John White - Professor & Chair


Department of Physiology
McGill University
McIntyre Medical Sciences Building,
Room 1128
3655 Promenade Sir William Osler
Montréal, Québec H3G 1Y6

(514) 398-8498

john.white [at]

Laboratory web site:

Research Area:  Cell and Molecular Biology

Research Description:

The laboratory has focused since its inception on various aspects of regulation of gene expression. Much of the work centers on the role of nuclear receptors in controlling gene transcription. The lab has been interested in the molecular mechanisms of action of estrogen receptors (ERs) for several years, and has identified novel coregulatory factors that control the nuclear and extra-nuclear functions actions of ERs and other nuclear receptors. The laboratory is also studying the genomics of nuclear receptor action. The lab is analyzing the potential roles of target genes of the vitamin D3 receptor in controlling the growth of cancer cells. We have identified almost 200 vitamin D3 target genes in squamous carcinoma cells by microarray analysis, and are determining the functions of key genes in regulation of cellular growth and differentiation.

Education:  B.Sc., M.Sc., Carleton, Ph.D., Harvard

Selected Recent Publications:

Tavera-Mendoza, L. and White, J.H. (2007) Cell defenses and the sunshine vitamin. Scientific American. November, 297, 62-72.

Tavera-Mendoza, L.E., Quach, T., Dabbas, B., Hudon, J., Liao, X., Palijan, A., Gleason, J.L., and White, J.H. (2008) Incorporation of histone deacetylase inhibition into the structure of a nuclear receptor agonist. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 105, 8250-55.

Palijan, A., Fernandes, I., Verway, M., Kourelis, M., Bastien, Y., Tang, L., Tavera-Mendoza, L.E., Li, Z., Bertos, N.R., Bourdeau, V., Mader, S., Yang, X.J. and White, J.H. (2009) Function of HDAC6 as a cofactor of nuclear receptor corepressor LCoR. J. Biol. Chem. 284, 30264-74.

Wang, T.T, Dabbas, B., Laperriere, D., Bitton, A., Tavera-Mendoza, L.E., Soualhine, H., Dionne, S., Servant, M.J., Bitton, A., Seidman, E., Mader, S., Behr, M. and White, J.H. (2010) Direct and indirect induction by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 of the NOD2/CARD15-beta defensin 2 innate immune pathway defective in Crohn’s disease. J. Biol. Chem. 285, 2227 – 2231.

An, B.-S., Tavera-Mendoza, L.E., Dimitrov, V., Wang, X., Calderon, M., Wang, H.-J., and White, J.H. (2010) Stimulation of SIRT1-regulated FoxO protein function by the ligand-bound vitamin D receptor. Mol. Cell. Biol. 30, 4890-4900.

Calderon, M., Verway, M., An, B.-S., DiFeo, A., Bismar, T., Ann, D.K., Martignetti, J.A., Shalom-Barak, T. and White, J.H. (2012) Ligand-dependent Corepressor (LCoR) Recruitment by Kruppel-like Factor 6 (KLF6) Regulates Expression of the Cyclin-dependent Kinase Inhibitor CDKN1A Gene. J. Biol. Chem. 287, 8662-74.

Fisher, J., Wang, T.T., Kaldre, D., Rochel, N., Moras, D., White, J.H.*, Gleason J.L.* (2012) Synthetically accessible non-secosteroidal hybrid molecules combining vitamin D receptor agonism and histone deacetylase inhibition. Chemistry & Biology 19, 963-71. *corresponding authors.

Salehi-Tabar, R., Nguyen-Yamamoto, L., Tavera-Mendoza, L.E., Quail, T., Dimitrov, V., An, B.-S., Glass, L., Goltzman, D. and White, J.H. (2012) The vitamin D receptor as a master regulator of the cMYC/MXD1 network. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109, 18827-32.

Verway, M., Bouttier, M., Wang, T.T., Carrier, M., Calderon, M., An, B.-S., Devemy, E., McIntosh, F., Divangahi, M., Behr, M.A. and White, J.H. (2013) Vitamin D induces interleukin-1 expression Paracrine macrophage-epithelial signaling controls M. tuberculosis infection. PLoS Pathogens 9(6): e1003407. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1003407

White, J.H. (2013) Vitamin D and human health: More than just bone. Nature Reviews Endocrinol. 9(10), 623.

Calderon, M. Verway, M., Benslama, R.O., Birlea, M., Bouttier, M., Dimitrov, V., Mader, S., and White, J.H. (2014) Ligand-dependent corepressor contributes to transcriptional repression by C2H2 zinc-finger transcription factor ZBRK1 through association with KRAB-associated protein-1. Nucl. Acids Res. 42, 7012-27.

Memari, B., Bouttier, B., Dimitrov, V., Behr, M.A., Fritz, J.H., and White, J.H. (2015) Engagement of aryl hydrocarbon receptor signaling by M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages. J. Immunol. (under revision).

Link to Dr. White's publications