R J Lechleider

Georgetown University, Washington, Washington, D.C., United States

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Publications (38)256.86 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Although the role of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling in the development and progression of cancer is now beginning to be understood, the importance of signaling by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) ligands is just becoming clear, and much less is known about the mechanisms by which BMP signaling may mediate carcinogenesis. We have shown that the Smad proteins which mediate signals from the BMP cell surface receptors can interact with histone methyltransferases of the Suv39h family, and that this interaction can contribute to transcriptional repression mediated by BMP signaling. This provides the first evidence that BMP signaling can modulate chromatin structure through methylation, and may provide a mechanism for maintenance of suppression originally initiated by Smad signals. Aberrant regulation of this phenomenon is likely to be important both during tumorigenesis and subsequent malignant progression. Key WordsHistone methyltransferase-Smad-BMP-cell surface receptors-Suv39h family-chromatin
    12/2007: pages 383-393;
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    Nima Sharifi, Robert J Lechleider, William L Farrar
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    ABSTRACT: The transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) pathway plays dual roles in cancer, inhibiting epithelial cell growth under normal physiologic conditions, but promoting invasion and metastasis once growth inhibitory responses are lost. Two recent papers show that TGF-beta receptor III is the most common TGF-beta pathway component downregulated in prostate cancer. Here, we discuss the implications of these findings and what it may mean about the biology of this disease.
    Journal of Molecular Endocrinology 12/2007; 39(5):329-32. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 activity has been shown to increase vascular endothelial barrier permeability, which is believed to precede several pathologic conditions, including pulmonary edema and vessel inflammation. In endothelial monolayers, TGF-beta1 increases permeability, and a number of studies have demonstrated the alteration of cell-cell contacts by TGF-beta1. We hypothesized that focal adhesion complexes also likely contribute to alterations in endothelial permeability. We examined early signal transduction events associated with rapid changes in monolayer permeability and the focal adhesion complex of bovine pulmonary artery endothelial cells. Western blotting revealed rapid tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) and Src kinase in response to TGF-beta1; inhibition of both of these kinases using pp2 (4-amino-5-(4-chlorophenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine), ameliorates TGF-beta1-induced monolayer permeability. Activation of FAK/Src requires activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor downstream of the TGF-beta receptors, and is blocked by the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor AG1478. Immunohistochemistry showed that actin and the focal adhesion proteins paxillin, vinculin, and hydrogen peroxide-inducible clone-5 (Hic-5) are rearranged in response to TGF-beta1; these proteins are released from focal adhesion complexes. Rearrangement of paxillin and vinculin by TGF-beta1 is not blocked by the FAK/Src inhibitor, pp2, or by SB431542 inhibition of the TGF-beta type I receptor, anaplastic lymphoma kinase 5; however, pp1 (4-Amino-5-(4-methylphenyl)-7-(t-butyl)pyrazolo[3,4-d]pyrimidine), which inhibits both type I and type II TGF-beta receptors, does block paxillin and vinculin rearrangement. Hic-5 protein rearrangement requires FAK/Src activity. Together, these results suggest that TGF-beta1-induced monolayer permeability involves focal adhesion and cytoskeletal rearrangement through both FAK/Src-dependent and -independent pathways.
    American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 11/2007; 37(4):485-93. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Using a yeast two-hybrid screen, we found that SNIP1 (Smad nuclear-interacting protein 1) associates with c-Myc, a key regulator of cell proliferation and transformation. We demonstrate that SNIP1 functions as an important regulator of c-Myc activity, binding the N terminus of c-Myc through its own C terminus, and that SNIP1 enhances the transcriptional activity of c-Myc both by stabilizing it against proteosomal degradation and by bridging the c-Myc/p300 complex. These effects of SNIP1 on c-Myc likely contribute to synergistic effects of SNIP1, c-Myc, and H-Ras in inducing formation of foci in an in vitro transformation assay and also in supporting anchorage-independent growth. The significant association of SNIP1 and c-Myc staining in a non-small cell lung cancer tissue array is further evidence that their activities might be linked and suggests that SNIP1 might be an important modulator of c-Myc activity in carcinogenesis.
