Max Costa

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Max Costa

Professor, Department of Environmental Medicine;Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Environmental Medicine

Contact Info

57 Old Forge Rd.
Tuxedo, NY 10987



1976 — Dr. Costa received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Arizona Medical School, Tuscon, AZ,, Graduate Education
1976-1977 — Dr. Costa was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Arizona Medical School in Tuscon, PostDoctoral Training

Research Summary

Water Insoluble nickel compounds vary in their carcinogenic potency due to a selectivity in the ability of the particles to be phagocytized by target cells. In the acidified phagosomes, ionic nickel is released, ultimately making its way into the nucleus. Ni ions cause an increase in DNA methylation we believe by inhibiting Fe dependent histone demethylases such as those responsible for demethylating H3K9 mono and dimethyl. This results in gene silencing. Nickel ions also inhibit the Jarid-1 family of histone demethylases which result in an increase in H3K4 trimethylation causing genes to be turned on. The dioxygenase superfamily of enzymes are the major targets for Nickel ions in cells and one member of this family are the Prolyl Hydroxylases that cause Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF-1 alpha) to be degraded. Inhibition of these dioxygenases by Nickel ions stabilizes HIF-1 alpha and turns on or off all HIF-1 alpha dependent genes. We have used Chip-on-chip as well as Chip-seq to map the H3K4 trimethylation changes in the genome and correlated this with RNA expression using RNA-seq. We have determined the binding constant of JHDM2A for Ni ions to be 1.7uM which is three times better than that for Fe which is bound to the active site of the enzyme. Using X-ray photo-electron spectroscopy we have determined that Ni ions bind in place of Fe to exactly the same ligands as Fe in the active site of the enzyme. Knockdown of JHDM2A as well as Nickel ion treatment results in the transformation of BEAS-2B cells to anchorage independent growth. Sprly2 and Cldn1 are down regulated by Ni inhibition of JHDM2A and these genes remain silenced after Nickel is removed and in the Nickel transformed cells. Forced expression of Sprly2 prevents Ni ion induced cell transformation and tranfection of Cldn1 reverses cell transformation induced by Nickel ions. Our goal of these studies is to prove that the inhibition of a histone demethylase JHDM2A by Ni ions is responsible for cell transformation.

Research Interests

Molecular Mechanisms of Metal Carcinogenesis

A Potential New Mechanism of Arsenic Carcinogenesis: Depletion of Stem-Loop Binding Protein and Increase in Polyadenylated Canonical Histone H3.1 mRNA
Brocato, Jason; Chen, Danqi; Liu, Jianli; Fang, Lei; Jin, Chunyuan; Costa, Max
2015-05-23; 1559-0720,Biological trace element research - id: 1587302, year: 2015 JOURNAL ARTICLE

SATB1 and 2 in colorectal cancer
Brocato, Jason; Costa, Max
2015-03-26; 0143-3334,Carcinogenesis - id: 1509652, year: 2015 REVIEW

Sex-specific patterns and deregulation of endocrine pathways in the gene expression profiles of Bangladeshi adults exposed to arsenic contaminated drinking water
Munoz, Alexandra; Chervona, Yana; Hall, Megan; Kluz, Thomas; Gamble, Mary V; Costa, Max
2015-03-16; 0041-008x,Toxicology & applied pharmacology - id: 1494932, year: 2015 JOURNAL ARTICLE

Oxidative stress alters global histone modification and DNA methylation
Niu, Yingmei; DesMarais, Thomas L; Tong, Zhaohui; Yao, Yixin; Costa, Max
2015-03-31; 1873-4596,Free radical biology & medicine - id: 1514542, year: 2015 JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cadmium induces histone h3 lysine methylation by inhibiting histone demethylase activity
Xiao, Chunlian; Liu, Yin; Xie, Chengfeng; Tu, Wei; Xia, Yujie; Costa, Max; Zhou, Xue
2015-05-04; 1096-0929,Toxicological sciences - id: 1556352, year: 2015 Journal Article