Faculty

LOW Boon Chuan

Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department

Contact Information:

Cell Signaling and Developmental Biology Laboratory
Department of Biological Science
National University of Singapore
14 Science Drive 4
Singapore 117543

Principal Investigator, MBI: weblink

Deputy Director, USP: Weblink

6516 7834
6779 2486
dbslowbc@nus.edu.sg

Responsibilities

Deputy Head, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore

2017-present

Deputy Director, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore

2017-present

External Advisor for Biotechnology Programme, Singapore Ngee Ann Polytechnic 2017-present

Residential Fellow in Cinnamon College (University Scholars Programme), National University of Singapore

2016-present

Judge for Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2018

2017-present

Judge for Singapore A*STAR Talent Search, Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore 2016-present

Scientific Advisory Board Member, State Key Laboratory for Molecular Biology of Special Economic Animals, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

2013-present

Fellow, Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore

2013-present

Vice President, Singapore Institute of Biology

2009-2010

Deputy Director, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore

2008-2009

Judge for Singapore Tan Kah Kee Young Inventor Awards, Tan Kah Kee Foundation

2008-present

Fellow, Computational and Systems Biology Program, Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology, Singapore

2007-2014

Member and Co-Director, Computational Biology Undergraduate Program, National University of Singapore

2006-2014

 

Education, Postgraduate & Postdoctoral Training

PhD in Biochemistry University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

1992-1995

B.Sc (First Class Hons in Biochemistry) University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

1989-1992

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (A*STAR), Singapore (Link)

1995-2000

Teaching Philosophy

Cultivating Inquiring, Critical and Creative Minds in Students by Augmenting their Learning Experience, Attitude and Interest through Work from the H.E.A.R.T 

Awards & Honors

2016 - 2020 - Scientific Advisory Board, State Key Laboratory for Molecular Biology of Special Economic Animals, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China

2017 - 2019 - External Advisor for Biotechnology Programme, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Singapore

2016 - 2018 - Judge for Singapore A*STAR Talent Search and SSEF

2013 - NUS International Collaborative Fund for Research Partnership with Xiamen University

2012 - NUS-King’s College London Research Partnership Travel Fellowship

2009 - as a founding member for the Research Centre of Excellence in Mechanobiology

2008 - present: Judge for Singapore Tan Kah Kee Young Inventor Awards

2003 - present, Visiting Professor, Xiamen University, China

2003- Singapore National Academy of Science-A*STAR Young Scientist Award

2003 - NUS Faculty of Science Teaching Excellence Award

2003 - Who's Who in Science and Engineering (Marquis, 7th Edition)

2002 - A*STAR Biomedical Research Council (BMRC) Young Investigator Award

1995 - UNESCO Travel Fellowship for the 7th FAOBMB Congress (Sydney)

1995 - Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology

1994 - University of Otago Centre for Gene Research Best Poster Award

1992 - 1995 New Zealand Vice-Chancellors' Committee Scholar

1992 -1995 Malaysia/Singapore Lee Foundation Study Award

1992 - Best Poster Award in Queenstown International Molecular Biology Meeting

1992 - New Zealand Health Research Council Summer Scholarship

1991 - Edson Prize in Biochemistry, University of Otago

1990 - Proudfoot Award in Experimental Science, University of Otago

Research Areas

Cell Signaling, Developmental Biology and Mechanobiology.

Research Interests

To identify novel signaling proteins and protein domains that control cell growth and tissue/organ development in normal and disease states. Areas of interest include cell signaling, domain-discovery, protein-protein interaction, structural biology, developmental biology, computational biology and mechanobiology.

Description:

Molecular recognition forms the basis for all cellular events- from a simple bimolecular enzymatic reaction to the cascades of multimeric protein complex in cell signaling. Fundamental to the structure and function of a protein is its 'domain'- a discrete, minimal modular entity that constitutes one of the basic physical and functional unit of the polypeptide. This protein domain can either serve as a protein docking/interaction site or an active enzymatic unit. With the emphasis on functional genomics, it is important to address what role does each of these domains play and how their potential functions can be regulated across molecular, cellular and tissue levels.