    Molecular Cell 01/2007; 24(5):771-83. · 15.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is the prototypical member of a family of growth factors that play important roles in normal development and human diseases. We identified the gene for fibroblast growth factor-binding protein 1 (FGF-BP1) as being significantly repressed following TGF-beta treatment. FGF-BP1 is an extracellular matrix bound protein that enhances fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling. We demonstrate here that TGF-beta signaling significantly represses FGF-BP1 expression in mesenchymal and neural crest cells undergoing in vitro smooth muscle differentiation. Analysis of the downstream signaling pathways shows that Smad2/3 are crucial for efficient FGF-BP1 repression by TGF-beta. Furthermore, we identified a novel element in the region from -785 to -782 bp of the FGF-BP1 promoter, which represents a known binding site for Hypermethylation in Cancer-1 (Hic-1), necessary for repression of FGF-BP1 by TGF-beta. These data define the molecular mechanism of transcriptional repression of an important target of TGF-beta signaling during angiogenesis.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 07/2006; 345(2):595-601. · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We recently reported that transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta induced the neural crest stem cell line Monc-1 to differentiate into a spindle-like contractile smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotype and that Smad signaling played an important role in this phenomenon. In addition to Smad signaling, other pathways such as mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositol-3 kinase, and RhoA have also been shown to mediate TGF-beta actions. The objectives of this study were to examine whether these signaling pathways contribute to TGF-beta-induced SMC development and to test whether Smad signaling cross-talks with other pathway(s) during SMC differentiation induced by TGF-beta. We demonstrate here that RhoA signaling is critical to TGF-beta-induced SMC differentiation. RhoA kinase (ROCK) inhibitor Y27632 significantly blocks the expression of multiple SMC markers such as smooth muscle alpha-actin, SM22alpha, and calponin in TGF-beta-treated Monc-1 cells. In addition, Y27632 reversed the cell morphology and abolished the contractility of TGF-beta-treated cells. RhoA signaling was activated as early as 5 min following TGF-beta addition. Dominant negative RhoA blocked nuclear translocation of Smad2 and Smad3 because of the inhibition of phosphorylation of both Smads and inhibited Smad-dependent SBE promoter activity, whereas constitutively active RhoA significantly enhanced SBE promoter activity. Consistent with these results, C3 exotoxin, an inhibitor of RhoA activation, significantly attenuated SBE promoter activity and inhibited Smad nuclear translocation. Taken together, these data point to a new role for RhoA as a modulator of Smad activation while regulating TGF-beta-induced SMC differentiation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2006; 281(3):1765-70. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Smad proteins transduce signals from transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily ligands to regulate the expression of target genes. In order to identify novel partners of Smad proteins in transcriptional regulation, we performed a two-hybrid screen using Smad5, a protein that is activated predominantly by bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling. We identified an interaction between Smad5 and suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog 2 (Suv39h2), a chromatin modifier enzyme. Suv39h proteins are histone methyltransferases that methylate histone H3 on lysine 9, resulting in transcriptional repression or silencing of target genes. Biochemical studies in mammalian cells demonstrated that Smad5 binds to both known mammalian isoforms of Suv39h proteins, and that Smad proteins activated by the TGF-beta signaling pathway, Smad2 and Smad3, do not bind with significant affinity. Functional studies using the muscle creatine kinase (MCK) promoter, which is suppressed by BMP signaling, demonstrate that Suv39h proteins and Smads cooperate to repress promoter activity. These data suggest a model where association of Smad proteins with Suv39h methyltransferases can repress or silence genes involved in developmental processes, and argues that inefficient gene repression may result in the alteration of the differentiated phenotype. Thus, examination of the Smad-Suv interaction may provide insight into the mechanism of phenotypic determination mediated by BMP signaling.
    Oncogene 08/2004; 23(30):5242-51. · 8.56 Impact Factor
  • Shiyou Chen, Robert J Lechleider
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    ABSTRACT: During vascular development, nascent endothelial networks are invested with a layer of supporting cells called pericytes in capillaries or smooth muscle in larger vessels. The cellular lineage of smooth muscle precursors and factors responsible for regulating their differentiation remain uncertain. In vivo, cells derived from the multipotent neural crest can give rise to vascular smooth muscle in parts of the head and also the cardiac outflow tract. Although transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) has previously been shown to induce some smooth muscle markers from primary cultures of neural crest stem cells, the extent of the differentiation induced was not clear. In this study, we demonstrate that TGF-beta can induce many of the markers and characteristics of vascular smooth muscle from a neural crest stem cell line, Monc-1. Within 3 days of in vitro treatment, TGF-beta induces multiple smooth muscle-specific markers, while downregulating epithelial markers present on the parent cells. Treatment with TGF-beta also induces a contractile phenotype that responds to the muscarinic agonist carbachol and is not immediately reversed on TGF-beta withdrawal. Examination of the signaling pathways involved revealed that TGF-beta activation of Smad2 and Smad3 appear to be essential for the observed differentiation. Taken together, this system provides a novel model of smooth muscle differentiation that reliably recapitulates the process observed in vivo and allows for dissection of the pathways and processes involved in this process.
