The Schwartz lab studies integrin signaling and its functional role in cell motility, growth, mechanotransduction and cancer. A major area of interest is Rho family GTPases. The lab was the first to show that Rho family GTPases are regulated by integrins and mediate integrin signaling. They have recently focused on a novel mechanism of regulation that involves control of GTPase membrane targeting. Integrin-mediated adhesion is required for membrane targeting of activated Rac and other Rho family GTPases in anchorage-dependent cells. Membrane translocation is essential for coupling of GTPases to effector pathways and is governed by trafficking of binding sites within lipid rafts, which is controlled by caveolin-1. This mechanism appears to mediate downregulation of many important signaling pathways in nonadherent cells and contribute to caveolin's function as a tumor suppressor.
*Also affiliated with Yale University
Part of The Investigator's Annexe program.