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Title: A systems biology approach for investigating oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)
Author: Wilcock, Paul
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 8038
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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A systems biology approach was adopted in order to assess various aspects of the disease oral squamous cell carcinoma. Three main aims were addressed; assess the ability of CoCl2 to mimic the hypoxic response in a eukaryotic cell line, assess the role of PDE4D in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and the construction of a normoxic/hypoxic mathematical model to identify therapeutic targets.Cancer cells often acquire a revised metabolism which aids in initiation, survival and progression of the tumour. This is predominantly due to the transcription factor HIF-1 which is activated under hypoxic conditions. Certain compounds such as cobalt chloride (CoCl2) have been used extensively to inhibit the degradation of HIF-1α and simulate hypoxia. CoCl2 is likely to have off-target effects on metabolism; these effects were examined when exposing human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) cells to 100μM CoCl2. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) based metabolomics were utilised in combination with ELISA assays for HIF-1α and ATP. Central metabolism was accurately mimicked when hTERT cells were subjected to 100μM CoCl2, however; it was apparent that this concentration of CoCl2 does not induce an equal extent of hypoxia as 1% oxygen. A number of off-target effects of CoCl2 were observed in secondary metabolism, specifically in lipids and fatty acids. In conclusion, CoCl2 should be used with caution as a hypoxic mimicker with the caveat that interpretation of results should be restricted to its effects on central metabolism.The transcription factor CREB has the ability to regulate approximately 4000 genes, a number of which are associated with cancer initiation and progression. Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is required to activate CREB and is partially regulated through its degradation via the enzyme phosphodiesterase type 4D (PDE4D). A homozygous deletion of PDE4D has been associated with OSCC; however; the exact consequence of this deletion has not been fully elucidated. PDE4D was knocked down in the OSCC cell line BicR16 and cellular proliferation, migration, resistance to ionising radiation and central metabolism was investigated using MTT, scratch, clonogenic and GC-MS, respectively. The knockdown resulted in an increase in proliferation, migration and radiation resistance suggesting the role of PDE4D as a TSG. Amino acids, cholesterol, fatty acids, carbohydrates and TCA intermediates were found to be altered in concentration.A mathematical model of glycolysis, TCA and glutaminolysis under normoxia and hypoxia was constructed through the amalgamation of two established models from the literature. New reactions, parameters and metabolite concentrations were added and unnecessary entities were deleted. COmplex PAthway SImulator (COPASI) was utilised to construct the model before validating the model using experimental data from the literature and steady state and flux analyses. Sensitivity analysis and a reduction in external glucose and glutamine were mimicked and the alterations in hypoxic and normoxic metabolism analysed. The reactions vCSII, vGS, vPGK and vGII were identified as potential therapeutic targets which may affect metabolism in hypoxia only. However, certain validation methods proved unsuccessful and hence the model requires further work before attempting the analyses again.
Supervisor: Goodacre, Roy; Thakkar, Nalin; Hampson, Ian; Hampson, Lynne; Pedrosa Mendes, Pedro Sponsor: BBSRC ; EPSRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC) ; Systems Biology ; Hypoxia ; Cobalt Chloride (CoCl2) ; Phosphodiesterase Type 4D (PDE4D) ; Hypoxic / Normoxic Mathematical Model