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Researcher Profile

Randy S. Strich, PhD

Full Member, Cancer Metabolism and Growth Program

Member since 2012

Academic Appointment

Professor of Molecular Biology
School of Osteopathic Medicine
Rowan University

Research Interests

  • Cyclin C-Cdk8 is a conserved transcriptional regulator that associates with the RNA polymerase II mediator complex. In response to stress, cyclin C (but not Cdk8) translocates from the nucleus to the mitochondria where it associates with the fission machinery. This process is conserved from yeast to man. Mitochondrial localization of cyclin C is required for both the extensive fission observed in stressed cells and efficient execution of programmed cell death. This function is direct as cyclin C associates with both the fission and apoptotic activators. Specifically, cyclin C co-immunoprecipitates with the active form of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax. Pharmacologically-induced nuclear release of cyclin C is sufficient to stimulate fission and convert Bax to its active form but does not induce cell death. Rather, it makes cells hypersensitive to anti-cancer drugs suggesting that cyclin C stages Bax on the mitochondria. These findings formally suggest that cyclin C represents a new tumor suppressor gene. This possibility has been proven correct in both thyroid and pancreas mouse cancer models. Our results indicate that cyclin C physically connects the fission and apoptotic machinery and plays an important role in suppressing tumorigenesis in at least two solid tumor models. Current studies include optimizing a therapeutic that releases cyclin C from the nucleus and testing its ability to enhance anti-cancer drugs activity in vivo.

Selected Publications

The content for this Researcher Profile is maintained by Paul Novembre (novembre@cinj.rutgers.edu)

 

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