Sandra Suarez, Ph.D.

Sandra Suarez, Ph.D.

Cell & Developmental Biology, 2015

Advisor: John Penn, Ph.D.

Current Position: Postdoctoral Fellow, Michigan State University

Laboratory of Julia Busik, Ph.D.

Nuclear Accumulation of GAPDH and Decreased Cell Viability in Human Retinal Pericytes Exposed to Diabetic Conditions

One of the earliest pathological features of diabetic retinopathy (DR) is the death of retinal pericytes. Retinal pericyte death follows in endothelial cell dropout, acelluar retinal capillaries, and ultimately, to hypoxia-induced retinal neovascularization. Two enzymes with known roles in cell death in other disease states are GAPDH and Siah-1. Once the enzymes bind each other, GAPDH stabilizes Siah-1 causing nuclear translocation of GAPDH. This stabilization affects the degradation of target proteins, which results in apoptosis. The purpose of my research is to determine whether or not, and to what extent, GAPDH and Siah-1 are involved in the cell death response of retinal pericytes exposed to diabetes-relevant pathological conditions in vitro.