Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Ira Simet


The polyamine pathway, when improperly regulated, is one central cause of skin carcinogenesis. The purpose of this project was to investigate the relationship between two biochemical signaling pathways, the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) pathway and the polyamine pathway. It is known that the protein mTOR serves to regulate a key protein in the polyamine pathway, ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), but the precise mechanism remains unclear. It has been postulated that mTOR acts to regulate ODC through two RNA binding proteins, HuR (a member of the Hu family of proteins) and TIP (tristetraprolin). The project entailed characterizing that relationship using TSCl knockout cells (cells lacking expression of the protein hamartin, an upstrean1 regulator in the mTOR pathway). Further understanding of how ODC is regulated may lead to novel drug targets or other treatment options for patients with skin cancer. Other health risks related to these pathways are type II diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Year of Submission



Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors


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Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (26 pages)