The DerMardirossian laboratory studies the family of proteins known as the Rho GTPases. Much of this work was pioneered in the lab of Gary Bokoch. They discovered the mechanism whereby Rac (an essiential member of the GTPase family important in normal cellular function) is activated by the enzyme p21-activated kinase (Pak). Interestingly, one of the targets of active Rac is the enzyme Pak itself. This suggests that Pak and Rac can participate in a positive feedback loop whereby active Rac stimulates Pak, and the active Pak then induces more Rac activation. Such regulation may be important for maintaining continuous cell movement.
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.