The Pfister lab investigates the mechanisms that underlie intracellular transport, in particular the microtubule-based movements driven by the motor protein cytoplasmic dynein. Defects in dynein function have a role in the development of cancer. They can result in a failure to properly assemble the mitotic spindle, to properly regulate the spindle checkpoint, or to separate chromosomes which lead to chromosome loss and polyploidy, and the development of tumorogenesis. Dynein is responsible for the proper localization of the tumor suppressor protein p53. In addition to its roles in mitosis, dynein is responsible for the positioning of the nucleus during cell migration; the movement of membranous organelles; and the transport or localization of many signal transduction proteins, mRNAs, and viruses. Dynein is the motor which moves growth factors and their receptors (Trks) from the synapse to the nucleus, an important step in neuronal and synaptic differentiation and maintenance.
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.