Website: Lynne-Marie Postovit's Profile
Bidirectional communication between cells and their microenvironment is a hallmark of both cancer progression and embryological development. Indeed, in all physiological instances, cells do not survive autonomously, but rather rely on extracellular cues to direct functions as diverse as proliferation, apoptosis, invasion and differentiation. The past decade has seen an explosion of research on cells with the capacity to differentiate in response to specific microenvironmental cues. During embryogenesis, these “stem cells” are the source of all cell lineages and in adulthood they function in tissue repair and rejuvenation. Recent studies have found that cancers may similarly develop from stem cell populations, and that these rarely occurring cells are likely responsible for tumour formation, drug resistance and metastasis. The unifying goal of our research program is to determine what types of microenvironments regulate normal and cancer stem cell plasticity and function, and to elucidate the mechanisms by which such microenvironments elicit their effects. We combine hESC model systems with advanced proteomics, transgenics and classical cancer models in our efforts to understand such mechanisms. Ultimately, these studies will lead to the development of methods to maintain normal stem cell pluripotency and to inhibit cancer cell plasticity and metastasis. This research program is comprised of the following projects:
- Role of oxygen as a regulator of tumour cell plasticity and metastatic
- of embryonic proteins that regulate cancer and embryonic stem cell
- of adult stem cells in cancer initiation and
- regulation of placental development at the feto-maternal interface
Recent Stem Cell Publications:
Postovit LM, Margaryan NV, Seftor REB, Seftor EA, Wheaton WW, Kirschmann DA, Abbott DA and Hendrix MJC. (2008) Human embryonic stem cell microenvironment suppresses the tumorigenic phenotype of aggressive cancer cells. PNAS: 105(11):4329-34.
Hendrix MJC, Seftor EA, Seftor REB, Kaseemeier-Kulesa J, Kulesa PM, and Postovit LM. (2007) Reprogramming metastatic tumour cells with embryonic microenvironments. Nature Cancer Reviews: 7(4):246-55.
Topczewska JM*, Postovit LM*, Margaryan NV, Sam A, Hess AR, Wheaton WW, Nickoloff B, Topczewski J, and Hendrix MJC. (2006) Embryonic and tumorigenic pathways converge via Nodal signaling: Role in melanoma aggressiveness. Nature Medicine: Aug.12(8):925-32. *Authors contributed equally to work.