Research activities

The canonical Wnt pathway plays a central role in stem cell maintenance, differentiation and proliferation in the adult, self-renewing intestinal epithelium. Wnt signaling activates gene expression through the induced formation of complexes between DNA-binding TCF factors and the transcriptional co-activator β-catenin. Constitutive, aberrant transcriptional activity of the TCF4/β-catenin complex, caused by mutations in APC, AXIN or β-catenin, is the primary transforming factor in colorectal cancer. At present, despite great inroads into the processes involved in Wnt-dependent transcriptional regulation, the mechanisms by which TCF4/β-catenin regulate target genes remain incompletely understood.

Our research on these mechanisms has uncovered evidence for the existence of previously unappreciated layers in the Wnt-dependent repertoire of transcriptional targets and mediators. This evidence points to the existence of novel mediators, the expression of which is regulated by the Wnt pathway and which, in turn, influence its transcriptional activity and output in colorectal cancer cells.

Our goal is to shed light on the mechanisms by which these novel targets mediate their effects. To this end we are pursuing work to functionally characterize their role and mechanistic contribution in Wnt signaling and uncover their role in normal intestinal physiology and carcinogenesis.

B.S.R.C. "Alexander Fleming"
34 Fleming Street, 16672 Vari, Greece
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