Alexander Zaika
Faculty Member
Last active: 4/11/2016


p53 protein family, which consists of p53, p63 and p73, plays a pivotal role in regulation of multiple cellular mechanisms including apoptosis, cell cycle control and DNA damage repair. We are interested in understanding the molecular and cellular machinery that underlie the functions of these proteins. Although the role of p53 in human studies is relatively well studied, less is known about p73 and p63. Our analyses demonstrated that p73 and p63 family interact with each-other and these interactions play a critical role in human tumorigenesis. Our data also suggest that these proteins are strongly involved in a response to anticancer curative treatment. We are using a number of different in vitro and in vivo techniques to examine the role of the p53 protein family in cancer development and progression.


The following timeline graph is generated from all co-authored publications.

Featured publications are shown below:

  1. APE1-mediated DNA damage repair provides survival advantage for esophageal adenocarcinoma cells in response to acidic bile salts. Hong J, Chen Z, Peng D, Zaika A, Revetta F, Washington MK, Belkhiri A, El-Rifai W (2016) Oncotarget 7(13): 16688-702
    › Primary publication · 26934647 (PubMed) · PMC4941344 (PubMed Central)
  2. Activin a signaling regulates cell invasion and proliferation in esophageal adenocarcinoma. Taylor C, Loomans HA, Le Bras GF, Koumangoye RB, Romero-Morales AI, Quast LL, Zaika AI, El-Rifai W, Andl T, Andl CD (2015) Oncotarget 6(33): 34228-44
    › Primary publication · 26447543 (PubMed) · PMC4741448 (PubMed Central)
  3. Microbial Regulation of p53 Tumor Suppressor. Zaika AI, Wei J, Noto JM, Peek RM (2015) PLoS Pathog 11(9): e1005099
    › Primary publication · 26379246 (PubMed) · PMC4574736 (PubMed Central)
  4. Mitochondrial STAT3 contributes to transformation of Barrett's epithelial cells that express oncogenic Ras in a p53-independent fashion. Yu C, Huo X, Agoston AT, Zhang X, Theiss AL, Cheng E, Zhang Q, Zaika A, Pham TH, Wang DH, Lobie PE, Odze RD, Spechler SJ, Souza RF (2015) Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 309(3): G146-61
    › Primary publication · 26045618 (PubMed) · PMC4525109 (PubMed Central)
  5. Helicobacter pylori bacteria alter the p53 stress response via ERK-HDM2 pathway. Bhardwaj V, Noto JM, Wei J, Andl C, El-Rifai W, Peek RM, Zaika AI (2015) Oncotarget 6(3): 1531-43
    › Primary publication · 25605238 (PubMed) · PMC4359312 (PubMed Central)
  6. Bacterial Pathogen Helicobacter pylori: A Bad AKTor Inhibits p53 Protein Activity [corrected]. Zaika AI (2015) Dig Dis Sci 60(4): 822-3
    › Primary publication · 25567053 (PubMed) · PMC4409465 (PubMed Central)
  7. Bacterial CagA protein induces degradation of p53 protein in a p14ARF-dependent manner. Wei J, Noto JM, Zaika E, Romero-Gallo J, Piazuelo MB, Schneider B, El-Rifai W, Correa P, Peek RM, Zaika AI (2015) Gut 64(7): 1040-8
    › Primary publication · 25080447 (PubMed) · PMC4312278 (PubMed Central)
  8. TFF1 activates p53 through down-regulation of miR-504 in gastric cancer. Soutto M, Chen Z, Saleh MA, Katsha A, Zhu S, Zaika A, Belkhiri A, El-Rifai W (2014) Oncotarget 5(14): 5663-73
    › Primary publication · 25015107 (PubMed) · PMC4170596 (PubMed Central)
