Tianru Jin, PhD, MD

Homeobox Genes and Human Diseases

Homeodomain (HD) proteins, encoded by homeobox genes, are critically implicated in many physiological and pathological cellular processes, including embryogenesis, gene expression, cell cycle, endocrine/neural functions and tumorigenesis. HD proteins, like many other transcription factors, are not expressed as specifically as their down-stream target genes.

My laboratory is interested in studying a fundamentally important biological question: what are the mechanisms which enable a single HD protein to exert its multiple biological functions in a cell type specific manner.

One of the model molecules currently used in my lab to address this question is the caudal related HD protein Cdx-2. In vivo experiments elucidated that Cdx-2 is haplo-insufficient in selected tissues/cells. Cdx-2+/- mice develop multiple intestinal polyps within three months after birth.

Our in vitro studies indicate that Cdx-2 requires some yet to be identified cell type specific component(s) to activate selected target promoters, including its own promoter (auto-regulation). My working hypotheses is: Cdx-2 is able to recruit both co-activators (such as CBP/p300) and co-repressors (to be identified), while cell type specific physiological and pathological signals are implicated in modulating the balance between these recruitment events. Different in vivo and in vitro approaches will be used to examine these hypotheses in detail.

Another ongoing project in my lab is to examine POU homeobox gene expression in malignant cells. We have identified the expression of four POU genes in human mammary gland. Two of them, OCT3 and OCT11, were only detectable in malignant cell lines and primary human breast tumors. We plan to extend this study into other cancerous cells, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma cells. Information gained from this study could be useful for diagnosis and prognosis. In addition, we plan to examine the feasibility of using promoters of these POU genes as tools to specifically deliver genes for therapeutic purposes.
Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 18;8(1):13972
Zhang Y, Thai K, Jin T, Woo M, Gilbert RE
Ecology. 2018 Jun 26;:
Si X, Cadotte MW, Zhao Y, Zhou H, Zeng D, Li J, Jin T, Ren P, Wang Y, Ding P, Tingley MW
J Mol Endocrinol. 2018 Apr 20;:
Shao W, Szeto V, Song Z, Tian L, Feng ZP, Nostro CM, Jin T
BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 Apr 04;19(1):102
Jin T, Liu W, Xu H, Li Y, Hao L, Niu X
Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2018 Mar 15;:
Jin TR
Nature. 2018 Feb 12;:
Lavoie H, Sahmi M, Maisonneuve P, Marullo SA, Thevakumaran N, Jin T, Kurinov I, Sicheri F, Therrien M
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Feb 06;:
Song Z, Revelo X, Shao W, Tian L, Zeng K, Lei H, Sun HS, Woo M, Winer D, Jin T
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Oct 31;:ajpendo.00285.2017
Jin T, Song Z, Weng J, Fantus IG
J Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Aug 18;:
Zeng K, Tian L, Sirek A, Shao W, Liu L, Chiang YT, Chernoff J, Ng DS, Weng J, Jin T

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