California NanoSystems Institute
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Yi Tang, Ph.D.

Professor, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Member, California NanoSystems Institute, JCCC Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program Area
Faculty, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Organic Chemistry

Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 2002
B.Sc., Pennsylvania State University, 1997 -

Contact Information:
Work Email Address:
Laboratory Address: 5667 Boelter Hall
Office Address: 420 Westwood Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Work Address: 5531 Boelter Hall

Home Page:
Work Phone Number: (310)825‐0375
Research Interests:

My research lab is interested in natural product biosynthesis and biocatalysis. In the natural product area, we are interested in elucidating biosynthetic pathways of polyketides, nonribosomal peptides and related compounds. Our goal is to understand the biochemical and structural basis of different enzymes encoded in these pathways. In particular, we are studying the biosynthesis of aromatic polyketides from Streptomyces and iteratively biosynthesized compounds from filamentous fungi. By accumulating biosynthetic knowledge and enzymatic tools, we aim towards the engineered biosynthesis of unnatural natural products through combinatorial biosynthesis.

In the biocatalysis area, we build upon our knowledge from the fundamental studies and aim to discover and engineer enzymes that can be used in the synthesis and semisynthesis of pharmaceutical compounds. We have demonstrated the potential of this approach in establishing a biocatalytic approach for making the blockbuster drug simvastatin.

My lab has also recently become interested in research at the interface of nanotechnology, biomaterials and drug delivery. In particular, we are conducting research towards the efficient delivery of various biological molecules to cells and model animals for applications in cancer therapy, imaging, vaccination and reprogramming. These nascent efforts are performed in collaboration with various labs.

Technical Research Interest:

We are focusing on designing and implementing general methods for delivering proteins and SiRNA into mammalian cells and animal models. Our research has applications in cancer therapy, vaccine development, and treatment of other diseases. Our group also focuses on the synthesis and biosynthesis of natural product based small molecule therapeutics.

Selected Publications:

