Department of
Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

Thomas Roberts

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Smith Building, Room 970
44 Binney Street
Boston, MA 02115

Research in the Roberts laboratory is centered on the molecular mechanisms of signal transduction in response to activated tyrosine kinases. We pioneered structure/function studies on tyrosine kinases showing how tyrosine kinases such as pp60c-src are themselves regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation. The first definitive work on PI3'kinase was done by this lab in collaboration with that of Cantley and Schaffhausen. Similarly our lab first showed that the serine threonine kinase Raf-1 was regulated by mitogens and then helped to elucidate the pathway from p21ras to Raf to MAP kinases. More recently we first characterized the novel binding site used by the SHC protooncogene product to bind to receptors, and pointed out the interaction of the 14-3-3 molecules with key signal transducers. Finally we and our collaborators in the DeCaprio and Schaffhausen labs have showed how virus-encoded tumor antigens use molecular chaperones to direct the ubiquitin dependent degradation of phosphorylated forms of cell cycle control proteins. Currently we are working to clone and characterize new signaling molecules. The lab specializes in developing technologies for the study of signaling. These include the first synthetic gene for a tyrosine kinase (lck), the most widely used antiphosphotyrosine antibody, and the use of the zebrafish system for studying the role of signaling molecules in development.

  • Lee SH, Jia S, Zhu Y, Utermark T, Signoretti S, Loda M, Schaffhausen B, Roberts TM.Transgenic expression of polyoma virus middle T antigen in the mouse prostate gives rise to carcinoma.J Virol. 2011 Mar 16.
  • Johannessen CM, Boehm JS, Kim SY, Thomas SR, Wardwell L, Johnson LA, Emery CM, Stransky N, Cogdill AP, Barretina J, Caponigro G, Hieronymus H, Murray RR, Salehi-Ashtiani K, Hill DE, Vidal M, Zhao JJ, Yang X, Alkan O, Kim S, Harris JL, Wilson CJ, Myer VE,
  • Ilić N, Roberts TM.Comparing the Roles of the p110α and p110β Isoforms of PI3K in Signaling and Cancer.Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2011;347:55-77.
  • Qi HH, Sarkissian M, Hu GQ, Wang Z, Bhattacharjee A, Gordon DB, Gonzales M, Lan F, Ongusaha PP, Huarte M, Yaghi NK, Lim H, Garcia BA, Brizuela L, Zhao K, Roberts TM, Shi Y.Histone H4K20/H3K9 demethylase PHF8 regulates zebrafish brain and craniofacial deve
  • Lee SH, Poulogiannis G, Pyne S, Jia S, Zou L, Signoretti S, Loda M, Cantley LC, Roberts TM.A constitutively activated form of the p110beta isoform of PI3-kinase induces prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia in mice.Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 15;107(