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Principal Investigator: Liu, Ling-Zhi
Institute Receiving Award Thomas Jefferson University
Location Philadelphia, PA
Grant Number K02ES029119
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 13 Nov 2020 to 31 Mar 2023
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Long-term human exposure to inorganic arsenic induces lung, skin, bladder and liver cancer. The molecular mechanisms of arsenic-induced carcinogenesis remain to be elucidated. Our preliminary studies show that long-term exposure to arsenic induces EGFR via miR-370 suppression, which activates PKM2 and NF-κB; and induces PKM2 expression via downregulation of miR-199a expression and Nrf2 overexpression. HIF-1α is also a direct target of miR-199a. PKM2 interacts with p65 and HIF-1α to activate NF-κB and HIF-1 signaling. We further demonstrated that arsenic-transformed (As-T) lung epithelial cells form tumors in vivo and secrete factors CXCL8 and CXCL5, the downstream effectors of PKM2, to activate angiogenesis. We have established a novel chimeric tumor model to study the crosstalk of signaling molecules in As-T cells and human endothelial cells in regulating tumor angiogenesis. We hypothesize that arsenic induces PKM2 expression via miR-370 /miR-199a suppression and Nrf2 upregulation for inducing cell transformation, tumor growth and angiogenesis. To test this hypothesis, three aims are proposed: Aim 1 will investigate the mechanism of PKM2 activation and upregulation induced by arsenic treatment, and determine the role of PKM2 in oncogenic signaling pathway. Aim 2 will investigate the role and mechanism of PKM2 pathway in arsenic-induced cell transformation and tumor growth. Aim 3 will investigate the role and mechanism of PKM2 in mediating interactions of As-T cells and endothelial cells and in regulating tumor angiogenesis. This K02 will help foster the candidate’s ability to achieve these research goals by providing her with protected time to be fully engaged in her career development to become an excellent independent investigator in the field of Environmental Health Science (EHS). She has obtained American Cancer Society Research Scholar Grant to investigate the role and mechanisms of Cr(VI)-induced carcinogenesis and whether miRNAs such as miR-143 and cytokines such as IL-6 can be used as biomarkers for early detection and prevention of chronic Cr(VI) exposure-related adverse health effects using population study. This K02 will also allow her to focus on studying new mechanism of arsenic in inducing tumorigenesis through PKM2 signaling pathway. Her career development plan involves intense training in techniques and analysis in metal-related carcinogenesis, which will enhance her knowledge and skills in this area. The K02 will be of critical value to expand the candidate’s research program with the potential to discover novel mechanisms of arsenic carcinogenesis that may pave the way to prevent chronic arsenic exposure-caused carcinogenesis by interrupting the novel signaling pathway.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Secondary: -
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer David Balshaw
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