Qiao K, Zhou H, Xu W, Zhang W, Garg N, Tang Y, A Fungal Nonribosomal Peptide Synthetase Module that can Synthesize Thiopyrazines, Org Lett, 2011, 13 (7), 1758-61.
Wang S, Gao Q, Zhang Y, Gao J, Sun X, Tang Y, Controllable synthesis of organic-inorganic hybrid MoOx/polyaniline nanowires and nanotubes, Chemistry, 2011, 17 (5), 1465-72.
Gu Z, Zhao M, Sheng Y, Bentolila LA, Tang Y, Detection of mercury ion by infrared fluorescent protein and its hydrogel-based paper assay, Anal Chem, 2011, 83 (6), 2324-9.
Biswas A, Joo KI, Liu J, Zhao M, Fan G, Wang P, Gu Z, Tang Y, Endoprotease-mediated intracellular protein delivery using nanocapsules, ACS Nano, 2011, 5 (2), 1385-94.
Gao X, Chooi YH, Ames BD, Wang P, Walsh CT, Tang Y, Fungal Indole Alkaloid Biosynthesis: Genetic and Biochemical Investigation of the Tryptoquialanine Pathway in Penicillium aethiopicum, J Am Chem Soc, 2011, 133 (8), 2729-41.
Ming Yan, Juanjuan Du, Zhen Gu, Min Liang, Yufang Hu, Wenjun Zhang, Saul Priceman, Lily Wu, Z. Hong Zhou, Zheng Liu, Tatiana Segura, Yi Tang, Yunfeng Lu, A novel intracellular protein delivery platform based on single-protein nanocapsules, Nature Nanotechnology, 2010, 5, 48-53.
Chooi YH, Tang Y, Adding the lipo to lipopeptides: do more with less, Chem Biol, 2010, 17 (8), 791-3.
Xu W, Cai X, Jung ME, Tang Y, Analysis of intact and dissected fungal polyketide synthase-nonribosomal peptide synthetase in vitro and in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, J Am Chem Soc, 2010, 132 (39), 13604-7.
Li Y, Image II, Xu W, Image I, Tang Y, Image I, Classification, prediction, and verification of the regioselectivity of fungal polyketide synthase product template domains, J Biol Chem, 2010, 285 (30), 22764-73.
Zhou, H., Li, Y., Tang, Y., Cyclization of Aromatic Polyketides from Bacteria and Fungi, Nat. Prod. Rep, 2010, 27 (6), 839-68.
Gao X, Wang P, Tang Y, Engineered polyketide biosynthesis and biocatalysis in Escherichia coli, Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, 2010, 88 (6), 1233-4.
Zhou, H., Qiao, K., Gao, Z.; Meehan, M. J., Li, J., Dorrestein, P. C., Vederas, J. C., Tang, Y. , Enzymatic Synthesis of Resorcylic Acid Lactones by Cooperation of Fungal Iterative Polyketide Synthases Involved in Hypothemycin Biosynthesis, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2010, 132, 4530-1.
Gu, Z., Tang, Y., Enzyme-Assisted Photolithography for Spatial Functionalization of Hydrogels, Lab on Chip, 2010, 10 (15), 1946-51.
Meehan MJ, Xie X, Zhao X, Xu W, Tang Y, Dorrestein PC, FT-ICR-MS Characterization of Intermediates in the Biosynthesis of the α-Methylbutyrate Side Chain of Lovastatin by the 277 kDa Polyketide Synthase LovF, Biochemistry, 2010, Epub ahead of print.
Chooi YH, Cacho R, Tang Y, Identification of the viridicatumtoxin and griseofulvin gene clusters from Penicillium aethiopicum, Chem Biol, 2010, 17 (5), 483-94.
Zhou H, Qiao K, Gao Z, Vederas JC, Tang Y, Insights into radicicol biosynthesis via heterologous synthesis of intermediates and analogs, J Biol Chem, 2010, 285 (53), 41412-21.
Pickens LB, Tang Y, Oxytetracycline biosynthesis, J Biol Chem, 2010, 285 (36), 27509-15.
Gu Z, Biswas A, Joo KI, Hu B, Wang P, Tang Y, Probing protease activity by single-fluorescent-protein nanocapsules, Chem Commun (Camb), 2010, 46 (35), 6467-9.
Pickens, L. B., Tang, Y., Decoding and Engineering Tetracycline Biosynthesis, Metab. Eng, 2009, 11 (2), 69-75.
Zhang, W., Tang, Y., In vitro analysis of type II polyketide synthase, Methods Enzymol, 2009, 459 (Complex Enzymes in Microbial Natural Product Biosynthesis, Part B: Polyketides, Aminocoumarins and Carbohydrates), 367-393.
Gu Z, Yan M, Hu B, Joo KI, Biswas A, Huang Y, Lu Y, Wang P, Tang Y, Protein nanocapsule weaved with enzymatically degradable polymeric network, Nano Lett, 2009, 9 (12), 4533-8.
Xie, X., Pashkov, I., Xue, G., Guerrero, J., Yeates, T., Tang, Y., Rational Improvement of Simvastatin Synthase Solubility in Escherichia coli Leads to Higher Whole-cell Biocatalytic Activity, Biotechnol Bioeng, 2009, 102 (1), 20‐28.
Zhou, H., Zhan, J., Watanabe, K., Xie, X., Tang, Y., A Polyketide Macrolactone Synthase from the Filamentous Fungus Gibberella zeae, PNAS, 2008, 105 (17), 6249‐6254.
Zhang, W., Tang, Y., Combinatorial Biosynthesis of Natural Products, J Med Chem, 2008, 51 (9), 2629‐ 2633.
Ames, B., Korman, T., Zhang, W., Smith, P., Vi, T., Tang, Y., Crystal Structure and Functional Analysis of Tetracenomycin ARO/CYC: Implications for Cyclization Specificity of Aromatic Polyketides, PNAS, 2008, 105 (14), 5349‐54.
Zhang, W., Li, Y., Tang, Y, Engineered Biosynthesis of Bacterial Aromatic Polyketides in Escherichia coli, PNAS, 2008, 105 (52), 20683‐5.
Zhou, H., Xie, X., Tang, Y, Engineering Natural Products Using Combinatorial Biosynthesis and Biocatalysis, Curr Opin Biotechnol, 2008, 19 (6), 590‐6.
