Position: Associate Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Area of Expertise:
Dr. Panayotis Vacratsis’ lab is a multidisciplinary research group that integrates mass spectrometry and cell biology techniques to discover and investigate novel enzymes predicted to be critical regulators of fundamental cellular processes such as cell growth, cell survival, cancer progression, and neuromuscular biology. Their work led to the elucidation of novel biological roles for two poorly characterized phosphatases. Specifically relevant to the cancer field, the Vacratsis lab has discovered that the evolutionary conserved dual specificity phosphatase hYVH1 (also known as DUSP12) is a potent cell survival enzyme and have determined that its expression regulates cell cycle progression. Human YVH1 is widely expressed in human tissues and its gene has been found amplified in a wide variety of late stage malignancies. Their results show that hYVH1 can function as a regulator of cellular proliferation and as an anti-apoptotic factor (cell survival) coupled with the gene amplification findings, tempts us to speculate that overexpression of the hyvh1 gene will impart on tumour cells the ability to survive unfavourable microenvironments and support metastasis.
5 Selected Publications:
Li, Y., Inoki, K., Vacratsis, P., and Guan, K.L. (2019). Correction: The p38 and MK2 Kinase Cascade Phosphorylates Tuberin, the Tuberous Sclerosis 2 Gene Product, and Enhances its Interacton with 14-3-3. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 294(15), 5807.
Steevensz, A., Gombar, R., Vergilino, R., Cristescu, M.E., and Vacratsis, P.O. (2018) Proteomic Profile of Daphnia pulex using Data-Independent Acquisition Mass Spectrometry and Ion Mobility Separation. Proteomics, 18(16), 1700460.
Gombar, R., Pitcher, T.E., Lewis, J.A., Auld, J., and Vacratsis, P.O. (2017) Proteomic Characterization of Seminal Plasma from Alternative Reproductive Tactics of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tswatchysha). Journal of Proteomics, 157, 1-9.
Geng, Q., Xhabija, B., Knuckle, C., Bonham, C.A., and Vacratsis, P.O. (2016) The Atypical Dual Specificity Phosphatase hYVH1 Associates with Multiple Ribonucleoprotein Particles. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 292, 539-550.
Xhabija, B., and Vacratsis, P.O. (2015) Receptor-Mediated Endocytosis 8 Utilizes an N-terminal Phosphoinositide-binding Motif to Regulate Endosomal Clathrin Dynamics. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 290, 21676-21689.