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Biochem Mol biol J

ISSN: 2471-8084

Volume 3, Issue 2

Metabolomics Conference 2017

August 29-30, 2017 Prague, Czech Republic



International Conference and Exhibition on

Metabolomics and Systems Biology


Page 17

Evaluating heme flux and function in lung


Li Zhang

The University of Texas at Dallas, USA


merging experimental data increasingly show that

despite the enhanced glycolytic flux, many types

of cancer cells exhibit intensified oxygen consumption

or mitochondrial respiration. Even under hypoxia,

cancer cells can maintain oxidative phosphorylation at

a substantial rate. Heme is a central factor in oxygen

utilization and oxidative phosphorylation. It serves as a

prosthetic group in many proteins and enzymes involved

in mitochondrial respiration. Our recent work showed that

non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells and xenograft

tumors exhibit substantially increased levels in an array of

proteins promoting heme synthesis, uptake and function.

These proteins include the rate-limiting heme biosynthetic

enzyme ALAS, transporter proteins, and various types of

oxygen-utilizing hemoproteins, such as cytoglobin and

cytochromes. In contrast, lowering heme biosynthesis and

uptake, like inhibiting mitochondrial respiration, effectively

reduced oxygen consumption, cancer cell proliferation,

migration and colony formation. To further ascertain the

importance of elevated heme flux and function in lung

tumorigenesis, we use multiple experimental approaches

to detect the levels of heme synthesis, uptake, and

degradation in an array of NSCLC cell lines and in



tumors in genetically engineered mouse models

for lung cancer. We also measure oxygen consumption

and ATP generation in these cell lines and tumors. These

experiments should reveal the degree to which elevated

heme flux—heme synthesis, uptake, and degradation—

contribute to lung tumorigenesis and how heterogeneity

in heme flux contributes to metabolic and bioenergetics

heterogeneity in lung tumors.


Li Zhang completed her PhD from UCLA and Post-doctoral studies from MIT

Department of Biology. She is the Cecil H and Ida Green Distinguished Chair

in Systems Biology Science at University of Texas at Dallas. She has worked

on studying heme signaling and function for 20+ years. She has published

many original research articles and a book entitled “Heme Biology: The Secret

Life of Heme in Regulating Diverse Biological Processes”. Her research

work has also made important contributions in understanding the roles of

molecular chaperones in cellular signaling, molecular mechanisms of oxygen

signaling, and the actions of neurotoxicants. Recently, her work focuses on

investigating heme function in lung cancer. She and colleagues have provided

a unifying view of cancer bioenergetics in a review article entitled “A Holistic

View of Cancer Bioenergetics: Mitochondrial Function and Respiration Play

Fundamental Roles in the Development and Progression of Diverse Tumors”

published in the journal

Clinical and Translational Medicine.

[email protected]

Li Zhang, Biochem Mol biol J, 3:2

DOI: 10.21767/2471-8084-C1-002