Zhang, W., Watanabe, K., Cai, X., Jung, M. E., Tang, Y., Identifying the Minimal Enzymes Required for Anhydrotetracycline Biosynthesis, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2008, 130 (19), 6068‐6069.
Ma, S. M., Zhan, J., Xie, X., Watanabe, K., Tang, Y., Zhang, W., Redirecting the Cyclization Steps of Fungal Polyketide Synthase, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2008, 130 (1), 38-9.
Zhan, J., Watanabe, K., Tang, Y., Synergistic Actions of Monooxygenase and Cyclases in Aromatic Polyketide Biosynthesis, ChemBioChem, 2008, 9 (11), 1710 – 5.
Zhang, W., Wilke, B. I., Zhan, J., Watanabe, K., Boddy, C. N., Tang, Y., A New Mechanism for Benzopyrone Formation in Aromatic Polyketide Biosynthesis, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2007, 129 (30), 9304-5.
Ma, S. M., Tang, Y., Biochemical Characterization of the Minimal Polyketide Synthase Domains in the Lovastatin Nonaketide Synthase LovB, FEBS J, 2007, 274 (11), 2854-2864.
Xie, X, Tang, Y, Efficient Synthesis of Simvastatin Using Whole‐Cell Biocatalysis, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2007, 23 (7), 2054-2060.
Suzanne M. Ma, Jixun Zhan, Kenji Watanabe, Xinkai Xie, Wenjun Zhang, Clay C. Wang, and Yi Tang, Enzymatic Synthesis of Aromatic Polyketides Using PKS4 from Gibberella fujikuroi, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2007, 129 (35), 10642–3.
Xie, X., Wong, W. W., Tang, Y., Improving Simvastatin Bioconversion in Escherichia coli by Deletion of bioH, Metab. Eng, 2007, 9 (4), 379-386.
Zhang, W., Watanabe. K., Wang, C. C. C., Tang, Y., Investigation of Unique Early Tailoring Reactions in the Oxytetracycline Biosynthetic Pathway, Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2007, 282, 25717-25.
Xie, X., Watanabe, K., Wojcicki, W. A., Wang, C. C. C., Tang, Y., Biosynthesis of lovastatin analogs with a broadly specific acyltransferase, Chem Biol, 2006, 13 (11), 1161-1169.
Tang, Y., Khosla, C., Diversity from Mother Nature: natural and unnatural products, Exploiting Chemical Diversity for Drug Discovery, 2006, eds P. Bartlett and M. Entzeroth (Royal Society of Chemistry).
Zhang, W. J., Ames, B., Tsai, S‐C., Tang, Y., Engineered Biosynthesis of a Novel Amidated Polyketide Using the Malonamyl‐specific Initiation Module from the Oxytetracycline Polyketide Synthase, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2006, 72 (4), 2573-80.
Zhang, W., Watanabe, K., Wang, C. C. C., Tang, Y., Heterologous Biosynthesis of Amidated Polyketides with Novel Cyclization Regioselectivity from Oxytetracycline Polyketide Synthase, J. Nat. Prod, 2006, 69 (11), 1633-1636.
Tang, Y. Lee, H.Y., Tang, Y., Kim, C‐Y., Mathews, I. and Khosla, C., Structural and Functional Studies on SCO1815: A ‐Ketoacyl‐Acyl Carrier Protein Reductase from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2), Biochemistry, 2006, 45 (47), 14085-93.
Khosla, C., Tang, Y., Chemistry. A new route to designer antibiotics, Science, 2005, 308 (5270), 367-368.
Lee. T. S., Khosla, C., Tang, Y., Engineered Biosynthesis of Aklanonic Acid Analogs, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2005, 127 (35), 12254-12262.
Lee. T. S., Khosla, C., Tang, Y., Orthogonal Protein Interactions in Spore Pigment Producing and Antibiotic Producing Type II Polyketide Synthases, The Journal of Antibiotics, 2005, 10, 663-666.
Tang, Y, Lee, T. S., Khosla, C., Engineered Biosynthesis of Regioselectively Modified Aromatic Polyketides Using Bimodular Polyketide Synthases, PLoS Biol, 2004, 2 (2), 227-37.
Tang, Y, Lee, T. S., Lee, H. Y., Khosla, C., Exploring the Biosynthetic Potential of Bimodular Aromatic Polyketide Synthases, Tetrahedron, 2004, 60 (35), 7659-7671.
Kumar, P., Khosla, C., Tang, Y., Manipulation and Analysis of Polyketide Synthases, Methods in Enzymology: Protein Engineering, 2004, 388, 269-293.
Tang, Y, Koppisch, A., Khosla, C. , The Acyltransferase Homolog Found in Initiation Modules of Type II PKS is an Acetyl‐ACP Thiolase that Suppresses Acetate‐Priming of the KS‐CLF, Biochemistry, 2004, 43 (29), 9546-9555.
Cirino, P.C , Tang, Y., Takahashi, K., Tirrell, D. A., Arnold, F. H., Global Incorporation of Norleucine in Place of Methionine in Cytochrome P450 BM‐3 Heme Domain Increases Peroxygenase Activity, Biotechnol Bioeng, 2003, 83 (6), 729-734.
Wang, P., Tang, Y., Tirrell, D. A., Incorporation of Trifluoroisoleucine into Proteins In Vivo, J Am Chem Soc, 2003, 125 (23), 6900-6906.
Tang, Y., Lee, T. S., Kobayashi, S., Khosla, C. , Ketosynthases in the Initiation and Elongation Modules of Aromatic Polyketide Synthases Have Orthogonal Acyl‐Carrier Protein Specificity, Biochemistry, 2003, 42 (21), 6588-6595.
Tang, Y. Tsai, S. C., Khosla, C., Polyketide Chain Length Control by Chain Length Factor, J. Am. Chem. Soc, 2003, 125 (42), 12708-12709.
Tang, Y., Tirrell, D. A. , Attenuation of Leucyl‐tRNA Synthetase Proofreading Activity in Escherichia coli Allows Introduction of An Array of Unnatural Amino Acids in vivo, Biochemistry, 2002, 41 (34), 10635-10645.