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Research Groups





Group Members

Kid Törnquist, Ph.D., Professor, Head
Mohammad Yasir Asghar, Ph.D.
Taru Lassila, B.Sc.

In addition the following researchers were working at Åbo Akademi University:

Ilari Pulli, M.Sc.
Emilia Holm, B.Sc.


The group is mainly interested in understanding the mechanisms regulating calcium entry, the modulation of intracellular calcium stores and the processes regulating proliferation in endocrine cells. We also aim at understanding the importance of calcium in regulating signal-transduction pathways, and the importance of sphingomyelin derivatives as modulators of endocrine cells. The focus is on understanding the mechanisms regulating thyroid cancer cell invasion and migration. Furthermore, the mechanisms regulating calcium shunting between organelles are of interest.

The specific aims are: to understand by which mechanisms sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) regulates thyroid cancer cell invasion and migration, and how calcium signaling participates in this process. In addition, we are investigating the mechanisms by which sphingolipds modulate intra-organelle calcium fluxes.

The group is acting mostly at the Department of Biology, BioCity, Åbo Akademi University (Åbo, Finland), where about 70% of the activities take place.

Contact info

Kid Törnquist, Ph.D., Professor
E-mail: kid.tornqvist@abo.fi
Tel: +358 2941 25706

Selected publications

Kemppainen K, Wentus N, Lassila T, Laiho A, Törnquist K: Sphingosylphosphorylcholine regulates the Hippo signaling pathway in a dual manner. Cell Signal. 2016; 28:1894-1903.

Kalhori V, Magnusson M, Asghar MY, Pulli I, Törnquist K: FTY720 (Fingolimod) attenuates basal and sphingosine 1-phosphate-evoked invasion of thyroid cancer cells. Endocr-Relat Cancer. 2016; 23:457-468.

Asghar MY, Magnusson M, Kemppainen K, Pulli I, Törnquist K: Transient receptor potential canonical 1 (TRPC1) channels as regulators of sphingolipid- and VEGF receptor expression: implications for thyroid cancer cell migration and proliferation. J Biol Chem. 2015; 290:16116-16131.

Hyder C*, Kemppainen K*, Isoniemi K, Imanishi SY, Goto H, Inagaki M, Fazeli E, Eriksson JE, Törnquist K: Sphingolipids inhibit vimentin-dependent cell migration. J Cell Sci. 2015; 128:2057-2069.

Pulli I, Blom T, Löf C, Magnusson M, Rimessi A, Pinton P, Törnquist K: A novel chimeric aequorin fused with caveolin-1 reveals a sphingosine kinase 1-regulated Ca2+ microdomain in the caveolar compartment. Biochem Biophys Acta (Mol Cell Res). 2015; 1853:2173-2182.

Kalhori V, Törnquist K: MMP2 and MMP9 participate in S1P-induced invasion of follicular ML-1 thyroid cancer cells. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015; 404:113-122.

Kalhori V, Kemppainen K, Asghar MY, Bergelin N, Jaakkola P, Törnquist K: Sphingosine 1-phosphate enhances hypoxia-induced factor 1a (HIF-1a) stability in ML-1 thyroid carcinoma cells. Evidence for HIF-1a as a regulator of migration. PLOS One. 2013; 8:e66189.

Törnquist K, Sukumaran P, Kemppainen K, Löf C, Viitanen T. Canonical transient receptor potential channel 2 (TRPC2): old name-new games. Importance in regulating of rat thyroid cell physiology. Pflug Arch Eur J Phy. 2014; 466:2025–34.

Viitanen T, Sukumaran P, Löf C, Törnquist K: Mechanism of membrane potential regulation in rat thyroid FRTL-5 cells: functional coupling between the TRPC2 cation channel and the calcium-activated chloride channel anoctamine-1. J Cell Physiol. 2013; 228:814-823.

Sukumaran P, Löf C, Kemppainen K, Kankaanpää P, Pulli I, Näsman J, Viitanen T, Törnquist K: Canonical transient receptor potential 2 and calcium signaling in rat thyroid FRTL-5 cells: Importance of protein kinase C d and STIM2. J Biol Chem. 2012; 287:44345-44360.

Löf C, Sukumaran P, Viitanen T, Vainio M, Kemppainen K, Pulli I, Näsman J, Kukkonen JP, Törnquist K: Canonical transient receptor potential 2 channel as regulator of rat thyroid FRTL-5 cell function: Evidence of a feedback regulatory mechanism between TSH receptor expression and channel function. Mol Endocrinol. 2012; 26:2046-2057.

Asghar MY, Kemppainen K, Viitanen T, Törnquist K: Sphingosine 1-phosphate and human ether-a’-go-go related gene (HERG) potassium channels modulate migration in human anaplastic thyroid cancer cells. Endocr-Relat Cancer. 2012; 19:667-680.

Bergelin N, Löf C, Balthasar S, Kalhori V, Törnquist K: S1P receptor 1 and VEGF receptor 2 form a signalling complex with ERK1/2 and PKCa regulating ML-1 thyroid carcinoma cell migration. Endocrinology. 2010; 151:2994-3005.

Ramström C, Chapman H, Viitanen T, Fox H, Kivelä J, Soini S, Korhonen L, Lindholm D, Pasternack M, Törnquist K: HERG (KCNH2) K+ channel surface expression is modulated by diacylglycerol. Cell Mol Life Sci, 2010; 67:157-169.

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