Characterization of PAR-1 function in Drosophila
Our group focuses on the study of cellular signaling pathways and molecular mechanisms that are relevant to build and maintain cell polarity in Drosophila and mammalian cells. In my project, I focus on the characterization of the serine-threonine Kinase Par-1 in Drosophila melanogaster and its mammalian paralogues MARK1-4 in controlling these processes. Par-1 is known to be localized at the lateral membrane of e.g. epithelial cells where it works as antagonistic modulator against the apical Par protein complex. From the distinct cortical domains these protein complexes inhibit and thereby regulate each other’s activity and localization. However, it is not known how Par-1 is exactly regulated in a spatial and temporal manner.
We aim to investigate how the localization and activation of this conserved polarity-regulating kinase is achieved and further explore the interaction between (phospho-)lipids of the plasma membrane and polarity regulators (in particular the tumor suppressors LKB1 and Par1) and its impact on cell polarity.