A majority of the human genome consists elements called transposable elements – the fossils of evolutionary battles between ancient viruses and their human hosts. The human genome silences these elements by creating a specialized structure called heterochromatin on top of them. Dr. Keith Maggert and graduate student Farah Bughio's study in PNAS shows that heterochromatin is not as stable and reliable a protector as was previously thought, and instead turns on and off randomly and repeatedly throughout life, allowing transposable elements the freedom to once again move around the genome and cause damage. More information can be found here: PMID 31527269
Asthma and COPD are the most commonly diagnosed chronic lung diseases in the United States. While it is now recognized that a percentage of severe asthmatics develop fixed airway obstruction, little is known pertaining to the basic underlying mechanisms of this progression. Julie Ledford, PhD and her research team will examine the role of club cell secreted protein (CC16) in the context of airway infection as a previously overlooked link in understanding this progression. These studies may provide a novel therapeutic approach for treating individuals with low circulating CC16 in order to prevent lung function decline over time.
Anne Cress, PhD, and Gregory Rogers, PhD, received the prestigious NCI Provocative Questions Initiative grant to study molecular mechanisms of genomic alterations that contribute to early stages of prostate cancer initiation and progression. As co-PIs of this multi-PI (MPI) award, they lead an investigative team that includes Drs. Noel Warfel and Ray Nagle to investigate a link between hypoxia and organelle instability.
Curtis Thorne, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, and doctoral student Carly R. Cabel recently undertook an ambitious study to determine whether therapeutic targeting of LRP6 – a cell-surface receptor protein that mediates cell growth of its surrounding tissue environment - was a suitable treatment strategy for colon cancer, thus challenging the current scientific dogma and approaches to patient care. The results of Dr. Thorne and Ms. Cabel's experiments were published in a letter in the June 2019 issue of Developmental Cell. Read more here. PMID: 31211991
Anne Cress, PhD and her lab - in collaboration with two other CMM faculty members (Cindy Miranti, PhD and Noel Warfel, PhD) and the gene editing core service in the UA Cancer Center (led by Nathan Ellis, PhD) - found that tumors use a specific modification of an adhesion receptor called α6 integrin to generate invasive aggressive networks. The surprising finding was that gene editing of a specific extracellular region, not required for normal tissue function, can generate a new biophysical cancer phenotype unable to invade the structured muscle. PMID: 31337652
John Ryniawec (GPMM student), Dan Buster, PhD, Gregory Rogers, PhD and their collaborators recently published a new study in the journal Developmental Cell. They show a new mechanism linking the centrosome biogenesis machinery with the mitotic spindle orientation apparatus in Drosophila stem cells. Their work also reveals a new role for the kinase Polo-like kinase 4 in promoting centrosome disassembly. More information can be found here: PMID: 31130353
Time: 2 - 3:30 pm
Location: Leon Levy Cancer Center 2920 (Tucson), BSBP E112 (Phoenix)