Cancer Institute

  • Yin-Yuan Mo

    mo_yin.jpgProfessor, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
    Director, Cancer Genetics Program
    PhD, Plant Pathology, 1991, Washington State University, Pullman, WA
    Postdoc, 1991-94, Microbiology, Washington State University, Pullman

    Contact information
    2500 N State St., Room G651-3
    Jackson, MS 39216
    Phone: (601) 815-6849

    Research interests

    • Epigenetic regulation of genes involved in tumorigenesis and chemoresistance
    • Cancer susceptibility due to alterations of microRNA expression
    • Long non-coding RNA-mediated gene expression in cancer

    Research synopsis

    My laboratory has been focusing on understanding of epigenetic regulation of genes involved in tumorigenesis and chemoresistance.

    It is well known that only a small portion of the human genome codes for proteins; however, over 50% of the genome is actively transcribed into non-protein-coding RNAs which can be divided into at least two large groups based on their lengths: 1) small non-coding RNAs and 2) long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) with >200 nucleotides in length, including long intervening non-coding RNAs or large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs). MicroRNAs represent a functional and well characterized group of small non-coding RNAs. On the other hand, lncRNAs are much less well characterized. In the past years, we have been actively working on both microRNAs and lncRNAs. For example, we have shown that miR-21 is overexpressed in several types of tumors compared to the matched normal tissues and that more importantly, suppression of miR-21 by a miR-21 inhibitor substantially reduces tumor growth in a xenograft carcinoma mouse model, suggesting that miR-21 is an oncogenic microRNA.

    On the other hand, miR-145 functions as a tumor suppressor. In particular, miR-145 plays a critical role in p53-mediated repression of c-Myc. More recently, we have expanded our research on regulation of lncRNAs and their role in tumorigenesis. Therefore, further characterization of these non-coding genes in clinical specimens would help identify whether non-coding RNAs may serve potential biomarkers for high risk patient population. At the same time, this will also provide new insight into molecular mechanisms underlying non-coding RNA-mediated gene regulation, tumor growth and invasion, and chemoresistance. As a result, these studies will benefit cancer patient by providing cancer risk assessment and health management recommendations.

    Selected publications

    • Si ML, Zhu S, Wu H, Lu Z, Wu F, Mo YY. miR-21-mediated tumor growth. Oncogene. 2007 Apr 26;26(19):2799-803; 768 citations (Google Scholar).
    • Zhu S, Si ML, Wu H, Mo YY. MicroRNA-21 targets the tumor suppressor gene tropomyosin 1 (TPM1). J Biol Chem. 2007 May 11;282 (19):14328-36. Selected as a “hot paper” by the Scientist magazine; 04/1/61/2/632 citations (Google Scholar).
    • Zhu S, Wu H, Wu F, Nie D, Sheng S, Mo YY. 2008. MicroRNA-21 targets tumor suppressor genes in invasion and metastasis. Cell Research. 18(3):350-9; 534 citations (Google Scholar).
    • Sachdeva M, Zhu S, Wu F, Wu H, Walia V, Kumar S, Elble R, Watabe K, Mo YY. p53 represses c-Myc through induction of the tumor suppressor miR-145. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Mar 3;106(9):3207-12; Recommended by Faculty 1000 Biology. 1157173#evaluations; 254 citations (Google Scholar).
    • Sachdeva M, Mo YY. MicroRNA-145 suppresses cell invasion and metastasis by directly targeting mucin 1. Cancer Res. 2010 Jan 1;70(1):378-87. Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Medicine. citations (Google Scholar).