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Kota Lab

The research laboratory led by Janaiah Kota, PhD, studies the patho-physiological roles of microRNAs (miRNAs).

The Kota lab is focused on understanding the pathophysiological role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in disease mechanisms associated with advanced forms of human cancers, such as pancreatic and liver cancers, and exploring their therapeutic and biomarker potential.

Active Research

Previous studies from Dr. Kota’s work have provided evidence for miRNA replacement as an efficacious and non-toxic, anti-cancer therapeutic strategy (Kota et al., Cell 2009). In proof-of principle studies, the lab has demonstrated that systemic delivery via Adeno-associated Virus (rAAV) of miR-26a, a miRNA whose expression is frequently lost in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), potently suppressed tumor progression in a mouse model of HCC. Importantly, off-target effects were not observed. Currently, part of the research efforts are dedicated to study the role miR-26 in various etiologies associated with HCC and extending miRNA replacement therapy to other cancers, such as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a lethal form human malignancy with no effective therapies.

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More recently, a vast majority of the lab’s research efforts have been dedicated to studying the role of miRNAs in PDAC tumor-stromal biology that plays a critical role in tumor progression and resistance to anti-cancer drugs. The lab has laid much of the groundwork for the role of miR-29 in PDAC tumor-stromal biology and found a significant downregulation miR-29 in both stromal and cancer cells. Restored expression of miR-29 reduced stromal protein accumulation, cancer growth, and sensitized chemoresistant cancer cells to gemcitabine. Based on these preliminary results, this laboratory is setting the stage to identify/characterize critical miR-29 targets associated with PDAC tumor-stromal biology and evaluate in vivo function and therapeutic use of miR-29 in clinically relevant pre-clinical mouse models.

In addition, there are other ongoing research projects that are focused on studying the biological role of miRNAs in oncogenic signaling pathways/disease mechanisms. The ultimate goal of the laboratory is to develop better treatment strategies for pancreatic and liver cancers and improve the survival of patients.

  • Pathophysiological Role of miR-29 in Pancreatic Cancer

    Indiana University School of Medicine, Biomedical Research Grant

    The goal of this proposal is to generate miR-29 knockout transgenic mouse models.

Recent Publications

  • 2017
    Quirin KA, Kwon JJ, Alioufi A, Factora T, Temm CJ, Jacobsen M, Sandusky GE, Shontz K, Chicoine LG, Clark KR, Mendell JT, Korc M, Kota J (2017). Safety and efficacy of AAV retrograde pancreatic ductal gene delivery in normal and pancreatic cancer mice. Molecular Therapy Methods & Clinical Development.

    Adelaiye-Ogala R, Damayanti N , Budka J, Ferris M, Arrington J,  Hsu C, Chintala S,  Orillion A,  Miles KM, Shen L, Elbanna M, Ciamporcero E,  Arisa S, Pettazzoni P, Draetta GF, Mukund Seshadri M, Radovich M, Kota J, Buck M, Keilhack H, McCarthy BP, Persohn SA, Territo PR , Zang Y, Irudayaraj J, Tao WA, Hollenhorst P  and Pili R (2017). EZH2 modifies sunitinib resistance in renal cell carcinoma by kinome reprogramming. Cancer Research. 77 (23):6651-66. PMCID: PMC5712262

    Kota J, Hancock J, Kwon JJ, Korc M (2017). Pancreatic Cancer: Stroma and its Current and Emerging Targeted Therapies. Cancer Lett. PMID: 28093284

  • 2016
    Kwon JJ, Willy JA, Quirin KA, Wek RC, Korc M, Yin XM, and Kota J (2016). Novel role of miR-29 in pancreatic cancer autophagy and its therapeutic potential. Oncotarget. PMID: 27626694

    Surendran S, Jideonwo V, Merchun C, Ahn M , Murray J, Hou Y, Ryan J, Dunn K, Dai G, Kota J, Morral N (2016). Gene targets of mouse miR-709: regulation of distinct pools. Scientific Reports 6:18958. PMCID: PMC4705522

  • 2015
    Kwon JJ, Nabinger CS, Alluri KR, Vega Z, Sahu SS, Sater AZ, Yu Z, Gore A J, Nalepa G, Saxena R, Korc M, Kota J (2015). Pathophysiological role of microRNA-29 in pancreatic cancer stroma. Scientific Reports 5:11450. PMCID: PMC4476113.
  • 2013
    Rosales XQ, Malik V, Sneh A, Chen L, Lewis S, Kota J, Gastier-Foster JM, Astbury C, Pyatt R, Reshmi S, Rodino-Klapac LR, Clark KR, Mendell JR, Sahenk Z. (2013). Impaired regeneration in LGMD2A supported by increased PAX7-positive satellite cell content and muscle-specific microrna dysregulation. Muscle & nerve 47(5):731-739. PMCID3634894

Research Team

Additional Lab Team Members

Jason Kwon and Kayla Quirin are also part of the Kota Lab.