The American Chemical Society’s Division of Toxicology recently presented graduate student Daniel Tamae with a young investigator award at its national meeting in Philadelphia. Tamae was one of only six students to receive such an award at the conference.
“I was pretty surprised,” said Tamae. “This is a big meeting, and there were a lot of excellent posters.”
Tamae won second place among graduate students attending the society’s meeting for his poster presentation describing research on a compound called carboxyethyldeoxyguanosine, or CEdG.
|Daniel Tamae (Photo by Darrin S. Joy)|
CEdG is an advanced glycation end-product, or AGE.
Commonly seen in diabetic patients, AGEs form when the sugar glucose reacts with proteins, DNA and other molecules in cells. This biochemical process is called glycation. Protein AGEs are a major cause of many of the complications of diabetes, including nerve and kidney damage.
Growing evidence suggests AGEs play an important role in other diseases, including Alzheimer’s and cancer, as well.
CEdG is an AGE formed by DNA glycation. While the role of DNA glycation in human disease remains unclear, Tamae, working under the tutelage of his graduate school mentor, John Termini, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology, found CEdG can bring about mutations in DNA, suggesting it may be involved in the development of cancer.
Tamae and Termini also were able to detect CEdG in urine samples and in human tissue. Because of this, they believe measurement of CEdG could be used as a diagnostic tool for diabetes, cancer and other diseases.
Termini credits Samuel Rahbar, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, with sparking the research efforts. “Dr. Rahbar, a pioneer in protein glycation, was the one who first suggested looking at DNA glycation in human disease,” said Termini.
DNA glycation may provide a molecular link between cancer, diabetes and other metabolic diseases, he said.
Other collaborators on the project Tamae presented were Gerald Wuenschell, Ph.D., senior research fellow in the Department of Molecular Biology, Timothy Synold, Pharm. D., and Bixin Xi, from the Analytical Pharmacology Core Facility, and summer student Angelique Cercillieux, who since has returned to her studies at the University of Hawaii.