M.D., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)
M.Sc., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)
Ph.D., Beijing Medical University (currently Peking University)


Description of Research Interests

The sense of taste informs our nutritive choices, which are essential for life and quality of life. In mammals, taste bud cells in lingual taste papillae transduce chemical stimuli into neural signals conveyed to the central nervous system. Since 2001, my research on the development of taste organs, using a tongue organ culture system and transgenic mouse lines for functional and morphological analysis, has led to a conceptual new finding about the deviation of taste bud cells that includes a neural crest origin and demonstrated stage- and tissue-specific roles of multiple regulatory signaling pathways in the development of the embryonic tongue and taste papillae. My current research focuses on the neural crest derivation of taste bud cells characterizing (1) how neural crest cells migrate and differentiate to taste cells and (2) how neural crest derived mesenchymal cells interact with the overlying lingual epithelium for the development of taste papillae and taste buds. My research plan for the future will incorporate (1) identification of progenitor/stem cells of taste buds and (2) mechanisms of taste dysfunction associated with aging and diseases.

Courses Taught

Selected Recent Publications

Liu H.X., Ermilov A, Grachtchouk M, Li L, Gumucio DL, Dlugosz AA, Mistretta CM. Multiple Shh signaling centers participate in fungiform papilla and taste bud formation and maintenance. Developmental biology, [Epub 2013 doi:pii: S0012-1606(13)00390-4]

Liu, H.X., Y. Komatsu, Y. Mishina, C.M. Mistretta. Neural crest contribution to lingual mesenchyme, epithelium and developing taste papillae and taste buds. Developmental Biology, 368: 294-303, 2012. May 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Liu, H.X., A.S. Grosse, K. Iwatsuki, Y. Mishina, D.L. Gumucio, C.M. Mistretta. Separate and distinctive roles for Wnt5a in tongue, lingual tissue and taste papilla development. Developmental Biology, 361(1):39-56, 2012.

Liu, H.X., A.M. Staubach Grosse, K.D. Walton, D.A. Saims, D.L. Gumucio, C.M. Mistretta. WNT5a in tongue and fungiform papilla development: distinct roles compared with WNT10b and other morphogenetic proteins. Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences, 1170:11-17, 2009.

Liu, H.X., B.S. Henson, Y.Q. Zhou, N.J. D’Silva, C.M. Mistretta. Fungiform papilla pattern: EGF regulates inter-papilla lingual epithelium and decreases papilla number via PI3K/Akt, MEK/ERK and p38 MAPK signaling. Developmental Dynamics, 237: 2378-2393, 2008.

Iwatsuki, K., H.X. Liu, A. Grunder, M.A. Singer, T.F. Lane, R. Grosschedl, C. Mistretta, R.F. Margolskee. Wnt signaling interacts with Shh to regulate taste papilla development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 104: 2253-2258, 2007.