Dr. Maxim Frolov
- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Scholar
- Ph.D, Moscow State University, Russia
- Postdoctoral Fellow: University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston
The research in our lab is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of the cell cycle regulation and how these mechanisms are utilized in vivo. Many models attribute a central role in cell cycle regulation to a transcriptional factor E2F and Retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein (pRB). Importantly, the pRB pathway is functionally inactivated in most tumor cells and it is thought that unrestrained activity of E2F drives inappropriate proliferation in tumors. There has been a significant progress in recent years toward the understanding of the biochemical properties of E2F and pRB proteins and the ways they are regulated. However, the mechanisms by which pRB negatively controls cell proliferation in vivo are not fully understood. Genetically, Drosophila provides a relatively simpler system to study the role of E2F, since the corresponding families are smaller. Our lab is carrying out large scale unbiased genetic screens to identify new genes that interface with the E2F/pRB module in vivo and contribute to its regulation during development.
We are also interested in dissecting functional interactions between the pRB pathway and other tumor suppressor pathways. Particularly, our focus is on the recently identified Hippo tumor suppressor pathway which negatively regulates organ size in flies and mammals. Given the pivotal role of pRB in tumor suppression, an understanding of how the function of the Drosophila homologues dE2F/pRB is regulated will provide crucial clues in understanding the regulation of mammalian cell growth and the ways in which such controls may go awry in human cancer.