Dept. of Cell and Molec. Physiology
School of Medicine
Univ. of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7545
The Otey lab studies the regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in migrating cells. In particular, we are focused on a recently-described protein called palladin and its molecular partners. Palladin, alpha-actinin, VASP and Lasp-1 are all actin-binding proteins that possess the ability to bundle actin filaments in vitro, and they are all found in actin-rich structures such as stress fibers and focal adhesions that are required for normal cell motility. In addition, palladin and alpha-actinin are found in podosomes, which are involved in both adhesion and matrix degradation. We are currently pursuing the hypothesis that palladin and its partners play critical roles in both physiological cell motility (during embryonic development, wound-healing and tissue remodeling) and in pathological cell motility (during cancer metastasis, scar formation and arterial restenosis).