Kehui Xiang, Ph.D., Postdoctoral FellowWhitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

Everyone is gifted with a powerful weapon―the immune system―to fight cancer, and all we need is to learn how to wield it.
Area of Research: Brain Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, All Cancers

Our DNA encodes recipes for proteins, but first the DNA is transcribed into messenger RNA (mRNA), which is then translated into protein. At the end of each mRNA chain is a segment known as the poly(A) tail, and this tail’s length can potentially influence protein production in immune cells. Cancer too can manipulate poly(A) tails for its survival. To understand the mechanism of this phenomenon, Dr. Xiang will examine how these tails regulate protein production in different types of activated immune cells. He’s using high-throughput sequencing to find global trends between poly(A) tail length and the efficiency of protein production, and will then identify the proteins responsible. This fundamental knowledge about gene regulation in immune cells could potentially provide new strategies to reprogram them and perhaps improve immunotherapy approaches.

Projects and Grants

Investigate the importance and mechanism of poly(A) tail length-mediated translational control in different immune cells

Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research | All Cancers, Brain Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer | 2016 | David P. Bartel, Ph.D.

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