M. Isabel Dominguez, PhD

Dr. Isabel Dominguez PI: M. Isabel Dominguez, PhD Title: Assistant Professor 

Research interests: Wnt signaling in development and cancer

Hematology-Oncology Section
Department of Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
650 Albany Street, 4th floor (X438)
Boston MA 02118
Office (X438): +1-617-414-1829
Laboratory (X430): +1-617-638-7560
Fax: +1-617-638-7530
e-mail: isdoming@bu.edu

Research Interests:

Wnt signaling is essential for organ development and maintenance and its deregulation is the cause of several human diseases. My research interest is to understand the cascade of intracellular events that leads to the activation of Wnt signaling and the biological role of the Wnt pathway during organ development and maintenance. We have two areas of interest:

Microinjection of CK2/ leads to axis duplication.

Microinjection of CK2/ leads to axis duplication.

1) Our first area of interest is to characterize the molecular mechanism leading to activation of β-catenin, the key intracellular Wnt component that is upregulated in many human tumors. Using Xenopus embryos and mammalian cell lines, we have been collaborating with Dr. David Seldin’s group to determine the molecular mechanism utilized by a kinase upregulated in human tumors, CK2, to activate β-catenin. We found that CK2 is important for the stabilization of β-catenin by decreasing β-catenin interaction with its negative regulator, axin. Our ongoing studies focus on further characterizing the role of CK2 in the regulation of β-catenin activation in vivo and in vitro. As we acquire a better understanding of the molecular events leading to β-catenin activation, we will be able to develop novel and specific inhibitors for the treatment of cancers with upregulated nuclear β-catenin levels.

2) Our second area of interest is to characterize the cellular and molecular mechanisms regulated by Wnt/β-catenin signaling during morphogenesis. Wnt/β-catenin signaling is essential for proper morphogenesis and thus, embryonic survival. Our recent data show that CK2 regulates morphogenesis in mice and Xenopus embryos. Ongoing experiments will determine the cellular, molecular and signaling processes that CK2 regulates during morphogenesis in mice. In addition, since CK2 activity can be regulated by environmental factors that are postulated to contribute to congenital diseases, we are studying the possible role of transient CK2 modulation in mediating embryonic malformations in Xenopus embryos. Our long-term goal is to identify means of preventing or correcting defects in morphogenetic processes that lead to congenital defects.

LEF-eGFP reporter mouse.  A faithful Wnt/β-catenin reporter that demonstrates Wnt/β-catenin signaling in embryos.

LEF-eGFP reporter mouse. A faithful Wnt/β-catenin reporter that demonstrates Wnt/β-catenin signaling in embryos.

CK2α (Csnk2a1) homozygous mutant mice die by embryonic day (E)11 and display defects in the heart, neural tube, pharyngeal arches, tailbud and somites.

CK2α (Csnk2a1) homozygous mutant mice die by embryonic day (E)11 and display defects in the heart, neural tube, pharyngeal arches, tailbud and somites.

This work has been supported by the NIH, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the Karin Grunebaum Cancer Research Foundation and the Avon Foundation.

Other research web sites


Open laboratory positions:

We are looking for a minority postdoc/student or a technician.

Selected Publications:

Iskratsch, T., Reijntjes, S., Toselli, P., Degano, I.R., Dominguez, I. and Ehler E.  Two distinct phosphorylation events govern the function of muscle FHOD3. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013, 70(5):893-908

 Papanicolaou, K.N., Kikuchi, R., Ngoh, G.A., Coughlan, K.A., Dominguez, I., Stanley, W.C., Walsh, K.  Mitofusins 1 and 2 are essential for postnatal metabolic remodeling in heart. Circ Res. 2012; 111(8):1012-26.

 Imbrie, G.A., Wu H., Seldin, D.C. Dominguez, I.  Asymmetric localization of CK2a during Xenopus oogenesis Human Genet Embryol  2012; S4:001

 Dominguez I, Degano IR, Chea K, Toselli P, Seldin DC.   CK2α is Essential for Embryonic Morphogenesis. Mol. Cell. Biochem. 2011 Oct; 356(1-2): 209-16

Currier, N., Chea K., Hlavacova, M., Sussman, D.J., Seldin, D.C. Dominguez, I., Dynamic expression of a LEF-EGFP Wnt reporter in mouse development and cancer. Genesis 2010 Mar; 48(3): 183-94.

Wu H, Symes K, Seldin DC, Dominguez I . Threonine 393 of β-catenin regulates interaction with Axin. J. Cell. Biochem. 2009; Sep 1;108(1):52-63.

Dominguez I, Sonenshein, GE, Seldin DC. CK2 as a regulator of Wnt and NFκB signaling in embryonic development and cancer. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 2009; Jun;66(11-12):1850-7.

