Signal transduction pathways and chromatin structure in cancer cells

Christopher H. Chay, Kenneth J. Pienta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Molecular mechanisms controlling gene expression include cell shape, mechanical and chemical signal transduction pathways, chromatin remodeling, and DNA methylation. In this article, we will review the contribution of these molecular mechanisms and structural alterations in the malignant transformation of cells. The mechanical signaling pathway consists of the tissue matrix system that links together the three-dimensional skeletal networks, the extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton, and nuclear matrix. The cytoskeleton array is a dynamic system that transmits signals from the cell exterior to nuclear DNA. The composition and function of this mechanical signaling pathway is altered in cancer cells. Chemical signaling pathways such as the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway stimulate the activity of kinases that modify transcription factors, histones, and chromatin remodeling factors. Oncoproteins deregulating this signaling pathway set in motion a series of events that cumulate to chromatin remodeling and aberrant gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of cellular biochemistry
Issue numberSUPPL. 35
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Cytoskeleton
  • DNA methylation
  • Histone acetylation and phosphorylation
  • Histone acetyltransferase
  • Histone deacetylase
  • Histone kinase
  • Nuclear matrix

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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