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Department of biochemistry and Molecular biology

Gunhild Sommer, PhD

Assistant Professor
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sommerg Pic

2007-2011 Research Assistant Professor, MUSC, Charleston, USA
2002-2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, Heinrich-Pette-Institut, Hamburg, Germany
2000-2002 Postdoctoral Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, USA
1998-2000 Postdoctoral Fellow, Heinrich-Pette Institut, Hamburg, Germany

1998 PhD, University of Hamburg, Germany
1995 Diploma, University of Hamburg, Germany

Contact Info
Office: Basic Science Building, BSB-512A
Phone: +1-843-792-3918 Office
+1-843-792-7848 Lab
Fax: +1-843-792-1627

Research Interests

My research interest is concentrated on identifying the role of RNA-binding proteins in cancer. Functional RNA-binding proteins are crucial players during all steps of the mRNA metabolism like co-transcriptional processing, nuclear export, translation and decay. Malfunction in those processes are correlating with aberrant gene expression during tumorigenesis. By understanding the molecular mechanism of RNA-binding proteins contributing to cancer pathobiology, we aim to identify new avenues for anti-cancer drug development. To study the malfunction of RNA-binding proteins in cancer we are applying a broad spectrum of methods in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology like RNA interference, quantitative RT-PCR, protein:RNA binding assays, immunoprecipitation assays (coIP, ChIP), mammalian cell culture of normal and cancerous cells, immunofluorescence to study the cellular localization and colocalization of proteins, proliferation, migration and invasion assays.

Recent Publications
Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

Kota V, Sommer G, Durette C, Thibault P, van Niekerk EA, Twiss JL, Heise T. (2016) SUMO-modification of the La protein facilitates binding to mRNA in vitro and in cellsPLoS One May 25;11(5):e0156365. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156365. PMID:27224031

Heise T, Kota V, Brock A, Morris AB, Rodriguez RM, Zierk AW, Howe PH, Sommer G. (2016) The La protein counteracts cisplatin-induced cell death by stimulating protein synthesis of anti-apoptotic factor Bcl2Oncotarget Apr 18 doi: 10.18632/oncotarget. 8819. PMID:27105491

Kuehnert J, Sommer G, Zierk AW, Fedarovich A, Brock A, Fedarovich D, Heise T. (2015) Novel RNA chaperone domain of RNA-binding protein La is regulated by AKT phosphorylationNucleic Acids Res 43(1):581-94. PMID: 25520193

Bosbach B, Deshpande S, Rossi F, Shieh JH, Sommer G, de Stanchina E, Veach DR, Scandura JM, Manova-Todorova K, Moore MA, Antonescu CR, Besmer P. (2012) Imatinib resistance and microcytic erythrocytosis in a KitV558{Delta};T669I/+ gatekeeper-mutant mouse model of gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 109(34):E2276-2283.

Sommer G, Rossa C, Chi A, Neville B and Heise T. (2011) Implications of RNA-binding protein La proliferation, migration and invasion of lymph node-metastasized hypopharyngeal SCC cells. PLoS One 6(10):e25402. PMCID: PMC3189910

Sommer G, Dittmann J, Kuehnert J, Reumann K, Schwartz PE, Will H, Coulter BL, Smith MT, Heise T. (2011) The RNA-binding protein La contributes to cell proliferation and CCND1 expression. Oncogene 30(4):434-44.

Sommer G, Heise T. (2008) Posttranscriptional control of HBV gene expression. Frontiers in Bioscience 13:5533-5547, invited review.

Rossi F, Ehlers I, Agosti V, Socci ND, Viale A, Sommer G, Yozgat Y, Manova K, Antonescu CR, Besmer P. (2006) Oncogenic Kit signaling and therapeutic intervention in a mouse model of gastrointestinal stromal tumor. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(34):12843-8.

Heise T, Sommer G, Reumann K, Will H, Schaal H. (2006) The hepatitis B virus PRE contains a splicing regulatory element. Nucleic Acid Res 34(1):353-63.

Cammenga J, Horn S, Bergholz U, Sommer G, Besmer P, Fiedler W, Stocking C. (2005) Extracellular Kit receptor mutants, commonly found in core binding factor AML, are constitutively active and respond to imatinib mesylateBlood 106(12):3958-61.

