Masonic Cancer Center

A comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute

Da-Qing Yang

AHCMCC2 - Image - 180x222 - Da-Qing Yang

Academic Title

Assistant Professor, The Hormel Institute, University of Minnesota


Postdoctoral fellow, University of Virginia and St. Jude's Hospital
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Kansas State University

Contact Info



Office Address

801 16th Ave. N.E.
Austin, MN  55912

Mailing Address

801 16th Ave. N.E.
Austin, MN 55912

Bio Statement

Dr. Yang received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Kansas State University. His graduate work focused on the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, a major component in glucose metabolism. Subsequently, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow first at the University of Virginia and then at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Yang’s postdoctoral research involved the analysis of protein translational control in response to insulin signaling. His work led to the discovery that ATM, a key signaling transducer in the response to DNA damage, also targets components of the translational control machinery. As an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota (USD), Sanford School of Medicine, and later as a Scientist at Sanford Research/USD, Dr. Yang expanded his research areas into both cancer and diabetes. In addition to publishing many original research papers and review articles, he has also received multiple awards and honors for his work on cancer and diabetes. He is currently an Assistant Professor at The Hormel Institute of the University of Minnesota (UMN) and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center at UMN.

Research Interests

Dr. Yang’s laboratory studies two important proteins, p53 and ATM, which are critical for multiple physiological processes, including cell cycle progression, DNA damage repair, insulin signal transduction, and glucose metabolism. Dr. Yang is a leading expert in signal transduction of the ATM protein kinase in response to insulin and metformin as their signals relate to both cancer and diabetes. He also works on the translational regulation of p53 induction following DNA damage in order to better understand how defective synthesis of the p53 tumor suppressor is involved in the development of cancer, including breast and prostate cancer. His group discovered the presence of an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) in the p53 mRNA that promotes cap-independent p53 translation in response to DNA damage and other cellular stress.

Research Projects

Current research projects in the lab include the investigation of the effects of ATM on glucose metabolism in normal and cancer cells using both conventional and metabolomic approaches and the study of IRES-mediated p53 synthesis in order to develop novel diagnosis and treatment strategies for breast and prostate cancer.

  1. Yang D, Song J, Wagenknecht T, and Roche TE. Assembly and full functionality of the recombinantly expressed dihydrolipoyl acetyltransferase component of the human pyruvate dehydrogenase complex. J. Biol. Chem. 272(1): 6361-6369, 1997. PMID: 9045657
  2. Yang D, Gong X, Yakhnin A, and Roche TE. Requirements for the adapter protein role of dihydrolipoyl acetyltransferase in the up-regluated function of the pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase and pyruvate dehydrogenase phosphatase. J. Biol. Chem. 273(23): 14130-14137, 1998. PMID: 9603912
  3. Yang D, Brunn GJ, and Lawrence JC, Jr. Mutational analysis of sites in the translational regulator, PHAS-I, that are selectively phosphorylated by mTOR. FEBS Lett. 453, 387-390, 1999. PMID: 10405182
  4. Mothe-Satney I, Yang D, Fadden P, Haystead TA, and Lawrence JC, Jr. Multiple mechanisms control phosphorylation of PHAS-I in five (S/T)-P sites that govern translational repression. Mol. Cell Biol. 20, 3558- 3567, 2000. PMID: 10779345
  5. Yang DQ and Kastan MB. Participation of ATM in Insulin Signalling through Phosphorylation of eIF-4E-Binding Protein. Nature Cell Biol. 2, 893-898, 2000. PMID: 11146653
  6. Yang DQ*, Halaby MJ, and Zhang Y. The Identification of an IRES Sequence in the 5’-Untranslated Region of p53 mRNA Provides a Novel Mechanism for the Regulation of its Translation Following DNA Damage. Oncogene, 25, 4613-9, 2006. PMID: 16607284
  7. Boehrs JK, He J, Halaby MJ, and Yang DQ*. Constitutive Expression and Cytoplasmic Compartmentalization of ATM Protein in Differentiated Human Neuron-like SH-SY5Y Cells. J Neurochem. 100 (2), 337-345, 2007. PMID: 17241156
  8. Halaby, MJ and Yang, DQ*. Translational control of p53 induction: A new facet of p53 regulation and its implication for tumorigenesis and cancer therapeutics (invited review). Gene, 359, 1-7, 2007. PMID: 17395405
  9. Hibma JC, Neufeld D, Halaby MJ, and Yang DQ*. A Novel Phenotypic Marker for ATM-deficient 129S6/SvEvTac-ATM tm1Awb/J mice. The Anatomical Record, 290, 243-50, 2007. PMID: 17525940
  10. Sun Y, Connors KE, and Yang DQ*. AICAR phosphorylates AMPK-α subunits in an ATM-dependent, LKB1-independent manner. Mol. Cell. Biochem., 306 (1-2), 239-45, 2008. PMID: 17786544
  11. Zhang Y, Li Y, and Yang DQ*. Phosphorylation of eIF-4E Positively Regulates Formation of the eIF-4F Translation Initiation Complex Following DNA Damage. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 367 (1), 54-9, 2008. PMID: 18164262
  12. Halaby MJ, Hibma JC, He J, and Yang DQ*. ATM Protein Kinase Mediates Full Activation of Akt and Regulates Glucose Transporter 4 Translocation by Insulin in Muscle Cells. Cell. Signal., 20(8):1555-63, 2008. PMID: 18534819
  13. Li Y and Yang DQ*. The ATM Inhibitor KU-55933 Suppresses Cell Proliferation and Induces Apoptosis by Blocking Akt in Cancer Cells with Over-activated Akt. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, 9(1), 113-125, January, 2010. PMID: 20053781
  14. Yang DQ*, Halaby MJ, Li Y, Hibma JC, and Burn P. Cytoplasmic ATM Protein Kinase, an emerging therapeutic target for diabetes, cancer, and neuronal degeneration (invited review). Drug Discovery Today. 16(7-8): 332-8. April, 2011. PMID:21315178
  15. Li Y, Xiong H, and Yang DQ*. Functional switching of ATM: sensor of DNA damage in proliferating cells and mediator of Akt survival signal in post-mitotic human neuron-like cells. Chin. J. Cancer. 31(8): 364-72. Aug 2012. PMID: 22739265
  16. Halaby MJ, Kastein BK, and Yang DQ*. Chloroquine stimulates glucose uptake and glycogen synthase in muscle cells through activation of Akt. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 435(4):708-713. Jun 2013. PMID: 23702482
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  • Last modified on November 13, 2013