Alana L. Gray
B.S., Biology, 2008, The University of Texas at Tyler
Research: Tumor cells often display a glycolytic phenotype, even in the presence of oxygen; a phenomenon known as the Warburg effect.  This results in high amounts of lactic acid produced by the cell which is extruded into the surrounding environment.  Conversely, tumor cells that are able to perform oxidative phosphorylation are able to take up lactic acid and use it as an energy source.  This transport of lactic acid is mediated by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs).  My work has found a potential connection between MCT1 activity/lactate import and the c-Met signaling axis.  Activation of the receptor tyrosine kinase, c-Met, by hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is a major contributing event in the progression of prostate cancer (PCa).  Signaling through this receptor leads to increased tumor cell motility, proliferation, invasion and metastasis. Our findings suggest that inhibition of MCT1 activity may be a new mechanism for preventing c-Met driven metastatic events.

Supported by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (P30-GM110703).