Dr. Christal Sohl
Dr. Christal Sohl is an assistant professor in SDSU’s chemistry and biochemistry department. Her research involves understanding the molecular mechanisms of disease.
Mutations in enzymes, a class of proteins that act as biological catalysts to perform complex chemical reactions, can alter their function, often leading to disease.
Dr. Sohl and her team are exploring how mutations in the enzyme isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) are mutated in the majority of lower grade brain cancers. These mutations can equip IDH1 with a brand new catalytic activity: the production of a small metabolite called 2HG. Biosynthesis of this metabolite can contribute to cancer development.
By measuring the rate of 2HG production using enzyme kinetics, Dr. Sohl has shown that different mutations in IDH1 vary widely in their ability to produce 2HG. Some IDH1 mutants can generate 2HG 640-fold more efficiently than non-mutated IDH1. Further, we showed that catalytic efficiency of these mutations helps drive the varied concentrations of 2HG measured in patient tumors.
The Sohl lab also uses cell-based models, and, in collaborative work, lipidomics and metabolomics to identify new downstream consequences of IDH1 mutations to better understand how cancer develops. This work can identify novel pathways that may be therapeutically targeted in brain cancer patients.
Dr. Sohl’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health.
For more information about Dr. Sohl’s work, please visit: http://www.chemistry.sdsu.edu/faculty/index.php?name=sohl and http://sohl-lab.sdsu.edu/.