One of the several protein domains that our group first identified and characterized is a novel protein domain termed BCH domain (for BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP Homology) which play important roles in regulating cell growth/death, differentiation, migration, and tissue/organ development. Based on the prototypical BNIP-2 and BPGAP1 proteins, we show that distinct BCH domains could act as key modulators for Rho and Ras small GTPases as well as their immediate regulators such as guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) and GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs). Current effort is geared towards understanding how cells and tissues respond to the dynamic forces and geometry in the environment both under the influence of the BCH domain containing proteins and their associated GEFs or GAPs. This will be addressed under a newly established Research Centre of Excellence in Mechanobiology. To compliment this and to further link cell signalling events to developmental biology and pathophysiology, the zebrafish Danio rerio is used as the alternate animal model.

Selected Recent Publications (2005-present)

For more details, please visit my

ResearcherID
ORCID
Scopus ID

  1. Cong XX, Rao XS, Lin JX, Liu XC, Zhang GA, Gao XK, He MY, Shen WL, Fan W, Pioletti D, Zheng LL, Liu HH, Yin Z, Low BC, Schweitzer R, Ouyang H, Chen X, and Zhou YT (2018). Activation of AKT-mTOR Signaling Directs Tenogenesis of Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Stem Cells Jan 4. doi: 10.1002/stem.2765. [Epub ahead of print]

  2. Chaudhuri PK, Pan CQ, Low BC*, Lim CT* (2017) Differential depth sensing reduces cancer cell proliferation via Rho-Rac regulated invadopodia. ASC Nano, 11(7):7336-7348. *co-correspondence authors. [Research Highlight by Faculty of Science and MBI, NUS]
    Faculty of Science Research News

    MBI News
    Healthcanal
    Medicalxpress News

  3. Qiao Y, Chen J, Lim YB, Finch-Edmondson ML, Seshachalam VP, Qin L, Jiang T, Low BC, Singh H, Lim CT, Sudol M. (2017) YAP regulates actin dynamics through ARHGAP29 and promotes metastasis. Cell Rep. 19(8):1495-1502. 

  4. Gupta K, Li Q, Fan JJ, Fong ELS, Song Z, Mo S, Tang H, Ng IC, Ng CW, Pawijit P, Zhuo S, Dong CY, Low BC, Wee A, Dan YY, Kanchanawong P, So P, Viasnoff V, Yu H. (2017) Actomyosin contractility drives bile regurgitation as an early response during obstructive cholestasis. J Hepatol. 66(6):1231-1240.

  5. Jiang T.T, Pan C.Q, and Low B.C (2017) BPGAP1 spatially integrates JNK/ERK signaling crosstalk in oncogenesis. Oncogene, 6(22):3178-3192 [Research Highlight by Faculty of Science and MBI, NUS]
    Faculty of Science News
    MBI News
    Bioportfolio

  6. Ramachandran, Pan C.Q, Low B.C, and Sivaraman J. (2016) A structural approach towards improving anti-tumor allosteric inhibitors for human kidney Type Glutaminase. Oncotarget 7(36):57943-57954

  7. Li C, Xue C, Yang Q, Low BC, Liou YC. (2016) NuSAP governs chromosome oscillation by facilitating the Kid-generated polar ejection force. Nature Commun. 7:10597. [Research Highlight by Faculty of Science, NUS]
    Faculty of Science News

  8. Chaudhuri PK, Pan CQ, Low BC*, Lim CT* (2016) Topography induces differential sensitivity on cancer cell proliferation via Rho-ROCK-Myosin contractility. Sci Rep.6:19672. *co-correspondence authors. [Research Highlight by Faculty of Science and MBI, NUS]
    MBI News
    Faculty of Science News

  9. Mohanty S, Jobichen C, Chichili VP, Velázquez-Campoy A, Low BC*, Hogue CW*, Sivaraman J*.(2015) Structural Basis for a Unique ATP Synthase Core Complex from Nanoarcheaum equitans. J Biol Chem. 290(45):27280-96. * co-correspondence authors