  9. HDM2 regulation by AURKA promotes cell survival in gastric cancer. Sehdev V, Katsha A, Arras J, Peng D, Soutto M, Ecsedy J, Zaika A, Belkhiri A, El-Rifai W (2014) Clin Cancer Res 20(1): 76-86
    › Primary publication · 24240108 (PubMed) · PMC3947328 (PubMed Central)
  10. Glutathione peroxidase 7 has potential tumour suppressor functions that are silenced by location-specific methylation in oesophageal adenocarcinoma. Peng D, Hu T, Soutto M, Belkhiri A, Zaika A, El-Rifai W (2014) Gut 63(4): 540-51
    › Primary publication · 23580780 (PubMed) · PMC3825783 (PubMed Central)
  11. Regulation of the p53 by Helicobacter pylori. Zaika A, Wei J, Noto J, Peek R (2012) Oncotarget 3(10): 1057-8
    › Primary publication · 23165367 (PubMed) · PMC3717956 (PubMed Central)
  12. Regulation of the p53 tumor suppressor by gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori pathogen. Zaika A, Wei J, Noto J, Peek R (2012) Oncotarget
    › Primary publication · 23060526 (PubMed)
  13. The combination of alisertib, an investigational Aurora kinase A inhibitor, and docetaxel promotes cell death and reduces tumor growth in preclinical cell models of upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. Sehdev V, Katsha A, Ecsedy J, Zaika A, Belkhiri A, El-Rifai W (2013) Cancer 119(4): 904-14
    › Primary publication · 22972611 (PubMed) · PMC3524359 (PubMed Central)
  14. The aurora kinase A inhibitor MLN8237 enhances cisplatin-induced cell death in esophageal adenocarcinoma cells. Sehdev V, Peng D, Soutto M, Washington MK, Revetta F, Ecsedy J, Zaika A, Rau TT, Schneider-Stock R, Belkhiri A, El-Rifai W (2012) Mol Cancer Ther 11(3): 763-74
    › Primary publication · 22302096 (PubMed) · PMC3297687 (PubMed Central)
  15. Glutathione peroxidase 7 protects against oxidative DNA damage in oesophageal cells. Peng D, Belkhiri A, Hu T, Chaturvedi R, Asim M, Wilson KT, Zaika A, El-Rifai W (2012) Gut 61(9): 1250-60
    › Primary publication · 22157330 (PubMed) · PMC3419307 (PubMed Central)
  16. p53 Family: Role of Protein Isoforms in Human Cancer. Wei J, Zaika E, Zaika A (2012) J Nucleic Acids : 687359
    › Primary publication · 22007292 (PubMed) · PMC3191818 (PubMed Central)
  17. p73 protein regulates DNA damage repair. Zaika E, Wei J, Yin D, Andl C, Moll U, El-Rifai W, Zaika AI (2011) FASEB J 25(12): 4406-14
    › Primary publication · 21891782 (PubMed) · PMC3236618 (PubMed Central)
  18. Loss of TFF1 is associated with activation of NF-κB-mediated inflammation and gastric neoplasia in mice and humans. Soutto M, Belkhiri A, Piazuelo MB, Schneider BG, Peng D, Jiang A, Washington MK, Kokoye Y, Crowe SE, Zaika A, Correa P, Peek RM, El-Rifai W (2011) J Clin Invest 121(5): 1753-67
    › Primary publication · 21490402 (PubMed) · PMC3083788 (PubMed Central)
  19. [The coordinated interaction of multifunctional members of p53 family determines many key processes in multicellular organisms]. Vilgelm AE, Zaika AI, Prasolov VS (2011) Mol Biol (Mosk) 45(1): 180-97
    › Primary publication · 21485507 (PubMed)
  20. Characterization of ΔNp73 expression and regulation in gastric and esophageal tumors. Vilgelm AE, Hong SM, Washington MK, Wei J, Chen H, El-Rifai W, Zaika A (2010) Oncogene 29(43): 5861-8
    › Primary publication · 20676143 (PubMed) · PMC4152004 (PubMed Central)
