LEO Wong

LEO Wong

PhD, Associate Investigator
Mechanistic roles of liquid-liquid phase separation in synaptic transmission, neural plasticity, and neurodegenerative diseases
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Biomolecular condensates or membraneless organelles have been recently discovered as unique intracellular hubs for various biochemical activities that entail a new form of control. In particular, synapses being the nodes that dictate dynamics of the underlying neural circuits, contain many different scaffold proteins that phase separate and probably act in synergy to modulate neural transmission and plasticity. On the other hand, aberrant phase separation of synaptic proteins may also contribute to the pathology of various brain disorders. Our lab focuses on developing new tools to interrogate phase separation in the synapse by using new fluorescence probe for visualization and peptide chemistry for controlling phase transition. In addition, we delineate the dynamic interactions network between intrinsically disordered synaptic proteins that drive the phase separation process by using high-dimensional NMR spectroscopy.


2020-present, Associate Investigator at Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Science

2018-2020, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Toronto
2013-2018, Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
2008-2013, School of Biological Sciences, Nanyang Technological University, PhD.
2003-2007, National University of Singapore, BSc in Life Sciences

Selected publications

  1. Wong LE, Kim TH, Rennella E, Vallurupalli P, Kay LE. (2020) Confronting the Invisible: Assignment of Protein 1HNChemical Shifts in Cases of Extreme Broadening. J Phys Chem Lett.11(9):3384-3389.
  2. Wong LE, Kim TH, Muhandiram DR, Forman-Kay JD, Kay LE. (2020) NMR experiments for studies of dilute and condensed protein phases: Application to the phase-separating protein CAPRIN1. J Am Chem Soc.142(5):2471-2489.
  3. Wong LE, Bhatt A, Erdmann PS, Hou Z, Maier J, Pirkuliyeva S, Engelke M, Becker S, Plitzko J, Wienands J, Griesinger C. (2020)Tripartite phase separation of two signal effectors with vesicles priming B cell responsiveness.Nat Commun. 11(1):848.  
  4. Wong LE, Maier J, Wienands J, Becker S, Griesinger C. (2018) Sensitivity-Enhanced Four-Dimensional Amide-Amide Correlation NMR Experiments for Sequential Assignment of Proline-Rich Disordered Proteins. J Am Chem Soc.140(10):3518-3522.
  5. Kühn J*, Wong LE*, Pirkuliyeva S, Schulz K, Schwiegk C, Fünfgeld KG, Keppler S, Batista FD, Urlaub H, Habeck M, Becker S, Griesinger C, Wienands J. (2016) The adaptor protein CIN85 assembles intracellular signaling clusters for B cell activation. Sci Signal. 9(434):ra66. *Co-first authors