McMaster University

McMaster University

Peter Whyte

, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine

Division: Molecular Medicine

Associate Member, Biochemistry and Biomedical Science

McMaster University
4N38 Health Sciences Centre (Lab 4N75)
905-525-9140 ext. 27308

Currently accepting Graduate Students
Currently accepting Post Doctoral Fellows

Peter Whyte

Faculty Biography

Education and Professional Standing

  • PhD, State University of New York, 1987
  • MSc, University of British Columbia, 1983
  • BSc, University of British Columbia, 1980


Research Focus

Tumor suppressor genes and cell cycle regulation. My laboratory is studying the molecular events of cell cycle progression. At the centre of the lab's research is the retinoblastoma tumour suppressor gene (RB) and genes that encode two related proteins, p107 and p130. Early in the cell cycle, RB, p130 and p107 act to restrict progression. These proteins function in the cell nucleus where they interact with various transcription factors resulting in repression of certain genes. During cell cycle progression, RB, p130 and p107 become phosphorylated and can no longer interact with the transcription factors. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) and their regulatory subunits, cyclins, are responsible for phosphorylation of RB, p130 and p107. Different cyclin/cdk complexes function during different parts of the cell cycle and these enzymes are thought to provide the fundamental driving force behind cell cycle progression. Regulation of cyclin-dependent kinases and the manner in which they recognize substrates such as RB, p130, p107 is presently under investigation in my laboratory. During tumorigenesis, mutation of RB occurs in approximately 30% of all human cancers. In many other human cancers, mutations lead to unregulated CDK activity resulting in constitutive phosphorylation of RB, p130 and p107. Using methods of protein biochemistry and molecular genetics, we hope to unravel the mechanisms through which these proteins regulate cell cycle progression and, in doing so, understand their role in human cancer.

Academic Interests

Dr. Whyte is involved in teaching Undergraduate Genetics and Molecular Biology in the Health Sciences Graduate Studies, Medical Sciences Program.

Team Members

Graduate students

Enio Polena

Undergraduate students

Helen Chow, Lavannya Bahirathan

Selected Publications

  • Coats S, Whyte P, Fero ML, Lacy S, Chung G, Randel E, Firpo E, Roberts JM. (1999) A new pathway for mitogen-dependent Cdk2 regulation uncovered in p27-Kip1-deficient cells. Curr Biol 9:163-173.
  • LeCouter JE, Kablar B, Whyte PFM, Ying C, Rudnicki MA. (1998) Strain-dependent embryonic lethality in mice lacking the retinoblastoma-related p130 gene. Development 125:4669-4679.
  • Lacy S, Whyte P. (1997) Identification of a p130 domain mediating interactions with cyclin A/cdk2 and cyclin E/cdk2 complexes. Oncogene 14:2395-2406.
  • Srinivasan A, McClellan AJ, Vartikar J, Marks I, Cantalupo P, Li Y, Whyte P, Rundell K, Brodsky JL, Pipas JM. (1997) The amino-terminal transforming region of SV40 large and small T antigens functions as a J-domain. Mol Cell Biol 17:4761-4773.
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