The Laboratory of biological electron microscopy and structural biology

(dr. fei sun’s lab)



Personal Statement:

My research interests are the structural and functional studies of important biological macromolecules related to major human diseases. In particular, I am experienced in researching and designing the specific inhibitors against viral infection and cancer cell’s migration, by solving and analyzing the atomic three dimensional structures of the related proteins. So far, I have solved more than 30 different protein structures and deposited them into the Word Protein Data Bank (wwPDB), and published more than 20 SCI papers on international famous academic journals (Nat Commun, J Virol, Sci Rep, Emerging microbes & infections, Protein & Cell, J Biol Chem, AIDS, etc.) as first author or corresponding author. I am leading and participating in several research projects of National Natural Science Foundation of China, and the Key Research and Develop Project of China. I am selected as the evaluation expert of Natural Science Foundation of Beijing, and as the reviewers of several interactional academic journals.  

My representative achievements include: (1) We solved the crystal structure of fusion core of MERS-CoV, and designed the specific entry inhibitor against this new coronavirus for the first time in the world. This work was published on the journal of “Nature Communications”, and reported by multiple international journals and media, casing international attentions. (2) We designed a variety of novel viral entry inhibitors, and clarified their mechanisms by solve the high-resolution structures. These works promote the development of new drugs for the treatment of HIV and HPV infections. Some of these inhibitors have been industrialized and brought considerable economic and social benefits. (3) We solved the first crystal structure of important Sirtuin family protein which plays key regulatory roles in human cancer cell, which provides a new direction and drug target for future cancer treatment. (4) We solved the crystal structure of iridoid synthetase from catharanthus roseus, and clarified its catalytic mechanism in the biosynthesis of important cancer drugs, like vincristine and vincristine. This work provides important basis for the industrialization of these natural cancer drugs. (5) We solved several high-resolution structures of active segments of different human collagen subtypes, then designed human collagen derived biological functional materials. They have been industrialized and brought considerable economic and social benefits.


    2006 – 2011, PhD in in School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China

    2002 – 2006, Bachelor in School of Life Science, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China


2011 – 2013, Assistant Professor, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences

2014 – present, Associate Professor, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences


1.  Hua C#, Zhu Y#, Xu W, Ye S, Zhang R*, Lu L*, Jiang S*. 2019. Characterization by high-resolution crystal structure analysis of a triple-helix region of human collagen type III with potent cell adhesion activity. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 508:1018-1023.

2.  Yaug H#, Zhu Y#, Chen X, Li XX, Ye S*, Zhang RG*. 2018. Structure of a prokaryotic SEFIR domain reveals two novel SEFIR-SEFIR interaction modes. Journal Of Structural Biology 203:81-89.

3.  Chen BH#, Zhu Y#, Ye S*, Zhang RG*. 2018. Structure of the DNA-binding domain of human myelin-gene regulatory factor reveals its potential protein-DNA recognition mode. Journal Of Structural Biology 203:170-178.

4. Su S#, Zhu Y#, Ye S, Qi Q, Xia S, Ma Z, Yu F, Wang Q, Zhang R*, Jiang S*, Lu L. 2017. Creating an Artificial Tail Anchor as a Novel Strategy To Enhance the Potency of Peptide-Based HIV Fusion Inhibitors. J Virol 91.

5.  Su S#, Wang Q#, Xu W, Yu F, Hua C, Zhu Y*, Jiang S*, Lu L*. 2017. A novel HIV-1 gp41 tripartite model for rational design of HIV-1 fusion inhibitors with improved antiviral activity. AIDS 31:885-894.

6.  Hu J#, Zhu Y#, Zhang JZ, Zhang RG*, Li HM. 2017. A Novel Mutation in the Pyrin Domain of the NOD-like Receptor Family Pyrin Domain Containing Protein 3 in Muckle-Wells Syndrome. Chin Med J (Engl) 130:586-593.

7.  Zhu Y#, Su S#, Qin L, Wang Q, Shi L, Ma Z, Tang J, Jiang S, Lu L, Ye S*, Zhang R*. 2016. Rational improvement of gp41-targeting HIV-1 fusion inhibitors: an innovatively designed Ile-Asp-Leu tail with alternative conformations. Sci Rep 6:31983.

