Date of Graduation


Document Type

Thesis (MS)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Masters of Science (MS)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Giulio F. Draetta

Committee Member

Swathi Arur

Committee Member

Richard Behringer

Committee Member

George T. Eisenhoffer

Committee Member

Haoqiang Ying


Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the 3rd leading cause of cancer death in the US. We performed loss of function genomic screening on a cohort of four patient derived PDAC cell populations and our data shows a cell surface receptor CD109 to be a common vulnerability, the biologic role of which in PDAC is yet unstudied and largely unknown. We hypothesized that CD109 expression provides PDAC cells with a survival advantage, and promotes cancer progression through activation of downstream signaling. We believe therefore that targeting CD109 could improve PDAC patients’ survival. Here we report that CD109 plays a role in cell proliferation, viability, and clonogenicity in vitro. We also find that it promotes tumor formation and progression in nude mice, therefore decreasing their survival. We revealed an association between CD109 expression and YAP/TAZ signaling through RPPA and RNA Sequencing data. This data establishes CD109 as a cell surface protein exclusively expressed in PDAC rather than healthy pancreatic tissue, demonstrating pro-oncogenic behavior and tumor initiation potential in vitro and in vivo. This helps us understand more about PDAC and provides insights into a relatively unknown protein with a therapeutic potential.


CD109, PDAC, cancer, pancreas, functional genomics



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