Ricardo Espinoza Lima

UC Santa Barbara

Signaling Dynamics of SMAD Proteins

SMAD proteins are found in every mammalian cell and play important roles in stem cell differentiation and embryonic development. These proteins are part of the pivotal Transforming Growth Factor beta (TGF-) signaling pathway that regulates apoptosis, growth and differentiation. We hope to understand this pathways dynamic and combinatorial encoding strategy to ultimately control over some of these cell behaviors. Little is known about the effects of the dynamics and combinations of these proteins on the transcription of their downstream genes once they enterthe nucleus. To probe the information encoding capabilities of the TGF-B pathwaywefluorescently tagged a panel of SMAD proteins to visualize their dynamics using confocal microscopy in real time. By tracking SMAD protein dynamics and corelating those dynamics to cellular behaviors we hope to learn how cells interpret and multiplex complex signals, which we may, one day, control using optogenetic tools.

UC Santa Barbara Center for Science and Engineering Partnerships UCSB California NanoSystems Institute