Molecular Mechanisms of Polyamine Metabolism Affecting Oncogenic Signaling
AuthorPaz, Edwin Alfredo
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractEukaryotic cells tightly regulate metabolism in order to sustain normal processes. Dysregulation of cellular metabolism is associated with multiple diseases including cancer. Polyamine metabolism is a tightly regulated process that is co-opted by multiple cancers for selective growth advantages. Polyamines are small organic molecules with two or more amino groups attached, whose biosynthesis is initiated by ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). Although much is known regarding the effects of polyamine metabolism and ODC on cellular processes, little is known regarding the intracellular signaling events that are regulated by polyamines. Clinical studies demonstrated that the ODC inhibitor difluromethylornithine (DFMO) was an effective chemopreventative strategy causing a reduction of colon adenomas in patients with prior colon polyps. However, the molecular mechanisms leading to this reduction are unknown. This dissertation provides mechanistic insight into the biological roles of the polyamines and show that these amines are regulators of multiple non-coding RNAs involved in cellular responses including effects on the let-7 microRNA family. Moreover, the polyamine modified translation factor eIF5A is demonstrated to regulate the oncofetal factor LIN28. This work also indicates that polyamines regulate the mTOR pathway and suggests alternative signaling nodes for polyamine-mediated regulation of cellular processes. Overall, these findings support the notion that polyamines are oncometabolites that are targetable and serve as a promising approach to manipulate oncogenic signaling for cancer therapy.
Degree ProgramGraduate College