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IOR

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affiliated to USI

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Research topics - Epigenetics and progression of ERG fusion-positive prostate cancers

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The laboratory studies the impact of gene fusions involving the transcription factor ERG (TMPRSS2:ERG), which are very frequent in prostate cancer. ERG requires the cooperation of other transcription factors and epigenetic regulators to exert its oncogenic potential. The group contributed to this paradigm by providing evidence for a novel molecular mechanism of oncogenic activation based on methylation of the ERG protein. This post-translational modification is induced by the epigenetic regulator EZH2 which cooperates functional- ly with ERG. The group has defined the relevance of this modification and the impact in driving disease evolution towards metastatic and therapy-resistant status. The group is implementing novel therapeutic strategies to antagonize selectively ERG in its methylated and active form.