Cell Adhesion and Migration
Cell adhesion and migration are essential for numerous biological processes including immune surveillance, blood clotting, and wound healing, and depend crucially on cell surface receptors such as integrins. Integrins are therefore pivotal for human health, and defects in integrin function are associated with a wide variety of diseases such as immunodeficiencies and auto-immune diseases, bleeding disorders, and cancer. We study the mechanisms that activate and inactivate integrins, and the transduction of integrin signals into cellular responses.
Furthermore, we study how integrins crosstalk with growth factor receptors and other adhesion receptors such as vascular endothelial (VE)-cadherin, the main intercellular adhesion molecule in endothelial cells. Finally, we investigate how the cellular transport machinery regulates the delivery and turnover of adhesion receptors during dynamic processes such as adhesion remodeling and cell migration.
These studies provide novel insight into a range of integrin-dependent processes including wound healing, endothelial barrier function and angiogenesis, leukocyte transmigration, and immunological synapse formation, and may develop into novel therapeutic strategies to modulate integrin function in disease.
- NWO (Netherlands Research Council)
- PPOC (internal funding)
- TSN (Dutch Thrombosis Foundation)