Mengsheng Qiu, Ph.D.

Mengsheng Qiu, Ph.D.

Mengsheng Qiu, Ph.D.

Professor and Distinguished Scholar, Department of Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology

Phone: (502) 852-5248

Research Focus

The long-term goal of our research is to understand the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control the differentiation and regeneration of motor neurons and oligodendrocytes, and develop novel molecular strategies for stimulating the de novo regeneration of motor neurons and oligodendrocytes in the injured spinal cord. We study the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control the specification and differentiation of motor neurons and oligodendrocytes for two reasons.  First, they are derived from the same neural progenitor cells in the spinal cord but during different time windows.  Thus, a similar set of genes may be involved in the development of these two distinct cell types.  Second, motor neurons and oligodendrocytes are functionally important and related as they directly control our body movement, and yet they are particularly susceptible to both genetic and environmental insults, as evidenced by the selective degeneration of motor neurons in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), or of oligodendrocytes in multiple sclerosis (MS).  In spinal cord injury patients, degeneration of both motor neurons and oligodendrocytes contributes to impaired body movement and function. Studies on the molecular and genetic control of motor neuron and oligodendrocyte development are necessary for developing molecular and cellular strategies for stimulating the de novo regeneration of both cell types in the diseased or injured spinal tissues. 

Current Research

(1) Identify the molecular pathways that regulate the early specification and differentiation of motor neurons and oligodendrocytes in the developing spinal cord using various molecular and genetic approaches.

(2) Directed differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) into motor neurons and oligodendrocytes for therapeutic treatments of neurological diseases and spinal cord injuries.

(3). Cellular reprogramming of astrocytes into functional neurons and oligodendrocytes for de novo repair of injured neural tissues.

Key Publications


Huang H., Teng P, Du J,  Meng J, Hu X, Tang T, Zhang Z, Qi YB,Qiu M. (2018). Interactive repression of MYRF self-cleavage and activity in oligodendrocyte differentiation by TMEM98 protein.   J. Neurosci.  38(46):9829-9839

Zheng K, Wang C, Yang J, Huang H, Zhao X, Zhang Z, Qiu M. (2018) Molecular and genetic evidence for the PDGFRa-independent population of OPCs in the developing mouse brain.  J. Neurosci 38(44):9505-9513

Yang J, Cheng X,  Shen J., Xie B., Zhao X., Zhang Z,  Cao Q., Qiu M. (2017).  “EGF signaling promotes the self-renewal of mouse oligodendrocyte precursor cells”      Front. Mol. Neurosci. 10, 106

Xu X., Liu Z., Hu X., Zhang Z. and Qiu M. (2016).  AP-2a and AP-2b regulate dorsal interneuron specification in the spinal cord.  Neuroscience  340:232-242

Zhou L., Yang D., Wang D., Xie Y., Zhou J., Zhou L., Huang H., Han S., Shao C., Li H., Zhu J., Qiu M., De Zeeuw C. and Shen Y. (2015). Numb deficiency in cerebellar Purkinje cells impairs surface expression of metabotropic glutamate receptor and motor coordination.  PNAS  112(50):15474-9

DaiZ., Sun S, Wang C, Hao H, Hu X, Zhang Z, Lu QR, Qiu M. (2014).  Stage-specific regulation of oligodendrocyte development by Wnt/β-catenin signaling.    J. Neurosci.    34(25):8467-73

Li X., Liu Z., Qiu M. and Yang Z. (2014). Cross-repressive interactions between Sp8 and Nkx2.2 specify the identity of pMN and p3 progenitors in the spinal cord.   Development   141(14):2875-84

Zhu Q, Zhao X, Zheng K, Li H., Huang H., Zhang Z., Wegner M, Chen Y., Sussel L and Qiu M.  (2014). Genetic evidence that Nkx2.2 and PDGFRa are major determinants of the timing of oligodendrocyte differentiation in the developing CNS.  Development   141(3):548-55

Zheng K, Li H, Huang H, and Qiu M.  (2012).  microRNAs and glial cell development.    Neuroscientist   18(2):114-8

Zhu Q, Whittemore S.,  DeVries W, Zhao X., Kuypers  N and Qiu M (2011). Dorsally-derived oligodendrocytes in the spinal cord contribute to axonal myelination during development and remyelination following focal demyelination.  Glia     59(11):1612-21

Zheng K, Li H, Zhu Y, Zhu Q and Qiu M (2010). miRNAs are required for the developmental switch from neurogenesis to gliogenesis in the spinal cord.   J.  Neurosci.  30 (24):8245-50

Park,J, Liu B, Chen T, Li H, Hu, X, Gao J, Zhu Y, Zhu Q, Qiang B, Yuan J, Peng X and Qiu M. (2008). Disruption of Necl-1 cell adhesion molecule leads to delayed axonal myelination in the developing nervous system. J. Neurosci. 28, 12815-12819.

Liu Z, Li H, Hu X, Yu L, Liu H, Colella R, Mower G , Chen Y, and Qiu M. (2008). Control of precerebellar neuron development by Olig3 bHLH transcription factor. J. Neurosci. 28, 10124-33.

Liu Z, Hu X, Cai J, Liu B, Peng X, Wegner M, and Qiu M. (2007). Induction of oligodendrocyte differentiation by Olig2 and Sox10: evidence for reciprocal interactions and dosage-dependent mechanisms. Dev. Biol. 302, 683-693.

Cai, J., Qi, Y., Hu, X., Tan, M., Liu, Z., Zhang J., Li, Q., Sander, M. and Qiu M. (2005). Generation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells from mouse dorsal spinal cord independent of Nkx6-regulation and Shh signaling. Neuron, 45:41-53 (covered by a preview).

Liu, R., Cai, J., Hu, X., Qi, Y., Tan, M., Sander, M., and Qiu, M. (2003). Region-specific and stage-dependent regulation of Olig gene expression and oligodendrogenesis by Nkx6.1 homeodomain transcription factor. Development, 130:6221-6231.

Fu H., Qi Y., Tan, M., Cia J., Hirohide T., Nakafuku M., Richardson W., Qiu M. (2002) Dual origin of spinal oligodendrocyte progenitors and evidence for the cooperative role of Olig2 and Nkx2.2 in the control of oligodendrocyte differentiation. Development, 129:681-693.

Qi, Y., Stapp, D. and Qiu, M. (2002). Origin and molecular specification of oligodendrocytes in the telencephalon. Trends in Neuroscience, 25:223-225.

Qi Y., Cai J., Wu Y., Lee J., Wu R., Sussel L., Rao M., Rubenstein J., Qiu M. (2001) “Control of oligodendrocyte differentiation by the Nkx-2.2 homeodomain transcription factor.” Development, 128:2723-2733.

Cai J., Qi Y., Wu R., Liu R., Modderman G., Qiu M. (2001) “Mutation lacking the Nkx-6.2 homeodomain transcription factor develop and reproduce normally.” Mol. Cell. Biol. 21:4399-4403.