Cholesterol has long been linked to how deadly colorectal cancer (CRC) is. Squalene epoxidase (SQLE), a rate-limiting enzyme in cholesterol biosynthesis, is suggested as a proto-oncogene. Paradoxically, SQLE is degraded by excess cholesterol and low SQLE is associated with aggressive colorectal cancer (CRC). Therefore, we studied the functional consequences of SQLE reduction in CRC progression. Our studies demonstrated that SQLE reduction caused by cholesterol accumulation confers aggressive metastatic capabilities to tumor cells through a combination of senescence bypass, anoikis resistance, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and the generation of migrating cancer stem cells (MCSCs). In this study, we present a model where mice with colorectal cancer (CRC) were fed a high cholesterol diet, which promoted aggressiveness in cancer cells when SQLE, an enzyme related to making cholesterol, was reduced. This study provides a link between cholesterol and CRC, identifying SQLE as a key regulator in CRC aggressiveness and a powerful prognostic tool for predicting colorect
[Education & Professional Experiences]
1995 Ph.D. in Functional Genomics, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
1989 M.S. in Microbiology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
1997 B.S. in Microbiology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea
2000 - present Associate Director, Principal Researcher, KRIBB, Korea
2004 – present Director, 21C Human Frontier Gene Bank,
Professor, University of Science and Technology (UST), Korea
1995 – 1997 Postdoctoral Fellow, KRIBB, Korea
1989 - 1995 Research Scientist, Sagami Chemical Research Center, Sagamihara, Japan

[Selected publications in recent 3 years]
- Jun SY,,,, and Kim NS, Reduction of squalene epoxidase by cholesterol accumulation accelerates colorectal cancer progression and metastasis, Gastroenterology, 160(4):1194-1207, 2021
- Jun SY, ,,, and Kim NS, The human TOR signaling regulator is the key indicator of liver cancer patients' overall survival: TIPRL/LC3/CD133/CD44 as potential biomarkers for early liver cancers, Cancers, 13(12):2925, 2021
- Min JS, ,,,and Kim NS, Coiled-coil domain containing 50-V2 protein positively regulates neurite outgrowth, Scientific Reports, 10(1):21295, 2020
- Jeon SJ, ,,, and Kim NS, TIPRL potentiates survival of lung cancer by inducing autophagy through the eIF2α-ATF4 pathway, Cell Death & Disease, 10(12):959, 2019
- Jun SY, ,,, and Kim NS, The positive correlation of TIPRL with LC3 and CD133 contributes to cancer aggressiveness: potential biomarkers for early liver cancer, Scientific Reports, 9(1), 16802, 2019