About the Seminar
Critical for numerous cellular functions is the dynamic interplay between cell surface receptors, small GTPases, and the enzymes that synthesize phosphatidylinositol phosphate (PIP) lipids. Using human neutrophils as a model system for cell polarity and migration, we find that small GTPases and PIP lipid modifying enzymes trigger a molecular signal that propagates across the plasma membrane in the form of a traveling wave. This behavior, termed excitability, involves repetitive cycles of protein recruitment ON and OFF the membrane. My lab is currently trying to decipher the molecular basis of the excitable signaling network using a combination of in vitro biochemistry, genetics, and live cell imaging. By unraveling how the excitable signaling network is regulated, we aim to fill a gap in knowledge concerning how spatial patterning of biochemical reactions at the plasma membrane controls cell polarity and locomotion.