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Wang Lab at PSU

Epigenetic Histone Modifications in Cell Differentiation and Cancer

The tumor suppressor p53 pathway controls important cell processes, such as cell cycle, apoptosis, and autophagy. We study epigenetic mechanisms that regulate the expression of tumor suppressor genes of the p53 pathway. In particular, we study the role of histone Arg modifications catalyzed by peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PAD4/PADI4) in gene regulation. PAD4 is overexpressed in multiple human cancers, suggesting that PAD4 is a promising target for cancer treatment. Additionally, PAD4 is abundantly expressed in peripheral blood neutrophils. Global histone citrullination by PAD4 likely impacts on chromatin folding and unfolding in neutrophils. Our research has a broad implication to human diseases and physiology, including cancer, innate immunity, and autoimmune diseases.