In this webinar Dr. Adriana Zingone from the National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research discusses her team’s work to characterize Alternative polyadenylation (APA) in the lung cancer transcriptome and to test a hypothesis that smoking modulates differential usage of polyadenylation sites within mRNA transcripts.


APA involves the selection of an alternate poly(A) site (PAS) on the pre-mRNA that leads to generation of isoforms of various length. In cancer, APA is emerging as an alternative mechanism for proto-oncogene activation in the absence of somatic mutations. Global shortening of 3’UTR seems to be a hallmark of many types of cancer. Recent studies show a correlation of APA profiles with cancer prognosis, suggesting that APA is an important mechanism of cancer progression. In addition, environmental exposures such as temperature and exogenous hormones can also induce APA as a stress-response mechanism.
In our study, we aimed to characterize the landscape of APA in the lung cancer transcriptome, and also to investigate differences in APA between European Americans (EA) and African Americans (AA). As smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, we hypothesize that smoking modulates differential usage of PAS within mRNA transcripts.

Dr. Zingone obtained her Medical Doctoral degree with a specialty in Internal Medicine at the University of Catanzaro, Italy. She later moved from the clinic to the laboratory, obtaining her PhD in Oncology, while completing the last two years of her PhD at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland (USA). Following a fellowship at the G. Gaslini Institute in Genoa, Italy, Dr. Zingone returned to the NIH as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute where she began working with mouse models for oncogenes involved in the pathogenesis of multiple myeloma in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Keuhl. Her research on multiple myeloma continued in Dr. Ola Landgren lab, where she helped to initiate a translational research program involving clinical trials utilizing novel therapeutic approaches for treating patients. Since 2014, she has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Brid Ryan in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Ryan’s lab is focused on lung cancer research using an integrative and translational approach to examine the genetic, environmental and biological contribution to racial disparities in lung cancer incidence. Dr Zingone is currently working on several projects that investigate the development of lung cancer biomarkers for early detection, mouse models and the role of alternative polyadenylation in tumorigenesis.

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