Rik Derynck, PhD

Department of Cell & Tissue Biology
+1 415 476-6081
Research Overview: 

Our research focuses on the role of TGF-a and -b, two structurally related growth and differentiation factors, in epithelial and mesenchymal cell proliferation and differentiation. We use various cell biological, molecular and biochemical approaches to address cell physiological and developmental questions. 

TGF-a is a growth factor for various cell types from ectodermal origin, including most epithelial cells, and exerts its functions in an autocrine and paracrine fashion. TGF-a is normally made as a transmembrane protein at the cell surface and functions in cell communication through its ability to interact with a tyrosine kinase receptor. The ectodomain can be proteolytically released in a highly regulated manner and is then released. Our TGF-a research focuses on the identification and functional characterization of proteins that form a complex in association with transmembrane TGF-a. We study their functions in the presentation of transmembrane TGF-a, signaling and regulation of TGF-a ectodomain cleavage in normal and transformed epithelial cells. 

TGF-b is a prototype for a large family of growth and differentiation factors which regulate development. TGF-b is also a potent inducer of growth arrest in many cell types. Our research focus is on the mechanism of signaling by TGF-b receptors and its role in mesenchymal differentiation and apoptosis. We study how the Smads, a novel class of intracellular signaling effectors, act as signal transducers following receptor activation, are translocated into the nucleus and regulate gene expression. We also study how this signaling regulates mesenchymal cell differentiation into muscle, bone and fat cells, and cell death.

Primary Thematic Area: 
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Secondary Thematic Area: 
Cancer Biology & Cell Signaling
Research Summary: 
Transmembrane TGF-a and TGF-b Receptor Signaling in Cell Proliferation and Differentiation



New progress in roles of TGF-β signaling crosstalks in cellular functions, immunity and diseases.

Cell regeneration (London, England)

Gu S, Derynck R, Chen YG, Feng XH

Virtual screening for small-molecule pathway regulators by image-profile matching.

Cell systems

Rohban MH, Fuller AM, Tan C, Goldstein JT, Syangtan D, Gutnick A, DeVine A, Nijsure MP, Rigby M, Sacher JR, Corsello SM, Peppler GB, Bogaczynska M, Boghossian A, Ciotti GE, Hands AT, Mekareeya A, Doan M, Gale JP, Derynck R, Turbyville T, Boerckel JD, Singh S, Kiessling LL, Schwarz TL, Varelas X, Wagner FF, Kafri R, Eisinger-Mathason TSK, Carpenter AE

Author Correction: Guidelines and definitions for research on epithelial-mesenchymal transition.

Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology

Yang J, Antin P, Berx G, Blanpain C, Brabletz T, Bronner M, Campbell K, Cano A, Casanova J, Christofori G, Dedhar S, Derynck R, Ford HL, Fuxe J, García de Herreros A, Goodall GJ, Hadjantonakis AK, Huang RYJ, Kalcheim C, Kalluri R, Kang Y, Khew-Goodall Y, Levine H, Liu J, Longmore GD, Mani SA, Massagué J, Mayor R, McClay D, Mostov KE, Newgreen DF, Nieto MA, Puisieux A, Runyan R, Savagner P, Stanger B, Stemmler MP, Takahashi Y, Takeichi M, Theveneau E, Thiery JP, Thompson EW, Weinberg RA, Williams ED, Xing J, Zhou BP, Sheng G, EMT International Association (TEMTIA)