    Circulation Research 06/2004; 94(9):1195-202. · 11.86 Impact Factor
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    Shiyou Chen, Magdalena Kulik, Robert J Lechleider
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    ABSTRACT: Smad proteins transduce signals from transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) receptors and regulate transcription of target genes. TGF-beta is implicated in the regulation of the smooth muscle cell specific gene SM22alpha, but little is known about how Smads are involved in SM22alpha gene transcription. In this report, we demonstrate that TGF-beta activation of the SM22alpha promoter is Smad dependent in C3H10T1/2 cells, BALB 3T3 cells and neural crest Monc-1 cells. We find that the promoter region from -162 to +41 is sufficient to up-regulate the reporter gene upon TGF-beta induction. Smad3, Smad1 and Smad4 are found in TGF-beta inducible complexes that bind to a region containing a Smad binding site (SBS) and a medea box. Both the SBS and medea box are necessary for complex formation and are functionally important. Smad4 is limiting for TGF-beta induction, and Smad3, but not Smad1, significantly contributes to maximal activation. Time course luciferase assays and time course gel mobility shift assays reveal that the Smad3/4 complex is largely responsible for the immediate response of the SM22alpha promoter to TGF-beta induction, and also contributes to the maximal promoter activity. We further demonstrate that AP-1 elements contribute to induction of the SM22alpha promoter by TGF-beta.
    Nucleic Acids Research 03/2003; 31(4):1302-10. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The intracellular signaling events of the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) involve the R-Smad family members Smad1, Smad5, Smad8 and the Co-Smad, Smad4. Smads are currently considered to be DNA-binding transcriptional modulators and shown to recruit the master transcriptional co-activator CBP/p300 for transcriptional activation. SNIP1 is a recently discovered novel repressor of CBP/p300. Currently, the detailed molecular mechanisms that allow R-Smads and Co-Smad to co-operatively modulate transcription events are not fully understood. Here we report a novel physical and functional link between Smad1 and the 26S proteasome that contributes to Smad1- and Smad4-mediated transcriptional regulation. Smad1 forms a complex with a proteasome beta subunit HsN3 and the ornithine decarboxylase antizyme (Az). The interaction is enhanced upon BMP type I receptor activation and occur prior to the incorporation of HsN3 into the mature 20S proteasome. Furthermore, BMPs trigger the translocation of Smad1, HsN3 and Az into the nucleus, where the novel CBP/p300 repressor protein SNIP1 is further recruited to Smad1/HsN3/Az complex and degraded in a Smad1-, Smad4- and Az-dependent fashion. The degradation of the CBP/p300 repressor SNIP1 is likely an essential step for Smad1-, Smad4-mediated transcriptional activation, since increased SNIP1 expression inhibits BMP-induced gene responses. Our studies thus add two additional important functional partners of Smad1 into the signaling web of BMPs and also suggest a novel mechanism for Smad1 and Smad4 to co-modulate transcription via regulating proteasomal degradation of CBP/p300 repressor SNIP1.
