Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"CPIP: Plk1 in cancer metabolism"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2013 - CPIP
Research area(s):
cancer metabolism
Project Description:
The PI3K pathway has documented roles in cancer cell proliferation, survival and energy metabolism. One direct outcome of activation of the PI3K pathway is increased aerobic glycolysis (the Warburg effect), a hallmark of many cancers. However, the upstream signaling events that regulate the PI3K pathway, thus the Warburg effect, are still elusive. Although polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is an established regulator of many mitotic events, such as bipolar spindle formation and sister chromatid segregation, increasing evidence suggests that Plk1 is also involved in many cellular events in addition to mitosis. The overall goal of this project is to test whether and how Plk1-associated kinase activity contributes to activation of the PI3K pathway, thus aerobic glycolysis. Toward that end, we have identified PTEN, a major antagonist of PI3K pathway as a novel Plk1 substrate. We will determine how this phosphorylation event contribute to activation of the PI3K pathway and the Warburg effect.
Expected Student Contributions:
The student will assist Dr. Zhiguo Li to perform the following experiments: construction of GFP-fusion PTEN, generation of stable cell lines expressing different forms of PTEN, and analyzing the functional significance of phosphorylation events. Specifically, the student will perform Western blotting, cell culture, transfection, and GST-fusion protein expression and purification.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
A student majoring in Biochemistry. GPA: 2.5 above
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Liu, Xiaoqi

Student Supervisor


Cooperating Faculty

Ji-Xin Cheng
Biomedical engineering