Cancer Biology, Cadherin-Catenin mediated Cell adhesion and Signaling, POZ Transcription Factors Our research goal is to understand the cellular and molecular basis of E-cadherin-mediated adhesion in normal cell growth, development and tumourigenesis. The primary epithelial cell-cell adhesion system involving E-cadherin and its catenin cofactors a-, b-, g- and p120ctn, is perturbed in ~50% of human metastatic tumours, and this correlates with the invasive phenotype. Interestingly, the catenins also function as transcriptional regulators of genes involved in tumourigenesis. My laboratory focuses on the transcription factor Kaiso that was first identified as a specific binding partner for the catenin p120ctn, which is aberrantly expressed or absent in human breast, colon and skin carcinomas. Kaiso is a novel member of the POZ-zinc finger family of transcription factors implicated as oncoproteins or tumor suppressors, and currently it is the only known POZ protein with bi-modal DNA-binding and transcriptional repression activity; Kaiso recognizes a sequence-specific consensus, TCCTGCNA, or methylated CpG-dinucleotides.
Genetics & Molecular Biology; Cell and Developmental Biology