Cancer, Molecules and Structures Program

intestinal epithelia

Targeting the molecular parts of health and disease

Cancer and human disease are fundamentally molecular. Just like a complex machine is a sum of its mechanical parts, human biology is made up of many molecular parts. 

Our goal is to understand how the molecular parts work with each other to support health, and how they malfunction to cause disease. This molecular view of biology guides the way we study disease progression, the methods we use to understand it, and our approach to discovering new therapies.

Director's statement

Members of the CMS program focus on understanding how the many "molecular parts" – proteins, genes, lipids, minerals, vitamins, sugars, and carbohydrates – work together to promote the fundamental processes of cellular life and death, signaling across cell membranes, healthy metabolism, and immunity. We want to know WHAT they do, HOW they work, and WHAT they look like. This approach is central for targeting cancer treatment and discovering new therapies.



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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