Peter N. Devreotes, Ph.D.
Our group studies chemotactic cell migration, the ability to sense external gradients and respond directionally. This process plays a key role in normal physiology and we believe that knowledge of this fundamental process will also lead to new therapeutic strategies for inflammatory disease and metastasis. Studies in the amoeba Dictyostelium have shown that surface chemoattractant receptors and G-proteins are not significantly clustered at the front of the cell while downstream signaling events, such as PIP₃ accumulation, are sharply localized at the cell's leading edge. A few proteins have also been localized at the trailing edge. Many of these findings have been repeated in human and zebrafish neutrophils demonstrating the generality of the mechanisms.