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1.  Cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 control tumor progression and direct glucose oxidation in the pentose cycle 
Cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 are essential for the control of the cell cycle through the G1 phase. Aberrant expression of CDK4 and CDK6 is a hallmark of cancer, which would suggest that CDK4 and CDK6 are attractive targets for cancer therapy. Herein, we report that calcein AM (the calcein acetoxymethyl-ester) is a potent specific inhibitor of CDK4 and CDK6 in HCT116 human colon adenocarcinoma cells, inhibiting retinoblastoma protein (pRb) phosphorylation and inducing cell cycle arrest in the G1 phase. The metabolic effects of calcein AM on HCT116 cells were also evaluated and the flux between the oxidative and non-oxidative branches of the pentose phosphate pathway was significantly altered. To elucidate whether these metabolic changes were due to the inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6, we also characterized the metabolic profile of a CDK4, CDK6 and CDK2 triple knockout of mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The results show that the metabolic profile associated with the depletion of CDK4, CDK6 and CDK2 coincides with the metabolic changes induced by calcein AM on HCT116 cells, thus confirming that the inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6 disrupts the balance between the oxidative and non-oxidative branches of the pentose phosphate pathway. Taken together, these results indicate that low doses of calcein can halt cell division and kill tumor cells. Thus, selective inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6 may be of greater pharmacological interest, since inhibitors of these kinases affect both cell cycle progression and the robust metabolic profile of tumors.
doi:10.1007/s11306-011-0328-x
PMCID: PMC3361763  PMID: 22661920
Cyclin-dependent kinases; CDK-inhibitor; Tracer-based metabolomics; Pentose phosphate pathway; Phase-plane analysis
2.  Socio-Demographics and the Development of Malaria Elimination Strategies in the Low Transmission Setting 
Acta Tropica  2011;121(3):292-302.
This analysis presents a comprehensive description of malaria burden and risk factors in Peruvian Amazon villages where malaria transmission is hypoendemic. More than 9,000 subjects were studied in contrasting village settings within the Department of Loreto, Peru, where most malaria occurs in the country. Plasmodium vivax is responsible for more than 75% of malaria cases; severe disease from any form of malaria is uncommon and death rare. The association between lifetime malaria episodes and individual and household covariates was studied using polychotomous logistic regression analysis, assessing effects on odds of some vs. no lifetime malaria episodes. Malaria morbidity during lifetime was strongly associated with age, logging, farming, travel history, and living with a logger or agriculturist. Select groups of adults, particularly loggers and agriculturists acquire multiple malaria infections in transmission settings outside of the main domicile, and may be mobile human reservoirs by which malaria parasites move within and between micro-regions within malaria endemic settings. For example, such individuals might well be reservoirs of transmission by introducing or reintroducing malaria into their home villages and their own households, depending on vector ecology and the local village setting. Therefore, socio-demographic studies can identify people with the epidemiological characteristic of transmission risk, and these individuals would be prime targets against which to deploy transmission blocking strategies along with insecticide treated bednets and chemoprophylaxis.
doi:10.1016/j.actatropica.2011.11.003
PMCID: PMC3294046  PMID: 22100446
3.  Compartmentation of glycogen metabolism revealed from 13C isotopologue distributions 
BMC Systems Biology  2011;5:175.
Background
Stable isotope tracers are used to assess metabolic flux profiles in living cells. The existing methods of measurement average out the isotopic isomer distribution in metabolites throughout the cell, whereas the knowledge of compartmental organization of analyzed pathways is crucial for the evaluation of true fluxes. That is why we accepted a challenge to create a software tool that allows deciphering the compartmentation of metabolites based on the analysis of average isotopic isomer distribution.
Results
The software Isodyn, which simulates the dynamics of isotopic isomer distribution in central metabolic pathways, was supplemented by algorithms facilitating the transition between various analyzed metabolic schemes, and by the tools for model discrimination. It simulated 13C isotope distributions in glucose, lactate, glutamate and glycogen, measured by mass spectrometry after incubation of hepatocytes in the presence of only labeled glucose or glucose and lactate together (with label either in glucose or lactate). The simulations assumed either a single intracellular hexose phosphate pool, or also channeling of hexose phosphates resulting in a different isotopic composition of glycogen. Model discrimination test was applied to check the consistency of both models with experimental data. Metabolic flux profiles, evaluated with the accepted model that assumes channeling, revealed the range of changes in metabolic fluxes in liver cells.
Conclusions
The analysis of compartmentation of metabolic networks based on the measured 13C distribution was included in Isodyn as a routine procedure. The advantage of this implementation is that, being a part of evaluation of metabolic fluxes, it does not require additional experiments to study metabolic compartmentation. The analysis of experimental data revealed that the distribution of measured 13C-labeled glucose metabolites is inconsistent with the idea of perfect mixing of hexose phosphates in cytosol. In contrast, the observed distribution indicates the presence of a separate pool of hexose phosphates that is channeled towards glycogen synthesis.
doi:10.1186/1752-0509-5-175
PMCID: PMC3292525  PMID: 22034837

Results 1-3 (3)