This is an application for the Independent Scientist Award (K02) from Mo Kwan Kang, DOS, PhD, Assistant Professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry. The long-term goal of Dr. Kang's research program is to promote oral mucosal health in the patients affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
He aims to achieve these goals by developing novel approaches to prevent the oral mucosal complications of antiretroviral therapies (ART). Dr. Kang has recently been awarded a new R01 grant to elucidate the effects of ART on telomerase function in human oral epithelium. This is a new area of investigation for Dr. Kang, whose past research has focused on oral epithelial biology using normal human oral keratinocytes (NHOK) as a model system. The purpose of the current K02 application is to extend Dr. Kang's current research by (1) gaining new knowledge in the basic and clinical sciences of HIV and AIDS, (2) establishing the 3-dimensional cell culture model system of oral epithelium to enhance his ongoing and future research, and (3) developing an animal model with which to study the effects of RTIs on human oral epithelium in vivo. The research plan will test the central hypothesis: Telomerase inhibition in NHOK by RTIs is responsible for the diminution of regenerative capacity of the oral epithelium and adverse oral mucosal complications associated with long-term administration of ART in HIV+ patients. To test this hypothesis, Dr. Kang proposed three Specific Aims: (1) to determine the telomerase activity, telomeric status, and cellular phenotypic alteration in NHOK exposed to RTIs;(2) to determine the effects of RTI on the DNA repair activities, mutation frequency, and genetic integrity in NHOK;and (3) to investigate the effects of azidothymidine (AZT) on phenotypic alterations in NHOK expressing exogenous telomerase or acquiring enhanced replication potential.
The Aims 1 and 2 will investigate detailed phenotypic and genetic effects of RTIs in oral epithelium.
Aim 3 will determine whether augmenting cellular telomerase activity and/or """"""""priming"""""""" the cells with enhanced replicative potential can prevent the adverse phenotypic effects of AZT. The outcome of this project will be used to develop novel adjunctive therapies to prevent the oral mucosal complications of long-term administration of antiretroviral medications in HIV+ patients. This will fulfill the ultimate objectives of Dr. Kang's research to enhance the oral mucosal health of the patients affected by HIV and AIDS.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Research Scientist Development Award - Research (K02)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
NIDCR Special Grants Review Committee (DSR)
Program Officer
King, Lynn M
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of California Los Angeles
Schools of Dentistry
Los Angeles
United States
Zip Code
Mehrazarin, Shebli; Chen, Wei; Oh, Ju-Eun et al. (2015) The p63 Gene Is Regulated by Grainyhead-like 2 (GRHL2) through Reciprocal Feedback and Determines the Epithelial Phenotype in Human Keratinocytes. J Biol Chem 290:19999-20008
Yi, Jin-Kyu; Mehrazarin, Shebli; Oh, Ju-Eun et al. (2014) Osteo-/odontogenic differentiation of induced mesenchymal stem cells generated through epithelial-mesenchyme transition of cultured human keratinocytes. J Endod 40:1796-801
Dong, Qinghua; Oh, Ju-Eun; Yi, Jin Kyu et al. (2013) Efavirenz induces autophagy and aberrant differentiation in normal human keratinocytes. Int J Mol Med 31:1305-12
Kim, Reuben H; Williams, Drake W; Bae, Susan et al. (2013) Camphorquinone inhibits odontogenic differentiation of dental pulp cells and triggers release of inflammatory cytokines. J Endod 39:57-61
Kim, Reuben H; Mehrazarin, Shebli; Kang, Mo K (2012) Therapeutic potential of mesenchymal stem cells for oral and systemic diseases. Dent Clin North Am 56:651-75
Lee, Sung Hee; Hong, Hannah S; Liu, Zi Xiao et al. (2012) TNFα enhances cancer stem cell-like phenotype via Notch-Hes1 activation in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 424:58-64
Chen, W; Xiao Liu, Z; Oh, J-E et al. (2012) Grainyhead-like 2 (GRHL2) inhibits keratinocyte differentiation through epigenetic mechanism. Cell Death Dis 3:e450
Mehrazarin, Shebli; Oh, Ju Eun; Chung, Christine L et al. (2011) Impaired odontogenic differentiation of senescent dental mesenchymal stem cells is associated with loss of Bmi-1 expression. J Endod 37:662-6
Shin, Ki-Hyuk; Kim, Reuben H; Yu, Bo et al. (2011) Expression and mutation analysis of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein G in human oral cancer. Oral Oncol 47:1011-6
Dong, Qinghua; Oh, Ju-Eun; Chen, Wei et al. (2011) Radioprotective effects of Bmi-1 involve epigenetic silencing of oxidase genes and enhanced DNA repair in normal human keratinocytes. J Invest Dermatol 131:1216-25

Showing the most recent 10 out of 17 publications