  10. Sun, JC, Pan, CQ, Chew, TW, Liang, FY, Burmeister, M and Low, BC (2015) BNIP-H recruits the cholinergic machinery to neurite terminals to promote acetylcholine signalling and neuritogenesis. Developmental Cell 34(5): 555–568.[NUS and U. Michigan Press releases and featured in Straits Times 2 October 2015,
    and international news portal. Also as Research Highlight by NUS and MBI]
    NUS Press release
    UOFMhealth
    Straits Times
    MBI News
    Science daily

  11. Ravi, A., Kausik, S., Ravichandran, A, Pan, CQ, Low, B.C. (2015) “Epidermal Growth Factor Activates the Rho GTPase-activating Protein (GAP) Deleted in Liver Cancer 1 via Focal Adhesion Kinase and Protein Phosphatase 2A”. J. Biol. Chem. 290(7): 4149-62

  12. Kaushik,A., Ravi, A., Hameed, F.M. Low, BC (2014) Concerted Modulation of Paxillin Dynamics at Focal Adhesions by DLC1 and FAK during Early Cell Spreading. Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 71 (12): 677-94

  13. Peng Yi, Li Li Chew, Ziwang Zhang,, Hao Ren,, Liling Zheng, Yan Luo, Hongwei Ouyang, BC Low*, and YT Zhou* (2015) KIF5B transports BNIP-2 to regulate p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and myoblast differentiation. Mol Biol Cell  26(1):29-42. * co-correspondence authors

  14. Bayat, S., Brasseur, A., Chua, XL., Zhang Y., Zhou, Q. Low, B.C. and He, C.Y(2014) The bi-lobe-associated LRRP1 regulates Ran activity in Trypanosoma brucei. J Cell Sci. 2014 127(22):4846-56.

  15. Zhao C. Liu C, Hogue CW, Low BC (2014) A cooperative “jack” model of random coil-to-elongation transition of the FH1 domain by profilin binding explains formin motor behaviour in actin polymerization FEBS Letters 2014 588(14):2288-93.

  16. Low BC*, Pan, CQ*, Shivashankar, GV, Bershadsky, A., Sudol, M. and Sheetz, M (2014). YAP/TAZ as mechanosensors and mechanotransducers in organ size control. (Invited Review for Special Issue in Tumor Suppressors) FEBS Letters 588(16):2663-2670 (most downloaded paper). *correspondence authors

  17. Thangavelu, K.; Chong, Q. Y.; Low, B. C. Sivaraman, J (2014) Structural Basis for the Active Site Inhibition Mechanism of Human Kidney-Type Glutaminase (KGA) Scientific Reports, 4 DOI:10.1038/srep03827 

  18. Chew TW, Liu XJ, Liu L, Spitsbergen JM, Gong Z, Low BC (2014) Crosstalk of Ras and Rho: activation of RhoA abates Kras-induced liver tumorigenesis in transgenic zebrafish models. Oncogene. 33(21):2717-27. [Featured in Straits Times news article and international science portals]
    Straits Times
    YouTube
    NUS Press Release
    MBI feature
    C2st

  19. Ravichandran, A., Low, B.C. (2013). SmgGDS antagonizes BPGAP1-induced Ras/ERK activation and neuritogenesis in PC12 cell differentiation. Molecular Biology of the Cell 24(2):145-56

  20. Thangavelu, K., Pan, C.Q., Karlberg, T., Balaji, G., Uttamchandani, M., Suresh, V., Schüler, H., Low, B.C.*, Sivaraman, J. (2012). Structural basis for the allosteric inhibitory mechanism of human kidney-type glutaminase (KGA) and its regulation by Raf-Mek-Erk signaling in cancer cell metabolism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109(20):7705-10. [Research Highlight of the Month by NUS Deputy President Research and Technology Office].
    NUS News

  21. Pan, C.Q., Sudol, M., Sheetz, M. and Low, B.C. (2012). Modularity and functional plasticity of scaffold proteins as p(l)acemakers in cell signaling. Cell Signaling. 24(11):2143-65. [Invited Review- one of the most downloaded articles]

  22. Pan,C.Q. and Low,B.C. (2012). Functional plasticity of the BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP  Homology (BCH) domain in cell signaling and cell dynamics.  FEBS Letters 586(17):2674-91. (Invited Review).

