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Donghang Cheng, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Research Assistant Professor, Department of Epigenetics and Molecular Carcinogenesis, Science Park, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, TX

Research Interests

Studies indicate that arginine methylation is an important posttranslational modification that has been implicated in nuclear export, mRNA splicing, transcriptional control and DNA repair. Recently, more evidence has linked this modification to carcinogenesis and metastasis. The focus of my research is to investigate the biological role of arginine methylation and develop specific protein arginine methyltransferase inhibitors as valuable tools for probing protein functions and therapeutic agents. Thus, my research is divided into three projects: 1) Functional analysis of coactivator associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), 2) Characterizing the role of the transcriptional regulator PRMT6 in tumorigenesis, and 3) Identifying and characterizing CARM1 and PRMT6 specific inhibitors for cancer treatment and prevention.

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2001 National Center for Drug Screening Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai, China, PHD, Pharmacology
1997 Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China, MS, Pharmacology
1990 Liaoning University, Shenyang, China, BS, Biology

Postgraduate Training

9/2001-9/2004 Research Fellowship, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Science Park-Research Division, Smithville, TX

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Castellano S, Spannhoff A, Milite C, Dal Piaz F, Cheng D, Tosco A, Viviano M, Yamani A, Cianciulli A, Sala M, Cura V, Cavarelli J, Novellino E, Mai A, Bedford MT, Sbardella G. Identification of small-molecule enhancers of arginine methylation catalyzed by coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1. J Med Chem 55(22):9875-90, 11/2012. e-Pub 11/2012. PMCID: PMC3508294.
2. Cheng D, Valente S, Castellano S, Sbardella G, Di Santo R, Costi R, Bedford MT, Mai A. Novel 3,5-Bis(bromohydroxybenzylidene)piperidin-4-ones as Coactivator-associated Arginine Methyltransferase 1 Inhibitors: Enzyme Selectivity and Cellular Activity. J Med Chem. e-Pub 5/2011. PMID: 21612300.
3. Cheng D and Bedford MT. Xenoestrogens Regulate the activity of Arginine Methyltransferases. Chembiochem 12(2):323-9, 1/2011. PMID: 21243720.
4. Castellano S, Milite C, Ragno R, Simeoni S, Mai A, Limongelli V, Novellino E, Bauer I, Brosch G, Spannhoff A, Cheng D, Bedford MT, Sbardella G. Design, synthesis and biological evaluation of carboxy analogues of arginine methyltransferase inhibitor 1 (AMI-1). ChemMedChem 5(3):398-414, 3/2010. PMID: 20091730.
5. Kim D, Lee J, Cheng D, Li J, Carter C, Richie E, Bedford MT. Enzymatic activity is required for the in vivo functions of CARM1. J Biol Chem 285(2):1147-52, 1/2010. e-Pub 11/2009. PMCID: PMC2801243.
6. Mai A, Cheng D, Bedford MT, Valente S, Nebbioso A, Perrone A, Brosch G, Sbardella G, De Bellis F, Miceli M, Altucci L. epigenetic multiple ligands: mixed histone/protein methyltransferase, acetyltransferase, and class III deacetylase (sirtuin) inhibitors. J Med Chem 51(7):2279-90, 4/2008. e-Pub 3/2008. PMID: 18348515.
7. Iberg AN, Espejo A, Cheng D, Kim D, Michaud-Levesque J, Richard S, Bedford MT. Arginine methylation of the histone H3 tail impedes effector binding. J Biol Chem 283(6):3006-10, 2/2008. e-Pub 12/2007. PMID: 18077460.
8. Yadav N, Cheng D, Richard S, Morel M, Iyer VR, Aldaz CM, Bedford MT. CARM1 promotes adipocyte differentiation by coactivating PPARgamma. EMBO Rep 9(2):193-8, 2/2008. e-Pub 1/2008. PMCID: PMC2246418.
9. Sayegh J, Webb K, Cheng D, Bedford MT, Clarke SG. Regulation of protein arginine methyltransferase 8 (PRMT8) activity by its N-terminal domain. J Biol Chem 282(50):36444-53, 12/2007. e-Pub 10/2007. PMID: 17925405.
10. Mai A, Valente S, Cheng D, Perrone A, Ragno R, Simeoni S, Sbardella G, Brosch G, Nebbioso A, Conte M, Altucci L, Bedford MT. Synthesis and biological validation of novel synthetic histone/protein methyltransferase inhibitors. ChemMedChem 2(7):987-91, 7/2007. PMID: 17458842.
11. Swiercz R, Cheng D, Kim D, Bedford MT. Ribosomal protein rpS2 is hypomethylated in PRMT3-deficient mice. J Biol Chem 282(23):16917-23, 6/2007. e-Pub 4/2007. PMID: 17439947.
12. Naeem H, Cheng D, Zhao Q, Underhill C, Tini M, Bedford MT, Torchia J. The activity and stability of the transcriptional coactivator p/CIP/SRC-3 are regulated by CARM1-dependent methylation. Mol Cell Biol 27(1):120-34, 1/2007. e-Pub 10/2006. PMCID: PMC1800659.
13. Cheng D, Cote J, Shaaban S, Bedford MT. The arginine methyltransferase CARM1 regulates the coupling of transcription and mRNA processing. Mol Cell 25(1):71-83, 1/2007. PMID: 17218272.
14. El Messaoudi S, Fabbrizio E, Rodriguez C, Chuchana P, Fauquier L, Cheng D, Theillet C, Vandel L, Bedford MT, Sardet C. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a positive regulator of the Cyclin E1 gene. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103(36):13351-6, 9/2006. e-Pub 8/2006. PMCID: PMC1569167.
15. Cheng D, Yadav N, King RW, Swanson MS, Weinstein EJ, Bedford MT. Small molecule regulators of protein arginine methyltransferases. J Biol Chem 279(23):23892-9, 6/2004. e-Pub 3/2004. PMID: 15056663.

Book Chapters

1. Cheng D, Vemulapalli V, Bedford MT. Methods applied to the study of protein arginine methylation. In: Methods Enzymol. 512, 71-92, 2012. ISBN: 22910203.
2. Lee J, Cheng D, Bedford MT. Techniques in protein methylation. In: Methods Mol Biol. 284, 195-208, 2004. ISBN: 15173617.

Last updated: 1/22/2015