Professor, Dept of Cellular & Physiological Sciences and SBME
cell biology of cancer, use of super-resolution microsopy to study cellular domains
1) The role of non-caveolar scaffold domains and the galectin lattice in cancer cell migration and focal adhesion tension.
We study the role of plasma membrane domain effectors galectin-3 and caveolin-1 in focal adhesion dynamics and tension in metastatic cancer cells. We have developed network analysis of dSTORM super resolution microscopy to define the molecular architecture of caveolae and scaffolds and are now studying the structural changes in these membrane domains associated with tumor cell migration and mechanical stress. Our characterization of the proteome and transcriptome of tumor cell pseudopodia has identified multiple pseudopod-localized effectors whose role in pseudopod-specific actin dynamics and focal adhesion tension is being studied.
2) The role of the cancer-associated ubiquitin ligase Gp78 in the regulation of endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria contacts and mitophagy.
We have defined the role of Gp78 (also known as autocrine motility factor receptor (AMFR)), a cancer-associated receptor and E3 ubiquitin ligase in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) associated degradation, in ER-mitochondria interaction and mitophagy. We have shown that Gp78 and its ligand AMF control rough ER-mitochondria contacts and are defining the underlying molecular mechanisms and applying STED super-resolution microscopy to define the organization of the ER and its interaction with mitochondria.