Peijun Zhang

Peijun Zhang

Supernumerary Fellow in Medicine; Professor of Structural Biology



Our research aims at an integrated, atomistic understanding of the molecular mechanisms of large protein complexes and assemblies by developing and combining novel technologies for high-resolution cryoEM/cryoET with complementary computational and biophysical/biochemical methods. We continue to focus on two exciting and important biological systems: i) HIV-1 assembly, maturation, and interactions with host cells; ii) Mechanisms of signal transduction and transmission in bacterial chemotaxis responsible for bacterial infection. These large and dynamic systems have long been intractable to structural analysis. We are developing cutting-edge cryoEM/cryoET technologies that enable in situ and time-resolved structures at unprecedented resolutions to address fundamental biological questions.

Selected Publications

Ni T, Gerard S, Zhao G, Dent K, Ning J, Zhou J, Shi J, Anderson-Daniels J, Li W, Jang S, Engelman AN, Aiken C, Zhang P* (2020) Intrinsic curvature of HIV-1 CA hexamer underlies capsid topology and interaction with cyclophilin A. Nat Struct Mol Biol., doi:10.1038/s41594-020-0467-8.

Sun D., Varlakhanova N.V., Tornabene B.A., Ramachandran R., Zhang P.*, Ford M.G.J. (2020) The cryo-EM structure of the SNX-BAR Mvp1 tetramer. Nat Commun 11(1):1506.

Cassidy C.K., Himes B.A., Sun D., Ma J., Zhao G., Parkinson J.S., Stansfeld P.J., Luthey-Schulten Z. and Zhang P.* (2020) Structure and dynamics of the E. coli chemotaxis core signaling complex by cryo-electron tomography and molecular simulations. Commun Biol. 3(1):24. doi:10.1038/s42003-019-0748-0

Zhang P.* (2019) Advances in cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging and classification. Curr Opin Struct Biol. doi: 10.1016/

Himes B.A. and Zhang P.* (2018) emClarity: Software for High Resolution Cryo-electron Tomography and Sub-tomogram Averaging. Nat Methods 15(11):955-961

Alvarez F.J.D., He S., Perilla J.R., Jang S., Schulten K., Engelman A.N., Scheres S.H.W., Zhang P.* (2017) CryoEM structure of MxB reveals a novel oligomerization interface critical for HIV restriction. Sci Adv 3(9):e1701264

Ning J., Erdemci-Tandogan G., Yufenyuy E.L., Wagner J., Himes B.A., Zhao G., Aiken C., Zandi R., Zhang P.* (2016) In vitro Protease Cleavage and Computer Simulations Reveal the HIV-1 Capsid Maturation Pathway. Nat Commun 7:13689

Liu C., Perilla J. R., Ning J., Lu M., Hou G., Ramalho R., Bedwell G., Byeon I., Ahn J., Gronenborn A. M., Prevelige P., Rousso I., Aiken, C., Polenova T., Schulten K., Zhang P.* (2016) Cyclophilin A Stabilizes the HIV-1 Capsid through a Novel Non-canonical Binding Site. Nat Commun 7: 10714.

Cassidy C. K, Himes B. A., Alvarez F. J., Ma J., Zhao G., Perilla J. R., Schulten K., Zhang P.* (2015) CryoEM and Computer Simulations Reveal a Novel Kinase Conformational Switch in Bacterial Chemotaxis Signaling. Elife. 2015 Nov 19;4. pii: e08419. doi: 10.7554/eLife.08419.

Zhao G., Perilla J.R., Yufenyuy E.L., Meng X., Chen B., Ning J., Ahn J., Gronenborn A.M., Schulten K., Aiken C., Zhang P.* (2013) Mature HIV-1 Capsid Structure by Cryo-electron Microscopy and All-atom Molecular Dynamics. Nature 497(7451):643-6. Featured on the cover of Nature.

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