Professor Kieran Harvey
Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
The Hippo pathway was first discovered in vinegar flies and we know it plays a similar role in mammals. Our research aims to define how the protein Dachsous, controls tissue growth via this pathway.
We know the protein receives information from outside the cell and must transmit that signal via the Hippo pathway to the nucleus to change gene expression and modulate tissue growth.
Our studies are based in the vinegar fly and will also be tested in human cells to determine whether the same signalling events occur in humans.
What is the need?
The Hippo pathway is a group of proteins that relays information from the cell surface to the cell nucleus, causing cells to change their behaviour.
This pathway controls the ability of cells to stay alive and also to divide and create new cells. These cellular behavious are essential for the normal growth of our organs but can go wrong in cancers.
Despite ten years of study, we don't know all the steps that occur in the Hippo pathway. Working this out will help us to understand how tissues grow in normal development as well as in cancers, enabling us to understand how different cancers form and to identify new drugs.
What is the impact of this research?
Our research will provide new information on how the Hippo pathway controls tissue growth in normal development and in cancer.
It will also help us understand how two new regulators of Hippo signalling that identified also control another key cancer pathway, the Ras/Mapk pathway, which is very commonly deregulated in human cancers.
Ultimately, we hope that our studies will identify new potential drug targets for future cancer therapies.
"Our findings will provide new information on how the Hippo pathway controls tissue growth in normal development and in cancer. Ultimately, we hope that our studies will identify new potential drug targets for future cancer therapies."