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Yuri Pekarsky, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Contact Information


1090 Biomedical Research Tower
460 W 12th Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
Ph. (614) 292-4134

Research Interest

Dr. Pekarsky’s research is focused on the investigation of function of TCL1 oncogene. Mature T-cell leukemia commonly shows chromosomal rearrangements at 14q32.1 including translocations t(14;14)(q11;q32), t(7;14)(q35;q32) and inversions inv(14)(q11;q32). The investigation of the locus in question at 14q32.1 resulted in the identification of two related genes named TCL1 and TCL1b. Both genes are activated in T-PLL/T-CLL by the chromosomal aberrations mentioned above. Tcl1 expression is also abnormally induced in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL), the most common leukemia in the world. Recently we discovered that biochemically, TCL1 works as a co-factor of the Akt kinase, a key regulator of antiapoptotic and proliferative signals. Tcl1 interacts physically with Akt, increases its kinase activity and facilitates its transport to the nucleus. The pathogenesis of T-PLL/T-CLL and B-CLL may also involve Nur77, a T-cell transcription factor required for T-cell receptor (TCR) mediated apoptosis. In our recent publication we demonstrate that Akt phosphorylates Nur77, thereby blocking its DNA-binding ability and rendering the transcription factor inactive. Currently we concentrate on studying of downstream events of this pathway as well as on the identification new pathways involving Tcl1 and Akt.