News

SNAI2-mediated repression of BIM protects rhabdomyosarcoma from ionizing radiation

September 13, 2021

Abstract Ionizing radiation (IR) and chemotherapy are mainstays of treatment for patients with rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), yet the molecular mechanisms that underlie the success or failure of radiotherapy remain unclear. The transcriptional repressor SNAI2 was previously identified as a key regulator of IR sensitivity in normal and malignant stem cells through its repression of the proapoptotic […]


Regulation of telomere homeostasis and genomic stability in cancer by N6-adenosine methylation (m6A)

August 9, 2021

Abstract The role of RNA methylation on N6-adenosine (m6A) in cancer has been acknowledged, but the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here, we identified the homeobox containing 1 (HMBOX1) as an authentic target mRNA of m6A machinery, which is highly methylated in malignant cells compared to the normal counterparts and subject to expedited degradation upon the […]


Contacts with macrophages promote an aggressive nanomechanical phenotype of circulating tumor cells in prostate cancer.

June 8, 2021

Abstract: Aggressive tumors of epithelial origin shed cells that intravasate and become circulating tumor cells (CTC). The CTCs that are able to survive the stresses encountered in the bloodstream can then seed metastases. We demonstrated previously that CTCs isolated from the blood of prostate cancer patients display specific nanomechanical phenotypes characteristic of cell endurance and […]


HOXBLINC long non-coding RNA activation promotes leukemogenesis in NPM1-mutant acute myeloid leukemia

April 2, 2021

Abstract: Nucleophosmin (NPM1) is the most commonly mutated gene in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) resulting in aberrant cytoplasmic translocation of the encoded nucleolar protein (NPM1c+). NPM1c+ maintains a unique leukemic gene expression program, characterized by activation of HOXA/B clusters and MEIS1 oncogene to facilitate leukemogenesis. However, the mechanisms by which NPM1c+ controls such gene expression patterns to […]


Interaction between SNAI2 and MYOD enhances oncogenesis and suppresses differentiation in Fusion Negative Rhabdomyosarcoma

January 25, 2021

Abstract: Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) is an aggressive pediatric malignancy of the muscle, that includes Fusion Positive (FP)-RMS harboring PAX3/7-FOXO1 and Fusion Negative (FN)-RMS commonly with RAS pathway mutations. RMS express myogenic master transcription factors MYOD and MYOG yet are unable to terminally differentiate. Here, we report that SNAI2 is highly expressed in FN-RMS, is oncogenic, blocks […]


Structure and non-canonical Cdk8 activation mechanism within an Argonaute-containing Mediator kinase module

January 19, 2021

Abstract: The dissociable Cdk8 kinase module (CKM) in Mediator, comprising Med13, Med12, CycC, and Cdk8, regulates RNA polymerase II transcription through kinase-dependent and kinase-independent functions. Numerous pathogenic mutations causative for neurodevelopmental disorders and cancer congregate in CKM subunits. However, the structure of the intact CKM and the mechanism by which Cdk8 is noncanonically activated and […]


TREX2 Exonuclease Causes Spontaneous Mutations and Stress-Induced Replication Fork Defects in Cells Expressing RAD51

January 13, 2021

Abstract: DNA damage tolerance (DDT) and homologous recombination (HR) stabilize replication forks (RFs). RAD18/UBC13/three prime repair exonuclease 2 (TREX2)-mediated proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) ubiquitination is central to DDT, an error-prone lesion bypass pathway. RAD51 is the recombinase for HR. The RAD51 K133A mutation increased spontaneous mutations and stress-induced RF stalls and nascent strand degradation. […]


UT Health San Antonio’s Dr. Jason Liu receives $100,000 grant from The Mary Kay Foundation

October 22, 2020

The Mary Kay Foundation on Oct. 22 announced that UT Health San Antonio is among its 2020 cancer grant recipients. The grants are awarded annually to top accredited research institutions in the United States conducting innovative translational research to better understand cancers that affect women. Zhijie “Jason” Liu, PhD, assistant professor of molecular medicine in […]


PAI-1-dependent inactivation of SMAD4-modulated junction and adhesion complex in obese endometrial cancer

September 9, 2020

Abstract: While plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) is known to potentiate cellular migration via proteolytic regulation, this adipokine is implicated as an oncogenic ligand in the tumor microenvironment. To understand the underlying paracrine mechanism, here we conduct transcriptomic analysis of 1,898 endometrial epithelial cells (EECs) exposed and unexposed to PAI-1-secreting adipose stromal cells. The PAI-1-dependent action […]


CPRIT awards Mays Cancer Center more than $10.3 million

August 25, 2020

Mingjiang Xu, MD, PhD, professor of molecular medicine and the San Antonio Cancer Council Distinguished Chair in Oncology, will receive an Individual Investigator Award of $900,000. The topic is “Role of HOTTIP lncRNA in Leukemogenesis.” Dr. Xu is interested in long non-coding RNAs, which if dysregulated play major roles in the development and progression of […]