14 Jan Protein Arginine Methylation: Mechanisms and Therapeutic Vulnerabilities – Wei Xu, PhD
Wei Xu, PhD
Professor of Oncology, Marian A. Messerschmidt
Associate Director,, McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research
Director of MCW Tissue Bank
Co-Director, Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanism Program, Carbone Cancer Center
Dr. Xu’s laboratory explores the protective roles of environmental and nutritional estrogenic compounds in mammals for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Estrogen receptors (ERs) exist in two forms, ERa and ERb, which have opposing roles in cell proliferation. Estrogenic compounds can control balance between mammary cell proliferation and differentiation via stimulating the formation of different forms of ER dimers. Xu lab has developed the Bioluminescent Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) assays for detecting in vivo homodimerization and heterodimerization of ERa and ERb induced by estrogenic compounds. Biological functions of these estrogenic compounds are currently being investigated in cell-based and breast cancer mouse models. Dr. Xu’s laboratory has also employed biochemical and functional genomic approaches, as well as mouse genetics to decipher the contribution of histone arginine methylation to the epigenetic control of cancer cells. The major focus of Xu lab is on a protein arginine (R) methyltransferase CARM1/PRMT4, a nuclear hormone receptor co-activator. Dr. Xu has identified a number of non-histone substrates for CARM1 and is in the progress of elucidating the functions of protein arginine methylation in breast cancer initiation and progression.