Twist dimers as markers of tumor metastasis
This project is specifically aimed at the proliferation of tumor metastasis, which is the leading cause of death due to cancer. Early work done by this team, with a grant from the Maine Cancer Foundation, found a specific transcription factor called Twist. This research revealed that two types of the Twist factor cause opposite affects in tumorous tissue. The homodimer form of Twist (T/T) drives metastasis in a normally non-metastatic tumor, an obviously unwanted effect. The heterodimer (T/E) can inhibit metastasis in a normally very aggressive tumor, a potentially life-saving effect. Because Twist is a transcription factor with multiple potential gene targets, it may be a major regulator of the metastatic phenotype that could be selected as an important therapeutic target. Therefore, the first aim of this study is to generate antibodies that specifically recognize T/T dimers. The second aim of this study is to begin to understand how T/T and T/E differentially regulate gene expression.