University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
Arthur Weiss, MD, PhD

Arthur Weiss, MD, PhD

Professor, Departments of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
Ephraim P. Engleman Distinguished Professorship, UCSF

Cancer Center Program Memberships

Cancer Immunology

Research Summary

I have studied signal transduction in lymphocytes for more than 30 years, with a recent focused interest in the role of cytoplasmic tyrosine kinases and transmembrane phosphatases, molecules critically important in normal lymphocyte responses to pathogens and in responses to tumors. Mutations of some of these molecules within the hematopoietic lineage can lead to malignant transformation. I have studied the influence of dysregulation of tyrosine kinases, particularly of ZAP-70, and phosphatases such as CD45 and CD148 in mouse models of lymphoproliferation, a frequent precursor of malignant transformation. My lab discovered ZAP-70, demonstrated its importance in T cell antigen receptor signaling, and was one of the first to report ZAP-70 mutations as a cause of human SCID. We have also collaborated with Tom Kipps (UCSD) on the expression of ZAP-70 in human Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) as a prognostic marker and have studied its role in CLL cells. We have established several mouse models of ZAP-70, Csk, and CD45 mutant alleles to understand the consequences of these alleles on lymphocyte signaling.

During my career, I have served on the Scientific Advisory Boards of several biotechnology companies. Two have successful FDA-approved therapies for malignancies. Sunitinib, whose early development occurred at Sugen and then at Pfizer, has been approved for renal cell carcinoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors. Plexxikon developed Vemurafinib, a pioneering targeted therapeutic for melanomas harboring the BRAF V600E mutation, which occurs in approximately half of melanoma patients. I am a cofounder of Nurix, Inc., which seeks to develop therapeutics for various malignancies by targeting ubiquitin ligases.


University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, Ph.D., 1978, Immunology
University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, M.D., 1979, Medicine

Professional Experience

  • 1979-1980
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1980-1982
    Resident, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
  • 1982-1984
    Fellow in Rheumatology/Clinical Immunology, UCSF
  • 1982-1985
    Associate, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
  • 1984-1985
    Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology/Clinical Immunology, UCSF
  • 1985-1989
    Assistant Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
  • 1985-1989
    Assistant Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF
  • 1987-2011
    Chief, Division of Rheumatology/Clinical Immunology, Department of Medicine, UCSF
  • 1989-1993
    Associate Professor or Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF
  • 1989-1994
    Associate Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
  • 1991-present
    Ephraim P. Engleman Distinguished Professor of Rheumatology, UCSF
  • 1992-present
    Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, UCSF
  • 1993-present
    Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, UCSF
  • 1998-2005
    Associate Director, The Rosalind Russell Medical Research Center for Arthritis, UCSF
  • 2002-2006
    Director, Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), UCSF
  • 2007-2010
    Co-Director, Institute for Molecular Medicine, UCSF

Honors & Awards

  • 1997
    Lee C. Howley Prize, Arthritis Foundation
  • 1998
    Forty-First Faculty Research Lecturer, UCSF
  • 2001
    American Association of Immunologist-Huang Foundation Meritorious Career Award
  • 2003
    Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • 2004
    Member, National Academy of Sciences
  • 2004
    Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology
  • 2004
    Member, Institute of Medicine
  • 2004
    Distinguished Investigator Award, American College of Rheumatology
  • 2012
    Lifetime Achievement Award, American Association of Immunology
  • 2012
    UCSF Lifetime Achievement in Mentoring Award

