Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Cell and Molecular Biology
Victoria A. Buskey - Virginia State University
Global pediatric cancer levels continue to rise over the years, with leukemia’s accounting for 30% of pediatric cancers (American Cancer Society). Relapse levels remains high for pediatric patients due to the ineffectiveness of current therapies (Adamson, Peter C., et al). Identification of novel therapeutic targets is therefore needed for leukemia including pediatric leukemia. Previously, RNA interference screening has been identified as an effective method to identify novel drug targets for a variety of cancers. Here, we used data from the Achilles Project done by the Broad Institute. Through analysis of more than 50,000 short-hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) that target human genome, we identified 10 candidate shRNAs that showed the lowest levels at the end point in leukemia cells suggesting that they are perhaps important for cell survival. We further analyzed gene expression of these ten candidate genes in leukemia using data from BioGPS and Oncomine. Our results showed that MYCN was highly enriched in leukemia cells compared to normal hematopoietic cells. Finally, we performed western blotting to verify the presence of MYCN in K562 leukemia cells. We found that MYCN was expressed in leukemia cells. Taken together, our results suggest that MYCN is important for the survival of leukemia cells and is highly expressed in leukemia. By identifying MYCN as a potential survival factor, we add a new perspective to our knowledge on leukemia. Of particular importance, identifying this novel survival factor may provide effective therapeutic target for both pediatric and adult leukemia patients.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): NSF-funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs.
Faculty Advisor: Zhi Sheng, email@example.com
Role: I completed the Oncomine and Biogps data. I also grew confluent plates of leukemia cells and greated gels in order to perform a Western Blot used to analyze my data.