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Molecular Regulation Laboratory
Molecular regulation

Molecular Regulation Laboratory

With an emphasis on cancer biology, research at the Molecular Regulation Laboratory centres on the cellular and molecular biology of disease. Specifically, we focus on programmed cell death (PCD) and protein homeostasis by ubiquitination (the attachment of ubiquitin to a target protein). All projects in our laboratory originate from our own discoveries.

Millions of cells in the human body die every minute as part of normal homeostasis by programmed cell death and too little or too much cell death can lead to many human diseases including cancer. We study the mechanisms and regulation of cell death in normal homeostasis, during animal development and disease, with a particular emphasis on the roles of the cell death and survival machinery in cancer and ageing.

Ubiquitination is a common type of protein modification involved in the regulation of protein stability, degradation and trafficking. We are studying the physiological and pathological functions of a group of ubiquitin-protein ligation enzymes (the Nedd4 family of ubiquitin ligases) using cellular, physiological and gene knockout approaches.

Current research projects

  • Study of caspases in apoptosis, metabolism, ageing and cancer
  • Understanding the mechanisms and regulation of developmentally programmed cell death
  • Role of the Nedd4 family of ubiquitin ligases in physiology and disease
  • Study of adaptor proteins that facilitate and regulate the functions of Nedd4 family members

Learn more about our current research.

Selected recent publications

Puccini J, Shalini S, Voss AK, Gatei M, Wilson CH, Hiwase DK, Lavin MF, Dorstyn L, Kumar S (2013) Loss of caspase-2 augments lymphomagenesis and enhances genomic instability in Atm-deficient mice. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA110: 19920-19925.

Denton D, Aung-Htut M, Lorensuhewa N, Nicolson S, Zhu W, Mills K, Cakouros D, Bergmann A, Kumar S (2013) UTX coordinates steroid hormone mediated autophagy and cell death. Nature Communications 4: 2916.

Boase NA, Rychkov, GY, Townley SL, Dinudom A, Candi E, Voss AK, Tsoutsman T, Semsarian C, Melino G, Koentgen F, Cook DI, Kumar S (2011) Respiratory distress and perinatal lethality in Nedd4-2-deficient mice. Nature Communications 2: 287.

Foot NJ, Leong YA, Dorstyn LE, Dalton HE, Ho K, Zhao L, Garrick MD, Yang B, Hiwase D, Kumar S (2011) Ndfip1 deficient mice have impaired DMT1 regulation and iron homeostasis. Blood 117: 638-646. 

Kumar S (2009) Caspase 2 in apoptosis, DNA damage response and tumour suppression: Enigma no more? Nature Reviews | Cancer  9: 897-903.