Purushothama Rao Tata, Ph.D. (University of Ulm, Ulm, Germany)


Assistant Professor, Department of Cell Biology

Email: purushothamarao.tata@duke.edu

308 Nanaline Duke Bldg., Box 3709
Duke University School of Medicine
Durham, NC 27710

Telephone: 919-684-0624
Fax: 919-684-8090

Genetic and epigenetic basis of cell identity and plasticity in regeneration and tumorigenesis

Many human diseases are a result of either a deficit or surfeit in the quantity or functionality of particular cell types. Although the principles of cell fate specification during embryogenesis are rather well documented, it is unclear what mechanisms are used to maintain cell identity and appropriate cell numbers in adult tissues. While the cell autonomous molecular processes defining cell states in both physiological and pathological conditions are being defined with increasing precision using genome-wide inventories, the question of when and how individual cell types interact with one another to maintain their identity remains largely unresolved. In this context Tata lab studies:

 i) Defining the cellular heterogeneity and the lineage hierarchies in epithelial tissues
 ii) How do individual cells maintain their identity under steady state conditions and in the context of regeneration?
ii) The genetic and epigenetic basis of tissue plasticity associated with regeneration and tumorigenesis

Tata lab focuses on understanding the ensemble properties of tissues in the context of development, homeostasis, regeneration and tumorigenesis in diverse epithelial tissues including lung. We use mouse models of disease that recapitulates the human disease pathology. We utilize genetic, live imaging, cell biological and next generation sequencing technologies including single-cell RNA sequencing to study the behavior of tissues at single cell level.


Tata PR, Rajagopal J. Regulatory Circuits and Bi-directional Signaling between Stem Cells and Their Progeny. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Dec 1;19(6):686–689. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27912089

Saladi SV, Ross K, Karaayvaz M, Tata PR, Mou H, Rajagopal J, Ramaswamy S, Ellisen LW. ACTL6A Is Co-Amplified with p63 in Squamous Cell Carcinoma to Drive YAP Activation, Regenerative Proliferation, and Poor Prognosis. Cancer Cell. 2017 Jan 9;31(1):35–49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28041841

Mou H, Vinarsky V, Tata PR, Brazauskas K, Choi SH, Crooke AK, Zhang B, Solomon GM, Turner B, Bihler H, Harrington J, Lapey A, Channick C, Keyes C, Freund A, Artandi S, Mense M, Rowe S, Engelhardt JF, Hsu Y-C, Rajagopal J. Dual SMAD Signaling Inhibition Enables Long-Term Expansion of Diverse Epithelial Basal Cells. Cell Stem Cell. 2016 Jun 15; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=27320041

Tata PR, Rajagopal J. Cellular plasticity: 1712 to the present day. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2016 Jul 30;43:46–54. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=27485353

Pardo-Saganta A, Law BM, Tata PR, Villoria J, Saez B, Mou H, Zhao R, Rajagopal J. Injury Induces Direct Lineage Segregation of Functionally Distinct Airway Basal Stem/Progenitor Cell Subpopulations. Cell Stem Cell. 2015 May 2;16(2):184–197. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25658372

Pardo-Saganta A*, Tata PR*, Law BM, Saez B, Chow RD-W, Prabhu M, Gridley T, Rajagopal J. Parent stem cells can serve as niches for their daughter cells. Nature. 2015 Jul 30;523(7562):597–601. (* = equal contribution) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26147083

Tata PR, Mou H, Pardo-Saganta A, Zhao R, Prabhu M, Law BM, Vinarsky V, Cho JL, Breton S, Sahay A, Medoff BD, Rajagopal J. Dedifferentiation of committed epithelial cells into stem cells in vivo. Nature. 2013 Nov 14;503(7475):218–223. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24196716

Tata PR, Pardo-Saganta A, Prabhu M, Vinarsky V, Law BM, Fontaine BA, Tager AM, Rajagopal J. Airway Specific Inducible Transgene Expression Using Aerosolized Doxycycline. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2013 Jul 12; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23848320

Watanabe H, Francis JM, Woo MS, Etemad B, Lin W, Fries DF, Peng S, Snyder EL, Tata PR, Izzo F, Schinzel AC, Cho J, Hammerman PS, Verhaak RG, Hahn WC, Rajagopal J, Jacks T, Meyerson M. Integrated cistromic and expression analysis of amplified NKX2-1 in lung adenocarcinoma identifies LMO3 as a functional transcriptional target. Genes Dev. 2013 Jan 15;27(2):197–210. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23322301

Weidgang CE*, Russell R*, Tata PR*, Kühl SJ, Illing A, Müller M, Lin Q, Brunner C, Boeckers TM, Bauer K, Kartikasari AER, Guo Y, Radenz M, Bernemann C, Weiß M, Seufferlein T, Zenke M, Iacovino M, Kyba M, Schöler HR, Kühl M, Liebau S, Kleger A. TBX3 Directs Cell-Fate Decision toward Mesendoderm. Stem Cell Rep. 2013;1(3):248–265. (* = equal contribution) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24319661

Tata PR, Tata NR, Kühl M, Sirbu IO. Identification of a novel epigenetic regulatory region within the pluripotency associated microRNA cluster, EEmiRC. Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 May;39(9):3574–3581. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=21247880

Tata PR, Kühl M. An updated overview on Wnt signaling pathways: a prelude for more. Circ Res. 2010 Jun 25;106(12):1798–1806. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20576942