Professor, Institute of Molecular Bioscience, Head, Division of Molecular Cell Biology, University of Queensland
NHMRC Senior Research Fellow
4 – 13 March, 2015
E-cadherin signaling and the actin cytoskeleton, and Cadherin adhesion in epithelial morphogenesis
Cadherin signalling to Src family kinases: defining the pathway(s)
Regulation of the actin cytoskeleton by E-cadherin
Cooperation between cadherins and myosin motors at cell-cell contacts
Cooperativity between cadherins and microtubules
The morphogenetic consequences of cadherin-activated cell signalling and cooperativity with the actin cytoskeleton
More about Prof Yap’s research
Cadherin adhesion and tissue organisation in health and disease
Cells are the building blocks of our bodies. Interactions between different cells are important to shape our developing bodies and maintain the organisation of our tissues in health. A range of diseases occur when those interactions are disturbed, including cancer and inflammation. My laboratory studies one set of cell-to-cell interactions, those that occur when cells attach to one another. We focus on the cadherin family of cell-cell adhesion receptors. These critically determine the ability of cells to recognise one another and organise into coherent tissues. The importance of these receptors is emphasised by the fact that loss of cadherin function promotes cancer progression in epithelial tissues (such as the breast and colon) – the commonest form of human cancers. Cadherin dysfunction also contributes to the breakdown of epithelial barriers during inflammation, notably in chronic disease of the intestine. By understanding the basic biological mechanisms of cadherin-mediated cell recognition, we thus hope to provide vital insights into the basis of developmental patterning and common human diseases. Read more.
More about Prof Yap
One of these key molecules, known as e-cadherin, is vital for the body’s normal growth during the embryonic phase and also for tissue repair in wound-healing. However, breakdowns in this recognition process lead to aggressive and dysfunctional cells literally going on the rampage resulting in tumour-growth and the onset of cancer. Read more.