University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, USA
Biography: Jianhua Luo
Mutations and chromosome rearrangement are some of the key features of human malignancies. Recently, we discovered a panel of cancer-specific fusion genes that play key roles in human cancer development. One of these fusion genes called MAN2A1-FER generated a constitutively activated tyrosine protein kinase. The fusion translocates FER kinase from the cytoplasm to Golgi apparatus. The fusion protein ectopically phosphorylates the N-terminal domain of EGFR, and activates the EGFR signaling pathway in the absence of a ligand. MAN2A1-FER has been found in a variety of human malignancies. It transforms immortalized cell lines into highly aggressive cancer cells. Expression of MAN2A1-FER produces spontaneous liver cancer in animals. Cancer cells positive for MAN2A1-FER are highly sensitive to several tyrosine kinase inhibitors, and can be targeted by genome therapy intervention. Thus, targeting at MAN2A1-FER or other oncogenic fusion genes may hold promise to treat human cancer effectively.