A wide range of molecules has been shown to be important for cellular migration. Unfortunately, in cancer, many regulatory processes are aberrant and lead to highly invasive cell behavior and metastasis. In particular, the proteins of the Rho GTPase family, RhoA, Cdc42 and Rac, are most prominently known to be crucial for cell migration and other processes related to cancer invasion.
The focus of our research is to understand how spatial and temporal regulation of Rho GTPase activity is organized during cellular migration and how such mechanisms are altered in cancer.
To achieve this, we are using fluorescence biosensor imaging to visualize localized GTPase activity in living cells. The combination of these tools with other contemporary cell biological methods such as siRNA technology is a powerful means to dissect how the complex network of upstream regulators affects localized Rho protein signaling and how this is translated into normal as well as aberrant cell migration.