Department of Biological Sciences seminar



Regulation of cell migration by transcription factor AP4


Dr David Chiu, from City University of Hong Kong, received his PhD in Genetics at Yale University under the supervision of Professor Charles Radding working on the molecular mechanism of homologous recombination catalysed by RecA protein in E. coli.

He joined the laboratory of Professor Mark Krasnow at Stanford University, where he screened for genes involved in the cellular branching of the terminal cells at the end of tracheal tubes in Drosophila. Under the influence of the atmosphere around Stanford University on biotechnological innovation, he turned to work in several startup biotech companies in the US, Taiwan and Hong Kong before he joined the Department of Biomedical Sciences at City University of Hong Kong. In August, he will join the Department of Biological Sciences at Xi’an Jiaotung-Liverpool University.


Transcription factors control cellular physiology by changing the expression of their target genes. Tumors harbour mutations in many genes including transcription factors and c-Myc is a classic example which is mutated in half of human tumors.

Transcription factor AP4, a target gene of c-Myc, has been recently shown to be vital in cell proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and EMT. How AP4 regulates these processes are not clear. Our laboratory has shown that this transcription factor is important in controlling the cell and organ size and tracheal branch formation in Drosophila.

In addition, we demonstrated that AP4 can control cell migration, invasion, and macropinocytosis in human cells, suggesting this protein may participate in metastasis in human tumors. I will show you the experimental evidence of the above claims.