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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16784

Title: Phosphorylated Motif Recognition and Mechanisms of Cell Signaling in Actin-cytoskeletal Regulation
Authors: Blasutig, Ivan M.
Advisor: Pawson, Tony
Department: Molecular and Medical Genetics
Keywords: Nck
srGAP
actin cytoskeleton
nephrin
cellular signaling
podocyte cells
Issue Date: 20-Jan-2009
Abstract: The actin cytoskeleton is critical to the proper function of cells and its misregulation can lead to human disease states. As a consequence, actin dynamics is tightly controlled. To gain further insight into the mechanisms controlling actin dynamics, my studies have focused on two families of proteins implicated in actin regulation. The Nck proteins act as molecular adaptors in signal propagation by linking upstream mediators, which they recognize through the Nck SH2 domain, to downstream effectors, which bind the Nck SH3 domains. I have found that Nck is required in podocyte cells for proper foot process formation, a process involving actin cytoskeletal reorganization, and therefore for proper kidney function. Furthermore, I show that Nck links the podocyte adhesion protein nephrin to actin polymerization. In cell-based assays, nephrin-induced actin polymerization is dependent on an interaction with functional Nck, which occurs through binding of three phosphorylated tyrosine sites within the cytoplasmic tail of nephrin to the Nck SH2 domain. Finally, I demonstrate that the enteropathogenic E.coli protein Tir reorganizes the cytoskeleton by molecular-mimicry of nephrin-like signaling. The srGAP proteins are GTPase activating proteins that attenuate the activity Rho GTPases, proteins directly involved in actin cytoskeletal control. The regulatory mechanisms that control srGAP activity are unclear. I have found that the srGAP family members srGAP1, srGAP2, and srGAP3 interact, through their carboxy-terminal region with 14-3-3 proteins, and that this interaction is dependent on protein kinase C-induced phosphorylation of srGAP. 14-3-3 binding does not affect the activity of srGAP2, as determined using cell-based GAP assays. Further studies are required to clarify the biological significance of this interaction to srGAP regulation. The data presented in this thesis furthers our understanding of signaling networks that control the actin cytoskeleton, and brings us closer to the goal of fully understanding actin dynamics and cellular signaling.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/16784
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Molecular Genetics - Doctoral theses

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