New publication of Team DDC: Exploiting the metabolic dependencies of the broad amino acid transporter SLC6A14
Featured this week in Oncotarget, DDC team investigates uncharacterized aspects of amino acid transporter activity and discovers a novel therapeutic cancer target along the way.
The recent discovery of a novel therapeutic target by post-doctoral researcher Francesca Dejure and her colleagues in the DNA Damage in Cancer (DDC) team was published in Oncotarget this week.
In line with the DDC’s mission to extend the list of targeted therapies for specific tumor types, Dejure and her colleagues studied the regulation and function of the amino acid transporter SLC6A14 in combination with metabolic stress; such transporters play a pivotal role in sustaining the unregulated proliferation characteristic of cancer cells. By analyzing changes in breast cancer cell lines placed under metabolic stress, Dejure discovered that cells deficient in both SLC6A14 and the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) underwent increased programmed cell death (“apoptosis”) when deprived of the amino acid methionine. This finding suggests that targeting both SLC6A14 and AMPK in these cancerous cells, as well as depriving them of methionine through dietary changes, could cause these otherwise immortal cells to die.