School of Medicine

Wayne State University School of Medicine

Xuequn Chen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
5215 Scott Hall
Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Laboratory Web Site

The secretory pathway is responsible for the processing and trafficking of a wide variety of protein cargoes including hormones, enzymes, receptors, ion channels and transporters. The balance between synthesis, folding, transport, degradation and secretion of these proteins in the secretory pathway is vital for cell and organism survival. The disruption of this homeostasis can lead to numerous human diseases such as cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes and pancreatitis. In spite of the importance of the secretory pathway and the extensive research in past decades, there are many questions remained unsolved including the detailed molecular mechanisms for cargo sorting and maintenance of the identities of different membrane compartments, and most importantly the regulation of the molecular machinery in the secretory pathway under different physiological and pathological conditions. Our current incomplete understanding of these fundamental mechanisms precludes the efficient treatment of the above human diseases. The long term research goal of my lab is, using systems physiology approaches and specialized secretory tissues as models, to understand the molecular machinery of the secretory pathway governing the intracellular protein homeostasis and trafficking, and more importantly the regulation of the machinery under different metabolic, physiological and pathological conditions. My research has been focused on cellular physiology and functional proteomics studies of protein homeostasis and membrane trafficking in mammalian secretory pathway such as the endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis in normal and diseased states, molecular architecture and regulated exocytosis of secretory granules and cell cycle regulated Golgi biogenesis. The systems physiology approaches used in our research are the combination of the quantitative mass spectrometry technology, cellular and integrative physiology, biochemistry and bioinformatics approaches. 

  1. Fang J, Liu M, Zhang X, Sakamoto T, Taatjes DJ, Jena BP, Sun F, Woods J, Bryson T, Kowluru A, Zhang K, Chen X. COPII Dependent ER Export: a Critical Component of Insulin Biogenesis and Beta Cell ER Homeostasis. Mol Endocrinol. 2015 Jun 17:me20151012. PMID: 26083833
  2. Lee JS, Wu Y, Schnepp P, Fang J, Zhang X, Karnovsky A, Woods J, Stemmer PM, Liu M, Zhang K, Chen X. Proteomics analysis of rough endoplasmic reticulum in pancreatic beta cells. Proteomics. 2015 May;15(9):1508-11. PMID: 25546123
  3. Rajagopal A, Kulkarni S, Lewis KT, Chen X, Maarouf A, Kelly CV, Taatjes DJ, Jena BP. Proteome of the insulin-secreting Min6 cell porosome complex: Involvement of Hsp90 in its assembly and function. J Proteomics. 2015 Jan 30;114:83-92. PMID: 25464371
  4. Hou X, Lewis KT, Wu Q, Wang S, Chen X, Flack A, Mao G, Taatjes DJ, Sun F, Jena BP. Proteome of the porosome complex in human airway epithelia: Interaction with the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). J Proteomics. 2014 Jan 16;96:82-91. PMID: 24220302

A complete list of Dr. Chen's publications can be found at:  Chen PubMed

Awards & Honors
  • The Distinguished Thesis Award, Nankai University 1995
  • Shen Shouchun Experimental Physics Award, Nankai University 1995 
  • Caroline tum Suden / Frances A. Hellebrandt Professional Opportunity Award for meritorious research in Physiology (2001)
  • Abbott Laboratories Graduate Student Award for outstanding research accomplishments in gastrointestinal (2001)
  • The Rackham Graduate School Predoctoral Fellowship ( 2002)
  • Best Poster Award, Gordon Conference on Salivary Glands and Exocrine Secretion, Ventura CA (2005) 
  • Travel Award for Junior Faculty, American Pancreas Association, Chicago IL (2007) 
Post Graduate Training
  •  2003-2007 Postdoctoral fellow-National Resources for Proteomics & Pathways, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  •  Nankai UniversityTianjinChinaB.S. in Biophysics, 1992
  • Nankai UniversityTianjinChinaM.S. in Biophysics, 1995
  • University of MichiganAnn ArborMIPh.D. in Physiology 2003