“We have been intrigued by the fact that nearly all human genes are detected to undergo alternative splicing, vastly expanding the human proteomes. Despite these important observations, alternative splicing in cancer has remained largely an untargeted territory,” Cheng said.
In two recent publications, Cheng and her colleagues show that RNA transcripts for the CD44 gene undergo complex alternative splicing that results in two groups of functionally distinct proteins, CD44v and CD44s. These CD44 isoforms are distinctly associated with two specific mechanisms linked to cancer progression, the PI3K/Akt and the EGFR signaling pathways.
Dr. Chonghiu Cheng is an associate professor in the Lester and Sue Smith Breast Center, part of the National Cancer Institute-designated Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center. She also is an associate professor of molecular and human genetics and of molecular and cellular biology at Baylor College of Medicine.
For more information about Dr. Cheng’s research, visit her lab’s website.