Understanding neuroblastoma cell migration

Understanding neuroblastoma cell migration

Institute: Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Recipient: Professor Alpha Yap
Funding: $623,000 July 2009 to June 2016

An important implication here is the notion that the precise cytoskeletal responses elicited by cadherin adhesion may be essential to productive cell recognition.

The cells in our body are constantly in motion. Normally this is tightly regulated, to ensure that cells do not move (migrate) out of their home tissues. Tumor progression to invasion and metastasis is the most clinically significant and therapeutically intractable stage in childhood cancer. It is fundamentally due to disordered cell migration, where cancer cells are now able to invade out of their home tissue, into neighbouring and distant tissues. Despite its importance, we have a poor understanding of how tumor cell migration is controlled.
 
Professor Yap’s team at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, aim to identify signals that control the cytoskeleton and their resulting impact on cell migration and patterning. They will also characterize the patterns of cadherin dysregulation seen in neuroblastoma cells and tumors, with a particular focus on identifying deviant signals and cytoskeletal regulators implicated in cadherin-based contact recognition.