Linking Signal Transduction to Gene Expression
The broad objective of our research is to explore the molecular links that exist between signal transduction pathways and events that compose inducible gene expression.
In the nucleus, gene expression is composed of coordinated chromatin, transcription, RNA processing and transport events. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is synthesized from the DNA template by RNA polymerase II. When chromatin is in the open or permissive state, gene transcription is started by the recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the gene promoter by the transcription initiation complex. This process, which involves transcriptional activators, general transcription factors, co-activators and other proteins, is highly regulated and responsive to extracellular signals delivered by kinase cascades and other pathways.
It is becoming increasingly apparent that altered chromatin and transcriptional events contribute to diseases such as cancer. We are developing advanced biotechnologies and computational tools to define how chromatin dynamics and transcriptional processes are regulated by extracellular signals. It is anticipated that comprehensive analysis of the interactions between inducible kinases with chromatin and transcription factors could be used to develop model systems to better understand and treat cancer, diabetes and other diseases with the hallmark of abnormal cell proliferation