8.  Sun Z#, Zhu Y#, Wang Q, Ye L, Dai Y, Su S, Yu F, Ying T, Yang C, Jiang S*, Lu L*. 2016. An immunogen containing four tandem 10E8 epitope repeats with exposed key residues induces antibodies that neutralize HIV-1 and activates an ADCC reporter gene. Emerg Microbes Infect 5:e65.

9.  Qin L#, Zhu Y#, Ding Z, Zhang X, Ye S*, Zhang R*. 2016. Structure of iridoid synthase in complex with NADP(+)/8-oxogeranial reveals the structural basis of its substrate specificity. J Struct Biol 194:224-30.

10. Guo X#, Qiu L#, Wang Y, Wang Y, Wang Q, Song L, Li Y, Huang K, Du X, Fan W, Jiang S, Wang Q, Li H, Yang Y, Meng Y, Zhu Y*, Lu L*, Jiang S*. 2016. A randomized open-label clinical trial of an anti-HPV biological dressing (JB01-BD) administered intravaginally to treat high-risk HPV infection. Microbes Infect 18:148-52.

11. Guo X#, Qiu L#, Wang Y, Wang Y, Meng Y, Zhu Y*, Lu L*, Jiang S*. 2016. Safety evaluation of chemically modified beta-lactoglobulin administered intravaginally. J Med Virol 88:1098-101.

12. Zhu X#, Zhu Y#, Ye S, Wang Q, Xu W, Su S, Sun Z, Yu F, Liu Q, Wang C, Zhang T, Zhang Z, Zhang X, Xu J, Du L, Liu K, Lu L, Zhang R*, Jiang S*. 2015. Improved Pharmacological and Structural Properties of HIV Fusion Inhibitor AP3 over Enfuvirtide: Highlighting Advantages of Artificial Peptide Strategy. Sci Rep 5:13028.

13. Fu S#, Tong P#, Tan Y, Zhu Y*, Chen YH*. 2015. P20A inhibits HIV-1 fusion through its electrostatic interaction with the distal region of the gp41 fusion core. Microbes Infect 17:665-70.

14. Lu L#, Liu Q#, Zhu Y#, Chan KH, Qin L, Li Y, Wang Q, Chan JF, Du L, Yu F, Ma C, Ye S, Yuen KY, Zhang R*, Jiang S*. 2014. Structure-based discovery of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus fusion inhibitor. Nat Commun 5:3067.

15. Chen Y#, Song X#, Ye S, Miao L, Zhu Y, Zhang RG*, Ji G*. 2013. Structural insight into enhanced calcium indicator GCaMP3 and GCaMPJ to promote further improvement. Protein Cell 4:299-309.

16. Chao L, Lu L, Yang H, Zhu Y, Li Y, Wang Q, Yu X, Jiang S*, Chen YH*. 2013. Identification of a human protein-derived HIV-1 fusion inhibitor targeting the gp41 fusion core structure. PLoS One 8:e66156.

17. Liu Y#, Zhu Y#, Ye S*, Zhang R*. 2012. Crystal structure of kindlin-2 PH domain reveals a conformational transition for its membrane anchoring and regulation of integrin activation. Protein Cell 3:434-40.

18. Zhu Y#, Lu L#, Xu L, Yang H, Jiang S*, Chen YH*. 2010. Identification of a gp41 core-binding molecule with homologous sequence of human TNNI3K-like protein as a novel human immunodeficiency virus type 1 entry inhibitor. J Virol 84:9359-68.

19. Lu L#, Zhu Y#, Huang J, Chen X, Yang H, Jiang S*, Chen YH*. 2008. Surface exposure of the HIV-1 env cytoplasmic tail LLP2 domain during the membrane fusion process: interaction with gp41 fusion core. J Biol Chem 283:16723-31.

20. Lu L#, Zhu Y#, Diao J, Wang Z, Chen YH*. 2008. V3 CTL epitope density in a single recombinant molecule antigen differentially affects the number and activity of primary and memory CD8+ T cells. Vaccine 26:845-52.

21. Zhu Y#, Lu L#, Chao L, Chen YH*. 2007. Important changes in biochemical properties and function of mutated LLP12 domain of HIV-1 gp41. Chem Biol Drug Des 70:311-8.

Dr. Yun Zhu

Associate professor, Structural Biology

Institute of Biophysics, CAS

Tel: +86-(0)10-64888582