Our lab studies the roles of energy metabolism and nutrient sensing in cancer and stem cells. Our previous studies, among others, have shown that the FoxO/TSC/LKB1 tumor suppressor network plays critical roles in energy sensing, cancer metabolism and stem cell maintenance.
- Gan B, et al, PNAS, 2008
- Gan B, et al, Cell Cycle, 2008
- Gan B, et al, Nature, 2010
- Gan B, et al, Cancer Cell, 2010
These studies have delineated an intimate link between tumor suppressor pathways that control energy sensing and metabolism and those that regulate stem cell homeostasis, and pointed to the critical importance of coupling energy availability and tissue homeostatic demands.
Our recent studies focus on energy metabolism and nutrient sensing in cancer.
Specifically, we are interested in the following questions:
- How normal/cancer cells sense energy and nutrient availability?
- How cancer cell adapt to survive and grow under metabolic stress?
- How to translate our understanding of energy sensing/metabolism in cancer into novel effective cancer therapeutics?
Our current research efforts are directed towards three projects:
We continue to study energy sensors LKB1-AMPK and FoxO pathways in metabolic stress response and cancer metabolism. These studies also uncovered novel regulatory mechanisms of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in regulating these pathways in energy sensing/metabolism and cancer development/treatment.
- Lin A, et al, Oncogene, 2014
- Lin A, et al, Cancer Research, 2014
- Liu X, et al, Nature Cell Biology, 2016
- Liu X, et al, Cell Cycle, 2016
- Xiao Z, et al, Nature Communications, 2017
In addition, we are investigating epigenetic mechanisms in cancer metabolism by studying BAP1 and BAF180, two tumor suppressors in kidney cancer that are important epigenetic regulators.
Finally, we are studying the roles of amino acid transporter SLC7A11/xCT and its mediated-cystine and glutamate metabolism in regulating nutrient dependency and cancer metabolism.
Our research approach
We're employing multi-disciplinary approaches, including sophisticated genetic mouse models, integrated transcriptomic/genomic/metabolomic/computational analyses, detailed biochemical mechanistic studies, and clinical investigation to dissect these important questions. A deeper understanding of the biological processes linking energy sensing/metabolism to cancer will provide novel insight for cancer therapy.