Masahiro Shuda, PhD

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics

Education & Training

  • PhD in Molecular Virology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
  • BS in Health Science, Tokyo Medical and Dental University

Research Interests

Viruses cause up to 17% of human cancers world-wide, and these cancers are both important and tractable models for cancer research. My research exploits two small DNA tumor viruses: Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV), which causes most human Merkel cell carcinomas (MCC) and oncogenic papillomaviruses (HPV) that causes most cervical cancers as well as head and neck cancers. These viruses encode a limited number of viral oncogenic proteins and efficiently transform normal cells into cancer cells. By studying carcinogenesis models induced by MCV and HPV, we seek to identify novel host cellular pathways that lead to cancer. Currently, my laboratory focuses on the progenitor/stem cell transformation that is potentially induced by tumor viruses. Our preliminary results suggest that MCV-associated MCC may derive from neural progenitor/stem cells. High risk papilloma viruses have been also suspected to infect epithelial stem cells to induce carcinogenesis. We aim to clarify the molecular mechanism of tumor virus-induced progenitor/stem cell transformation and to define the origin of cancer cells.  Our overarching goal is to establish animal models for virus-induced carcinogenesis and develop efficient therapies for virus-induced cancers. 


Feng H, Shuda M, Chang Y and Moore PS. 2008. Clonal integration of a polyomavirus in human Merkel cell carcinoma. Science. 319: 1096-1100.

Shuda M, Kwun HJ, Feng H, Chang Y and Moore PS. 2011. Human Merkel cell polyomavirus small T antigen is an oncoprotein targeting the 4E-BP1 translation regulator. J Clin Invest. 121: 3623-3634.

Shuda M, Velásquez C, Cheng E, Cordek DG, Kwun HJ, Chang Y and Moore PS. 2015. CDK1 substitutes for mTOR kinase to activate mitotic cap-dependent protein translation. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 112: 5875-5882.

Shuda M, Guastafierro A, Geng X, Shuda Y, Ostrowski SM, Lukianov S, Jenkins FJ, Honda K, Maricich SM, Moore, PS and Chang, Y. 2015. Merkel Cell Polyomavirus Small T Antigen Induces Cancer and Embryonic Merkel Cell Proliferation in a Transgenic Mouse Model. PLoS One. 10: e0142329.

Velasquez C, Amako Y, Harold A, Toptan T, Chang Y and Shuda M. 2018. Characterization of a Merkel Cell Polyomavirus-Positive Merkel Cell Carcinoma Cell Line CVG-1. Front Microbiol. 9: 713.

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