Selected Publications

  1. Lo WL, Shah NH, Ahsan N, Horkova V, Stepanek O, Salomon AR, Kuriyan J, Weiss A. Lck promotes Zap70-dependent LAT phosphorylation by bridging Zap70 to LAT. Nat Immunol. 2018 Jul; 19(7):733-741.
    View on PubMed
  2. Smith GA, Taunton J, Weiss A. IL-2Rß abundance differentially tunes IL-2 signaling dynamics in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Sci Signal. 2017 Dec 19; 10(510).
    View on PubMed
  3. Courtney AH, Lo WL, Weiss A. TCR Signaling: Mechanisms of Initiation and Propagation. Trends Biochem Sci. 2018 02; 43(2):108-123.
    View on PubMed
  4. Courtney AH, Amacher JF, Kadlecek TA, Mollenauer MN, Au-Yeung BB, Kuriyan J, Weiss A. A Phosphosite within the SH2 Domain of Lck Regulates Its Activation by CD45. Mol Cell. 2017 Aug 03; 67(3):498-511.e6.
    View on PubMed
  5. Hsu LY, Cheng DA, Chen Y, Liang HE, Weiss A. Destabilizing the autoinhibitory conformation of Zap70 induces up-regulation of inhibitory receptors and T cell unresponsiveness. J Exp Med. 2017 03 06; 214(3):833-849.
    View on PubMed
  6. Au-Yeung BB, Smith GA, Mueller JL, Heyn CS, Jaszczak RG, Weiss A, Zikherman J. IL-2 Modulates the TCR Signaling Threshold for CD8 but Not CD4 T Cell Proliferation on a Single-Cell Level. J Immunol. 2017 03 15; 198(6):2445-2456.
    View on PubMed
  7. Ashouri JF, Weiss A. Endogenous Nur77 Is a Specific Indicator of Antigen Receptor Signaling in Human T and B Cells. J Immunol. 2017 01 15; 198(2):657-668.
    View on PubMed
  8. Skrzypczynska KM, Zhu JW, Weiss A. Positive Regulation of Lyn Kinase by CD148 Is Required for B Cell Receptor Signaling in B1 but Not B2 B Cells. Immunity. 2016 12 20; 45(6):1232-1244.
    View on PubMed
  9. Weiss A. Human LAT mutation results in immune deficiency and autoimmunity but also raises questions about signaling pathways. J Exp Med. 2016 06 27; 213(7):1114.
    View on PubMed
  10. Esensten JH, Helou YA, Chopra G, Weiss A, Bluestone JA. CD28 Costimulation: From Mechanism to Therapy. Immunity. 2016 05 17; 44(5):973-88.
    View on PubMed
  11. Smith GA, Uchida K, Weiss A, Taunton J. Essential biphasic role for JAK3 catalytic activity in IL-2 receptor signaling. Nat Chem Biol. 2016 May; 12(5):373-9.
    View on PubMed
  12. Chan AY, Punwani D, Kadlecek TA, Cowan MJ, Olson JL, Mathes EF, Sunderam U, Fu SM, Srinivasan R, Kuriyan J, Brenner SE, Weiss A, Puck JM. A novel human autoimmune syndrome caused by combined hypomorphic and activating mutations in ZAP-70. J Exp Med. 2016 Feb 08; 213(2):155-65.
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  13. Coughlin S, Noviski M, Mueller JL, Chuwonpad A, Raschke WC, Weiss A, Zikherman J. An extracatalytic function of CD45 in B cells is mediated by CD22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Nov 24; 112(47):E6515-24.
    View on PubMed
  14. Freedman TS, Tan YX, Skrzypczynska KM, Manz BN, Sjaastad FV, Goodridge HS, Lowell CA, Weiss A. LynA regulates an inflammation-sensitive signaling checkpoint in macrophages. Elife. 2015 Oct 30; 4.
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  15. Manz BN, Tan YX, Courtney AH, Rutaganira F, Palmer E, Shokat KM, Weiss A. Small molecule inhibition of Csk alters affinity recognition by T cells. Elife. 2015 Aug 24; 4.
    View on PubMed
  16. Goodfellow HS, Frushicheva MP, Ji Q, Cheng DA, Kadlecek TA, Cantor AJ, Kuriyan J, Chakraborty AK, Salomon A, Weiss A. The catalytic activity of the kinase ZAP-70 mediates basal signaling and negative feedback of the T cell receptor pathway. Sci Signal. 2015 May 19; 8(377):ra49.
    View on PubMed
  17. Weiss A, Stobo JD. Commentary: "The Role of T3 Surface Molecules in the Activation of Human Cells: A Two-Stimulus Requirement for IL-2 Production Reflects Events Occurring at a Pretranslational Level". Front Immunol. 2015; 6:163.
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  18. Chen Z, Shojaee S, Buchner M, Geng H, Lee JW, Klemm L, Titz B, Graeber TG, Park E, Tan YX, Satterthwaite A, Paietta E, Hunger SP, Willman CL, Melnick A, Loh ML, Jung JU, Coligan JE, Bolland S, Mak TW, Limnander A, Jumaa H, Reth M, Weiss A, Lowell CA, Müschen M. Signalling thresholds and negative B-cell selection in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Nature. 2015 May 21; 521(7552):357-61.
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  19. Tian R, Wang H, Gish GD, Petsalaki E, Pasculescu A, Shi Y, Mollenauer M, Bagshaw RD, Yosef N, Hunter T, Gingras AC, Weiss A, Pawson T. Combinatorial proteomic analysis of intercellular signaling applied to the CD28 T-cell costimulatory receptor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Mar 31; 112(13):E1594-603.
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  20. Mills RE, Lam VC, Tan A, Cresalia N, Oksenberg N, Zikherman J, Anderson M, Weiss A, Hermiston ML. Unbiased modifier screen reveals that signal strength determines the regulatory role murine TLR9 plays in autoantibody production. J Immunol. 2015 Apr 15; 194(8):3675-86.
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