Prof. Ling Hong
Prof. Ling Hong
Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China
Title: Vitamin K2 Prevents Lymphoma in Drosophila
Previous studies have established the anticancer effect of vitamin K2 (VK2). However, its effect on lymphoma induced by UBIAD1/heix mutation in Drosophila remains unknown. Therefore, we aimed to develop an in vivo model of lymphoma for the precise characterization of lymphoma phenotypes. We also aimed to improve the understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the preventative effects of VK2 on lymphoma. Our results demonstrated that VK2 prevents lymphoma by acting as an electron carrier and by correcting the function and structure of mitochondria by inhibiting mitochondrial reactive oxygen species mtROS production. In this study, Drosophila lymphoma characterized by lymph gland hyperplasia and hemocyte proliferation were completely rescued upon treatment with vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 played a role as an anticancer compound and restore most of disorders caused by heix mutation through rescuing of speed rate, locomotion, hatch rate, pip out rate, disappearance of melanotic black spots, restoring normal structure of lymph glands, brain, and mitochondrial function through return of mitochondrial membrane potential, increasing ATP production and decreasing mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) release beside inhibition of C-jun N- terminal kinase (JNK) and ERK (MAPK) phosphorylation as well as rescuing normal expression of immune related pathways such as Toll and IMD pathway and rescuing normal structure of mitochondria. Taken together, these findings revealed that VK2 rescued heix mutation phenotype via restoring mitochondrial function and structure. Our unique finding could participate in building a new strategy in fighting cancers and treating certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, taking advantage of safety use of vitamins with heavy doses and long term treatment. Our work identifies mitochondria as a key player in cancer therapy strategies.
Dr. Ling Hong is a professor in Life Science College at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. He got his Ph.D. in Bicochemistry from University of Arizona, USA. During his postdoctoral research period in Dr. Gerry Rubin’s lab in UC Berkeley, Dr. Ling Hong constructed various cDNA libraries to decipher the Drosophila and human transcriptome. He cloned (and named) a very interesting Drosophila gene, heixuedian (heix), which, when mutated, causes melanotic tumor with a phenotype similar to human leukemia. Later on, it was found that, in human, loss of function of UBIAD1 (the human ortholog of Heix) tends to cause the progression of certain types of cancers such as bladder carcinoma and prostate carcinoma. Mutation of UBIAD1 gene also causes high cholesterol level in SCCD (Schnyder crystalline corneal dystrophy) patients. Besides these, UBIAD1/Heix was identified as a vitamin K2 biosynthesis enzyme. As a mitochondrial electron carrier, vitamin K2 could be related to blood coagulation and Parkinson's disease. UBIAD1 has also been reported as a non- mitochondrial CoQ10-forming enzyme with a specific function of antioxidant in cardiovascular system. Right now, the research interest of Dr. Ling Hong’s lab is on the molecular mechanism of human disease, especially on the field of “Metabolism and Cancer”.