Protein kinases represent the largest group of drug targets in cancer therapy. My research focuses on kinases regulating cancer cell growth and motility to understand how and when to target them with drugs.
Inhibitor-induced HER2-HER3 heterodimerisation promotes proliferation through a novel dimer interface. Elife (2018) 7. pii: e32271. PMID: 29712619
Knockout of the PKN family of Rho effector kinases reveals a non-redundant role for PKN2 in developmental mesoderm expansion. Cell Reports (2016) 14(3):440-448. PMID: 26774483
mTORC2 targets AGC kinases through Sin1-dependent recruitment. Biochem J (2011) 439(2):287-97. PMID: 21806543
PKC maturation is promoted by nucleotide pocket occupation independently of intrinsic kinase activity. Nat Struct Mol Biol (2009) 16(6):624-30. PMID: 19465915
The targeting of protein kinases represents an opportunity and challenge in cancer treatment. Some 2% of transcribed genes are kinases, many implicated in tumorigenesis and all potentially druggable.
My research encompasses various cancer associated kinases, including PKC, PKN, mTOR and EGFR family tyrosine kinases. In particular, my work on PKC and the HER family of tyrosine kinase growth factor receptors has revealed that inhibitors can have surprising allosteric effects on kinase function with significant implications for therapy.
My group is currently examining the role of the PKN kinases in malignant progression. PKN kinases are effectors of Rho family GTPases, regulating cell shape, adhesion and motility. Our studies on the role for PKN family members in mammalian development has provided significant insight; we have described a key non-redundant role for the PKN2 isoform in the regulation of embryo morphogenesis, cell proliferation and migration; phenotypes critically linked to cancer progression (Cell Reports 2016).
The PKN kinases are dramatically upregulated in many cancers and high expression has been correlated with metastatic disease – the spread of cancer around the body. Our current studies focus on the stromal roles for the PKN kinases in pancreatic and breast cancer, supported by the novel roles we have discovered for PKN during development.
The ultimate goal of this research is to assess whether these kinases represent a significant cancer drug target.
Inhibitor-induced HER2-HER3 heterodimerisation promotes proliferation through a novel dimer interface. Claus J, Patel G, Autore F et al. Elife (2018) 7(2)
Towards specific inhibition of mTORC2. Murray ER, Cameron AJM Aging (Albany NY) (2017) 9(2) 2461-2462
Genomic Subtypes of Non-invasive Bladder Cancer with Distinct Metabolic Profile and Female Gender Bias in KDM6A Mutation Frequency. Hurst CD, Alder O, Platt FM et al. Cancer Cell (2017) 32(2) 701-715.e7
Uncoupling TORC2 from AGC kinases inhibits tumour growth. Cameron AJM, Veeriah S, Marshall JJT et al. Oncotarget (2017) 8(2) 84685-84696
PDGFRα depletion attenuates glioblastoma stem cells features by modulation of STAT3, RB1 and multiple oncogenic signals Cenciarelli C, Marei HE, Felsani A et al. Oncotarget (2016) (1)
Knockout of the PKN Family of Rho Effector Kinases Reveals a Non-redundant Role for PKN2 in Developmental Mesoderm Expansion. Quétier I, Marshall JJT, Spencer-Dene B et al. Cell Rep (2016) 14(2) 440-448
Targeting protein kinase C in sarcoma Martin-Liberal J, Cameron AJ, Claus J et al. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer (2014) 1846(7) 547-559
Functional implications of assigned, assumed and assembled PKC structures. Linch M, Riou P, Claus J et al. Biochem Soc Trans (2014) 42(2) 35-41
Regulation of polarized morphogenesis by protein kinase C iota in oncogenic epithelial spheroids. Linch M, Sanz-Garcia M, Rosse C et al. Carcinogenesis (2014) 35(1) 396-406
A cancer-associated mutation in atypical protein kinase Cι occurs in a substrate-specific recruitment motif. Linch M, Sanz-Garcia M, Soriano E et al. Sci Signal (2013) 6(2) ra82
Dr Shinelle G. Menezes, Dr Lorena Alba-Catellon
Ms Priththivika Baskaran, Ms Elizabeth Murray, Ms Josie Williams
I completed my BSc in biochemistry at the University of Bath where I got hooked on research while working on a placement year in the US on protein phosphatases and virology.
I studied for my PhD in Glasgow on a Wellcome Trust Prize studentship working on receptor mediated signal transduction, graduating in 2000. After completing a 2 years Wellcome Trust postdoctoral fellowship in Glasgow, I joined Professor Peter Parker’s lab at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute where I studied the role PKC family protein kinases in development and cancer.
I joined Barts Cancer Institute in 2013 as an Early Career Researcher in the Centre for Tumour Biology and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2018.