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Cellular Metabolism Regulates Anti-Oxidant Response Through ERK5-MEF2 Pathway

Abstract : Cellular metabolism is the main source of energy and cancer cells has different metabolism than non-transformed cells. Tumor cell tends to avoid mitochondrial activity and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and prefer glycolysis for energy production (Warburg effect). This alteration in metabolism is beneficial for growing cells in many ways that promote tumor growth and suppress the anti-cancer immune response. This specific metabolism is an auspicious target for the better development of cancers chemotherapies.My thesis work comprises two parts. The first portion describes that when cancer cells are forced to utilize their mitochondria in order to obtain the energy from OXPHOS they initiate an antioxidant mechanism to cope with the deleterious effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced during mitochondrial activity. Mitochondrial stimulation leads to activation of ERK5-MEF2 signaling pathway, which triggers the antioxidant mechanism by at least two ways.Initially we observed that MEF2 up regulates the expression of miR23a, which inhibits KEAP1 expression. This protein is responsible for ubiquitinational degradation of NRF2, a master regulator of the antioxidant response in cells. The inhibition of KEAP1 prevents the NRF2 cytoplasmic degradation. This results in high built up of NRF2 in cytoplasm that translocates to nucleus where it binds to ARE (antioxidant response element) in the upstream promoter region of many antioxidant genes hence initiates their transcription. Latter we observed that activation of ERK5-MEF2 pathway directly results in de novo synthesis of NRF2, resulting in nuclear translocation and triggering of the antioxidative mechanism. Inhibition of ERK5-MEF2 pathway impairs the cellular antioxidant response, thus sensitizing cells towards oxidative stress.The second part of my work explored the mechanism behind the lipid lowering effects of dichloroacetate (DCA). DCA is a small molecule, which inhibits the PDK1 and enables pyruvate to enter the mitochondria. It was used clinically in past to lower the plasma cholesterol level but the underlying mechanism was not clear and we describe it here. DCA forces cells to perform OXPHOS, which activate the ERK5-MEF2 pathway. This pathway directly up-regulates the expression of Low Density Lipoprotein Receptors (LDLR) that are mainly involved in the endocytosis of cholesterol-rich low density lipoproteins, which are responsible for the majority of cardiovascular diseases. Inhibition of this pathway suppresses lipid influx and hence, it would be an interesting target of future investigation since high cholesterol level is the main cause of various life threatening diseases and the development of atherosclerosis.Our next goal is to exploit other possible cellular mechanism regulated by ERK5-MEF2 pathway. Based on our preliminary data, we propose that this pathway not only regulate the LDLR expression but many other genes, which are directly or indirectly involved in lipid metabolism.
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Abrar Ul Haq Khan. Cellular Metabolism Regulates Anti-Oxidant Response Through ERK5-MEF2 Pathway. Human health and pathology. Université Montpellier, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017MONTT036⟩. ⟨tel-01684254⟩

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