Manuel Patarroyo Project
Laminins and their cell-surface receptors in tumor invasion and metastasis
Tumor invasion and metastasis accounts for most cancer-related deaths but their molecular basis is poorly understood. During the metastatic cascade tumor cells migrate, survive, self-renew and proliferate via interaction with extracellular matrix proteins such as laminins. Notably, this cell-matrix interaction also contributes to chemotherapy resistance.
Laminins, a large family of αβγ heterotrimeric proteins primarily found in basement membranes (Fig. 1), are masters of normal tissue architecture, a property which is highly disrupted during tumor invasion and metastasis. In addition to their structural functions, laminins promote cell adhesion, migration, survival, self-renewal and proliferation. Over 15 laminin isoforms are presently known and their expression is developmentally regulated and cell- and tissue-specific. Laminins, via their α chain, are differentially bound by integrins and other cell-surface receptors. Although expression of laminin isoforms in tumors mostly reflects expression in their normal counterparts, distinct alterations of laminin expression and function occur during tumor invasion, particularly in epithelial-mesenchymal transition of the tumors cells and loss of the basement membrane barrier. During local dissemination and metastasis cancer cells encounter exogenous laminins in blood/lymphatic vessels, nerves, lymphoid tissue and other anatomical structures. Moreover, the tumor cells themselves are able to produce and secrete laminins and to use these endogenous molecules in an autocrine fashion.
The present research program investigates the role of laminins and their cell-surface receptors in tumor cell adhesion, migration, survival, self-renewal and proliferation as well as in tumor invasion, metastasis and chemoresistance. Both tumor-derived (endogenous) and non-tumor (exogenous) laminins are studied as well as their effect on tumor cells at different stages, including cancer stem cells and following epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Examination of laminin isoforms in tumor tissues and biological fluids has a diagnostic/prognostic potential, and antagonists of laminin-receptor interactions may constitute novel therapeutic strategies against malignant diseases.
In parallel studies the role of laminin isoforms in immune/inflammatory responses and tissue repair is also investigated.
Figure 1. The Laminin family
The project currently has vacant research positions, if you are interested please contact Manuel Patarroyo on the email address below