• c-Met is essential for wound healing in the skin.

      Chmielowiec, Jolanta; Borowiak, Malgorzata; Morkel, Markus; Stradal, Theresia; Munz, Barbara; Werner, Sabine; Wehland, Jürgen; Birchmeier, Carmen; Birchmeier, Walter; Department of Cancer Biology, Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine, 13125 Berlin, Germany. (2007-04-09)
      Wound healing of the skin is a crucial regenerative process in adult mammals. We examined wound healing in conditional mutant mice, in which the c-Met gene that encodes the receptor of hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor was mutated in the epidermis by cre recombinase. c-Met-deficient keratinocytes were unable to contribute to the reepithelialization of skin wounds. In conditional c-Met mutant mice, wound closure was slightly attenuated, but occurred exclusively by a few (5%) keratinocytes that had escaped recombination. This demonstrates that the wound process selected and amplified residual cells that express a functional c-Met receptor. We also cultured primary keratinocytes from the skin of conditional c-Met mutant mice and examined them in scratch wound assays. Again, closure of scratch wounds occurred by the few remaining c-Met-positive cells. Our data show that c-Met signaling not only controls cell growth and migration during embryogenesis but is also essential for the generation of the hyperproliferative epithelium in skin wounds, and thus for a fundamental regenerative process in the adult.
    • High-resolution X-ray structure of the trimeric Scar/WAVE-complex precursor Brk1.

      Linkner, Joern; Witte, Gregor; Stradal, Theresia; Curth, Ute; Faix, Jan; Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2011)
      The Scar/WAVE-complex links upstream Rho-GTPase signaling to the activation of the conserved Arp2/3-complex. Scar/WAVE-induced and Arp2/3-complex-mediated actin nucleation is crucial for actin assembly in protruding lamellipodia to drive cell migration. The heteropentameric Scar/WAVE-complex is composed of Scar/WAVE, Abi, Nap, Pir and a small polypeptide Brk1/HSPC300, and recent work suggested that free Brk1 serves as a homooligomeric precursor in the assembly of this complex. Here we characterized the Brk1 trimer from Dictyostelium by analytical ultracentrifugation and gelfiltration. We show for the first time its dissociation at concentrations in the nanomolar range as well as an exchange of subunits within different DdBrk1 containing complexes. Moreover, we determined the three-dimensional structure of DdBrk1 at 1.5 Å resolution by X-ray crystallography. Three chains of DdBrk1 are associated with each other forming a parallel triple coiled-coil bundle. Notably, this structure is highly similar to the heterotrimeric α-helical bundle of HSPC300/WAVE1/Abi2 within the human Scar/WAVE-complex. This finding, together with the fact that Brk1 is collectively sandwiched by the remaining subunits and also constitutes the main subunit connecting the triple-coil domain of the HSPC300/WAVE1/Abi2/ heterotrimer to Sra1(Pir1), implies a critical function of this subunit in the assembly process of the entire Scar/WAVE-complex.
    • Theoretical model for cellular shapes driven by protrusive and adhesive forces.

      Kabaso, Doron; Shlomovitz, Roie; Schloen, Kathrin; Stradal, Theresia; Gov, Nir S; Department of Chemical Physics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel. (2011-05)
      The forces that arise from the actin cytoskeleton play a crucial role in determining the cell shape. These include protrusive forces due to actin polymerization and adhesion to the external matrix. We present here a theoretical model for the cellular shapes resulting from the feedback between the membrane shape and the forces acting on the membrane, mediated by curvature-sensitive membrane complexes of a convex shape. In previous theoretical studies we have investigated the regimes of linear instability where spontaneous formation of cellular protrusions is initiated. Here we calculate the evolution of a two dimensional cell contour beyond the linear regime and determine the final steady-state shapes arising within the model. We find that shapes driven by adhesion or by actin polymerization (lamellipodia) have very different morphologies, as observed in cells. Furthermore, we find that as the strength of the protrusive forces diminish, the system approaches a stabilization of a periodic pattern of protrusions. This result can provide an explanation for a number of puzzling experimental observations regarding cellular shape dependence on the properties of the extra-cellular matrix.