Journal of Undergraduate Research


TK1, immune system, tumor development


Life Sciences


Microbiology and Molecular Biology


Cancer is a widespread disease that affects millions of people worldwide and in many cases is difficult to treat. In order to find new and better treatment, it is important to understand how this disease progresses. Thymidine Kinase 1 (TK1) is a recognized biomarker that is upregulated in cancer cells compared to healthy tissue. Although this protein is normally found inside the cells (cytosol), it becomes upregulated on the surface of malignant cells. Moreover, recent research shows that TK1 expression is further upregulated in breast cancer tissues that undergo a transition from stationary (epithelial) cells to more mobile (mesenchymal) cells. Here we hypothesize that TK1 may play a role in tumor migration and invasion. This study utilized siRNA to knock down TK1 expression in A549 lung cancer cells and then examined the cells’ ability to migrate across a biological barrier. This migration, or invasion potential, is a unique quality of cancer cells that is the root cause of metastasis, where secondary cancer growth occur away from the initial site. Metastasis contribute directly to the high mortality rate of cancer patients. Our results showed that TK1 expression does have a significant impact on the invasion potential of cancer cells.

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