    BMC Cell Biology 07/2002; 3:15. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The zebrafish mutant violet beauregarde (vbg) can be identified at two days post-fertilization by an abnormal circulation pattern in which most blood cells flow through a limited number of dilated cranial vessels and fail to perfuse the trunk and tail. This phenotype cannot be explained by caudal vessel abnormalities or by a defect in cranial vessel patterning, but instead stems from an increase in endothelial cell number in specific cranial vessels. We show that vbg encodes activin receptor-like kinase 1 (Acvrl1; also known as Alk1), a TGFbeta type I receptor that is expressed predominantly in the endothelium of the vessels that become dilated in vbg mutants. Thus, vbg provides a model for the human autosomal dominant disorder, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 2, in which disruption of ACVRL1 causes vessel malformations that may result in hemorrhage or stroke. Movies available on-line
    Development 07/2002; 129(12):3009-19. · 6.21 Impact Factor
  • genesis 03/2002; 32(2):76-9. · 2.58 Impact Factor
  • genesis 01/2002; 32(2):76-79. · 2.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Smad family of intracellular signaling intermediates transduce signals downstream from the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) family of receptor serine threonine kinases. The original member of this family, Smad1, has been shown to mediate signals from receptors for the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), a large group of ligands in the TGF-beta superfamily that mediate important developmental events. We have targeted the Smad1 gene in mice and created mutants null at this locus. Smad1 mutant mice die at approximately 9.5 days postcoitum due to defects in allantois formation. In Smad1 mutant mice, the allantois fails to fuse to the chorion, resulting in a lack of placenta and failure to establish a definitive embryonic circulation. Although vasculogenesis is initiated in the mutant allantois, the vessels formed are disorganized, and VCAM-1 protein, a marker for distal allantois development, is not expressed. Smad1 null fibroblasts are still able to respond to BMP2, however, suggesting that the defect observed in the developing extraembryonic tissue is caused by a very specific loss of transcriptional activity regulated by Smad1. Our data further demonstrate that although highly similar structurally, Smad proteins are not functionally homologous.
    Developmental Biology 01/2002; 240(1):157-67. · 3.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Smad proteins transduce signals from TGF-beta receptors and regulate transcription of target genes either directly or in combination with other sequence-specific transcription factors. AP-1 sites and their cognate transcription factors also play important roles in the gene regulatory activities of TGF-beta. In this report, we have investigated the functional interactions of the Smad and AP-1 transcription factors. We demonstrate that Smad and AP-1 complexes specifically bind to their cognate cis-elements and do not interact with each other on-DNA, whereas off-DNA interactions occur between Smad3 and both c-Jun and JunB. Using both artificial constructs specific for either the Smad or AP-1 signaling pathways or natural promoters known to be TGF-beta-responsive, we have determined that Jun family members downregulate Smad3-mediated gene transactivation whereas AP-1-dependent promoters are synergistically activated by Smad3 and Jun proteins. We propose a model where the presence of Smad- and/or AP-1-specific cis-elements within TGF-beta-responsive genes allows dynamic modulation of gene expression, in contrast to the existing model where interactions between Smad and AP-1 proteins are merely an on/off mechanism to regulate TGF-beta/Smad targets.
    Oncogene 07/2001; 20(26):3332-40. · 8.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily signal through unique cell membrane receptor serine-threonine kinases to activate downstream targets. TRAP1 is a previously described 96-kDa cytoplasmic protein shown to bind to TGF-beta receptors and suggested to play a role in TGF-beta signaling. We now fully characterize the binding properties of TRAP1, and show that it associates strongly with inactive heteromeric TGF-beta and activin receptor complexes and is released upon activation of signaling. Moreover, we demonstrate that TRAP1 plays a role in the Smad-mediated signal transduction pathway, interacting with the common mediator, Smad4, in a ligand-dependent fashion. While TRAP1 has only a small stimulatory effect on TGF-beta signaling in functional assays, deletion constructs of TRAP1 inhibit TGF-beta signaling and diminish the interaction of Smad4 with Smad2. These are the first data to identify a specific molecular chaperone for Smad4, suggesting a model in which TRAP1 brings Smad4 into the vicinity of the receptor complex and facilitates its transfer to the receptor-activated Smad proteins.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2001; 276(22):19495-502. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sorting nexins (SNX) comprise a family of proteins with homology to several yeast proteins, including Vps5p and Mvp1p, that are required for the sorting of proteins to the yeast vacuole. Human SNX1, -2, and -4 have been proposed to play a role in receptor trafficking and have been shown to bind to several receptor tyrosine kinases, including receptors for epidermal growth factor, platelet-derived growth factor, and insulin as well as the long form of the leptin receptor, a glycoprotein 130-associated receptor. We now describe a novel member of this family, SNX6, which interacts with members of the transforming growth factor-beta family of receptor serine-threonine kinases. These receptors belong to two classes: type II receptors that bind ligand, and type I receptors that are subsequently recruited to transduce the signal. Of the type II receptors, SNX6 was found to interact strongly with ActRIIB and more moderately with wild type and kinase-defective mutants of TbetaRII. Of the type I receptors, SNX6 was found to interact only with inactivated TbetaRI. SNXs 1-4 also interacted with the transforming growth factor-beta receptor family, showing different receptor preferences. Conversely, SNX6 behaved similarly to the other SNX proteins in its interactions with receptor tyrosine kinases. Strong heteromeric interactions were also seen among SNX1, -2, -4, and -6, suggesting the formation in vivo of oligomeric complexes. These findings are the first evidence for the association of the SNX family of molecules with receptor serine-threonine kinases.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2001; 276(22):19332-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Here we describe a protein product of the human septin H5/PNUTL2/CDCrel2b gene, which we call ARTS (for apoptosis-related protein in the TGF-beta signalling pathway). ARTS is expressed in many cells and acts to enhance cell death induced by TGF-beta or, to a lesser extent, by other apoptotic agents. Unlike related septin gene products, ARTS is localized to mitochondria and translocates to the nucleus when apoptosis occurs. Mutation of the P-loop of ARTS abrogates its competence to activate caspase 3 and to induce apoptosis. Taken together, these observations expand the functional attributes of septins previously described as having roles in cytokinesis and cellular morphogenesis.
