Yoshimi Endo Greer, M.D., Ph.D.

Yoshimi Endo Greer, M.D., Ph.D.

  • Center for Cancer Research
  • National Cancer Institute
Women's Malignancies Branch


Yoshimi E. Greer, M.D., Ph.D., is an experienced scientist in cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry and oncology. Her current research focus is cancer metabolism in breast cancers. 

Areas of Expertise

Breast Cancer
Cancer Metabolism
Signal Transduction
TRAIL/Death Receptor


Selected Key Publications

A Single-Arm, Open-Label Phase II Study of ONC201 in Recurrent/Refractory Metastatic Breast Cancer and Advanced Endometrial Carcinoma

Sarah L P Atkins, Yoshimi Endo Greer, Sarah Jenkins, Margaret E Gatti-Mays, Nicole Houston, Sunmin Lee, Min-Jung Lee, Shraddha Rastogi, Nahoko Sato, Christina Burks, Christina M Annunziata, Jung-Min Lee, Kunio Nagashima, Jane B Trepel, Stanley Lipkowitz, Alexandra S Zimmer
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Targeting Mitochondria with ClpP Agonists as a Novel Therapeutic Opportunity in Breast Cancer

Rohan Wedam, Yoshimi Endo Greer, David J Wisniewski, Sarah Weltz, Manjari Kundu, Donna Voeller, Stanley Lipkowitz
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Mitochondrial Matrix Protease ClpP Agonists Inhibit Cancer Stem Cell Function in Breast Cancer Cells by Disrupting Mitochondrial Homeostasis

Yoshimi Endo Greer, Lidia Hernandez, Emily M.J. Fennell, Manjari Kundu, Donna Voeller, Raj Chari, Samuel F. Gilbert, Thomas S.K. Gilbert, Shashikala Ratnayake, Binwu Tang, Markus Hafner, Qingrong Chen, Daoud Meerzaman, Edwin Iwanowicz, Christina M. Annunziata, Lee M. Graves, Stanley Lipkowitz.
Cancer Research Communications. 2(10): 1144–1161, 2022.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]

Characterization of TR-107, a novel chemical activator of the human mitochondrial protease ClpP

Emily M J Fennell, Lucas J Aponte-Collazo, Joshua D Wynn, Kristina Drizyte-Miller, Elisa Leung, Yoshimi Endo Greer, Paul R Graves, Andrew A Iwanowicz, Hani Ashamalla, Ekhson Holmuhamedov, Henk Lang, Donald S Karanewsky, Channing J Der, Walid A Houry, Stanley Lipkowitz, Edwin J Iwanowicz, Lee M Graves.
Pharmacol Res Perspect. 10(4): e00993, 2022.
Full-Text Article
[ Journal Article ]


Oncotarget Cover - April 6, 2018

ONC201 kills breast cancer cells in vitro by targeting mitochondria

Published Date

About the Cover
The cover for issue 26 of Oncotarget features Figure 8, "Proposed mechanism of action of ONC201" from Greer, et al.


We report a novel mechanism of action of ONC201 as a mitochondria-targeting drug in cancer cells. ONC201 was originally identified as a small molecule that induces transcription of TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) and subsequently kills cancer cells by activating TRAIL death receptors. In this study, we examined ONC201 toxicity on multiple human breast and endometrial cancer cell lines. ONC201 attenuated cell viability in all cancer cell lines tested. Unexpectedly, ONC201 toxicity was not dependent on either TRAIL receptors nor caspases. Time-lapse live cell imaging revealed that ONC201 induces cell membrane ballooning followed by rupture, distinct from the morphology of cells undergoing apoptosis. Further investigation found that ONC201 induces phosphorylation of AMP-dependent kinase and ATP loss. Cytotoxicity and ATP depletion were significantly enhanced in the absence of glucose, suggesting that ONC201 targets mitochondrial respiration. Further analysis indicated that ONC201 indirectly inhibits mitochondrial respiration. Confocal and electron microscopic analysis demonstrated that ONC201 triggers mitochondrial structural damage and functional impairment. Moreover, ONC201 decreased mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). RNAseq analysis revealed that ONC201 suppresses expression of multiple mtDNA-encoded genes and nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation and other mitochondrial functions. Importantly, fumarate hydratase deficient cancer cells and multiple cancer cell lines with reduced amounts of mtDNA were resistant to ONC201. These results indicate that cells not dependent on mitochondrial respiration are ONC201-resistant. Our data demonstrate that ONC201 kills cancer cells by disrupting mitochondrial function and further suggests that cancer cells that are dependent on glycolysis will be resistant to ONC201.


ONC201 kills breast cancer cells in vitro by targeting mitochondria.  Greer YE, Porat-Shliom N, Nagashima K, Stuelten C, Crooks D, Koparde VN, Gilbert SF, Islam C, Ubaldini A, Ji Y, Gattinoni L, Soheilian F, Wang X, Hafner M, Shetty J, Tran B, Jailwala P, Cam M, Lang M, Voeller D, Reinhold WC, Rajapakse V, Pommier Y, Weigert R, Linehan WM, and Lipkowitz S. Oncotarget 9(26):18454-18479, 2018.

About Oncotarget
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Media Contact

Casein kinase 1δ (green) localizes to the centrosome (red), where it promotes neurite extension in response to Wnt-3a. Image cou

Centrosomal CK1delta Promotes Neurite Outgrowth

Published Date

Previously we determined that Dishevelled-2/3 (Dvl) mediate Wnt-3a–dependent neurite outgrowth in Ewing sarcoma family tumor cells. Here we report that neurite extension was associated with Dvl phosphorylation and that both were inhibited by the casein kinase 1 (CK1) δ/ε inhibitor IC261. Small interfering RNAs targeting either CK1δ or CK1ε decreased Dvl phosphorylation, but only knockdown of CK1δ blocked neurite outgrowth. CK1δ but not CK1ε was detected at the centrosome, an organelle associated with neurite formation. Deletion analysis mapped the centrosomal localization signal (CLS) of CK1δ to its C-terminal domain. A fusion protein containing the CLS and EGFP displaced full-length CK1δ from the centrosome and inhibited Wnt-3a–dependent neurite outgrowth. In contrast to wild-type CK1ε, a chimera comprised of the kinase domain of CK1ε and the CLS of CK1δ localized to the centrosome and rescued Wnt-3a–dependent neurite outgrowth suppressed by CK1δ knockdown. These results provide strong evidence that the centrosomal localization of CK1δ is required for Wnt-3a–dependent neuritogenesis.


DOI: 10.1083/jcb.201011111