Novel cancer-relevant functions of GCN2
Background: GCN2 is a protein kinase, which is relevant not only for cancer but also for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers. GCN2 has long been known as a translation regulator in stress responses. Only one substrate is known and the literature attributes all the functions of GCN2 to the phosphorylation of this substrate. However, several findings hint at other important and yet unknown functions. Our working hypothesis is that the GCN2 protein kinase is a major player supporting cancer growth and therefore it is an attractive target for therapy. In the course of two previous master projects we have
- identified correlations between GCN2 and other genes in transcriptome data from cervical cancer patients. We found correlations that suggested specific novel functions.
- confirmed some of these correlations by qPCR using cell-lines with different levels of GCN2. Furthermore, initial phenotypic analyses suggested that GCN2 indeed has novel functions highly relevant for cancer.
Goal: In the current project we wish to study these novel cancer-relevant functions of GCN2.
Approaches: We utilize a wide variety of cell- and molecular biology techniques.
The group: we belong to the Department of Radiation Biology at the Institute for Cancer Research at the Radiumhospital. My group currently consists of two postdocs, two master students and an experienced technician.