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Jack Dixon, Ph.D.

Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Chemistry & Biochemistry, Emeritus

Jack Dixon, Ph.D.

Jack E. Dixon, Ph.D.
Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine and Chemistry & Biochemistry, Emeritus

Research Interests

Cells are highly responsive to signals from their environment. The sensing and processing of these signals are carried out by molecular circuits within the cell that detect, amplify, and integrate the signals into a specific response. One of the most widely used cellular responses to environmental signals is to change the phosphorylation state of specific proteins. Recently, we identified a family of atypical “secreted” kinases that constitute a novel branch within the human kinome tree. The Fam20- family of kinases appears to be responsible for the phosphorylation of majority of the extracellular proteins and proteoglycans. What defines these kinases is the presence of a signal peptide that directs these enzymes to the secretory pathway where they phosphorylate ER/Golgi resident proteins, extracellular domains of cell surface receptors, xylose residues within the glycosaminoglycan-protein link- age and secreted proteins such as hormones or growth factors. These kinases are very important in a wide variety of cellular paradigms in which extracellular phosphorylation plays vital and as yet unappreciated roles.


Selected Publications

Tagliabracci VS, Engel JL, Wen J, Wiley SE, Worby CA, Kinch LN, Xiao J, Grishin NV, Dixon JE. Secreted kinase phosphorylates extracellular proteins that regulate biomineralization. Science 336:1150-3 (2012). PMID: 22582013

Wen J, Xiao J, Rahda RM, Choudhury BP, Cui J, Taylor GS, Esko JD, Dixon JE. Xylosephosphorylation functions as a molecular switch to regulate proteoglycan biosynthesis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 111:15723-8 (2014). PMID: 25331875

Cui J, Xiao J, Tagliabracci VS, Wen J, Rahdar M, Dixon JE. A secretory kinase complex regulates extracellular protein phosphorylation. eLife 2015;10.7554/eLife.06120

Tagliabracci VS, Wiley SE, Guo X, Kinch LN, Durrant E, Wen J, Xiao J, Cui J, Nguyen KB, Engel JL, Coon JJ, Grishin N, Pinna LA, Pagliarini DJ, Dixon JE. A Single Kinase Generates the Majority of the Secreted Phosphoproteome. Cell 161:1619-32 (2015). PMID 26091039

Gerson-Gurwitz A, Worby CA, Lee KY, Khaliullin R, Bouffard J, Cheerambathur D, Oegema K, Cram EJ, Dixon JE, Desai A. J Cell Biol. 218: 3795-3811 (2019). PMID: 31541016



Cancer Biology
Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases
Immunology, Inflammation, & Infectious Diseases
Neuropharmacology & Neurological Disorders


Signaling & Molecular Pharmacology