Lab Web Page
Duojia D.J. Pan - Professor
Molecular Biology & Genetics
725 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21205
|Molecular Genetics of Tumor Suppressor Genes and Oncogenes|
The control of organ size is a long-standing puzzle in developmental
biology. My laboratory uses Drosophila
and mice as model systems to investigate size-control mechanisms in normal
development and their pathological roles in cancer. Our general approach is to
use Drosophila as a genetic tool to discover size-control genes. We then
use a combination of genetics and biochemistry to place these genes into
signaling networks. Finally, we use mouse genetics to investigate how the
size-control mechanisms we have uncovered in Drosophila regulate tissue homeostasis in mammals.
With these concerted efforts, we aim to decipher the general mechanisms
underlying control of organ size in animals.
To discover size-control genes, we conducted
genetic screens in Drosophila for mutations that result in
overgrowth of adult structures. These overgrowth mutants can be broadly divided
into two classes: those associated with an increase in cell size and those
associated with an increase in cell number. Earlier studies from my laboratory focused on the cell-size
mutants, which led to the discovery of
a cell size-controlling pathway that involves the tuberous sclerosis tumor
suppressors Tsc1 and Tsc2, the small GTPase Rheb, and the protein kinase TOR.
The functional link between Tsc1 and Tsc2 and TOR uncovered in Drosophila paved the way for the
clinical development of mTOR inhibitor everolimus in the treatment of subependymal giant cell astrocytoma associated with
Much of our recent
work focused on the overgrowth mutants associated with an increase in cell
number. These studies led us to the discovery of the
Hippo signaling pathway, which plays a critical role in stopping organ growth by
simultaneously promoting cell death and cell cycle exit as cells enter the
differentiation phase of organogenesis. In Drosophila, the Ste20-like kinase Hippo (Hpo) phosphorylates and
activates the NDR family kinase Warts (Wts). Wts, in turn, phosphorylates and inactivates
the oncoprotein Yorkie (Yki) by excluding it from the nucleus, where it
normally functions as a coactivator for the DNA-binding transcription factor
Scalloped (Sd). Building on insights from Drosophila,
we and others further delineated a mammalian Hippo pathway that links the
mammalian homologues of Hpo (Mst1/2), Wts (Lats1/2), Yki (YAP), and Sd
(TEAD/TEF family members) in an analogous signaling cascade. Using a
conditional YAP transgenic mouse model, we showed that the mammalian Hippo pathway
is a potent regulator of organ size and that its dysregulation leads to
tumorigenesis in mammals.
Our current and future research directions include: 1) elucidating the
composition, mechanism and regulation of Hippo signaling using Drosophila as a model; 2) understanding
the role of Hippo signaling in mammalian development, regeneration and
tumorigenesis using mouse genetics; 3) investigating the ancestral role of
Hippo signaling in unicellular organisms; 4) developing small-molecule
modulators of the Hippo pathway for cancer and regenerative medicine.
Liu-Chittenden, Y., Huang, B., Shim J.S., Chen, Q., Lee, S-J, Anders, R.A., Liu, J.O. and Pan, D. (2012) Genetic and pharmacological disruption of the TEAD-YAP complex suppresses the oncogenic activity of YAP. Genes Dev., 26: 1300-1305.
Sebé-Pedrós, A., Zheng, Y., Ruiz-Trillo, I., and Pan, D. (2012) Premetazoan origin of the Hippo signaling pathway. Cell Reports, 1: 13-20.
Cai, J., Zhang, N., Zheng, Y., de Wilde, R.F., Maitra, A., and Pan, D. (2010) The Hippo signaling pathway restricts the oncogenic potential of an intestinal regeneration program. Genes Dev., 24: 2383-2388.
Genes & Development
Pan, D. (2010) The Hippo signaling pathway in development and cancer. Dev. Cell, 19: 491-505.
Zhang, N., Bai, H., David, K.K., Dong, J., Zheng Y., Cai, J., Giovannini, M., Liu, P., Anders, A.A., and Pan, D. (2010) The Merlin/NF2 tumor suppressor functions through the YAP oncoprotein to regulate tissue homeostasis in mammals. Dev. Cell, 19: 27-38.
Ling, C., Zheng, Y., Yin, F., Yu, J., Huang, J., Hong, Y., Wu, S., and Pan, D. (2010) The apical transmembrane protein Crumbs functions as a tumor suppressor that regulates Hippo signaling by binding to Expanded. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 107: 10532-10537.
Natl. Acad. Sci.
Yu, J., Zheng, Y., Dong, J., Klusza, S., Deng, W-M., and Pan, D. (2010) Kibra functions as a tumor suppressor protein that regulates Hippo signaling in conjunction with Merlin and Expanded. Dev. Cell, 18: 288-299.
Wu, S., Liu, Y., Zheng, Y., Dong, J., and Pan, D. (2008) The TEAD/TEF family protein Scalloped mediates transcriptional output of the Hippo growth-regulatory pathway. Dev. Cell, 14: 388-98.
Dong, J., Feldman, G., Huang, J., Wu, S., Zhang, N., Comerford, S. A., Gayyed, M. F., Anders, R. A., Maitra, A., and Pan, D. (2007) Elucidation of a universal size-control mechanism in Drosophila and mammals. Cell 130:1120-1133.
Huang, J., Wu, S., Barrera, J., Matthews, K. and Pan, D. (2005) The Hippo Signaling Pathway Coordinately Regulates Cell Proliferation and Apoptosis by Inactivating Yorkie, the Drosophila Homolog of YAP. Cell 122: 421-434.
Wu, S., Huang, J., Dong, J. and Pan, D. (2003) hippo encodes a Ste-20 family protein kinase that restricts cell proliferation and promotes apoptosis in conjunction with salvador and warts. Cell 114: 445-456.
Zhang, Y., Gao, X., Saucedo, L.J., Ru, B., Edgar, B.A. and Pan, D. (2003) Rheb is a direct target of the tuberous sclerosis tumor suppressor proteins. Nature Cell Biol. 5: 578-581.
Gao, X., Zhang, Y., Arrazola, P., Hino, O., Kobayashi, T., Yeung, R. S., Ru, B. and Pan, D. (2002) Tsc tumor suppressor proteins antagonize amino-acid-TOR signaling. Nature Cell Biol. 4: 699-704.
Gao, X. and Pan, D. (2001) TSC1 and TSC2 tumor suppressors antagonize insulin signaling in cell growth. Genes Dev. 15: 1383-1392.
|Graduate Program Affiliations||Biochemistry, Cellular & Molecular Biology (BCMB)|