Science Park in the News
The Shi lab has found a new protein reader of modified proteins. The YEATS domain of AF9 recognizes acetylated histones. It was previously thought the only readers of acetyl groups were bromodomains. Bromodomains have long been a target of cancer therapuetic development, and the YEATS domain may now provide a new avenue for the development of future therapeutic targets.
Dr. Hong Wen, an Assistant Professor in Xiaobing Shi's lab found that the protein ZMYND11 recognizes a special mark on another protein that helps package and protect DNA, the histone variant H3.3. When histone H3.3 is methylated, ZMYND11 recognizes and binds to the methylation mark to turn off a gene expression program that helps tumors grow.
A new study by Dr. Mark Bedford establishes a link between the TDRD3 protein and an enzyme that unwinds DNA at regions of active gene expression. The study provides evidence that this partnership can prevent DNA breakage and chromosomal translocations – two of the hallmarks of cancer.
A group of 72 Science Park employees participated in Walk Across Texas, a program that encourages regular physical activity. The teams collectively walked a total of 20,970 miles over an 8-week period, far surpassing their goal of walking 830 miles – the distance between El Paso and Beaumont.
Dr. Dean Tang of the Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis received the 2012 Sanofi-Cell Research Outstanding Review Article Award for his review paper entitled “Understanding cancer stem cell heterogeneity and plasticity," published in March 2012. The article describes current research into the relationship between cancer cell heterogeneity and tumor development.
Researchers in Dr. Mark Bedford's lab collaborated on a study that identified distinct types of arginine methylation marks on E2F-1, a protein with opposing roles in both cell proliferation and apoptosis. Because the growth-promoting "Mr. Hyde" version of E2F-1 is implicated in most cancers, blocking the switch to this form could provide a new target for cancer treatment.
The function of nuclear actin has stumped scientists for several decades. In a study featured on the cover of Nature Structural Biology, investigators in Science Park faculty member Dr. Snow Shen's lab uncovered one of the protein's key nuclear functions.
Dr. Sharon Dent and Dr. David Johnson, faculty from the Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Center for Cancer Epigenetics, review a number of recent studies highlighting chromatin's role as both receiver and transmitter of signals in various cell functions.
Science Park faculty member Dr. Dean Tang led a study that for the first time separated low-PSA and high-PSA prostate cancer cells, which led to the discovery of a low-PSA population of cancer stem cells that appears to be an important source of castration-resistant prostate cancer.
A team of researchers directed by Dr. Sharon Dent, director of the Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis and Center for Cancer Epigenetics, investigate a signaling activity of chromatin that is independent of its central role in gene transcription.
A research team led by Dr. Dean Tang of Science Park reported that a microRNA inhibits prostate cancer metastasis by suppressing a surface protein commonly found on prostate cancer stem cells.
Investigators from Dr. David Mitchell's lab at Science Park reported that early life exposure to ultraviolet A light does not cause melanoma in a fish model that previously made that connection.
Researchers in Dr. Xuetong Shen’s lab are using the INO80 chromatin remodeling complex in yeast as a model system to study the function of actin in the nucleus. They recently showed that actin monomers in the INO80 complex play a role in the process of chromatin remodeling – challenging the dogma that actin functions through polymerization, and revealing a novel mechanism for nuclear actin.