The primary goal of our research is to understand the molecular basis of self-renewal and differentiation in normal and cancer stem cells. Specifically we are interested in hematopoiesis as a system to uncover cellular machinery that regulates tissue homeostasis and regeneration as well as molecular drivers of transformation that lead to the development of hematologic malignancies such as leukemia. We are particularly interested in the stem cell regulatory circuits governed by RNA binding proteins and their target RNAs. Recent studies, including our own work, suggest that cancer stem cells require the function of RNA binding proteins to initiate and maintain the disease state. which constitute the basis for therapy resistance and tumor relapse. Our research seeks to improve our understanding of stem cell and cancer biology, and to apply this knowledge to the development of new, effective approaches to treat human cancer.
Courses Regularly Taught
- Duke University Medical Center, NC; University of California San Diego, CA, Postdoc
- The University of Tokyo, Japan, Ph.D.
- The University of Tokyo, Japan, B.Sc.
Hattori A, Tsunoda M, Konuma T, Kobayashi M, Nagy T, Glushka J, Tayyari F, McSkimming D, Kannan N, Tojo A, Edison A, Ito T*. (2017). Cancer progression by reprogrammed BCAA metabolism in myeloid leukemia. Nature 545:500-504.
Hattori A, McSkimming D, Kannan N, Ito T*. (2017). RNA binding protein MSI2 positively regulates FLT3 expression in myeloid leukemia. Leuk Res 54:47-54.
Fox RG, Lytle NK, Jaquish DV, Park FD, Ito T et al., (2016). Image-based detection and targeting of therapy resistance in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Nature 534:407-11.
Kwon HY, Bajaj J, Ito T et al., (2015). Tetraspanin 3 is required for the development and propagation of acute myelogenous leukemia. Cell Stem Cell 17:1-13.
Zimdahl B*, Ito T* et al., (2014). Lis1 regulates asymmetric division in hematopoietic stem cells and in leukemia. Nat Genet 46:245-52.
Ito T, Kwon HY et al., (2010). Regulation of myeloid leukaemia by the cell fate determinant Musashi. Nature 466:765-8.