Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Urology
Keck School of Medicine
USC / Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center
DNA & RNA
DNA Methylation. The primary focus of the laboratory is to understand the mechanism and regulation of CpG methylation in mammalian cells. CpG methylation has been shown to be fundamentally important in genetic imprinting, neoplasia, and mammalian embrogenesis. We are focusing on the following areas in DNA methylation: 1) characterize transcription inhibition by methylation and chromatin structure; 2) study the effect of protein-DNA interaction on methylation pattern in human cells;3) test models for the molecular specification of genetic imprinting; 4) identify the role of specific DNA sequences and secondary structures targeting DNA demethylation and methylation; 5) study the biochemical characteristics of DNA methyltransferases.
Linkage Analysis in High Risk Prostate Cancer Families. Genetic factors in prostate cancer have been suggested by several epidemiologic studies. High risk prostate cancer families from four ethnic groups have been identified and specimens from these families have been collected. We have used highly polymorphic DNA markers evenly spaced on the autosomes for linkage analysis in these families. We have identified three chromosomal regions that may harbor genes contributing to familial prostate cancer. Some candidate genes from these regions are being tested in these families.