Epigenetic heterogeneity in cancer

Paola Scaffidi : Extracellular signalling, chromatin and cancer cell plasticity

Introduction

Interactions of cancer cells with the tumour microenvironment strongly affect cancer development.

These interactions are mediated by extracellular signalling and they are likely to result in epigenetic changes that affect the differentiation status of cancer cells.

We are using mouse models of various cancer types to assess how chromatin affects cancer cell plasticity in response to extracellular signalling. By characterising functional interactions between upstream components of oncogenic signalling pathways and chromatin-related proteins, we aim to understand how cell-to-cell interactions occurring during cancer development are translated into changes in gene expression and modulation of malignant cellular properties.