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Epithelial cells lining the prostate gland are the site of origin for prostate cancer.

Manqi Zhang, a student in the Biochemistry Ph.D. Program, has published as first author in an Oncogene paper that was ranked (by impact factor of the journal) as the top publication of Prostate Cell News in its issue of Volume 9.36, September 21, 2018 (see Oncogene summary below). Titled “Inositol Polyphosphate 4-Phosphatase Type II Regulation of Androgen Receptor Activity,” the multidisciplinary team from FIU, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Research Institute and Nova Southwestern University has identified inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B) as a tumor suppressor in ovarian, breast, thyroid, bladder and prostate cancers.

Ms. Zhang is a student of Dr. Irina Agoulnik, a professor in the Human and Molecular Genetics Department within FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. A cancer researcher and cell biologist, Dr. Agoulnik is widely published in top academic journals on the subjects of prostate cancer and steroid receptor signaling and is a senior author of the paper. Her current research examines hormone resistance in prostate cancer.

In the spring of 2015, Ms. Zhang joined Dr. Agoulnik’s lab. Her interest in cancer research is specifically focused on the investigation of tumor suppressor INPP4B regulation in steroid hormone signaling. She has given several oral and poster presentations, including one for the 19th European Congress of Endocrinology in Lisbon, Portugal, and others in numerous national symposiums and meetings. In addition, she is first author on the paper: Zhang M, Krause WC, Agoulnik IU. Techniques for Evaluation of AR Transcriptional Output and Recruitment to DNA. Methods Mol Biol.2018; 1786:219-236.

Oncogene Summary Abstract:
Zhang M, Suarez E, Vaquez JL, Nathanson L, Peterson LE, Rajapakshe K, Basil P, Weigel NL, Coarfa C, Agoulnik IU. Inositol Polyphosphate 4-Phosphatase Type II Regulation of Androgen Receptor Activity. Oncogene 2018; 9.36.

Investigators showed that INPP4B regulated AR transcriptional activity and the oncogenic signaling pathways Akt and PKC. Analysis of gene expression in prostate cancer patient cohorts showed a positive correlation between INPP4B expression and both AR mRNA levels and AR transcriptional output.