Dr. Meena Kumari
The formation of organs during development requires rapid cell division. After development, cell division is restricted in a highly tissue-specific manner, e.g. replacement of cells on the inner surface of the intestine. Occasionally, due to a variety of reasons such as exposure to certain chemicals, certain infections, or inherited or acquired mutations, a normal functioning cell begins rapid proliferation leading to cancerous growth. Rapid cell proliferation requires a high rate of synthesis of glycoproteins associated with the cell membrane or secreted. In the interior cell organelle called the endoplasmic reticulum, the addition of sugars to proteins (glycosylation) goes hand in hand with protein folding. The addition of one such sugar group, O-linked glycans, occurs in small amounts in cell organelle named Golgi apparatus in normal cells, but with high levels in a variety of cancers. My goal is to better describe the enzymes accomplishing glycosylation and protein folding as a novel marker(s) of gastrointestinal cancers, and use them as a unique target for a therapeutic approach.