Dr. Walt Klimecki, University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) Investigator (Project 4) was recently awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) R03 grant. Funding for the grant, entitled “Arsenic carcinogenicity: Metabolic disruption leads to loss of PTEN function,” began in May 2014, and will continue for two years.
Klimecki explains how he was able to leverage this grant from his UA SRP project: “My Superfund project led to a surprising discovery that we are very excited about. At non-cytotoxic concentrations, arsenic causes a dramatic shift in energy metabolism, moving cells away from oxidative phosphorylation and toward glycolysis. Even though this shift normally occurs when oxygen is scarce, arsenic-exposed cells do this when oxygen is abundant. As energy metabolism acts as a control point for many other cellular pathways, from proliferation to epigenetic regulation, we want to know whether this is important to arsenic-induced malignant transformation. I think that the most likely explanation of the amazingly diverse set of tissues and diseases targeted by human arsenic exposure is the disruption of a small number of very fundamental cellular processes. Energy metabolism is the kind of process that fits that description, and that is fueling our interest.”
Congratulations, Walt – we look forward to hearing more!