Sonia Lobo Planey, PhD

Associate Dean for Research
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
Department of Basic Sciences
Geisinger Commonwealth Research Department
North Campus

LOCATION(S)
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Medical Sciences Building
525 Pine St.
Office 3038
Scranton, PA 18509
570-504-9629
Fax: 570-504-9639
splaney@som.geisinger.edu

Research interests

Sonia Lobo Planey, PhD, is a tenured associate professor of biochemistry in the Department of Basic Sciences and serves as the associate dean for research. Dr. Planey received her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia and completed her postdoctoral training at the University of Florida. She has also held industry positions at Medarex Inc., in Bloomsbury, NJ, and at Genaera Corporation in Plymouth Meeting, PA, as well as editorial positions at BioCentric Inc., JK Associates, and for the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) Magazine. Her areas of research expertise are in signal transduction, palmitoylation and cancer biology with a specific focus on the signaling networks under the control of the ZDHHC2 gene that are important to cancer and interstitial cystitis.

Dr. Planey's research interests are primarily in signal transduction and cancer biology. She has spent the last few years studying protein palmitoylation and developing a proteomic method to identify substrates of palmitoyl acyl transferases (PATs) — the enzymes that mediate palmitoylation. Despite their recent discovery (2002), many PATs have already been linked to human disease. One compelling example is the association of ZDHHC2 with cancer. ZDHHC2 encodes the PAT, DHHC2, and is deleted in many types of cancer. Its absence in cells is highly correlated with metastasis; therefore, investigating the function of this gene in established cancer cell lines will allow Dr. Planey to better understand its role in preventing metastasis. DHHC2 modifies specific cellular proteins with a small, regulatory lipid called palmitate. One substrate of this enzyme is CKAP4/p63 which is a cell-surface receptor for antiproliferative factor (APF) — a small molecule that is thought to cause a painful, chronic bladder disorder called interstitial cystitis. The signaling networks under the control of the ZDHHC2 gene are important to cancer and bladder disease and are the current focus of Dr. Planey's research.

Student research opportunities

The signaling networks under the control of the ZDHHC2 gene that are important to cancer and bladder disease are the current focus of Dr. Planey’s research. ZDHHC2 encodes the palmitoyl acyltransferase enzyme, DHHC2, which is deleted in many types of cancer. Its absence in cells is highly correlated with metastasis; therefore, investigating the function of this gene in established cancer cell lines will allow us to better understand its role in preventing metastasis. DHHC2 modifies specific cellular proteins with a lipid called palmitate. One substrate of this enzyme is cytoskeleton-associated protein 4 (CKAP4) which is a cell-surface receptor for antiproliferative factor (APF) — a small biomolecule that potently inhibits cell growth and is thought to cause a painful, chronic bladder disorder called interstitial cystitis (IC). Using cellular-based models, molecular biology techniques and novel biochemical approaches, our goal is to gain a more detailed understanding of DHHC2-mediated palmitoylation of CKAP4/p63 and its effects on APF-mediated signaling so that we can identify novel drug targets for IC and cancer as well as develop a diagnostic test for IC.

