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Title: Role and regulation of MITF in melanocytes and melanoma
Author: Siddaway, Robert T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 5079
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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One key to understanding how cells integrate and how they respond to diverse stimuli in order to direct a transcriptional response is knowing how a transcription factor may be directed to an appropriate subset of its target genes. One mechanism with which this may be achieved is by modulation of the transcription factor’s post-translational modification status. The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is the master regulator of the melanocyte lineage, and it is also a lineage addiction gene in melanoma. Low or high levels of MITF expression induce a reversible cell cycle arrest. Invasive behaviour is characteristic of low MITF expression; differentiation a product of high MITF activity; and moderate levels of MITF expression promote proliferation. A major, unaddressed problem is how DNA binding by MITF may be differentially directed such that it regulates either a proliferation-associated or a differentiation-associated gene expression programme appropriate to the cellular microenvironment. This thesis explores the function and regulation of the signalling pathways controlling novel post-translational modifications of MITF. One such modification, in the DNA binding domain of MITF, defines a key switch that controls MITF’s DNA binding affinity and specificity. Moreover, a novel set of MITF target genes are revealed that extend its control beyond pigmentation and cell cycle regulation to implicate MITF as an overall regulator of cell behaviour in the melanocyte lineage.
Supervisor: Goding, Colin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oncology ; Biology (medical sciences) ; melanoma