Credentials: Oncology Department
Position title: Epigenetic regulation of breast cancer
Phone: (608) 265-5540
7459 Wi Institute Medical Research II
1111 Highland Ave
Madison, WI 53705
Cancer Biology; Cellular & Molecular Metabolism; Transcriptional Mechanisms
Dr. Xu’s laboratory explores the protective roles of environmental and nutritional estrogenic compounds in mammals for breast cancer prevention and treatment. Estrogen receptors (ERs) exist in two forms, ERa and ERb, which have opposing roles in cell proliferation. Estrogenic compounds can control balance between mammary cell proliferation and differentiation via stimulating the formation of different forms of ER dimers. Xu lab has developed the Bioluminescent Resonance Energy Transfer (BRET) assays for detecting in vivo homodimerization and heterodimerization of ERa and ERb induced by estrogenic compounds. Biological functions of these estrogenic compounds are currently being investigated in cell-based and breast cancer mouse models. Dr. Xu’s laboratory has also employed biochemical and functional genomic approaches, as well as mouse genetics to decipher the contribution of histone arginine methylation to the epigenetic control of cancer cells. The major focus of Xu lab is on a protein arginine (R) methyltransferase CARM1/PRMT4, a nuclear hormone receptor co-activator. Dr. Xu has identified a number of non-histone substrates for CARM1 and is in the progress of elucidating the functions of protein arginine methylation in breast cancer initiation and progression.