E2f, beyond the cell cycle
Patrick Viatour, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
The goal of Patrick Viatour’s lab is to determine the mechanisms that transform adult stem cells into the cell of origin for many types of cancer. In particular, the lab studies the epigenetic mechanisms that drive tumor initiation and progression upon loss of major tumor suppressor genes such as the Rb genes family. Rb family, which includes Rb, p130 and p107, plays a central role in the regulation of cell cycle activity by sequestering E2F transcription factors. Cellular exposure to mitotic stimuli leads to the functional inactivation of Rb family proteins. Consequently, E2F factors are released and transactivate a large set of genes that collectively promote the progression through cell cycle. Genetic and epigenetic events targeting various components of the Rb pathway have been identified in the vast majority of cancers. A common and important consequence of these events is the permanent inactivation of Rb family, therefore establishing Rb family genes as major tumor suppressor genes. However, besides aberrant proliferation, the mechanisms that drive tumorigenesis upon Rb family inactivation remain mostly unknown. Current research effort aims at identifying these epigenetic mechanisms and developing compound-based strategies to inactivate them and impair tumor development.
Patrick Viatour (Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, USA)