Dr. Murnane is a molecular biologist with over 25 years in the field of radiation biology. Dr. Murnane is responsible for teaching radiobiology to medical and physics residents in the Department of Radiation Oncology, as well as supervising a medical research laboratory. His research interests focus on the mechanisms of genomic instability in mammalian cells and their role in cancer. Genomic instability is considered an important step in cancer because it can greatly accelerate the genetic changes leading to tumor cell progression. Dr. Murnane pioneered studies on the importance of cell cycle regulation in the cellular response to DNA damage and was the first to describe the alternative mechanism for telomere maintenance in human cells. His current interests lie in understanding the role of spontaneous and radiation-induced telomere loss in genomic instability and cancer. Telomeres are the caps that protect the ends of chromosomes and prevent chromosomes from fusing together. Dr. Murnane's research has demonstrated that cancer cells have a high rate of telomere loss due to problems in telomere maintenance. His work also shows that both spontaneous telomere loss, or telomere loss caused by double-strand breaks similar to those caused by ionizing radiation, can both initiate genomic instability and generate many of the types of chromosome alterations commonly associated with cancer. Understanding these processes may lead to new approaches to limiting or preventing genomic instability and thereby reduce its role in promoting cancer.
Recent Significant Publications
Muraki K, Han L, Miller D, Murnane JP. The Role of ATM in the Deficiency in Nonhomologous End-Joining near Telomeres in a Human Cancer Cell Line. PLoS Genet. 2013 Mar;9(3):e1003386.
Muraki K, Nyhan K, Han L, Murnane JP. Mechanisms of telomere loss and their consequences for chromosome instability. Front Oncol. 2012;2:135.
Murnane JP. Telomere dysfunction and chromosome instability. Mutat Res. 2012 Feb 1;730(1-2):28-36.
Reynolds GE, Gao Q, Miller D, Snow BE, Harrington LA, Murnane JP. PIF1 disruption or NBS1 hypomorphism does not affect chromosome healing or fusion resulting from double-strand breaks near telomeres in murine embryonic stem cells. DNA Repair (Amst). 2011 Nov 10;10(11):1164-73.
Miller D, Reynolds GE, Mejia R, Stark JM, Murnane JP.Subtelomeric regions in mammalian cells are deficient in DNA double-strand break repair.DNA Repair (Amst). 2011 May 5;10(5):536-44.
Murnane JP.Telomere loss as a mechanism for chromosome instability in human cancer. Cancer Res. 2010 Jun 1;70(11):4255-9.
Kulkarni A, Zschenker O, Reynolds G, Miller D, Murnane JP. Effect of telomere proximity on telomere position effect, chromosome healing, and sensitivity to DNA double-strand breaks in a human tumor cell line. Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Feb;30(3):578-89.
Zschenker O, Kulkarni A, Miller D, Reynolds GE, Granger-Locatelli M, Pottier G, Sabatier L, Murnane JP. Increased sensitivity of subtelomeric regions to DNA double-strand breaks in a human cancer cell line. DNA Repair (Amst). 2009 Aug 6;8(8):886-900.
Gao Q, Reynolds GE, Wilcox A, Miller D, Cheung P, Artandi SE, Murnane JP.Telomerase-dependent and -independent chromosome healing in mouse embryonic stem cells. DNA Repair (Amst). 2008 Aug 2;7(8):1233-49.
Ho CY, Murnane JP, Yeung AK, Ng HK, Lo AW. Telomeres acquire distinct heterochromatin characteristics during siRNA-induced RNA interference in mouse cells.. Curr Biol. 2008 Feb 12;18(3):183-7.
Gao, Q, Reynolds, G. E., Wilcox, A., Miller, D., Cheung, P., Artandi, S., and Murnane, J. P. Telomerase-dependent and independent mechanisms of chromosome healing in mouse embryonic stem cells. DNA Repair, 7:1233-1249
Gao Q, Reynolds GE, Innes L, Pedram M, Jones E, Junabi M, Gao DW, Ricoul M, Sabatier L, Van Brocklin H, Franc BL, Murnane JP.Telomeric transgenes are silenced in adult mouse tissues and embryo fibroblasts but are expressed in embryonic stem cells. Stem Cells. 2007 Dec;25(12):3085-92.