- Directed cell migration plays an important role in embryonic development, wound healing, angiogenesis, immune response, cancer invasion and metastasis. Dynamic reorganization of actin cytoskeleton, a key aspect of cell migration, is regulated by the concerted actions of various classes of actin-binding proteins (ABPs), and some of these ABPs are fundamental drivers of actin-based cell motility. Altered expressions and activities of fundamental drivers of cell migration are correlated with aberrant cell motility in pathologic scenarios. Our main research interests are to: a) gain novel insights on how dysregulation of fundamental drivers of cell migration contributes to metastatic progression of solid cancers and pathological angiogenesis; and b) develop translational strategies exploiting the pathways of dysregulation as a means to suppress metastatic phenotype of cancer cells and angiogenesis-dependent pathology.
- Post-translational modification plays a crucial role in regulating protein activities. We are exploring novel post-translational modifications of ABPs and how they impact protein function and actin-dependent biological processes.
For these studies, we utilize a variety of experimental approaches including mammary gland related techniques, RNAi, 2D gel electrophoresis, mouse models of tumor metastasis (gene knockout and tumor xenografts), in vitro and in vivo angiogenesis assays, time-lapse imaging and small molecule screening.