Cell Metabolism and Homeostasis
Cells take up nutrients to meet their energetic and biosynthetic requirements and the balance between nutrient uptake and usage is a carefully controlled process. Thus when individual nutrients are in short supply, cells alter their metabolism to reduce consumption of that nutrient. This is a good example of cellular homeostasis – ‘the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes’.
Cancer cells usually have biosynthetic demands that are elevated and altered compared to those in normal cells. The proto-oncogenes Myc and Ras are strong drivers of growth and proliferation through activation of target genes and signalling pathways that activate processes such as ribosome and mitochondrial biogenesis, lipid synthesis and the cell cycle. However, when they are deregulated/activated they promote uncontrolled demand for nutrients and energy that may not always be met by supply, giving rise to metabolic stresses.
Our lab primarily studies metabolic stresses that accompany oncogene activation and how the cell responds to those stresses. We hope that by understanding these processes, we will reveal nodes of metabolic regulation that can be targeted to develop new cancer therapies. We are also targeting ribosome biogenesis (one of the major biosynthetic processes activated by oncogenes) as a potential cancer therapy.
|Andy Finch||Principal Investigator and The University of Edinburgh Chancellor's Fellow|
|Jimi Wills||Mass Spectrometry Manager|
Cancer Metabolism, oncogene-induced tumour suppression, apoptosis
Mass spectrometry, metabolomics, lipidomics