Cell Adhesion and Signaling

Cell Adhesion and Signaling

Figure: Scheme of the p120-catenin related family of armadillo repeat proteins consisting of p120-catenin, ARVCF, p0071-catenin, delta-catenin and the plakophilins 1-3.

The majority of human tumors arise from epithelial tissues that emphasize the importance of research on carcinoma. However, the processes of initiation and progression of these tumors are poorly understood as many genes controlling epithelial homeostasis are still unknown. Regulation of intercellular adhesion is critical for normal development of all multicellular organisms and for tissue homeostasis. Here, cell-cell contacts play an important role where cadherin-catenin complexes mediate the link to dynamic forces of the cytoskeleton. In addition,catenins are components of signaling pathways that regulate morphogenesis and tissue homoeostasis. The best-studied member of the catenin family is β-catenin, which is a central component of the Wnt signaling pathway.

Over the past decade, several studies on the subcellular distribution of p120-catenin family revealed that these proteins are not only constituents of cell-cell contact structures but also found dispersed in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Moreover, in their non-junctional form they are complexed with RNA-binding proteins and mRNA. This suggests that in addition to establishing and maintaining cell adhesive functions these proteins may also play roles in nuclear and ribonucleoprotein processing mechanisms. Our aim is to characterize the function of p120-catenin family members in these complexes and to discover how the exchange between the junctional and the non-junctional state is regulated. Moreover, the contribution to signaling cascades in healthy and malignant situations, e.g cancer, will be evaluated.

Please contact Prof. Dr. Ilse Hofmann for further information:

=> CV of Prof. Dr. Ilse Hofmann

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