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Exploring substrate selection of sugar transporters en route to transporter-specific bioanalytical and biomedical tools
Eukaryotic cells fuel metabolic processes by uptake of simple carbohydrates via sodium-coupled active glucose transporters (SGLT) and passive facilitative transporters (GLUTs). While SGLT preferentially transports glucose, GLUTs facilitate the uptake of glucose, fructose, galactose, and other carbohydrates. Although the majority of GLUTs do transport glucose, there are apparent differences in substrate choices between these transporters, with some having specific preferences to galactose and some preferring fructose. These differences split the fourteen GLUTs into the two major subgroups: glucose-transporting GLUTs and fructose-transporting GLUTs. Within each subgroup, the expression and activity of a GLUT participant in the cells directly relate to the cellular metabolic requirements. As a result, there is an apparent adaptation of GLUT composition and expression levels between cell types and subtypes. Thus, a significant difference in GLUT composition is observed between different types of normal cells as well as upon development and progression of metabolic disorders. While the differences in GLUT profile between cells highlight their therapeutic importance, there is a limited understanding of the role(s) that each GLUT plays as well as their therapeutic relevance. The major limitation stems from the challenges in targeting and modulating each of the GLUTs individually. In this presentation, our endeavors and successes towards designing transporter-specific probes and their potential applications as biochemical and biomedical tools will be discussed.
Dr. Tanasova received her Ph.D. degree in chemistry, with the emphasis on Organic Chemistry and Spectroscopy, from the Michigan State University in 2009 under supervision of Prof. Babak Borhan. She then moved to the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota for postdoctoral training with Prof. Shana Sturla and worked on developing DNA repair inhibitors to potentiate the effect of DNA-targeting chemotherapeutics in breast cancer, sponsored by Suzan G. Komen Postdoctoral Fellowship. Shortly, she moved to Swiss Federal Institute of Technology to continue her postdoc with Dr. Sturla, where she continued her research in breast cancer and expanded her expertise towards Chemical Biology through working on evaluating impacts of DNA alkylation on DNA transcription and replication. Dr. Tanasova currently holds the Assistant Professor position at the Chemistry Department of Michigan Technological University. Her research group focuses on development of molecular probes to test and impact impaired processes in cancers.
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