Cell and Molecular Biology of Cancer Program

intestinal epithelia

Targeting the foundations of cancer

Just like a complex machine is made up of synchronized parts, a cancer cell is the sum of highly organized molecules that relay information to make a tumor.

From individual molecules to subcellular compartments, our goal is to understand how the fundamental parts of a human cell work together to support heath, and how they malfunction to cause disease. This elemental view of biology guides the way we study cancer, the methods we use to understand it, and our approach to discovering new therapies.

Directors' statement

Members of the CMBC program focus on understanding how the molecular framework of a cancer cell functions in unison to promote the fundamental processes of metabolism, signaling across membranes and cellular vitality. We want to know what parts do, how they work and what they look like. This approach is driving our research toward therapies that target cancer and improve our health.

Cosimo Commisso, Ph.D. and Francesca Marassi, Ph.D., Program Directors



Adipocyte p62/SQSTM1 Suppresses Tumorigenesis through Opposite Regulations of Metabolism in Adipose Tissue and Tumor.

Huang J, Duran A, Reina-Campos M, Valencia T, Castilla EA, Müller TD, Tschöp MH, Moscat J, Diaz-Meco MT

Cancer Cell 2018 Apr 9 ;33(4):770-784.e6

Lipoprotein Particle Formation by Proapoptotic tBid.

Ekanayake V, Nisan D, Ryzhov P, Yao Y, Marassi FM

Biophys J 2018 Aug 7 ;115(3):533-542

Phosphatidylinositol-5-Phosphate 4-Kinases Regulate Cellular Lipid Metabolism By Facilitating Autophagy.

Lundquist MR, Goncalves MD, Loughran RM, Possik E, Vijayaraghavan T, Yang A, Pauli C, Ravi A, Verma A, Yang Z, Johnson JL, Wong JCY, Ma Y, Hwang KS, Weinkove D, Divecha N, Asara JM, Elemento O, Rubin MA, Kimmelman AC, Pause A, Cantley LC, Emerling BM

Mol Cell 2018 May 3 ;70(3):531-544.e9

Synthesis and preliminary studies of 11C-labeled tetrahydro-1,7-naphthyridine-2-carboxamides for PET imaging of metabotropic glutamate receptor 2.

Zhang X, Zhang Y, Chen Z, Shao T, Van R, Kumata K, Deng X, Fu H, Yamasaki T, Rong J, Hu K, Hatori A, Xie L, Yu Q, Ye W, Xu H, Sheffler DJ, Cosford NDP, Shao Y, Tang P, Wang L, Zhang MR, Liang SH

Theranostics 2020 ;10(24):11178-11196

Identification and Development of a New Positron Emission Tomography Ligand 4-(2-Fluoro-4-[11C]methoxyphenyl)-5-((1-methyl-1H-pyrazol-3-yl)methoxy)picolinamide for Imaging Metabotropic Glutamate Receptor Subtype 2 (mGlu2).

Yamasaki T, Zhang X, Kumata K, Zhang Y, Deng X, Fujinaga M, Chen Z, Mori W, Hu K, Wakizaka H, Hatori A, Xie L, Ogawa M, Nengaki N, Van R, Shao Y, Sheffler DJ, Cosford NDP, Liang SH, Zhang MR

J Med Chem 2020 Oct 22 ;63(20):11469-11483

Fructose stimulated de novo lipogenesis is promoted by inflammation.

Todoric J, Di Caro G, Reibe S, Henstridge DC, Green CR, Vrbanac A, Ceteci F, Conche C, McNulty R, Shalapour S, Taniguchi K, Meikle PJ, Watrous JD, Moranchel R, Najhawan M, Jain M, Liu X, Kisseleva T, Diaz-Meco MT, Moscat J, Knight R, Greten FR, Lau LF, Metallo CM, Febbraio MA, Karin M

Nat Metab 2020 Oct ;2(10):1034-1045

The scaffold protein p62 regulates adaptive thermogenesis through ATF2 nuclear target activation.

Fischer K, Fenzl A, Liu D, Dyar KA, Kleinert M, Brielmeier M, Clemmensen C, Fedl A, Finan B, Gessner A, Jastroch M, Huang J, Keipert S, Klingenspor M, Brüning JC, Kneilling M, Maier FC, Othman AE, Pichler BJ, Pramme-Steinwachs I, Sachs S, Scheideler A, Thaiss WM, Uhlenhaut H, Ussar S, Woods SC, Zorn J, Stemmer K, Collins S, Diaz-Meco M, Moscat J, Tschöp MH, Müller TD

Nat Commun 2020 May 8 ;11(1):2306

NRF2 activates growth factor genes and downstream AKT signaling to induce mouse and human hepatomegaly.

He F, Antonucci L, Yamachika S, Zhang Z, Taniguchi K, Umemura A, Hatzivassiliou G, Roose-Girma M, Reina-Campos M, Duran A, Diaz-Meco MT, Moscat J, Sun B, Karin M

J Hepatol 2020 Jun ;72(6):1182-1195

ORP5 regulates PI(4)P on the lipid droplet: Novel players on the monolayer.

Renne MF, Emerling BM

J Cell Biol 2020 Jan 6 ;219(1)

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