This image submitted by Thalita Abrahao won second place at the Postdoctoral Research Symposium Thursday. Abrahao, a postdoc in Kathy Griendlingâ€™s lab, is studying vesicle trafficking in vascular smooth muscle cells.
Thalita Abrahao — Kathy Griendling lab
Griendlingâ€™s lab has been looking into how the enzyme Nox4 and its partner Poldip2 are involved in cell migration, and Abrahao was investigating if vascular smooth muscle cells that have less Poldip2 have changes in protein processing.
Here, green represents beta-tubulin, a protein making up fine-looking fibers (microtubules) extending through the cell. Purple represents Sec23, part of the process of vesicle trafficking and protein secretion. White indicates when beta-tubulin and Sec23 are both present. Orange marks DNA in the nucleus.
Posted on May 28, 2015
Emory dermatologist Jack Arbiser has been investigating (andÂ recently patented) inhibitors of the enzyme Nox4 as potential anti-cancer drugs.
Nox4 has emerged as a potentialÂ therapeutic targetÂ in ataxia-telangiectasia, a rare multifaceted genetic disorder that leads to neurological problems, a weakened immune system and an increased risk of cancer. Ataxia-telangiectasia (or A-T) is caused by a defect in ATM, a sensor responsible for managing cellsâ€™ responses to DNA damage and other kinds of stress.
In a February PNAS paper, researchers at the National Cancer Institute led by William Bonner reportÂ that a Nox4 inhibitor can dial back oxidative stress and DNA damage in ataxia-telangiectasia cells, and can reduce cancer rates in a mouse model of the disease. Nox4 wasÂ activated in cells and tissue samples obtained from A-T patients.
The Nox4 inhibitor the NCI team used, fulvene-5, was originally identified by Arbiser in a 2009 Journal of Clinical Investigation paper as a possibleÂ treatment for hemangiomas, a common tumor in infants that emerges from blood vessels.
David Lambeth, an expert on the NADPH oxidase family of enzymes, and his team recently described Nox4 as an â€œhydrogen peroxide-generating oxygen sensor.â€