Van Hsieh

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

The Effect of WDR5B on Cell Adhesion in Cancer Metastasis

Cell adhesion plays an important role in cancer metastasis. The dysfunction of cell adhesion makes it more likely for cancer cells to escape from the primary tumor to colonize other organs, causing cancer metastasis. We discovered that when we knockdown the WDR5B protein, there is an alteration in cell morphology, suggesting the change in cell adhesion. WDR5B is a protein little studied that is homologous to the WDR5 methyltransferase subunit and previously thought to have played the same role as WDR5. However, when we knockdown the WDR5 protein, we do not have the same change in cell morphology as when we knockdown WDR5B. This indicates that WDR5B has different function from WDR5. To verify this, we used Western Blot to detect the change in level of the two main cell adhesion proteins, cadherin and integrin. Through Western Blot, we concluded that there is decrease in both the integrin and a mature integrin level, showing that both are possibly down regulated with the decrease in WDR5B. We are currently testing other downstream pathway proteins that are involved with integrin to clarify what changed. We are also further investigating the change in level of cadherin as the result from Western Blot is promising. Our research could possibly help further the understanding of cell adhesion mechanisms as well as the function of WDR5B. 

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