A leading cause for cancer-related death is formation of metastases. Metastasizing cells have to adapt to the unique environment of the different target organs to survive and proliferate. Using models at the cellular and organism level we aim to characterize dynamic changes in the epitranscriptome that modulate the cellular response to tissues specific environmental cues, and to uncover the roles of RNA modifications in cancer development.
Cellular Metabolism & the Epitranscriptome
Metabolic reprogramming is a hallmark of cancer and refers to the ability of cancer cells to adjust the activity of metabolic pathways to support continuous growth. Tumor development relies on aerobic glycolysis as well as mitochondrial metabolism. While metabolites generated in the cell act as substrates for various RNA modifications, the interplay between metabolite availability and the landscape of RNA modifications is poorly defined. We aim to uncover the potential crosstalk between cancer metabolism and the epitranscriptome and its effect on cellular outputs.
RNA Binding Proteins & the Epitranscriptome
RNA modifications are catalyzed and removed by 'writer' and 'eraser' proteins, respectively. They are further recognized by 'reader' proteins that interact with the modified RNA molecule. While dysregulation and mutations in these RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs) have been associated with several human diseases, little is known about the mechanisms underlying their functions. We aim to characterize the interactome of RBPs and RNA modifications and investigate the roles of these interactions in regulating cellular processes.