Faculty Directory

Alejandro Villagra

Alejandro Villagra

Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Office Phone: 202-994-9547
Email: Email
Department: Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine


  • BS Biochemistry, School of Pharmacy, University of Concepcion, Chile, 2000
  • PhD, School of Biological Sciences, University of Concepcion, Chile, 2004


View publications by this faculty member from January 1, 2013 - present

Jie Chen, Eva Sahakian, John Powers, Maritza Lienlaf, Patricio Perez-Villarroel, Tessa Knox, and Alejandro Villagra. Functional Analysis of Histone Deacetylase 11. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1436:147-65

John Powers, Jie Chen, Maritza Lienlaf, Patricio Perez-Villarroel, Tessa Knox, Alejandro Villagra, and Eva Sahakian. Expression and Function of Histone Deacetylase 10 (HDAC10) in B Cell Malignancies. Methods Mol Biol. 2016;1436:129-45

Lienlaf M, Perez-Villarroel P, Knox T, Woan K.V., Lee C., Cheng F., Sahakian E., Powers J., Deng S., Smalley K. S. M., Kozikowski A., Pinilla-Ibarz J., Sarnaik, A., Seto E., Weber J., Sotomayor E.M., and Villagra A. (2016). Essential role of HDAC6 in the regulation of PD-L1 in melanoma. Mol Oncol. 2016 May;10(5):735-50.

Preparation and Biochemical Analysis of Classical Histone Deacetylases. (2016) A. Villagra, E., Sahakian, E. Seto. Methods in Enzymology. Epub ahead

Woan K.V., Lienlaf M., Perez-Villaroel P., Lee C., Cheng F., Knox, T., Woods D.M., Barrios, K., Wang H.W., Canales, J., Marante, D., Sarnaik, A., Smalley, K., Bergman J., Kozikowski A., Celis E., Weber J., Sotomayor E.M., and Villagra A (2015). Targeting Histone Deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) mediates a dual anti-melanoma effect; enhanced antitumor immunity and impaired proliferation. Mol Oncol. 2015 Aug;9(7):1447-57

David M. Woods, Andressa L. Sodré, Alejandro Villagra, Eduardo M. Sotomayor, Jeffrey Weber (2015).HDAC Inhibition Upregulates PD­1 Ligands in Melanoma and Augments Immunotherapy with PD­1 Blockade. Cancer Immunol Res. 2015 Aug 21.

Paraiso KH, Thakur MD, Fang B, Koomen JM, Fedorenko IV, John JK, Tsao H, Flaherty KT, Sondak VK, Messina JL, Pasquale EB, Villagra A. Rao UN, Kirkwood JM, Meier F, Sloot S, Gibney GT, Stuart D, Tawbi H, Smalley KS. (2015). Ligand-Independent EPHA2 Signaling Drives the Adoption of a Targeted Therapy-Mediated Metastatic Melanoma Phenotype. Cancer Discovery, 2015 Mar;5(3):264-73.

Gonzalez-Zuñiga M., Contreras P., Estrada L., Chamorro D., Villagra A., Zanlungo S., Seto E., Alvarez A. Abl stabilizes HDAC2 levels by tyrosine phosphorylation repressing neuronal gene expression in Alzheimer Disease. Molecular Cell. Mol Cell. 2014 Oct 2;56(1):163-73.

Kizuka Y, Kitazume S, Okahara K, Villagra A, Sotomayor EM, Taniguchi N. Epigenetic regulation of a brain-specific glycosyltransferase N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase-IX (GnT-IX) by specific chromatin modifiers. J. Biol. Chem. 2014 Apr 18;289(16):11253-61

Fengdong Cheng, Maritza Lienlaf, Patricio Perez-Villarroel, Hong-Wei Wang, Calvin Lee, Karrune Woan, David Woods, Tessa Knox, Joel Bergman, Javier Pinilla-Ibarz, Alan Kozikowski, Edward Seto, Eduardo M. Sotomayor and Alejandro Villagra. Divergent roles of histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) and histone deacetylase 11 (HDAC11) on the transcriptional regulation of IL10 in antigen presenting cells. Molecular Immunology. 2014. 2014 Jul;60(1):44-53

Sahakian E, Powers J, Chen J, Deng S, Cheng F, Distler A, Woods D, Rock-Klotz J, Laino A, Youn J, Woan K, Villagra A, Gabrilovich D, Sotomayor E, Pinilla-Ibarz J. Histone deacetylase 11: A novel epigenetic regulator of myeloid derived suppressor cell expansion and function. . Molecular Immunology. (2014) epub ahead.

