Brain tumor, breast cancer, colon cancer, congenital heart disease, heart arrhythmia. See more conditions.
The research interests of Zhenkun Lou, Ph.D., center on the DNA damage response pathway, which is critical for maintaining genomic stability. Dysfunction of this pathway results in genomic instability and cancer predisposition. Therefore, many components of the DNA damage response pathway are identified as tumor suppressors. By focusing on several key regulators in this pathway and using biochemical and genetic approaches, Dr. Lou attempts to elucidate the roles of this DNA damage pathway in tumorigenesis.
Dr. Lou's research team is also interested in molecular mechanisms of aging. The team uses biochemical and genetic approaches to investigate the cellular function and regulation of specific proteins that regulate longevity.
Regulators in the DNA damage response pathway. Similar to mitogenic signaling pathways, the DNA damage-induced signaling pathway consists of kinase-dependent signaling cascades that regulate cell cycle progression, DNA repair and apoptosis following DNA damage, collectively called the DNA damage response pathway.
Ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein and ataxia telangiectasia-related (ATR) protein are upstream kinases in this DNA damage response pathway. ATM and ATR activate the downstream checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2 (Cds1). These four protein kinases, with the help of mediator proteins, phosphorylate a number of downstream effector proteins, including tumor suppressors p53 and BRCA1. Dr. Lou studies the role of each of these regulators in the DNA damage response pathway.
Dr. Lou is working to improve understanding of the causes and mechanisms of aging and tumor development, thereby contributing to strategies for cancer prevention as well as better methods for diagnosis and treatment.
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