Signal Transduction in Cancer and Metabolism

Division of Signal Transduction in Cancer and Metabolism

Prof. Dr. Aurelio Teleman

Location of adipose tissue in an adult fly revealed by GFP expression.

When cancer cells proliferate to form a tumor, they need to grow and to divide. Regulation of cell division (i.e. the cell cycle) has been extensively studied. In comparison, the mechanisms regulating cell growth (i.e. the accumulation of cell mass) are less well understood. The Teleman lab studies cell growth and its regulation. We study two aspects of cell growth: 1) To grow, cells need to produce biosynthetic building blocks such as nucleotides, amino acids and lipids, by activating metabolic pathways. Hence, we study cellular metabolism and how it differs in growing cells compared to non-growing cells. 2) Cells decide to grow, however, based on information coming from outside the cell, such as the presence of nutrients and growth factors. Cells receive and process this information via signaling pathways such as the insulin or TOR pathway. Therefore, we also study the signaling pathways controlling growth.

Both cellular metabolism as well as growth-signaling are highly conserved amongst animals, from the fruit fly Drosophila to humans. Powerful model systems such as Drosophila allow rapid discovery of new biology since they are simpler and more genetically tractable compared to mammals. For this reason, the Teleman lab studies cell growth using a combination of human tissue culture and Drosophila.

The aim of our work is to understand the processes regulating cell growth so that this knowledge can be used in the future for cancer therapy. Unlike other cells in the body, cancer cells have mutations that promote cell growth. Blocking this process will hopefully be a powerful method to specifically and efficiently inhibit tumor progression.


Prof. Dr. Aurelio Teleman
Signal Transduction in Cancer and Metabolism (B140)
Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum
Im Neuenheimer Feld 580
69120 Heidelberg
Tel: +49 6221 42 1620

Selected Publications

  • Senyilmaz D, Virtue S, Xu X, Tan CY, Griffin JL, Miller AK, Vidal-Puig A and Teleman AA. Regulation of mitochondrial morphology and function by Stearoylation of TfR1. (2015) Nature 525:124-8
  • Tiebe M, Lutz M, De La Garza A, Buechling T, Boutros M and Teleman AA. REPTOR and REPTOR-BP regulate organismal metabolism and transcription downstream of TORC1. (2015) Developmental Cell. 33:272-84
  • Schleich S, Strassburger K, Janiesch PC, Koledachkina T, Miller KK, Haneke K, Cheng Y-C, Kuechler K, Stoecklin G, Duncan KE and Teleman AA. DENR•MCT-1 Promotes Translation Reinitiation Downstream of uORFs to Control Tissue Growth. (2014) Nature 512: 208-212
  • Demetriades C, Doumpas N and Teleman AA. Regulation of TORC1 in response to amino acid starvation via lysosomal recruitment of TSC2. (2014) Cell 156:786-99
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