Cheng F, Wang H, Woan K, Rock-Klotz J, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Seto E, Bhalla K, Kozikowski A, Sotomayor E, Villagra A. (2013). A novel role for histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) in the regulation of the tolerogenic STAT3/IL-10 pathway in antigen presenting cells. J. of Immunology. 2014 Sep 15;193(6):2850-62.

Woods, D.M., Woan, K., Cheng, F., Wang, H., Perez-Villarroel, P., Lee, C., Lienlaf, M., Atadja, P., Seto, E., Weber, J., Sotomayor, E.M. & Villagra, A. The anti-melanoma activity of the histone deacetylase inhibitor panobinostat (LBH589) is mediated by durect tumor cytotoxicity and increased tumor immunogenicity. Melanoma Research. ePub ahead (2013).

Youn J, Kumar V, Collazo M, Nefedova Y, Condamine T, Cheng P, Villagra A, Antonia S, McCaffrey J, Sarnaik A, Sotomayor E and Gabrilovich D. (2013). Epigenetic silencing of retinoblastoma gene regulates pathologic differentiation of myeloid cells in cancer. Nature Immunology. 14(3):211-20.

Bai F, Villagra A, Zou JX, Painter J, Connolly K, Blaskovich M, Sokol L, Sebti S, Djeu J, Loughran T, Wei S, Sotomayor E, Epling-Burnette PK. (2012). Tipifarnib-mediated suppression of T-bet dependent signaling pathways. Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy. 61(4):523-33.

Woan KV, Sahakian E, Sotomayor EM, Seto E, Villagra A. (2012). Modulation of antigen-presenting cells by HDAC inhibitors: implications in autoimmunity and cancer. Immunol Cell Biol. 2012 Jan; 90(1):55-65.

Cheng F, Wang H, Horna P, Wang Z, Shah B, Sahakian E, Woan K, Villagra A, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Sebti S, Smith M, Tao J and Sotomayor E. (2012). Stat3 inhibition augments the immunogenicity of malignant B-Cells leading to effective antitumor immunity in B-Cell Lymphomas. Cancer Research. 72(17):4440-8.

Bergman J, Woan K, Perez-Villarroel P, Villagra A, Sotomayor E and Kozikowski A. (2012). Selective histone deacetylase 6 inhibitors bearing substituted urea linkers inhibit melanoma cell growth. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. 55(22):9891-9.

Wang H, Cheng F, Woan K, Vicente-Suarez I, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Wright K, Seto E, Bhalla K, Villagra A, Sotomayor E. (2011). Histone deacetylase inhibitor LAQ824 augments inflammatory responses in antigen presenting cells and overcomes T-Cell tolerance through transcriptional regulation of IL-10. J. of Immunology. 186(7):3986-96.

Dubovsky JA, Villagra A, Powers JJ, Wang HW, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Sotomayor EM. (2010). Circumventing immune tolerance through epigenetic modification. Curr Pharm Des. 16(3):268-76.

Yuan Z, Villagra A, Peng L, Coppola D, Sotomayor E, Chen J, Lane W, Seto E. (2010). The ATDC (TRIM29) protein binds p53 and antagonizes p53-mediated functions. Mol. Cell. Biol. 30:3004-15.

Villagra A, Sotomayor EM, Seto E. (2010). Histone deacetylases and the immunological network: implications in cancer and inflammation. Oncogene, 14;29(2):157-73.

