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Mechanisms and functions of TGF- signaling in cancer progression

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Ying Zhang Senior Investigator of Cellular and Molecular Biology for the National Institutes of Health
12 February 2019 from 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM
8 Mueller Lab
Dept of Biology
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The research in Dr. Zhang’s laboratory focuses on understanding how TGF-b family of peptide growth factors communicate through various signaling conduits to mount a diverse array of cellular responses.  Since these growth factors are vital to just about every aspect of cellular functions, it is crucial to obtain a complete picture of how they signal.  Dr. Zhang is known for her contributions in delineating the TGF-b pathway from identifying Smad proteins and establishing a general paradigm of how Smad proteins control transcription through cooperating with other transcription factors to elucidating non-Smad pathways of TGF-b signaling.  For her seminar, Dr. Zhang will discuss their recent discovery that phosphorylation of Smad3 caused by genetic alterations that are unique to cancer cells enables it to interact and cooperate with a known RNA-binding protein PCBP1 to modulate alternative splicing in favor of expressing protein isoforms that are critical to cancer cell invasion and metastasis.  These findings unraveled the mystery of how TGF-b is converted from a tumor suppressor in normal cells to a potent promoter of cancer progression in advanced tumors, and provided new insights to deprive tumors the metastatic advantage and combat drug resistance during chemotherapy.