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Tianyan Gao, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Pharmacology & Toxicology
email:  tigao@utmb.edu



Graduate Student and Postdoc Positions
are available, please contact Dr. Gao.

 

 

The balance between phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of signaling molecules is crucial for living organisms to maintain their normal physiological functions. Deregulation of signaling pathways that results in disturbing this balance often leads to the development of diseases such as cancer. Indeed, elevated Akt signaling is commonly associated with a variety of human cancers as the result of hyperphosphorylation of its downstream substrates. We have recently identified a novel protein phosphatase PHLPP, which specifically antagonizing Akt function by directly dephosphorylating Akt and triggering apoptosis. The research focus of my lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of PHLPP and to elucidate the role of PHLPP in the tumorigenesis process. The lab combines biochemical, molecular and cell biological and genetic approaches to pursue the following research interests: 1) characterizing how PHLPP is regulated at the cellular and molecular levels; 2) identifying novel targets of PHLPP; and 3) elucidating the role of PHLPP as a tumor suppressor using transgenic animal models.

Gao T, Furnari F, and Newton AC.  PHLPP:  a Phosphatase that Directly Dephosphorylates Akt, Promotes Apoptosis, and Suppresses Tumor Growth. Mol. Cell 18:13-24, 2005.

Gao T, Newton AC.  The turn motif is a phosphorylation switch that regulates the binding of Hsp70 to protein kinase C.  J Biol Chem 277:31585-92, 2002. Epub 2002 Jun 21.

 

Sonnenburg ED, Gao T, Newton AC.  The phosphoinositide-dependent kinase, PDK-1, phosphorylates conventional protein kinase C isozymes by a mechanism that is independent of phosphoinositide 3-kinase.  J Biol Chem 276:45289-97, 2001. Epub 2001 Sep 28.

 

Gao T, Toker A, Newton AC.  The carboxyl terminus of protein kinase c provides a switch to regulate its interaction with the phosphoinositide-dependent kinase, PDK-1.  J Biol Chem 276:19588-96, 2001. Epub 2001 Mar 16.

 


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