• 3 2017

    The Ganesan lab has published their work on ATR mutations in melanoma tumors in Cell Reports

    Melanomas accumulate a high burden of mutations that could potentially generate neoantigens, yet somehow suppress the immune response to facilitate continued growth. In this study, we identify a subset of human melanomas that have loss-of-function mutations in ATR, a kinase that recognizes and repairs UV-induced DNA damage and is required for cellular proliferation. ATR mutant tumors exhibit both the accumulation of multiple mutations and the altered expression of inflammatory genes, resulting in decreased T cell recruitment and increased recruitment of macrophages known to spur tumor invasion. Taken together, these studies identify a mechanism by which melanoma cells modulate the immune microenvironment to promote continued growth. Read More

  • 2 2017

    The Plikus lab has published their work on regeneration of fat cells during wound healing in Science

    Although regeneration through the reprogramming of one cell lineage to another occurs in fish and amphibians, it has not been observed in mammals. We discovered in the mouse that during wound healing, adipocytes regenerate from myofibroblasts, a cell type thought to be differentiated and nonadipogenic. Myofibroblast reprogramming required neogenic hair follicles, which triggered bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling and then activation of adipocyte transcription factors expressed during development. Overexpression of the BMP antagonist Noggin in hair follicles or deletion of the BMP receptor in myofibroblasts prevented adipocyte formation. Adipocytes formed from human keloid fibroblasts either when treated with BMP or when placed with human hair follicles in vitro. Thus, we identify the myofibroblast as a plastic cell type that may be manipulated to treat scars in humans. Read More

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