Bryja V, Schambony A, Čajánek L, Dominguez I, Arenas E, Schulte G. β-arrestin and casein kinase 1/2 define distinct branches of non-canonical WNT signaling pathways. EMBO Rep. 2008; 9(12):1244-50

Chitalia VC, Foy RL, Bachschmid MM, Zeng L, Panchenko MV, Zhou MI, Bharti A, Seldin DC, Lecker SH, Dominguez I, Cohen HT. Jade-1 inhibits Wnt signaling by ubiquitinating beta-catenin and mediates Wnt pathway inhibition by pVHL, Nat Cell Biol. 2008; 10(10):1208-16

Seldin DC , Lou DY, Toselli P, Landesman-Bollag E, Dominguez I. Gene targeting of CK2 catalytic subunits. Mol Cell Biochem. 2008; 316 (1-2):141-7

Lou DY, Dominguez I, Toselli P, Landesman-Bollag E, O’Brien C, Seldin DC. The alpha catalytic subunit of protein kinase CK2 is required for normal embryonic development Mol. Cell Biol. 2008; 28(1):131-9

Currier N, Solomon SE, Demicco EG, Chang DL, Farago M, Ying H, Dominguez I, Sonenshein GE, Cardiff RD, Xiao ZX, Sherr DH, Seldin DC. Oncogenic signaling pathways activated in DMBA-induced mouse mammary tumors Toxicologic Pathology 2005; 33(6):726-37

Dominguez I , Mizuno J, Wu H, Imbrie GA, Symes K, Seldin DC. A role for CK2α/β in Xenopus early embryonic development, Mol Cell Biochem 2005; 274(1-2):125-31

Farago M, Dominguez I, Landesman-Bollag E, Xu X, Rosner A, Cardiff RD, Seldin DC. Kinase inactive GSK3β promotes Wnt signaling and mammary tumorigenesis. Cancer Research 2005; 65(13):5792-801

Seldin DC, Landesman-Bollag E, Farago M, Currier N, Lou D, Dominguez I. CK2 as a positive regulator of Wnt signaling and tumorigenesis. Mol Cell Biochem. 2005; 274(1-2):63-7

Green JB, Dominguez I, Davidson LA. Self-organization of vertebrate mesoderm based on simple boundary conditions. Dev Dyn 2004; 231(3):576-81

Dominguez I , Mizuno J, Wu H, Song DH, Symes K, Seldin DC. Protein kinase CK2 is required for dorsal axis formation in Xenopus embryos. Dev Biol 2004; 274(1):110-24

Song DH, Dominguez I, Mizuno J, Kaut M, Mohr SC, Seldin DC. CK2 Phosphorylation of the armadillo repeat region of β-catenin potenciates Wnt signaling J Biol Chem 2003; 278(26):24018-25

Dominguez I, Green JB. Missing links in GSK3 regulation. Dev Biol 2001; 235(2):303-13

Dominguez I, Green JB. Dorsal downregulation of GSK3β by a non-Wnt-like mechanism is an early molecular consequence of cortical rotation in early Xenopus embryos. Development 2000; 127(4):861-8

Dominguez I, Itoh K, Sokol SY. Role of glycogen synthase kinase-3β as a negative regulator of dorsoventral axis formation in Xenopus embryos. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1995; 92(18):8498-502

Isabel’s Research Group

Emily Silva, Research Assistant

Yoshua Seidner, Undergraduate student

Kasthuri Sivalogan, Undergraduate student

Jyotirmaie Suryadevara, Undergraduate student 

Dylan Moriarty, Undergraduate student

Lisa Vasquez, Undergraduate student

Stephan Foianini, Undergraduate student

Former lab members:

Hao Wu (Ph.D. student). Current position: Resident in Pathology, BMC  

Kathleen Chea, Research Assistant

Mirka Hlavacova, Research Assistant

Asmerom Adhanom, BA; Pre-med program, Major in Psychology, Tufts University; now Medical School student Philadelphia college of Osteopathic Medicine

Victoria Gau, BA/MAMaster student. Current position Medical School student, Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

Yijang Lin, Undergraduate student, Current position: Research assistant. Oncology Translational Research Laboratory, National Center of Clinical Trial and Research, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Irene Roman, Ph.D, Postdoctoral fellow. Current position: Research Associate, IMIM/Hospital del Mar, Barcelona

Jesus Revuelta, Ph.D., Postdoctoral associate. Current position: Postdoctoral associate, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Laura Macias, Ph.D., Postdoctoral associate

Pragya Kalla, Undergraduate student

Lorena Lazo de la Vega, SURF undergraduate


David C. Seldin M.D., Ph.D. (Section of Hematology/Oncology, BUSM)

Hao Wu, Ph.D. (Pathology Department, BUSM)

Antonio de las Morenas, M.D. (Pathology Department, BUSM)

Paul Toselli, M.D., Ph.D. (Biochemistry Department, BUSM)

Bill Pu, M.D. (Children’s Hospital, Boston)

Daniel L. Weeks, PhD (Iowa University)

Elisabeth Ehler, Ph.D. (King’s College, London)

Ronglih Liao, Ph.D. (Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston)

Darrel Kotton, M.D. (Pulmonary Center, BUSM)

Karen Symes, PhD (Biochemistry Department, BUMS)

Shalender Bhasin, MD (Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition, BUSM)

Herbert Cohen, MD (Renal Section, BUSM)


Society for Developmental Biology

The Wnt Homepage


Xenopus Molecular Marker Resource

American Heart Association

Congenital Heart Defects NIHLBI

Emap. e-Mouse Atlas Project

Mamep mouse gene expression

Evans Center for Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research

Developmental Biology Research Group (DBRG)

BUMC Genome Science Institute

Cancer Center

Women’s Health Interdisciplinary Research Center

Center for Regenerative Medicine (CReM)

Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine