FENS Seminars – Asst. Prof. Esra Aydemir

1 March 2024
14:00 - 15:00

Asst. Prof. Esra Aydemir (Biruni University) will be the next guest of the KHAS Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences seminar series with her speech “Approaches in Chordoma: From Past to Future” on Friday, March 1 at 2 PM in Classroom B-312. The event is open to anyone interested.

Abstract: Chordoma, one of the rare tumors, is a slowly dividing bone tumor that is located on the spine but has a high risk of recurrence. There is a great need to find alternative molecules in chordoma, which has a very low response rate to conventional treatments, and to develop chemotherapeutics targeting these molecules. Molecular lower pathways of this tumor, which also cause local tissue invasion and distant tissue metastasis, have not been fully elucidated yet. Although total resection is recommended as the most effective treatment method, the operation is difficult and risky, especially in head-based chordoma types. Therefore, effective chemotherapy, which is a conventional treatment method, is needed, but chordoma does not respond to chemotherapy. Sirtuins are class III-type histone deacetylase enzymes that use NAD + as a co-substrate for their enzymatic activity. Mammalian sirtuins perform numerous functions that can be classified into 4 different categories. For example, they are involved in cellular processes such as chromatin regulation, cell survival under stress, regulation of metabolic homeostasis, and developmental and cell differentiation. In addition, sirtuins have important roles in the initiation and progression of cancer by regulating the cell cycle, DNA repair, cell survival, and apoptosis, and by influencing cellular responses resulting from genomic instability. Thanks to these opposite roles, it is necessary to enlighten the roles of Sirtuins in chordoma, our field of study. The SIRT genes in two chordoma cell lines express different levels, which can be explained by the tumor suppressor or triggering properties of sirtuins.

METHODS: The highest dose of sirtuin inhibitors- Nicotinamide and AGK2- that do not kill healthy cells was applied to chordoma cells, and then changes in the expression levels of SIRT genes were measured.

RESULTS: The application of AGK-2 did not affect the cell proliferation capacities of both Um-Chor 1 and Mug-Chor 1 cells. However, the application of nicotinamide has dramatically decreased the proliferation rate of the cells. By the results obtained from RT-PCR and cell proliferation assays it can be said that the usage of nicotinamide and the downregulation of sirtuin genes might play a role in the proliferation capacity of chordoma cells. As cell proliferation is one of the biggest problems in cancer, the usage of nicotinamide can be helpful.

About the Speaker: I received a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and biochemistry from Rutgers University. Yeditepe University is where I obtained both my master’s and doctorate degrees in biotechnology. I worked on cancer-related research, particularly those involving cancer stem cells, when I was pursuing my PhD. I participated in research projects examining the properties and development of cancer stem cells in the context of cell culture and their resistance to chemotherapy and connection to metastasis. Epithelial-mesenchymal transition pathways and medication repurposing are two more topics that fascinate me. For many years, I have worked on fundamental techniques such as primary human cell culture development, tissue and cell culture isolation, and molecular cloning. I am currently a faculty member of Biruni University (İstanbul) as an assistant professor in the biomedical engineering department.

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