Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism, Diabetes Center, Medical Faculty, University of Geneva
Cell adhesion, migration and extracellular matrix remodeling
In every organ and tissue, cells are in contact with a network of fibrillar proteins, termed the extracellular matrix (ECM). Interaction with this 3-dimensional scaffold is assured through a family of cell surface receptors called integrins providing a mechanical link between the ECM and the cytoskeleton and intracellular organelles. This integrin-mediated link is dynamic and serves critical signaling and survival functions, but is also used by cells to modify their extracellular protein scaffold itself. Many tissue pathologies are linked to altered functions of these receptors and their extracellular or intracellular connectors, such as cancer and fibrosis. We are particularly interested how changes in the cellular metabolism and/or intracellular signaling are affecting cell behavior through these classes of receptors, as for example in the case of wound healing and ECM repair, which is severely affected in diabetic patients.
We are combining tissue-level with cell-based analysis tools, which involves the use of life-cell imaging and biochemical characterization of proteins, in order to get a mechanistic understanding at the atomistic level, which is eventually required for a successful drug development program.
- Extracellular matrix
- Tissue fibrosis