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Department of Microbiology and Immunology

Cynthia F. Wright

Wright PictureProfessor
Microbiology and Immunology

1985 Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany

Contact Info
Tel: 843-792-2564
BSB 102

Research Interests

1. Vaccinia virus late transcription. Vaccinia virus belongs to the poxvirus family of viruses and contains a large, double-stranded DNA genome. Its genes are divided into early, intermediate and late classes depending on their time of synthesis after host cell infection. Recently, we have identified host cell factors that potentially participate in viral late gene expression. Through protein purification, in vitro transcription assays, and protein:DNA interaction studies we are examining the mechanism of action of these factors.

2. Transcription defects in malignant rhabdoid tumor. Malignant rhabdoid tumor (MRT) is a rare, pediatric cancer that is extremely resistant to chemotherapeutic treatments. Recently, a gene on chromosome 22 was identified that is often disrupted in these tumors and is potentially involved in their formation. The encoded protein, hSNF5/INI1, is part of a high molecular weight chromatin remodeling complex that potentially impacts the transcription of many cellular genes. Using transfection studies we have determined that re-introduction of this gene into MRT cells suppresses their growth. We are currently employing chromatin immunoprecipitation to study the interaction of INI1 at different cellular promoters.

Recent Publications| Additional Publications

Rosson GB, Vincent TS, Oswald BW, and Wright CF. (2002) Drug resistance in malignant rhabdoid tumor cell linesCancer Chemother Pharmacol 49:142-148. PMID 11862428
Reincke BS, Rosson GB, Oswald BW, and Wright CF. (2003) INI1 expression induces cell cycle arrest and markers of senescence in malignant rhabdoid tumor cellsJ Cell Physiol 194:303-313. PMID 12548550
Foster KSJ, McCrary WJ, Ross JS, and Wright CF. (2006) Members of the hSWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex associate with and are phosphorylated by protein kinase B/AktOncogene 25:4605-4612.  PMID 16568092
Foster KSJ, Wang Y, Zhou D, and Wright CF. (2009) Dependence on PI3K/Akt signaling for malignant rhabdoid tumor cell survivalCancer Chemother Pharmacol 63:783-791. PMID 18641990


Research Support

R25 GM072643 (Wright PI)                                                03/01/05-04/30/18                              
“MUSC Minority Student Development Program”
This grant provides funding for minority graduate student stipends and for programs that enrich their development and success in graduate school.

R25 GM113278 (Kasman/Wright, MPI)                             02/01/2015-01/31/20                                             
“MUSC Post-Baccalaureate Research Education Program”
This grant provides funding for post-baccalaureate students to have a one-year enrichment program to help them apply to and succeed in biomedical PhD programs.

Burroughs Wellcome Award (Wright co-PI)                       08/01/16-07/31/18                             
Offering an Entrepreneurship Course to Trainees in the Biomedical Sciences
This grant provides funding to develop an online course in entrepreneurship to be offered to trainees in the biomedical sciences


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