Wu Laboratory

Cancer Signaling and Metabolism

The Wu Laboratory investigates the interface between cellular metabolism and signal transduction. The generation of two daughter cells depends on the proper uptake and utilization of often limited nutrients in the tumor environment. Distribution of these nutrients is controlled, not only by the intrinsic catalytic rate and allosteric regulation of the enzymes in each pathway, but also by post-translational modifications of these enzymes by signaling molecules for global integration. At the same time, signaling molecules have evolved to respond to cellular nutrient status as well as other queues such as environmental stress, growth factors, etc. Our laboratory focuses on key metabolic steps in glucose and lipid catabolism and aims to understand the mutual regulation between metabolites and signaling during cell replication. Fundamentally, cancer is a disease of uncontrolled cell growth. Compared to normal cells, tumor cells possess aberrant metabolic addictions depending on their tissue of origin and genetic mutations. By understanding their energy requirements and regulatory pathways, more effective cancer treatments can be derived through the optimization of existing combination therapies or by identifying novel therapeutic targets.