- About CURE
J. Enrique Rozengurt,DVM, PhD, AGAF
Distinguished Professor, Vatche and Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Molecular Biology Institute, UCLA , Director, CURE Digestive Diseases Research Center, Chief of Research, Division of Digestive Diseases
Dr. Rozengurt is Director of CURE and of the CURE: DDRCC. He discovered that neuro-hormonal signals (e.g., peptides of the bombesin family) which act as molecular messengers in a rich network of information exchange throughout the organism via GPCRs, are potent cellular growth factors for multiple cell types in culture, including intestinal epithelial cells and function as autocrine/paracrine mitogens for human cancer cells. He studies the transmission of the neuro-hormonal signal from surface receptors to the nucleus along a number of transduction pathways, typically protein kinase cascades that act in a synergistic and combinatorial fashion to promote cellular responses, including migration and proliferation. His work revealed that these extracellular signals trigger a complex set of molecular responses and specific protein kinase cascades including kinase C and A (PKC and PKA), mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and p70 S6 ribosomal protein kinase. He reported on the cloning and expression analysis of a novel protein kinase termed protein kinase D (PKD). PKD is directly activated by phorbol esters and also is part of a novel phosphorylation cascade downstream of protein kinase C (PKC). Future research activities in this area include a detailed mutational analysis to define the contribution of different domains of PKD to its regulation and to modulate its expression to determine the role of PKD in cell regulation in vitro and in vivo. Recent studies using a PKD transgenic mouse model, demonstrated that over-expression of PKD in intestinal epithelial cells promote their proliferation and migration. He is also interested in the signaling pathways regulated by chemosensing receptors, including the extracellular calcium-sensing receptor (CaR), an allosteric GPCR that has the unique property of eliciting different types of intracellular Ca2+ oscillations in response to its agonists: extracellular Ca2+ and aromatic amino acids. The work of Dr. Rozengurt is dissecting the molecular mechanisms by whichl GPCR agonists induce downstream pathways and is elucidating the role of these pathways in cell migration, proliferation and cancer.