  23. Gupta AB, Wee LE, Zhou YT, Hortsch M, Low BC (2012) Cross-Species Analyses Identify the BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP Homology (BCH) Domain as a Distinct Functional Subclass of the CRAL_TRIO/Sec14 Superfamily. PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33863

  24. Zhu S, Low BC (2012) Using zebrafish for studying Rho GTPases signaling in vivo. Methods Mol Biol. 2012;827:321-37.

  25. Huang L, Pan CQ, Li B, Tucker-Kellogg L, Tidor B, Chen Y, Low BC (2012) Simulating EGFR-ERK signaling control by scaffold proteins KSR and MP1 reveals differential ligand-sensitivity co-regulated by Cbl-CIN85 and endophilin.PLoS One. 2011;6(8):e22933.

  26. Zhou, Y.T, Chew, L.L, Lin, S.C, Low, B.C (2010) The BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP homology (BCH) domain of p50RhoGAP/Cdc42GAP sequesters RhoA from inactivation by the adjacent GTPase-activating protein domain. Mol Biol Cell. 2010 21(18):3232-46

  27. Pan, Catherine Q., Liou, Y-C and Low, B.C (2010) Active Mek2 as a regulatory scaffold that promotes Pin1 binding to BPGAP1 to suppress BPGAP1-induced acute Erk activation and cell migration. J Cell Sci. 123(Pt 6):903-16

  28. Scott GB, Bowles PA, Wilson EB, Meade JL, Low BC, Davison A, Blair GE, Cook GP (2010) Identification of the BCL2/adenovirus E1B-19K protein-interacting protein 2 (BNIP-2) as a granzyme B target during human natural killer cell-mediated killing. Biochem J.431(3):423-31.

  29. Ma XH, Shi Z, Tan C, Jiang Y, Go ML, Low BC, Chen YZ (2010) In-silico approaches to multi-target drug discovery : computer aided multi-target drug design, multi-target virtual screening. Pharm Res. 27(5):739-49. Review.

  30. Kirilly D, Gu Y, Huang Y, Wu Z, Bashirullah A, Low BC, Kolodkin AL, Wang H, Yu F.A genetic pathway composed of Sox14 and Mical governs severing of dendrites during pruning. Nat Neurosci.12(12):1497-505.

  31. Li H, Ung CY, Ma XH, Li BW, Low BC, Cao ZW, Chen YZ (2009). Simulation of crosstalk between small GTPase RhoA and EGFR-ERK signaling pathway via MEKK1. Bioinformatics 1;25(3):358-64.

  32. Zhong D, Zhang J, Yang S, Soh UJ, Buschdorf JP, Zhou YT, Yang D, Low BC (2009). The SAM domain of the RhoGAP DLC1 binds EF1A1 to regulate cell migration. J Cell Sci. 122(Pt 3):414-24.

  33. Lu Z, Liu W, Huang H, He Y, Han Y, Wang Y, Li Q, Ruan K, Ye Z, Low BC, Meng A, Lin SC (2008) Protein encoded by the AxinFu allele effectively downregulates Wnt signaling but exerts a dominant negative effect on c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling. J Biol Chem. Mar 3; [Epub ahead of print]

  34. Liu L.H., Zhu, S., Gong, Z.Y and Low, B.C (2008). K-ras/PI3K-Akt Signaling Is Essential for Zebrafish Hematopoiesis and Angiogenesis. PLoS ONE.3(8):e2850.

  35. Buschdorf JP, Chew LL, Soh UJ, Liou YC, Low BC (2008). Nerve growth factor stimulates interaction of Cayman ataxia protein BNIP-H/Caytaxin with peptidyl-prolyl isomerase Pin1 in differentiating neurons. PLoS ONE. 3(7):e2686.

  36. Ma XH, Wang R, Yang SY, Li ZR, Xue Y, Wei YC, Low BC, Chen YZ (2008). Evaluation of virtual screening performance of support vector machines trained by sparsely distributed active compounds. J Chem Inf Model. 48(6):1227-37. Epub 2008 Jun 6.