Hass M, Hannoun C, Kalinina T, Sommer G, Manegold C, Gunther S. (2005) Functional analysis of hepatitis B virus reactivating in hepatitis B surface antigen-negative individuals. Hepatology 42(1):93-103.

Agosti V, Corbacioglu S, Ehlers I, Waskow C, Sommer G, Berrozpe G, Kissel H, Tucker CM, Manova K, Moore MA, Rodewald HR, Besmer P. (2004) Critical role for Kit-mediated Src kinase but not PI 3-kinase signaling in pro T and pro B cell development. J Exp Med 199(6):867-78.

Robson ME, Glogowski E, Sommer G, Antonescu CR, Nafa K, Maki RG, Ellis N, Besmer P, Brennan M, Offit K. (2004) Pleomorphic characteristics of a germ-line KIT mutation in a large kindred with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, hyperpigmentation, and dysphagia. Clin Cancer Res 10(4):1250-4.

Sommer G, Agosti V, Ehlers I, Rossi F, Corbacioglu S, Farkas J, Moore M, Manova K, Antonescu CR, and Besmer P. (2003) Gastrointestinal stromal tumors in a mouse model by targeted mutation of the kit receptor tyrosine kinase. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100(11):6706-11.

Antonescu CR, Sommer G, Sarran L, Tschernyavsky SJ, Riedel E, Woodruff JM, Robson M, Maki R, Brennan MF, Ladanyi M, DeMatteo RP, and Besmer P. (2003) Association of KIT exon 9 mutations with nongastric primary site and aggressive behavior: KIT mutation analysis and clinical correlates of 120 gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Clin Cancer Res 9(9):329-37.

Dandri M, Burda MR, Torok E, Pollok JM, Iwanska A, Sommer G, Rogiers X, Rogler CE, Gupta S, Will H, Greten H, and Petersen J. (2001) Repopulation of mouse liver with human hepatocytes and in vivo infection with hepatitis B virus. Hepatology 33(4):981-8.

Sommer G, van Bömmel F, and Will H. (2000) Genotype-specific synthesis and secretion of spliced hepatitis B virus genomes in hepatoma cells. Virology 271:371-381.

Pult I, Günther S, Burda M, Dandri M, Iwanska A, Kalinina T, Possehl C, Rang A, Sommer G, Wollersheim M, and Will H. (1998) Hepatitis B virus variants and their role in hepatopathogenesis. Hepat Polska 5 Suppl 1:57-70.

Günther S, Sommer G, von Breunig F, Iwanska A, Kalinina T, Sterneck M, and Will H. (1998) Amplification of full-length hepatitis B virus genomes from low viremic samples: frequency and functional consequences of PCR-introduced mutations. J Clin Microbiol 36:531-538.

Günther S, Sommer G, Plikat U, Iwanska A, Wain-Hobson S, Will H, and Meyerhans A. (1997) Naturally occurring hepatitis B virus genomes bearing the hallmarks of retroviral G/A hypermutation. Virology 235:104-108.

Günther S, Sommer G, Iwanska A, and Will H. (1997) Heterogeneity and common features of defective hepatitis B virus genomes derived from spliced pregenomic RNA. Virology 238:363-371.

Sommer G, Günther S, Sterneck M, Otto S, and Will H. A new class of defective hepatitis B virus genomes with an internal poly(dA) sequence. Virology 239:402-412.

Chapters in Scholarly Books

Sommer G and Will H (2001). Genotype-specific analysis of hepatitis B virus DNA on the LightCycler, p. 303-311. In Meuer, S, Wittwer, C, and Nakagawara, K (Eds). Rapid cycle real-time PCR - methods and applications. Springer Verlag, Heidelberg.

Günther S, Netter HJ, Sommer G, Wollersheim-Kolmer M, Li B-C, Chassot S, Iwanska A, Piwon N, and Will H (1997). Structural and functional complexity of hepatitis B virus variant genomes and virus populations, p. 116-120. In Rizzetto M, Purcell RH, Gerin, JL, and Verme G (Eds). Viral hepatitis and liver disease. Edizioni Minerva Medica, Turin.

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