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Yvonne Kapila DDS, PhD

ECM Biology and Host-Microbial Interactions in Oral Cancer and other Oral Diseases

Yvonne Kapila DDS, PhD

Yvonne Kapila's research has focused on understanding the basic extracellular matrix (ECM) processes that govern head and neck cancer tumorigenesis and periodontal disease pathogenesis. She has made important discoveries on the cell and molecular biology mechanisms that regulate anoikis; programmed cell death or apoptosis triggered by loss of extracellular matrix contacts. Her work on anoikis has focused on identifying matrix components and novel receptors that mediate this process in head and neck cancer and in periodontal disease. Thus, her research focus in cancer biology and periodontal disease pathogenesis has been examined through the lens of the extracellular matrix. Recently, Yvonne has extended her area of research to biomarker discovery for aggressive head and neck cancer using metabolomic approaches. Her related work in sirtuin biology and oral cancer were seminal and showed that sirtuin 3, a metabolic enzyme, regulates and promotes oral cancer tumorigenesis.  A high impact commissioned review written by her group further showcased the important role of sirtuin 3 in cancer biology, both as a tumor promoter and tumor suppressor. Other recently funded work in her lab has focused on host-microbial interactions as relate to the oral cavity. This research recently led to a trilogy of publications on the novel role of bacteriocins in biomedical applications, including as modulators of tumorigenesis and disease-associated biofilms.

Selected Publications:

Zhang, Y., Lu H, Dazin P, Kapila Y. 2004. SCC Cell Aggregates Escape Suspension-Induced, p53-Mediated Anoikis: Fibronectin and Integrin Alpha v Mediate Survival Signals via FAK Journal of Biological Chemistry 279: 48342-48349.

Joo NE, Watanabe T, Chen C, Chekenya M, Stallcup WB, Kapila YL. 2008. NG2, a novel proapoptotic receptor, opposes integrin alpha4 to mediate anoikis through PKCalpha-dependent suppression of FAK phosphorylation. Cell Death Differ. 2008 May;15(5):899-907.

Kamarajan, P, Bunek, J, Lin Y, Gabriel N and Kapila YL. 2010. Receptor-interacting protein shuttles between cell death and survival signaling pathways. Mol. Biol. Cell 21, 481-488.

Miao Di, Fenno JC, Timm JC, Joo NE, Kapila YL. 2011. The treponema denticola chymotrypsin-like protease dentilisin induces MMP-2-dependent fibronectin fragmentation in periodontal ligament cells. Infection and Immunity 79:806-811.

Alhazzazi, T, Kamarajan, P, Verdin, E and Kapila, YL 2011. SIRT3 and cancer: Tumor promoter or suppressor? BBA reviews on Cancer, 1816, 80-88.

Alhazzazi TY, Kamarajan P, Joo N, Huang JY, Verdin E, D'Silva NJ, Kapila YL. 2011. Sirtuin-3 (SIRT3), a novel potential therapeutic target for oral cancer. Cancer 117:1670-1678.

Kamarajan P, Alhazzazi T, Danciu T, D'Silva NJ, Verdin E, Kapila YL. 2012. Receptor Interacting Protein (RIP) and Sirtuin-3 (SIRT3) are on opposite sides of anoikis and tumorigenesis. Cancer 118:5800-5810.

Joo NE, Ritchie K, Miao D, Kamarjan P, Kapila YL. 2012. Nisin, an apoptogenic bacteriocin and food preservative, attenuates HNSCC tumorigenesis via ChaC1. Cancer Medicine 1:295-305.

Kamarajan, P, Matte, B, Hayami, T, liu, Y, Ramamoorthy, A, Worden, F P and Kapila YL. 2015. Nisin ZP, a bacteriocin and food preservative inhibits HNSCC tumorigenesis and prolongs survival. PLoS One, 10, e0131008, doi.10.1371.

Shin JM, Ateia I, Paulus JR, Liu H, Fenno JC, Rickard AH, Kapila Y. 2015. Antimicrobial nisin acts against saliva derived multi-species biofilms without cytotoxicity to human oral cells. Frontiers Microbiol Jun 18;6:617.