  37. Ung CY, Li H, Ma XH, Jia J, Li BW, Low BC, Chen YZ (2008). Simulation of the regulation of EGFR endocytosis and EGFR-ERK signaling by endophilin-mediated RhoA-EGFR crosstalk. FEBS Lett. 582(15):2283-2290. Epub 2008 May 27.

  38. Soh U.J and Low, B.C (2008) BNIP-2 Extra Long inhibits RhoA and cellular transformation by Lbc RhoGEF via its BCH domain. J. Cell Sci May 15;121(Pt 10):1739-49.

  39. Zhu, S., Korzh, V., Gong, Z. and Low, B. C (2008) RhoA prevents apoptosis during zebrafish embryogenesis through activation of Mek/Erk pathway. Oncogene. 6;27(11):1580-9.

  40. Lu Z, Liu W, Huang H, He Y, Han Y, Wang Y, Li Q, Ruan K, Ye Z, Low BC, Meng A, Lin SC (2008) Protein encoded by the AxinFu allele effectively downregulates Wnt signaling but exerts a dominant negative effect on c-Jun N-terminal kinase signaling. J Biol Chem. May 9;283(19):13132-9

  41. Kang, J-S., Bae, G-U., Yi, M-J., Yang, Y-J., Oh, J-E., Takaesu, G., Zhou, Y.T., Low, B.C., and Krauss, R.S. (2008) A Cdo/Bnip-2/Cdc42 signaling pathway regulates p38alpha/beta MAPK activity and myogenic differentiation. J. Cell Biol 182(3):497-507

  42. Tang ZQ, Han LY, Lin HH, Cui J, Jia J, Low BC, Li BW, Chen YZ. (2007) Derivation of stable microarray cancer-differentiating signatures using consensus scoring of multiple random sampling and gene-ranking consistency evaluation. Cancer Res.67(20):9996-10003.

  43. Zhou,Y.T., Guy,G.R., Low, B.C. (2006) BNIP-Sa induces cell rounding during apoptosis by sequestering p50RhoGAP and facilitating RhoA activation via its unique motifs in the BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP Homology domain Oncogene 25(16):2393-408.

  44. Buschdorf, J.P., Chew, L.L., Zhang, B., Cao, Q., Liang, F-Y., Liou, Y-C., Zhou, Y.T., Low, B.C (2006) Brain-specific BNIP-2-Homology (BNIP-H) protein/Caytaxin relocalizes glutaminase to neurite terminals and reduces the levels of glutamate. J. Cell Sci 119:3337-50

  45. Zhu, S., Liu, L., Korzh, V., Gong, Z. and Low, B.C. (2006) RhoA acts downstream of Wnt5 and Wnt11 to regulate convergence and extension movements by involving effectors Rho Kinase and Diaphanous: use of zebrafish as an in vivo model for GTPase signaling. Cellular Signaling 18(3):359-372

  46. Zhou,Y.T., Guy,G.R., Low, B.C. (2005) BNIP-2 induces cell elongation and membrane protrusions by interacting with Cdc42 via a unique Cdc42-binding motif within its BNIP-2 and Cdc42GAP homology domain. Exp. Cell Res., 303:263-274.

  47. Lua, B.L. and Low, B.C. (2005) Activation of EGFR endocytosis and ERK1/2 activation by BPGAP1 requires its direct interaction with EEN/endophilin II and a functional RhoGAP domain. J. Cell Sci., 118: 2707-2721

  48. Lua, B. L., and Low, B.C. (2005) Cortactin phosphorylation as a switch for actin cytoskeletal network and cell dynamics control. FEBS Letter (Review)579: 577-585.

  49. Low, B C and Gong, Z. (2005) Reporter Gene System: Green Fluorescent Proteins. Encyclopedia. Mol. Cell Biol. and Mol. Med. Edited by Robert A. Meyers.

  50. Zhang B, Cao Q, Guo A, Chu H, Chan YG, Buschdorf JP, Low BC, Ling EA, Liang F. (2005) Juxtanodin: an oligodendroglial protein that promotes cellular arborization and 2',3'-cyclic nucleotide-3'-phosphodiesterase trafficking. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 102(32):11527-32.