Studies on the regulation of cell proliferation and tissue size are important to our understanding of developmental biology and tumorigenesis. The long-term goal of the proposed research is to learn the molecular mechanisms that regulate cell proliferation and tissue size during development. We have performed genetic screens in mosaic fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, to identify overgrowth mutations. Molecular and genetic characterization of the identified genes have revealed several key regulators of cell proliferation, cell growth, and tissue size, including the lats tumor suppressor. Mutations in lats cause dramatic overproliferation and tumor growth in Drosophila. Two mammalian lats homologs, Latsi and Lats2, have been isolated from humans and mice, and at least one of them also functions as a tumor suppressor. Mice deficient for Latsi develop soft tissue sarcomas and ovarian tumors. Biochemical and genetic experiments have shown that the Lats family proteins are negative regulators of the major cell cycle regulators, CDKs. However, substrates for the Lats kinase are unknown. Several lats-interacting genes have been identified in genetic modifier screens, including Src family members. Interestingly, lats and its interacting genes not only affect cell proliferation, but also deregulate tissue or organ size in Drosophila, a process which is not well understood.
The specific aims of this proposal are: (1) Characterizing the roles of Src64 and Src42 in the regulation of cell proliferation and tissue size in imaginal tissues and their relationships with dcsk and lats; and (2) Identifying substrates for the Lats kinase. We hope that defining the relationships among the lats-interacting genes and identifying substrates of the Lats kinase will provide insights into molecular mechanisms regulating cell proliferation and tissue size during development. Since conserved mammalian homologs of Lats and Src are known to be involved in tumorigenesis, it is further hoped that these experiments will also contribute to our understanding of mechanisms underlying human cancer biology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Cell Development and Function Integrated Review Group (CDF)
Program Officer
Mietz, Judy
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Yale University
Schools of Medicine
New Haven
United States
Zip Code
Chabu, Chiswili; Li, Da-Ming; Xu, Tian (2017) EGFR/ARF6 regulation of Hh signalling stimulates oncogenic Ras tumour overgrowth. Nat Commun 8:14688
Ma, Xianjue; Lu, Jin-Yu; Dong, Yongli et al. (2017) PP6 Disruption Synergizes with Oncogenic Ras to Promote JNK-Dependent Tumor Growth and Invasion. Cell Rep 19:2657-2664
Willsey, Helen Rankin; Zheng, Xiaoyan; Carlos Pastor-Pareja, José et al. (2016) Localized JNK signaling regulates organ size during development. Elife 5:
Gayle, Sophia; Pan, Yukun; Landrette, Sean et al. (2015) piggyBac insertional mutagenesis screen identifies a role for nuclear RHOA in human ES cell differentiation. Stem Cell Reports 4:926-38
Du, Xingrong; Dong, Yongli; Shi, Hao et al. (2014) Mst1 and mst2 are essential regulators of trophoblast differentiation and placenta morphogenesis. PLoS One 9:e90701
Mishra-Gorur, Ketu; Ça?layan, Ahmet Okay; Schaffer, Ashleigh E et al. (2014) Mutations in KATNB1 cause complex cerebral malformations by disrupting asymmetrically dividing neural progenitors. Neuron 84:1226-39
Chabu, Chiswili; Xu, Tian (2014) Oncogenic Ras stimulates Eiger/TNF exocytosis to promote growth. Development 141:4729-39
Ma, X; Li, W; Yu, H et al. (2014) Bendless modulates JNK-mediated cell death and migration in Drosophila. Cell Death Differ 21:407-15
Pastor-Pareja, José Carlos; Xu, Tian (2013) Dissecting social cell biology and tumors using Drosophila genetics. Annu Rev Genet 47:51-74
Pastor-Pareja, José Carlos; Xu, Tian (2011) Shaping cells and organs in Drosophila by opposing roles of fat body-secreted Collagen IV and perlecan. Dev Cell 21:245-56

Showing the most recent 10 out of 27 publications