Recent publications

  • Chavda B, Ling J, Majernick T, Planey SL. Antiproliferative Factor (APF) Binds Specifically to Sites Within the Cytoskeleton-Associated Protein 4 (CKAP4) Extracellular Domain. BMC Biochem. 2017 Sep 11;18(1):13. doi: 10.1186/s12858-017-0088-y PMID: 28893174
  • Arnott JA, Doane K, and Planey SL. Matricelluar Proteins in Bone and Cartilage Development.  In: Extracellular Matrix, Travascio, F ed. ISBN 978-953-51-4747-3; Intech, 2016. 
  • Cho, Y., Silverstein, R., Geisinger, M., Martinkovich, S., Cunnick, J., Planey, SL., Arnott, JA. AFAP1 is a novel downstream mediator of TGF-β1 for CCN2 induction in osteoblasts. PlosOne. 2015. [in press]
  • Chavda B, Arnott JA, Planey SL. Targeting protein palmitoylation: selective inhibitors and implications in disease. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2014 Sep;9(9):1005-19. doi: 10.1517/17460441.2014.933802. Epub 2014 Jun 26. Full Text
  • Martinkovich S, Darshan, S, Planey SL, Arnott JA, Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators: tissue specificity and clinical utility. Clinical Interventions in Aging 2014:9 1437–1452.
  • Planey SL, Kumar R, and Arnott JA. Posttranslational modification of transcription factors: mechansims and potential therapeutic interventions. Curr Mol Pharmacol, Mar 7, 2014. PMID: 24694345
  • Planey SL, Kumar R, Arnott JA. Estrogen Receptors (ERα vs. ERβ): Friends or Foes in Human Biology? Journal of Receptors and Signaling Transduction. 2013, Journal of Receptors and Signaling Transduction. Nov 2013, doi:10.3109/10799893.2013.853188
  • Planey SL. Discovery of selective and potent inhibitors of protein palmitoylation. In: El-Shemy HA, ed. Drug Discovery. ISBN: 980-953-307-545-2; Intech; January 23, 2013: chap 9 p. 251-288. Full Text
  • Geisinger MT, Astaiza R, Butler T, Reham S, Popoff SN, Planey SL, Arnott JA. CTGF/CCN2 is a downstream target gene of Ets-1 in osteoblasts. J. Orthop Surg and Sports Med, (2012), 7(1)56-62.
  • Tuffy KM, Planey SL. Cytoskeleton-Associated Protein 4 (CKAP4/p63): Functions Beyond the Endoplasmic Reticulum in Physiology and Disease. ISRN Cell Biology. Volume 2012, Article ID 142313. Epub 2012 Nov 1. Full Text 
  • Arnott JA and Planey SL. The influence of lipophilicity in drug discovery and design. Expert Opin Drug Discov. 2012 Oct;7(10):863-75. Epub 2012 Sep 19
  • Geisinger MT, Astaiza R, Butler T, Popoff SN, Planey SL, Arnott JA. Ets-1 Is Essential for Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF/CCN2) Induction by TGF-β1 in Osteoblasts. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35258. Epub 2012 Apr 23.PMID:22539964. Full Text 
  • Zacharias DA, Mullen M, Planey SL. Antiproliferative factor-induced changes in phosphorylation and palmitoylation of cytoskeleton-associated protein-4 regulate its nuclear translocation and DNA binding. Int J Cell Biol. 2012;2012:150918. Epub 2012 Mar 20. PMID:22536245. Full Text 
  • Matika CA, Wasilewski M, Arnott JA, Planey SL. Antiproliferative Factor Regulates Connective Tissue Growth Factor (CTGF/CCN2) Expression in T24 Bladder Carcinoma Cells. Mol Biol Cell. 2012 Mar 21. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22438586. Full Text 
  • Planey, S.L. and Zacharias, D. A., Identification of protein palmitoylation targets and inhibitors, Expert Opin Drug Discov, 5(2):1-10, (2010).
  • Lantz KA, Hart SGE, Planey SL, Ruiz-White I, Wolfe HR, McLane MP. Trodusquemine (MSI-1436) inhibits protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B to cause adipose-specific weight loss in diet-induced obese mice. Obesity. (Silver Spring). 2010 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Planey SL and Zacharias DA. Palmitoyl acyltransferases, their substrates, and novel assays to connect them. Mol Membr Biol. 2009 Jan;26(1):14-31. PMID: 19191172. Full Text 
  • Planey SL, Keay SK, Zhang CO, and Zacharias D. Palmitoylation of Cytoskeleton-Associated Protein 4 by DHHC2 Regulates Antiproliferative Factor-mediated Signaling. Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Jan 14. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 19144824. Full Text 
  • Zhang J, Planey SL, Ceballos C, Stevens SM Jr, Keay SK, and Zacharias DA. Identification of CKAP4/p63 as a major substrate of the palmitoyl acyltransferase DHHC2, a putative tumor suppressor, using a novel proteomics method. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2008 Jul;7(7):1378-1388. PMID: 18296695. Full Text 
  • Mikic I, Planey S, Zhang J, Ceballos C, Seron T, VonMassenback B, Watson R, Callaway S, Price J, Hunter E, Zacharias D. A live-cell, image based approach to understanding the enzymology and pharmacology of 2-bromopalmitate and palmitoylation. Methods Enzymol. 2006;414: 150-188. PMID: 17110192. Full Text 
  • Planey SL, Abrams MT, Robertson NM, and Litwack, G. Role of apical caspases and glucocorticoid-regulated genes in glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis of pre-B leukemic cells. Cancer Res. 2003 Jan 1;63(1):172-178. PMID: 12517795. Full Text 
  • Planey SL, Derfoul A, Robertson NM, and Litwack G. Inhibition of glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in 697 pre-B lymphocytes by the mineralocorticoid receptor N-terminal domain. J Biol Chem. 2002 Nov 1;277(44):42188-42196. PMID: 12194973. Full Text 
  • Planey SL and Litwack G. Glucocorticoid-induced apoptosis in lymphocytes. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2000 Dec 20;279(2):307-312. Review. PMID: 11118283. Full Text 
  • Steplewski A, Ebel W, Planey SL, Alnemri ES, Robertson NM, and Litwack G. Phosphorylation of the insect immunophilin FKBP46 by the Spodoptera frugiperda homolog of casein kinase II. Gene. 2000 Apr 4;246(1-2):169-178. PMID: 10767538. Full Text 

Patents

  • US Patent Number 8,404,655 (issued March 26, 2013):  “Inhibition of Palmitoyl Acyl Transferase Expression and/or Activity for the Regulation of Antiproliferative Factor Activity" Susan K. Keay, Sonia Lobo Planey, David A. Zacharias.
  • US Patent Number 8,962,341 B2 (issued February 24, 2015):  “Cell-Based Detection of APF Through Its Interaction with CKAP4 for Screening of Interstitial Cystitis” Sonia Lobo Planey and David A. Zacharias.
  • US Patent Number 13/911,242 (issued July 7, 2015):  “Cell-Based Detection of APF Through Its Interaction with CKAP4 for Diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis” Sonia Lobo Planey and David A. Zacharias.

Our research is supported by a grant from KIZ.

Our research is supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command under Award No. W81XWH-13-1-0454.

Education

Bachelor – Cedar Crest College, Allentown, Pa.
PhD – Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
Postdoctoral – Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia
Postdoctoral – Whitney Lab, University of Florida, St. Augustine, Fla.