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Min Han

Porter room B343A
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Explore Min Han's areas of research and more in Vivo


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1988


Research Interests:
Genetic and molecular analysis of cell signaling, differentiation, migration, and morphogenesis during nematode C. elegans development.

Research Profile:
The small-sized round worm C. elegans is a very popular model organism to study development, primarily due to its accessibility to genetics and molecular biology, and its similarities in genetic components and pathways to those in mammals. Spatial and temporal regulation of Development

Vulval formation in C. elegans has been an excellent model system to study how several signaling pathways and regulatory circuits collaborate to specify cell fate and morphogenesis. Using this system, researchers in our lab have made important contributions to understanding the functions and regulations of the RTK-RAS-MAPK signaling pathway. We have also been analyzing the interactions between this pathway and other pathways including tumor suppressor Rb-involved complexes that repress vulval differentiation. We have recently extended our efforts to study timing regulation of development and have identified key factors that modulate the functions of timing regulating microRNAs and proteins.

Genetic Redundancy and Tumor Suppressor Functions

A large percentage of genes in genomes do not have robust knockout mutant phenotypes, likely due to the fact that most of these genes collaborate with other genes for important and multiple cellular functions. We have carried out genetic screens to identify "hidden" functions of RB and PTEN tumor suppressor genes and factors working with them, as well as genes that antagonize Rb functions.

Lipid Biology and Human Disease Genes

Steered by our previous study on human macular dystrophy, we have applied C. elegans genetics, gas chromatography, and DNA microarray technology to study the roles of fatty acid functions and homeostasis. We have recently elucidated the essential and interesting roles of the little known mono-methyl branched fatty acids.

Genetic Approach to Cell Biology Problems

Our genetic analyses in worm, mouse and fly have revealed molecular machinery at the nuclear envelope that directs nuclear migration and anchorage in animal cells. We have also carried out studies on cell migration and fusion problems, including an effort to understand the role of cell adhesion in neuronal morphogenesis.

Selected Publications

A gain-of-function allele of cbp-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the mammalian CBP/p300 gene, causes an increase in histone acetyltransferase activity and antagonism of activated Ras.
Eastburn, DJ and Han, M Mol Cell Biol, 25(21):9427-34. 2005

The developmental timing regulator AIN-1 interacts with miRISCs and may target the argonaute protein ALG-1 to cytoplasmic P bodies in C. elegans.
Ding, L, Spencer, A, Morita, K, and Han, M Mol Cell, 19(4):437-47. 2005

Monomethyl branched-chain fatty acids play an essential role in Caenorhabditis elegans development.
Kniazeva, M, Crawford, QT, Seiber, M, Wang, C, and Han, M PLoS Biol, 2(9):E257. 2004

Systematic identification of C. elegans miRISC proteins, miRNAs, and mRNA targets by their interactions with GW182 proteins AIN-1 and AIN-2.
Zhang, L, Ding, L, Cheung, TH, Dong, M, Chen, J, Sewell, AK, Liu, X, Yates, JR3, and Han, M Mol Cell, 28(4):598-613. 2007

A branched-chain fatty acid is involved in post-embryonic growth control in parallel to the insulin receptor pathway and its biosynthesis is feedback-regulated in C. elegans.
Kniazeva, M, Euler, T, and Han, M Genes Dev, 22(15):2102-10. 2008