Cancer stem cells and cell plasticity

Group Leader

Dra. Carolina Perez Castro
See CV

PhD Students

Lucía Canedo, Melina D. Muñoz Bernart, Marina Belén Cuenca (co-dirección)


Nicolás Budnik.

In the laboratory we study the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the dynamic regulation of cell plasticity to understand the behavior of tumors originating from cells that underwent a reprogramming process, and how the tumor micro-environment regulates the expression of key genes that regulate cellular plasticity.

The activities of members of the TGF-beta family, i.e. TGF-beta/Activin-like factors and bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are required for the maintenance of Embryonic Stem Cells (ESCs) self-renewal and pluripotency properties and fulfill relevant functions in the regulation of different cellular processes that are essential for tissue homeostasis.

The research focus proposes to explore how TGF-beta family proteins (and the cross-talk to other main pathways) regulate genes that are potentially critical for self-renewal property in CSC.

Our strategies include the use of human tumor samples and mouse xenograft models. In addition, we use three-dimensional (3D) cultures of cancer cells that approximate in vitro the conditions found in the tumor. In order to visualize and model the organization and dynamic progression of tumor cells in these cultures, we carried out a multidisciplinary approach and different advanced microscopy methods.

Publications related to this project

  • Ferreyra Solari NE, Belforte FS, Canedo L, Videla-Richardson GA, Espinosa JM, Rossi M, Serna E, Riudavets MA, Martinetto H, Sevlever G and Perez-Castro C.
    The NSL Chromatin-Modifying Complex Subunit KANSL2 Regulates Cancer Stem–like Properties in Glioblastoma That Contribute to Tumorigenesis.
    Cancer Research 76: 5383-5394 (2016)
  • Rohr, C.O.; Parra, R.G.;Yankilevich, P.;Perez Castro, C.
    INSECT: In silico search for co-occurring transcription factors.
    Bioinformatics 29:2852-2858 (2013)
  • Perez Castro, C.; Renner, U.; Haedo, M.; Gunter, K.; Stalla, G.K.; Arzt, E.
    Cellular and Molecular Specificity of Pituitary Gland Physiology.
    Physiological Reviews 92:1-38 (2012)
  • Perez-Castro, C., Piscopo, D, Nakagawa, T, Derynck, R.
    Cornichon regulates transport and secretion of TGF-alpha related proteins in metazoan cells.
    Journal of Cell Science 120:2454-2466 (2007)
  • Graciarena, M, Carbia-Nagashima, A, Onofri, C, Perez-Castro, C, Giacomini, D, Renner, U, Stalla, GK, Arzt, E.
    Involvement of the gp130 cytokine transducer in MtT/S pituitary somatotroph tumor development in an autocrine-paracrine model.
    European Journal of Endocrinology 151:595-604 (2004)
  • Nagashima, AC; Giacomini, D; Perez-Castro, C; Páez-Pereda, M; Renner, U; Stalla, GK, Arzt, E.
    Transcriptional regulation of IL-6 in pituitary folliculo-stellate TtT/GF cells.
    Mol Cell Endocrinology 201:47-56 (2003)