Schäfer group

Many external signals for growth, survival and differentiation converge on RAS proteins through membrane-based receptors. RAS proteins act as essential molecular switches that integrate extracellular stimuli with the genetic program via highly complex signal transduction systems. Adapter proteins, small GTP-binding proteins, signalling kinases and transcription factors contribute to signalling output. Due to the high intrinsic complexity of signal transduction pathways, different biological read-outs can be generated. Ras mutations or receptor amplification result in permanent oncogenic activation of the signalling system, deregulate the genetic program and mediate malignant transformation. Our group has systematically catalogued the effects of activated RAS signalling on the transcriptome and identified numerous deregulated target genes. Ras pathway-responsive genes are either up-regulated, expressed de novo or down-regulated. Often, tumor suppressors or anti-proliferative genes are repressed. Currently, we investigate the transcriptional network responsible for target gene deregulation and try to understand the underlying principles affecting multiple genes. We employ RNA interference approaches for the functional characterization of regulators and targets, establish genome-wide mRNA and micro-RNA expression response profiles to determine their contribution to the network and quantitate the biological consequences using cell cultures and animal models.

Head

Prof. Dr. rer.nat. Reinhold Schäfer
Deputy Director Charité Comprehensive Cancer Center (Translational Cancer Research)
t: +49 30 450 564 640