Dr. Ronald Gartenhaus has been awarded a four-year, $500,000 Veteran Affairs Merit Award to support his research into the role of the MCT-1 oncogene in human lymphomagenesis.
Dr. Gartenhaus and his colleagues recently cloned and identified a novel oncogene, MCT-1, found to be amplified in a human lymphoma and that appears to have a cell cycle regulatory role as well as anti-apoptotic activity. They subsequently identified a subset of primary diffuse large B-cell lymphomas (DLBCL) that exhibited significantly elevated levels of MCT-1 protein compared with normal lymphoid tissue.
The researchers found that MCT-1 is a novel cap-binding protein that enhances translation of select cancer related mRNAs through its association with DENR, a molecule containing the SUI1 domain which is involved in translation initiation. The efficiency of expression of key proteins involved in cell growth regulation, proliferation or cell death may be controlled at the translational level by changes in the activity of components of the protein synthesis machinery.
The proposal is designed to elucidate the mechanism(s) underlying the development and progression of tumors associated with dysregulation of MCT-1.
Dr. Gartenhaus is a member of the Molecular and Structural Biology research program in the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.