TF networks in cancer
Transcription factors (TFs) are proteins that recognize specific DNA sequences to regulate the expression of genes. In cancer, transcription factors are often found mutated and dysregulated to promote tumor development, tumor heterogeneity, phenotypic plasticity and resistance to anti-cancer therapies. TFs can function as part of fine-tuned interactive networks that modulate transcriptional programs and the epigenetic landscape. Our group is particularly interested in the MYC TF network which is comprised of transcription factors that regulate biological processes such as tumor growth, cell death, differentiation and metabolism, among others. Although the oncogenic role of the MYC TF network has been extensively studied, the more recently identified “tumor suppressive branch” of the network is much less understood. Our group is applying transcriptional, epigenomic, functional genomic and biochemical approaches to novel mouse models and ex-vivo models to dissect the function of the network branch during tumor development. Finally, using genetic screens, we are uncovering therapeutic targets for tumors that harbor genetic alterations in the network.