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McGlade Lab

McGlade Lab

McGlade Lab group picture

Normal cells receive and interpret external signals which control their growth, shape, metabolism and movement. Complex interactions between molecules inside the cell transmit these signals and initiate appropriate cellular responses. Using molecular biology, biochemistry and genetics our lab studies how molecules inside the cell interact and transmit signals, how these signals are normally controlled and how they are derailed in cancer cells resulting in uncontrolled division. In addition to genes which induce cell proliferation, many oncogenes have been shown to function during embryonic development as regulators of cell fate determination, pattern formation, differentiation, and cell adhesion. More than 80 per cent of human tumours arise from epithelial cells, and a breakdown in their normal polarized organization and cell adhesion properties is a hallmark of malignant progression. Therefore, a clear understanding of how epithelial cells regulate these processes is essential to development of novel therapeutic approaches to treating malignancies.

Our research is directed towards understanding the molecular changes which occur during the process of malignant cell transformation. Work in the lab involves several aspects of signal transduction and the identification and characterization of novel signaling molecules. Recently we have focused specifically on one class of cytoplasmic adapter molecules and the role they play in the localization, integration and co-ordination of signaling cascade components within two distinct signaling paradigms. We hope that this work will have broad implications in terms of understanding temporal and spatial organization of mitogenic signal transduction pathways, as well as the process of asymmetric cell division, and epithelial cell polarity in mammals. The long term goal of this work is to define the molecular processes which regulate the formation and activation of signaling complexes and how disruption of this regulation can lead to cell dysfunction and malignant disease.