Theses Doctoral

Lipids on Fire: Identifying and Targeting Subcellular Membranes that Drive Ferroptosis

Von Krusenstiern, Alfred Nikolai

The nonapoptotic form of regulated cell death known as ferroptosis is an attractive target for combating numerous diseases. Ferroptosis is an iron-dependent death of cells by lipid peroxidation. Pharmacological inhibition of anti-ferroptotic pathways is a promising therapeutic avenue for treatment of cancer, and death by ferroptosis has been implicated in numerous neurodegenerative and ischemia-reperfusion-driven diseases. Therefore, demystifying the dynamics of lipid peroxidation in this cell death process opens a window to understanding disease processes and how to treat them. This dissertation makes use of ferroptosis-modulating compounds as chemical probes to elucidate the roles of different subcellular membranes in ferroptotic lipid peroxidation.

Chapters two and three explore the structure-activity-distribution relationship of fatty acids and the ferroptosis inducer FINO2, respectively, and together demonstrate the endoplasmic reticulum as a driver of lipid peroxidation in ferroptosis. Chapter two makes use of stimulated Raman scattering imaging, while chapter three uses confocal fluorescence imaging. Chapter four shifts gears to focus on development of FINO2 as a drug lead, performing structure activity relationship analysis to increase the potency and pharmacological properties of the analogs. Altogether, this work answers questions about how cells die by ferroptosis, and provides footwork for how we can better modulate ferroptosis against cancer and other illnesses.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Cellular, Molecular and Biomedical Studies
Thesis Advisors
Stockwell, Brent R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 26, 2022