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J. Don Chen, Ph.D.

University Professor
Phone: (732)-235-3292


Research Interest:

Nuclear Receptor Signalling and Coregulators, Acute Promyleocyitic Leukemia

Research Description:

Our research focus includes (1) mechanisms of gene regulation by steroid/nuclear hormone receptors, (2) identification of new genes involved in regulating nuclear receptor function, and (3) development of molecular tools to combat hormone related diseases such as acute promyelocytic leukemia, breast cancer and diabetes. Nuclear receptors are ligand-dependent transcription factors that regulate genes critical to such biological processes as development, reproduction, and homeostasis. These receptors function as molecular switches, alternating between states of repression and activation depending on availability of cognate hormones. The nuclear receptor corepressor SMRT associates with the unliganded receptors, while the nuclear receptor coactivator RAC3 is amplified in breast cancer, and the PML-interacting protein Daxx regulates apoptosis and transcription. To date, we have established new approaches including lentiviral RNA interference and neddylation assay to address the following issues: 1) the role of Daxx in apoptosis; 2) the role of SMRT and RAC3 in regulating nuclear receptor function; 3) the function of the novel ankyrin repeat containing cofactors ANCO-1 and ANCO-2, and 4) the characterization of a novel ERR subtype-specific antagonist.