Some of the most exciting findings of the past decade have deciphered processes involved in biological signal transduction. These are processes by which cells communicate among themselves. Much is known about how cells detect the presence of hormones, contact with other cells, or the presence of nutrientsor other environmental signals, and how the cells respond to these signals by changing metabolism or gene expression. These studies have identified the role and nature of viral oncogenes, which, when expressed in a cell infected with a tumor virus, disrupt normal controls over growth properties and result in a transformed or tumor cell. These viral oncogenes are derived from normal cellular regulatory proteins, and this fact allowed deduction of the normal signaling pathways. The role of protein kinases and alterations in calcium levels in signaling pathways have been established, in part by contributions from researchers at the University of Virginia.
Ongoing research centers on the identification and characterization of proteins that participate in various central signaling pathways and the mechanism by which these proteins interact with or influence their targets, such as the cytoskeleton or specific gene expression. Our researchers study both the normal signaling pathways in response to hormones and other environmental signals, and the perturbation of these pathways in cancer cells. Numerous studies focus on the circulatory system and the molecular aspects of the control of blood pressure and muscle function.
Faculty in this area
Mechanisms of Neuromodulation in Central Neurons
Amy H. Bouton, PhD
Signaling Pathways that Regulate Tumor Growth, Metastasis, and Response to Anticancer Agents; Adhesion Signaling In Macrophages; Bacteria-Host Cell Interactions
David L. Brautigan, PhD
Protein Phosphorylation in Cell Signaling
Adrian R.L. Gear, Dphil
Blood-platelet function; Cardiovascular disease; Inflammation
Keith G. Kozminski, PhD
Regulation of Polarized Morphogenesis by Small G Proteins
Involvement of the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-1 in signal transduction pathways
Kevin R. Lynch, PhD
Molecular Pharmacology of Lysophospholipid Mediators
J. Thomas Parsons, PhD
Adhesion Signaling in Normal, Cardiovascular and Cancer Cells
Sarah (Sally) J. Parsons, PhD
Molecular mechanisms of Src family tyrosine kinases in mitogenesis, tumorigenesis, and neuronal activity.
Michael J. Weber, PhD
Targeting Cell Signaling for Cancer Therapy.
J. Julius Zhu, PhD
Neural circuit mechanisms of behavior and diseases