UACC researcher to have study published in Journal of Cell Biology

Greg Rogers, PhD
Greg Rogers, PhD

Healthy cells contain a single centrosome, which duplicates once per cell cycle. Cancer cells, on the other hand, over-duplicate their centrosomes, which can lead to multipolar spindle formation and chromosomal instability.

Greg Rogers, PhD, is the author of a feature article in the upcoming Journal of Cell Biology that covers his laboratory’s groundbreaking work involving the identification of several new molecules that regulate centrosome duplication through the Polo-like kinase 4 (PLK4) pathway. His research shows that PP2A (Protein Phosphatase 2A) together with its regulatory subuit, Twins, counteracts PLK4 autophosphorylation, thus stabilizing PLK4 and promoting normal centriole duplication and stability of the genome.

Dr. Rogers is an assistant professor of cellular and molecular medicine at The University of Arizona, and has been a University of Arizona Cancer Center member since 2008. He has previously been published in 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including seven as the first author and two others as a senior author.

“We have a really exciting piece of research here that could advance the field dramatically,” Dr. Rogers said. “The Journal of Cell Biology is a tremendous publication. They’re run by scientists, and the top cell biologists respect it for that reason.”

The upcoming article, titled “The Protein Phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit Twins stabilizes Plk4 to induce centriole amplification,” is the first research paper that Dr. Rogers has published since establishing his own lab at the Cancer Center three years ago. The article was accepted for publication in early September and will appear on the Journal of Cell Biology’s website in the mid-October.

In 2009, Dr. Rogers published a manuscript, also in the Journal of Cell Biology, identifying the tumor suppressor serine/theonine kinase and PLK4 as a licensing factor that localizes to the mitotic centrioles and “primes” them to duplicate later during the cell cycle.

“I am excited by Dr. Rogers’ scientific progress and maturation as a tenure-track-directed basic scientist,” said University of Arizona Cancer Center Director David Alberts, MD. “I consider Dr. Rogers a key, junior scientist on our molecular medicine team of scientists participating in our Cancer Biology program.”

Dr. Rogers, along with his graduate students Christopher W. Brownlee and Joey E. Klebba, as well as Research Associate, Dr. Daniel W. Buster, began the submission process in March. Now that the paper has been accepted for publication, Dr. Rogers hopes that it will open doors for him to further advance his research program.

“As an assistant professor, it helps to get a paper in a high-impact journal, such as this one,” Dr. Rogers said. “It’s especially important when it comes to establishing one’s lab and obtaining grants. This is a major accomplishment for us, and we hope it’s just the beginning.”

The Journal of Cell Biology is an international peer-reviewed journal owned by The Rockefeller University and published by The Rockefeller University Press.