Keith G. Kozminski, PhD
Regulation of polarized morphogenesis by small G proteins
The Kozminski laboratory uses the tools of yeast genetics and cell biology to study the mechanisms of cell signaling that underlie polarized cell growth, a process fundamental to cancer cell migration and invasion. The primary focus of this research is cell division control protein 42 (Cdc42p). Recent findings of the laboratory have shown that Cdc42p, a protein of the Rho family of GTPases, can interact directly with a Ras-family protein to link the cellular apparatus that polarizes the actin cytoskeleton to that which selects sites of polarized growth on the cell cortex. This work defined a novel mechanism by which Ras and Rho GTPases can interact in a signal transduction cascade. The laboratory is also studying the contribution of intracellular sterol receptors, known as oxysterol binding proteins, to Cdc42p-dependent polarity establishment. Both of these studies utilized the DNA Core for DNA sequencing and the Protein Core for the synthesis alpha factor, a peptide mating pheromone used to synchronize yeast cell cultures.