  21. Regulation of p53 tumor suppressor by Helicobacter pylori in gastric epithelial cells. Wei J, Nagy TA, Vilgelm A, Zaika E, Ogden SR, Romero-Gallo J, Piazuelo MB, Correa P, Washington MK, El-Rifai W, Peek RM, Zaika A (2010) Gastroenterology 139(4): 1333-43
    › Primary publication · 20547161 (PubMed) · PMC2949494 (PubMed Central)
  22. Interactions of the p53 protein family in cellular stress response in gastrointestinal tumors. Vilgelm AE, Washington MK, Wei J, Chen H, Prassolov VS, Zaika AI (2010) Mol Cancer Ther 9(3): 693-705
    › Primary publication · 20197393 (PubMed) · PMC2838189 (PubMed Central)
  23. Overexpression of OATP1B3 confers apoptotic resistance in colon cancer. Lee W, Belkhiri A, Lockhart AC, Merchant N, Glaeser H, Harris EI, Washington MK, Brunt EM, Zaika A, Kim RB, El-Rifai W (2008) Cancer Res 68(24): 10315-23
    › Primary publication · 19074900 (PubMed) · PMC2605661 (PubMed Central)
  24. Aurora kinase A inhibition leads to p73-dependent apoptosis in p53-deficient cancer cells. Dar AA, Belkhiri A, Ecsedy J, Zaika A, El-Rifai W (2008) Cancer Res 68(21): 8998-9004
    › Primary publication · 18974145 (PubMed) · PMC2587495 (PubMed Central)
  25. Therapeutic prospects for p73 and p63: rising from the shadow of p53. Vilgelm A, El-Rifai W, Zaika A (2008) Drug Resist Updat 11(4-5): 152-63
    › Primary publication · 18801697 (PubMed) · PMC2585826 (PubMed Central)
  26. Frequent overexpression of Aurora Kinase A in upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas correlates with potent antiapoptotic functions. Dar AA, Zaika A, Piazuelo MB, Correa P, Koyama T, Belkhiri A, Washington K, Castells A, Pera M, El-Rifai W (2008) Cancer 112(8): 1688-98
    › Primary publication · 18311783 (PubMed) · PMC4030394 (PubMed Central)
  27. t-Darpp promotes cancer cell survival by up-regulation of Bcl2 through Akt-dependent mechanism. Belkhiri A, Dar AA, Zaika A, Kelley M, El-Rifai W (2008) Cancer Res 68(2): 395-403
    › Primary publication · 18199533 (PubMed)
  28. p63 and p73 expression in extrahepatic bile duct carcinoma and their clinical significance. Hong SM, Cho H, Moskaluk CA, Yu E, Zaika AI (2007) J Mol Histol 38(3): 167-75
    › Primary publication · 17385050 (PubMed)
  29. Cofactor of BRCA1: a novel transcription factor regulator in upper gastrointestinal adenocarcinomas. McChesney PA, Aiyar SE, Lee OJ, Zaika A, Moskaluk C, Li R, El-Rifai W (2006) Cancer Res 66(3): 1346-53
    › Primary publication · 16452188 (PubMed)
  30. Expression of tight-junction protein claudin-7 is an early event in gastric tumorigenesis. Johnson AH, Frierson HF, Zaika A, Powell SM, Roche J, Crowe S, Moskaluk CA, El-Rifai W (2005) Am J Pathol 167(2): 577-84
    › Primary publication · 16049341 (PubMed) · PMC1603560 (PubMed Central)
  31. Molecular targets for tumour progression in gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Koon N, Schneider-Stock R, Sarlomo-Rikala M, Lasota J, Smolkin M, Petroni G, Zaika A, Boltze C, Meyer F, Andersson L, Knuutila S, Miettinen M, El-Rifai W (2004) Gut 53(2): 235-40
    › Primary publication · 14724156 (PubMed) · PMC1774925 (PubMed Central)
  32. Overexpression of the 32-kilodalton dopamine and cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate-regulated phosphoprotein in common adenocarcinomas. Beckler A, Moskaluk CA, Zaika A, Hampton GM, Powell SM, Frierson HF, El-Rifai W (2003) Cancer 98(7): 1547-51
    › Primary publication · 14508844 (PubMed)