Yarde DN, Oliveira V, Mathews L, Wang X, Villagra A, Boulware D, Shain KH, Hazlehurst LA, Alsina M, Chen DT, Beg AA, Dalton WS. (2009). Targeting the Fanconi anemia/BRCA pathway circumvents drug resistance in multiple myeloma. Cancer Res. 69(24):9367-75.

Vicente-Suarez I, Brayer J, Villagra A, Cheng F, Sotomayor EM. (2009). TLR5 ligation by flagellin converts tolerogenic dendritic cells into activating antigen-presenting cells that preferentially induce T-helper 1 responses. Immunol Lett. 125(2):114-8.

Cruzat F, Henriquez B, Villagra A, Hepp M, Lian JB, van Wijnen AJ, Stein JL, Imbalzano AN, Stein GS, Montecino MA. (2009). SWI/SNF-Independent nuclease hypersensitivity and increased histone acetylation at the P1 promoter accompany active transcription of the bone master gene RUNX2. Biochemistry. 48(30):7287-95.

Villagra A, Cheng F, Wang, H, Suarez I, Glozak M, Maurin M, Nguyen D, Wright K, Atadja AP, Bhalla K, Pinilla-Ibarz J, Seto E, Sotomayor E (2009). A novel role of histone deacetylase 11 (HDAC11) as transcriptional regulator of IL-10 and Immune tolerance. Nature Immunology, 10:92-100.

Villagra A, Ulloa N, Zhang X, Yuan Z, Sotomayor E, and Seto E. (2007). Histone Deacetylase 3 Down-regulates Cholesterol Synthesis through Repression of Lanosterol Synthase Gene Expression. J. Biol. Chem., 282(49):35457-470.

Lee, H., Sengupta, N., Villagra, A., Rezai-Zadeh, N. and Seto, E. (2006) HDAC8 safeguards the human Ever Shorter Telomeres 1B (hEST1B) protein from ubiquitin-mediated degradation. Mol. Cell. Biol. Jul, 26 (14): 5259-69.

Villagra A, Cruzat F, Carvallo L, Gutierrez S, Olate J, van Wijnen A, Lian J, Stein G, Stein J, Imbalzano A, Montecino M. (2006). Chromatin Remodeling and Transcriptional Activation of the Bone-specific Osteocalcin Gene requires SWI/SNF Activity. J. Biol. Chem., 281(32):22695-706.

Khanna P, Villagra A, Kim S, Seto E, Jaroszeski M, Kumar A, and Bhansali S. (2006) Use of nanocrystalline diamond for microfluidic lab-on-a-chip. Diamond and related materials, 15:2073-2077.

Sierra J, Villagra A, Paredes R, Cruzat F, Gutierrez S, Javed A, Arriagada G, Olate J, Imschenetzky M, Van Wijnen AJ, Lian JB, Stein GS, Stein JL, Montecino M. (2003). Regulation of the bone-specific osteocalcin gene by p300 requires Runx2/Cbfa1 and the vitamin D3 receptor but not p300 intrinsic histone acetyltransferase activity. Mol Cell Biol. 2003 May;23(9):3339-51.

Paredes R, Arriagada G, Cruzat F. Villagra A, Olate J, Zaidi K, van Wijnen A, Lian J, Stein G, Stein J, Montecino M. (2003). Bone-Specific Transcription Factor Runx2 Interacts with the 1{alpha},25-Dihydroxyvitamin D3 Receptor To Up-Regulate Rat Osteocalcin Gene Expression in Osteoblastic Cells. Mol Cell Biol. 2004 Oct;24(20):8847-8861.

Villagra A, Gutierrez J, Paredes R, Sierra J, Puchi M, Imschenetzky M, Wijnen Av A, Lian J, Stein G, Stein J, Monetcino M.(2002). Reduced CpG methylation is associated with transcriptional activation of the bone-specific rat osteocalcin gene in osteoblasts. J Cell Biochem. 2002;85(1):112-22.

Additional publications published before January 1, 2013 may be available within Himmelfarb Library's database.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the healthcare related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None