    Nature Cell Biology 01/2001; 2(12):915-21. · 20.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily play critical roles in controlling cell growth and differentiation. Effects of TGF-beta family ligands are mediated by Smad proteins. To understand the mechanism of Smad function, we sought to identify novel interactors of Smads by use of a yeast two-hybrid system. A 396-amino acid nuclear protein termed SNIP1 was cloned and shown to harbor a nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a Forkhead-associated (FHA) domain. The carboxyl terminus of SNIP1 interacts with Smad1 and Smad2 in yeast two-hybrid as well as in mammalian overexpression systems. However, the amino terminus of SNIP1 harbors binding sites for both Smad4 and the coactivator CBP/p300. Interaction between endogenous levels of SNIP1 and Smad4 or CBP/p300 is detected in NMuMg cells as well as in vitro. Overexpression of full-length SNIP1 or its amino terminus is sufficient to inhibit multiple gene responses to TGF-beta and CBP/p300, as well as the formation of a Smad4/p300 complex. Studies in Xenopus laevis further suggest that SNIP1 plays a role in regulating dorsomedial mesoderm formation by the TGF-beta family member nodal. Thus, SNIP1 is a nuclear inhibitor of CBP/p300 and its level of expression in specific cell types has important physiological consequences by setting a threshold for TGF-beta-induced transcriptional activation involving CBP/p300.
    Genes & Development 08/2000; 14(13):1605-16. · 12.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The MSG1 nuclear protein has a strong transcriptional activating activity but does not bind directly to DNA. When cotransfected, MSG1 enhances transcription mediated by the Smad transcription factors in mammalian cells in a manner dependent on ligand-induced Smad hetero-oligomerization. However, the mechanism of this MSG1 effect has been unknown. We now show that MSG1 directly binds to the p300/cAMP-response element-binding protein-binding protein (CBP) transcriptional coactivators, which in turn bind to the Smads, and enhances Smad-mediated transcription in a manner dependent on p300/CBP. The C-terminal transactivating domain of MSG1 is required for binding to p300/CBP and enhancement of Smad-mediated transcription; the viral VP16 transactivating domain could not substitute for it. In the N-terminal region of MSG1, we identified a domain that is necessary and sufficient to direct the specific interaction of MSG1 with Smads. We also found that the Hsc70 heat-shock cognate protein also forms complex with MSG1 in vivo, suppressing both binding of MSG1 to p300/CBP and enhancement of Smad-mediated transcription by MSG1. These results indicate that MSG1 interacts with both the DNA-binding Smad proteins and the p300/CBP coactivators through its N- and C-terminal regions, respectively, and enhances the functional link between Smads and p300/CBP.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2000; 275(12):8825-34. · 4.65 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
256.86 Total Impact Points


  • 2003–2007
    • Georgetown University
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 1990–2007
    • National Cancer Institute (USA)
      • • Laboratory of Population Genetics
      • • Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology
      Maryland, United States
  • 2002–2006
    • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Maryland, United States
  • 1999–2002
    • NCI-Frederick
      Maryland, United States
  • 2001
    • Unité Inserm U1077
      Caen, Lower Normandy, France
    • Rambam Medical Center
      • Department of Pathology
      H̱efa, Haifa District, Israel
  • 1996–2001
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
      • • Laboratory of Cancer Prevention
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1998–1999
    • Thomas Jefferson University
      • Department of Dermatology & Cutaneous Biology
      Philadelphia, PA, United States