Hongxiang Liu Associate Professor Animal & Dairy Science
Portrait of Hongxiang Liu
Contact Information lhx@uga.edu 706-542-7048 706-583-0274
Mailing Address Athens, CAES Campus E.L. Rhodes Center, 425 River Road, Athens, GA 30602
Shipping Address Athens, CAES Campus E.L. Rhodes Center, 425 River Road, Athens, GA 30602

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Portrait of Hongxiang Liu

Academic Profile


M.D., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)
M.Sc., Henan Medical University (currently Zhengzhou University)
Ph.D., Beijing Medical University (currently Peking University)


Description of Research Interests

Taste buds are sensory organs that consist of 60-100 specialized cells that have both neural and epithelial features and function to transduce gustatory stimuli into neural signals. Studies on fundamental issues including taste bud cell origin and renewal will bring new information and perspective to the field for how taste sensitivity is developed and maintained. Taste buds in the mammalian tongue reside in three types of taste papillae: fungiform, circumvallate, and foliate. Each type of taste papillae has its own unique spatial and morphological features, but all are similarly comprised of an epithelium covering a connective tissue core, with nerve fibers traversing to innervate the taste buds. The unique topographic pattern of taste papillae and neuro-epithelial features of taste buds provide a unique model for developmental biology and regenerative medicine studies. To demonstrate the origin of taste bud cells and the regulatory signaling pathways responsible for the development of taste papillae and taste buds, we use whole embryo and tongue organ culture systems, as well as transgenic mouse lines for functional and morphological analyses. We are also expanding our research program to include the identification of progenitor/stem cells of taste buds in non-mammalian vertebrates, as well as translational studies using human stem cells and tissues.

Courses Taught

ADSC 4300/6300 Food Animal Growth and Development, Spring 2015, 2016, 2017
ADSC 8230 Neurobiology of Chemical Senses and Food Perception, Fall 2016
ADSC 8888, RBC Journal Club, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
ADSC 8240, Fall 2016 Guest lecture
ADSC 7000, Master Research
ADSC 9000, Doctoral Research
Undergraduate Research


Selected Recent Publications

Chen GQ, Ishan M, Yang J, Kishigami S, Fukuda T, Scott G, Ray MK, Chen S, Komatsu Y, Mishina Y, and Liu HX. Specific and spatial labeling of P0-Cre versus Wnt1-Cre in cranial neural crest in early mouse embryos. Genesis, 2017 in press.

Webb RL, Gallegos-Cárdenas A, Miller CN, Solomotis NJ, Liu HX, West FD and Stice SL. Pig Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Derived Neural Rosettes Parallel Human Differentiation into Sensory Neural Subtypes. Journal Cellular Reprogramming, 2017 Mar 7. doi: 10.1089/cell.2016.0057. [Epub ahead of print].

Rajapaksha P, Wang Z, Venkatesan N, Tehrani KF, Payne J, Swetenburg RL, Kawabata F, Tabata S, Mortensen LJ, Stice S, Beckstead R, Liu HX. Labeling and analysis of chicken taste buds using molecular markers in oral epithelial sheets. Scientific Reports, 2016 Nov 17; 6:37247. doi: 10.1038/srep37247.

Venkatesan N, Rajapaksha P, Payne J, Goodfellow F, Wang Z, Kawabata F, Tabata S, Stice S, Beckstead R, Liu HX. Distribution of α-Gustducin and Vimentin in premature and mature taste buds in chickens. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 479(2):305-311, 2016; pii: S0006-291X(16)31524-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2016.09.064. [Epub ahead of print]

Harrison TA, Boggs K, Liu HX, Defoe DM. Corneal Endothelial Cells Possess an Elaborate Multipolar Shape to Maximize Basolateral to Apical Membrane Area. Molecular Vision, 22:31-39, 2016.

Boggs K, Venkatesan N, Mederacke I, Komatsu Y, Stice S, Schwabe RF, Mistretta CM, Mishina Y, Liu HX. Contribution of Underlying Connective Tissue Cells to Taste Buds in Mouse Tongue and Soft Palate. PLoS ONE, 11(1): e0146475. 2016. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0146475

Venkatesan N, Boggs K, Liu HX. Taste bud labeling in whole tongue epithelial sheet in adult mice. Tissue Eng Part C Methods, 22(4):332-337, 2016. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEC.2015.0377. Epub 2016 Jan 25.

Liu, H.X., Ermilov A., Grachtchouk M., Li L., Gumucio D.L., Dlugosz A.A., C.M. Mistretta. Multiple Shh signaling centers participate in fungiform papilla and taste bud formation and maintenance. Developmental biology, 382(1):82-97, 2013.

Liu, H.X., Y. Komatsu, Y. Mishina, C.M. Mistretta. Neural crest contribution to lingual mesenchyme, epithelium and developing taste papillae and taste buds. Developmental Biology, 368: 294-303, 2012. May 30. [Epub ahead of print]

Liu, H.X., A.S. Grosse, K. Iwatsuki, Y. Mishina, D.L. Gumucio, C.M. Mistretta. Separate and distinctive roles for Wnt5a in tongue, lingual tissue and taste papilla development. Developmental Biology, 361(1):39-56, 2012.

Liu, H.X., A.M. Staubach Grosse, K.D. Walton, D.A. Saims, D.L. Gumucio, C.M. Mistretta. WNT5a in tongue and fungiform papilla development: distinct roles compared with WNT10b and other morphogenetic proteins. Annals of The New York Academy of Sciences, 1170:11-17, 2009.

Liu, H.X., B.S. Henson, Y.Q. Zhou, N.J. D’Silva, C.M. Mistretta. Fungiform papilla pattern: EGF regulates inter-papilla lingual epithelium and decreases papilla number via PI3K/Akt, MEK/ERK and p38 MAPK signaling. Developmental Dynamics, 237: 2378-2393, 2008.

Iwatsuki, K., H.X. Liu, A. Grunder, M.A. Singer, T.F. Lane, R. Grosschedl, C. Mistretta, R.F. Margolskee. Wnt signaling interacts with Shh to regulate taste papilla development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), 104: 2253-2258, 2007.