NIH Research Festival
Mis-regulated metabolism is one of the hallmarks of cancer, and can arise through inactivating mutations in metabolic proteins. Changes in metabolism related to cancer have been shown to impact epigenetic regulation. We hypothesize that there is a direct link between a cell's metabolite levels and the regulation of N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modifications on RNA. For example, m6A RNA demethylases use alpha-Ketoglutarate (alpha-KG) as a cofactor. Oncometabolites such as fumarate and succinate have been shown to act as competitive inhibitors of the family of proteins that includes m6A RNA demethylases and therefore could disrupt epitranscriptomic signaling. In order to study the loss of metabolic enzyme activity and oncometabolite accumulation, we are using CRISPR-Inhibition (CRISPR-I) to downregulate expression of TCA cycle enzymes. This was done by generating a 293 T-REx cell line stably expressing CRISPR-I and transducing gRNA viral particles in order to target metabolic enzymes such as Fumarase (FH) and the Succinate dehydrogenase complex (SDH). With this approach we achieved significant knockdown at both the mRNA and protein level. Metabolite mass spectrometry shows significant accumulation of metabolites. FH knockdown caused fumarate to accumulate to 60 fold greater than that of the negative control. Work is also in progress to target other enzymes related to changes in cancer metabolism, as well as to map and measure the m6A modifications that result from this metabolic perturbation.
Scientific Focus Area: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
This page was last updated on Friday, March 26, 2021